Friday, April 27, 2007

heart in a cage*

Coffee shop.
Drinking coffee.
And stealing internet.

“…So he was an engineer, Italian. Had worked for a few years, and said he’d saved up enough money to be salary free while he does his MBA. So, we went out for coffee, the four of us, and they hit it off! Really liked each other, went out, getting very serious. Then… he dumps her…”, the sassy girl with the most horrendous beige jacket two tables away from me murmurs loudly with an appalled expression, emphasizing her disbelief. Dumps.

[Note to self: Never buy beige jacket.]

“He says ‘I’m not ready for anything serious right now’”. Pause for her prettier friend to react. Pretty Friend gasps. “And I felt so bad! I mean - and she didn’t say this but I know how she thinks and she wants to get married and y’know - but for Jen, this was for her the guy...”, she continues. My heart cringes. “… And she’s such a sweet girl, good family, intelligent, involved in the community but she tells me, ‘It’s hard you know? I just don’t know where to go? I work everyday, and see the same people everyday. I try to go out…’ But she’s right, when you reach a certain age, it’s hard... I mean, she’s twenty-eight now…”.

*breaks abruptly screech across the room*

Um. Since when did twenty-fucking-eight years old became ‘a certain age’? Who are these girls? Time-travellers from 1946? It would certainly explain the odd taste in professional wear. And she does look rather young come to think about it…. Hmmm. Could it be that I am in a sci-fi novel?...

Pretty Friend nods agreeably. “Yeah, it is hard”, she mumbles over her tea.

Erm?! But more importantly, is that what I will turn into one day? A Twenty Something Working Wife Trying To Have A Baby While Setting Up Her Single Friends Keener? (Alright, so i’ve been listening in for a while…) Is that what I am expected to aspire to?

Spring is never good to me. Aside from the pressure of Being Happy, and enjoying the renewed weather when you’re feeling more like the residue mud underneath, with this sunny season also comes the pre-programmed hormonal button in our animalistic nature switched on to ‘Fornicate’. Always. Like a bloody fucking clock. What's worse, I also become filled with this strange intense desire to be with someone. To settle down and procreate, or, in more brainwashing rom-com terms, to fall in love and live happily ever after. The most disconcerting part is, I actually buy into all of it. Yes. I do believe I want it.

That is, until that conversation.

I do feel bad for Jen. Who is only twenty-eight years old, wants to get married, can’t, and already pitied & condescendingly considered as a freakster by her loved ones. I feel bad for her broken heart. Honestly (tch - i’m not heartless). But in that entire conversation, the conversationalists included, the only one that seemed to make sense to me was sadly the idiot MBA dumper! And then I can’t help but wonder [à la Carry Bradshaw - without the pouffy hair, divine shoes & general fabulousness], is refusing to get married a symptom of our selfish young self’s Fear Of Becoming An Adult? And for me, the real question is, what is an adult? How does marriage define it? And why does everyone seem so keen on it anyway? Like misery, does absurdity simply love company?

I am not against marriage per se. Actually, I get quite excited at weddings – what’s not to like? Pretty sparkly clothes? Good. Ginormous cake? Good. Corny music to drunkenly dance to? Good, good, good. But marriage is trickier than one massively expensive party, isn’t it? I just don’t quite get it, you see. I suppose I understand that some people want to get married because it sets their relationship in stone. It’s a further, formal form of commitment. Very well. However, can one not be as committed to a relationship and have every single person important in their life be aware that they are firmly serious & dedicated to that relationship just as much as a married person is? I’m well aware that, even when ridden with all these statistics on divorce, studies have shown that married couples are more likely to stay together than unmarried couples. Yes, yes. But, the first thing that comes to mind is, what do I care about these other couples? And second, are all these people together because they are really happy & in love? Because aren’t there sadly those who simply maintain their relationship because it would be such a big long hassle to actually go through with a divorce? That their being together is dependent upon the effort to get out? Now to me, that argument sounds a little insulting, is it not? Knowing that my partner is staying with me out of… laziness? Call me innocently idealistic, I do understand that relationships are hard & certainly not always rosy, but I’d just rather have someone who is consciously intended to be with me. Out of his own will. Or because he cannot help it, as in, I’m the the absolute bee’s knees to him, that sort of soppy crap. Not because it’s 'too complicated' to get out. Because if I want out of a relationship, whether it requires me to lift the goddamn Mount Kilimanjaro or fly to the moon, I would. Never mind the hassle of divorce.

