“So, are you dating?”
Ugh. How loud do you groan when you hear that question? Do you route a path to the nearest exit or scan the area for objects you can use as a weapon or a shield?
To a bystander, the inquiry might seem like friendly, idle chit chat. The problem with idle chit chat about dating is you can never be sure whether the idle will turn into The Inquisition.
You remember The Inquisition, right? That’s where fun-loving religious leaders tortured the heretics who did not adhere to their rituals and beliefs.
Kind of like being single in a marriage-first-last-always society.
Unless the asker is a stranger, it’s obvious, to you anyway, that he or she really wants know whether or not you are in a relationship and why are you still single???
The question itself, however, is like the riddle of the Sphinx, if the Sphinx was not the site of virgin sacrifices. Any answer can be right or wrong, depending on the person and the place.