I encountered a very annoying taxi driver this morning. As we all know, the best kind of taxi driver is the type that drops you off at your destination in complete silence. I regret to inform you that this fella did not shut up from the moment I got in the car.
In the space of a twenty minute journey, he managed to complain about everything from the council to “the foreigners”; please note that my response to the latter small-minded comment would be too lengthy to be included here and is a different blog post for a different time.
However, none of the above irritated me as much as when he asked me the question that I find myself answering more and more these days, especially since I turned 30 last year.
“Do you have any kids?”
I seethed inwardly. “No,” I replied, through gritted teeth. “Don’t think it’s for me to be honest.”
His response, and this is a direct quote: “Oh, you’ll be fine – once you meet the right fella, it’ll be ok.”
Firstly – RUDE. Yes, I’m crap with money, and still living at home, and get myself into drunken mishaps on the regular – but just because I haven’t got a partner or kids doesn’t mean I’m not “ok.”
Secondly, I didn’t actually at any point confirm whether I had a partner or not. He’d therefore made the assumption that just because I had no kids, it was only because I am alone in this cold, cruel world, and that once I met the right man, all would be well.
He’d also assumed that I would change my mind. Yes, this may well happen in the future. But I don’t need anyone – especially someone I have known for the grand total of twenty minutes – to reassure me about this, as if my life is on hold until I’m lucky enough to be swept off my feet. *eye roll*
Taxi Driver didn’t know the first thing about me, other than my name. I may have had fertility problems, for all he knew. He could ask that question of someone who has lost a child, or who does have children but they don’t live with them – and that would be distressing and completely avoidable, solely by keeping his mouth shut.
I posted about it on Facebook this morning and a lot of women, all in different circumstances, offered their experience of similar encounters. One is married but doesn’t want children; she would probably have resulted in Taxi Driver crashing his smelly cab. My best mate is a brilliant mum to two beautiful boys – but is often asked if she’s trying for a girl. How can anyone think that this is an acceptable question?
I resent being asked this question so frequently. I feel it implies that I am somehow lacking, that until I have a child I am incomplete as a woman. How dare I be in my early thirties and have the audacity to be both single and childless! What a societal let down! I also feel irritated by the fact that men are asked similar questions on far fewer occasions.
Finally, and most importantly – it’s none of your business, pal. And I’m “ok” already – thanks so much for your concern.