In a country where ‘nefrah mennik’ is used as a legitimate casual greeting, answering intrusive relationship-related questions is like a right of passage for Lebanese women.

Here's nine things to say to your aunt the next time she asks why you're still single.

1. "I'm Putting My Career First."
Learn how to convincingly pretend that you actually have ambitious career plans and a clear vision for your professional life (and even better if you truly do have one). Throw in a sigh-packed comment or two about how impossibly demanding your job is and make sure to squeeze in the words, "future" and "autonomy" in every other sentence.

2. "All Guys Are Douchebags."

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This answer basically involves blaming men for all the emotional pitfalls in human history (which is true to a certain extent). It's not difficult to passionately depict Lebanese men as selfish, dominant, careless and pervy creatures who specialize in shattering the fragile hearts of sweet girls like you. "Oh I can’t trust guys anymore." *sheds carefully rehearsed tear*

3. "I’m Too Picky."
I am a sophisticated soul with highly refined taste in humans who cannot and will not settle for less than a real life combination of Beckham-esque genes, Hemsworth charm and a dash of DiCaprio for good measure. Move on.

4. "Being Single is Totally in Style Right Now."

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I mean if Beyoncé made a song about ‘Single Ladies’, then being single can’t be that bad, right? Just think about it: you can text whoever you want, fangirl over all the fictional characters you want, keep all the food to yourself and not even worry about matching your underwear. In the words of prominent 21st century thinker Lil’ Wayne: “And I’m single, yeah, I’m single/And I’m single, tonight I’m single/And I ain’t trippin’ on nothin’.”

5. "It's None of Your Business."
When the question becomes recurrent, taking up warzone tactics becomes reasonable. Make a fiery statement defending your right for privacy, followed by a highly assertive dictum on how your relationship status falls strictly into the ‘nobody’s business’ territory. BAM. You’re done.

6. "I'm Not Down with Societal Expectations."

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Not everyone is psychologically equipped to cope with the hard work that goes into finding a mate, nor are all humans designed to operate in a romantic environment. Tell her you're one of those people who will remain single for the rest of their lives and solely refuse the social constraints dictated by blind conformity to its expectations. *buildings collapsing in the background*

7. "I Love Your Shoes! Where Did You Get Them?"
Passive-aggressive mode activated. The goal here is to direct the intrusive party’s attention as far away as possible from their target. Rules of thumb include generic comments about the financial situation of the country, excessive complaining about the current political deadlock and the ongoing presidential vacuum, passionate perspectives on Crocs (or Uggs if it’s winter). Anything that does not involve the word ‘single’ basically.

8. Just *Tears*
Once you’ve exhausted all the previous options, the winning alternative would be to engage in a well-choreographed dramatic scene (dramatic enough to dodge the bullet-question). The outburst of emotion should ideally be synchronized with choppy depressive statements about your irrevocable emotional state after going through previous relationships, and a tear or two that would be gracefully swept away through a helpless hand movement before reaching mid-cheek ground.

9. "Thank You!"

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The last stage consists of a genuine moment of truth when you admit that you don’t even know why you’re single and start replying to “nefrah mennik” with “merci” instead of the usual half-murderous side eye. Like I really have no rational explanation for why I am single but I’m pretty sure you have no rational explanation for why you are in a relationship either. I’m never having this conversation again. *Taylor Swift song playing in the background*


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