Why do you ask what I do?

I find it annoying when I meet a person socially who immediately asks me what I do. I wouldn’t ask a person I’ve just met what s/he does any more than I’d ask what s/he weighs. What I look for in a person is character and sincerity. 
When I was corporate, I had the “right” answers, but never gave them. I responded with a litmus test, telling people that I drove the Number 6 Train (NYC).  They would slink away and continue their search through the room for a lawyer or a management consultant and a six to eight digit salary.  (I had to give up that answer when a man driving the Number 4 Train on the same line went to prison for drinking and causing a fatal accident).
My friends of all ages tell me that it’s a harmless question - a conversation starter to help people get to know each other. I’ve been telling them that they’re wrong, but until recently, I could never prove it.  Now that I am a singer and voice actor, the motivations are crystal clear. 
I have a new litmus test.  When people ask me what I do, I simply tell them I am a singer and a voice actor.  Now I get a very different reaction. Instead of easing away, people confront me! “You sing?  Really?  But how do you make a living? No really, how do you pay your bills?” On another occasion, during a gig, I heard, “Really nice set.  We really enjoyed it.  So what do you do?  THIS is what you do?  Ohhhh.”
Once in a while, someone will react differently, and I’ll hear something like, “I am so happy you are pursuing your dreams.  I think it’s wonderful.  You’ve inspired me to really think about what I want to do.”  These people are the exception to the rule.  They are curious to understand different journeys, and they are not afraid to examine the roads less traveled.
As for the rest, I think they are looking for validation. If you are doing something similar to what they do, they look at you favorably. You reinforce their belief that they’re on the “right” path.
But if you’re a singer? A voice actor? No way. I create dissonance. My choices conflict with the lessons they were taught about what you have to do – and give up – to make a living.  That’s why too often, I get interrogated when I explain how I spend my time.  Henry David Thoreau was right. “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” It's one mistake I am not making.