The interrogation is a scenario that most singles are quite familiar with. It involves a minimum of one “detective” who’s leading the interrogation, and a single person who’s declaring their innocence. Important to note is that the interrogation is not culture dependent nor does consider how the parties involved relate to one another. It can crop up at any social context such as a party with strangers, family gatherings or just having a coffee with a close friend. The official kickoff to the interrogation I would say, is the pause right after a conversation topic has ended. The single person realizes straight away what’s about to occur next. In slow motion they hear the words “are you seeing anyone”? Responding with a simple “no I’m not” doesn’t terminate the subject. In fact, it opens the door to a plethora of questions like: why not? Isn’t it time? Don’t you want to have kids? What happened to the last person you were seeing? Etc.
Quickly, the single will search for the appropriate response in their rolodex of excuses and justifications. What’s running through the singles mind might be something like:
“Should I go with the ” I come from a broken home” card? No, I used that at my last interrogation. Maybe I should give my “I don’t need no man” speech while snapping my fingers? No, not the right crowd. Bad luck? Not bulletproof and opens up to follow up questions. How about “I’m focusing on other things right now”? And then ramble all the amazing I’ve been up to? That might give access to a free pass!”
How about replying that being single is a choice? That’s possibly the least accepted response of all (this subject deserves and will get a blog post of it’s own)! You better be strong and stable in yourself if you decide to go there because the pressure is on! The detective can play dirty and pull every string to convince the single that it’s a false statement. From their perspective it’s denial or the single needs time to eventually “come to their senses”.
The detective has so far gathered information and gotten an overview of the situation. Next, is the attempt to make sense of all the data collected that is, getting to the bottom of why the single isn’t seeing anyone. But this is a hard case to crack. You see, the detective have established that the single has a decent personality. They express this by stating something like “you’re such a nice/smart/attractive person I don’t understand how you’re still single” ( As if only “good” people have partners. False! I’ve witnessed crappy individuals in relationships. Want evidence? Send me a message and I’ll give names!). The accepted personality in combination with the single person having friends and holding a steady job adds to the mystery.
Determined to solve this social crime the search for rational explanations begins. The detective unconsciously holds the premise that the single is guilty and proceeds by presenting possible theories (oblivious to the consequences it might inflict o the single): “Is it because of your fear of commitment? Being too picky? Behavior problems? In need of clothing advice?”. The single shall then express their standpoint on each and every theory.
Once the cross-examination is over the detective welcomes the single to the final stage of the interrogation: providing the solution to what seems to be the impossible. The detective will share the latest updates on dating apps, tell an “inspirational” story of a friend of a friend that used to be single and now has the partner of their dreams or offer a set up with a certain someone. Will the set up be based on common interests, values or goals in life? Oh no, not at all. Its based on one thing only: availability. The single isn’t seeing anyone and neither is the person the detective has in mind, so it must equal the perfect match! Bless this kind soul for coming to the rescue…
The interrogation hardly comes as a surprise for most singles. Some might even prepare in advance since it’s inevitable and part of the singleness package. I think it’s so important for single people to know that the interrogation is not personal or have anything to do with value. It directly reflects the “detectives'” world view or internal struggle. From my perspective having been “interrogated” countless of times, I’ve recognized the motive behind the interrogation differs. On one hand we have the detectives that are so tied up to the norm it’s impossible to see beyond it. They truly believe that every soul on this planet should follow the exact same manuscript. Then there are those who might have an inkling that there are other ways to live but haven’t explored alternative options for themselves . I believe that when an individual consciously chooses to take a different route than expected, those observing might get triggered. The trigger can give rise to distress which may lead the observer (“detective” in this case) to go in two different directions. Either they make changes and steer their own life in alignment with their desires. Or they’ll to try to squeeze the trigger (the single) into the norm frame so the distress vanishes. The interrogation becomes a platform where the purpose is to push the single back in line with the social and using concern (for example) as a disguise.
I’d just like add one more thing. I’ve noticed that the threshold for whats considered to be private information is much lower for singles. This is apparent especially when it’s acceptable for strangers to ask question and give advice about the private life of a single person. How many start to “interrogate” people in relationships that they meet for the first time? Hitting them with questions and offer “solutions” to difficulties the counterpart might not brought up or have at all? That would be considered crossing a line (and strange). Am I wrong? Just a little something to think about.