Happy New Year, everyone. Sorry to have been out of touch but one of the things I love to do over the holidays is to leave my computer off for a while. At first, I feel like one of my limbs is missing, then I get used to it and kind of like it.

I also like to read fiction just for fun. I expected one of the books I read to have almost nothing to do with single life, but in it there was a great passage I want to share. It is from Ann Tyler’s Digging to America and the conversation is between two women living in the U.S. — Maryam, an Irnaian, and Kari, a woman from Turkey:

At dinner that night, Maryam asked Kari, “Do you ever feel exposed because you’re not half of a couple?”

Kari said, “Exposed?”

“I mean, oh, not threatened; I don’t mean that, but vulnerable? Unprotected? Anyone can walk up to you and just…invite you out on a date!”

“Horrors,” Kari said, and she laughed. But then immediately she grew serious again, so that Maryam suspected she understood what she had been asked. She must; she was a beautiful, fine-boned woman with hauntingly shadowed eyes. Men surely invited her out all the time, although she never mentioned it. “I tell them my culture forbids it,” she said.

Maryam said, “You don’t!” because she’d always felt that Kari was about as liberated as a woman could get.

“I say, ‘Pardon? Go out? With a male person? Oh, my goodness!’ I say, ‘It’s clear you don’t know I’m a widow.’ They say, ‘Oh. Uh…’ because of course they do know, but now they’re wondering if there’s some primitive Turkish taboo that they weren’t aware of.”

“I should do that,” Maryam said, only half joking.

Reminds me of a great post a while back over at Onely: Please don’t ask me out.