Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from ACM, which has more than 100 mastheads across Australia. Today's is written by The Land livestock editor Rebecca Nadge.
"So, have you got a husband?" is a bad enough question to ask a stranger, but to follow it up with a surprised "why not?" is possibly even worse.
And yet this is a regular conversation topic when I'm out and about for work.
I do believe most people mean well and are merely making small talk, but I can't fathom why they think this is an appropriate, or relevant, question for someone they've just met.
More than that, I wonder how I'm supposed to respond.
I'm usually overcome with a weird compulsion to try and justify myself; I work a lot, I just haven't met anyone yet, I swear there's nothing wrong with me.
Because that's how the question makes me feel.
It implies not having a partner makes me somehow inadequate, even though I've come across far more unhappy relationships than what many people care to admit.
It implies other aspects of my life can't equal what a relationship can give me, even though I have a career I genuinely love, hobbies that satisfy me, and so many experiences from living all across the country and overseas.
Most of all, it implies that the person asking it can't comprehend life alone. And I think that's a shame.
I take great pride in my independence. Working things out by myself, particularly as I'm based on the other side of the country to my friends and family in WA, can, and has, been incredibly challenging.
But knowing I can make do on my own is an inherent part of my personality now and it's something no one can take away from me.
It implies that the person asking it can't comprehend life alone. And I think that's a shame.- Bec Nadge
I have met women who are so desperate to be or stay in relationships that they will put up with anything. I know people in relationships who are desperately unhappy but can't imagine life by themselves.
Yet somehow being single is still considered by many to be the worse option.
That's not to say I necessarily want to be on my own forever. I specialise in agriculture, which in many regards does uphold a more traditional family structure.
Sometimes I spend entire days interviewing couples about their businesses and shared goals, and as I drive away I feel a pang of isolation that I don't have someone to share ideas with and plan for the future.
But regardless of whether my relationship status is by choice or circumstance, it's no one's business but my own.
And it's certainly not a topic I want to discuss with someone I've known for only two minutes.
Rebecca Nadge is The Land's livestock editor and based in Orange. She is also the co-host of Getting the Upper Land a video cast that drops on The Land's Instagram page weekly.
MORE STUFF HAPPENING AROUND AUSTRALIA:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.