Traveling on a train to Chicago, an Amish man struck up a conversation with me. We chatted about what I did for a living and he gave me his card. He runs a masonry business. Five minutes into the conversation, he asks me if I’m married. I tell him no. His vibe changed immediately. Have I ever married?, he asks. I tell him no, never married. I am now suspect! I can see his mind moving, trying to put the pieces together.
Living in Flagstaff, I am sheltered from these types of conversations. I’m continually surprised when I leave home and am faced with people who determine a woman’s value based on her relationship to a man. My lack of a relationship to a man puts me in the category of “other” in this man’s eyes. I’ve now become dangerous. I can feel the disapproval coming from him. I excuse myself from the conversation.
The difference for me now, is that I don’t feel the need to make this man feel ok about who I am. I realize that this is “his” problem, not mine – and I don’t have to change a thing.