Inversely then, I suppose one can ask is marriage necessary in order to completely be with someone. Because… it is what society expects from us? Because that is what my parents demand from me? So I can ‘rightfully’ have children? But isn’t that what my sister is there for (bless her heart!)?

I mean, technically speaking, all above reasons don’t really make any sense, now do they? One can perfectly cohabit with one another in utter love & commitment (which are no easy tasks in & of itself, if one must insist that nothing good comes without effort), and have children just the same (biology doesn’t require a license to actually occur). So… why exactly does one go through all that contractual paperwork & financial predicament to get married if it is not really necessary? Ruling out religious purposes**, is there some other deep fundamental reason altogether?

… Is it out of fear? Or rather to get rid of that fear. The fear of being considered as marginal, unwanted, rejected, abandoned and/or alone? And knowing that a piece of paper binding the two of you together is somehow a sufficiently satisfying security net?

Two friends and a (younger!) cousin of mine are now engaged. To be married. And it freaks the begesus out of me. Not because I don’t want them to get married - I’m happy as long as they’re happy, of course, and hope that they are doing what’s right for them. The problem is, like Jen, I have suddenly fallen into that age bracket of folks who, by association, are ‘marriable’. And am now faced with the question more than I have naïvely expected. Even my mum is hopping on the bandwagon and have keenly asked me on several occasions if I’m to get married as well, which, between you & me, dear blogosphere, throws me slightly out of my delusional egocentric orbit as she has never asked nor alluded anything regarding my romantic relationships before. Ever. Which was fine by me, thankyouverymuch! Alas, no more!***

Aaaand... here I stand now.

Twenty-four years old & unable to come up with any good reason that would ever push me to do it. Even if the fear is there. But in many ways, I think I’m very much still that same Seventeen-Year-Old Girl who refuses to give in to what she considers as The Man. Or do things out of fear. Especially when it comes to love****. Utterly naïve? Perhaps. Hopelessly juvenile? Most likely. But until I can find a good reason***** for it – for me – I just can’t seem to wrap myself around the concept, is all.

...Which doesn’t mean I haven’t wondered what I’d look like in a pretty white dress. I usually look good in white.

“Truth is, and I hate to say this, but when you spend all those years trying to get ahead, set your career up, or you know, find yourself or whatever, I mean that’s what happens…”, wisely muses Twenty Something Working Wife Trying To Have A Baby While Setting Up Her Single Friends Keener as Pretty Friend shrugs distractingly.

[Note to self: Step. Away. From. The. Table. Sloooow-ly.]

* Hullo! Slow day? (And honestly, if you are reading this, the paint must have already dried , eh?). Click here then. Just bc it's a great song. As you were.

**Not bc that is not worth considering, quite the contrary. Though i am not myself religious, in such cases, i understand why would one desire marriage, assuming that uniting under God factors somewhat importantly in a religious person’s wish to be married. Do feel free to correct me if i am wrong though.

*** Being the kind of conventional yet independent strong lady that she is, The Crazy Woman never really wanted us to be linked in anyway with boys, you understand, yet there she was, non-chalantly MAKING PLANS FOR MY WEDDING! With whom? I haven’t a clue. What that does imply however is we must have The Talk sooner than I have planned… (no, not that kind of talk. That kind of talk shall, hopefully, NEVER be discussed with The Crazy Woman as she is, well, crazy - The Talk I am referring to is not that much more pleasant though, as it might get her, well, crazier…).*shudders*

****Assuming of course that one gets married out of love and not some economical/political arrangement, in which case it’s a whole other post.

***** And, um, a boyfriend, of course. If one is to be sensical about it and all. Carry on.


Rosanna said...

I am all for getting married, but I don't see it as an aim in life.

PS: Where did you find the photo of the latte art? We do that at my work :)

Jay said...

Marriage is something you either believe in or you don't. I lived with my husband before and I didn't think getting married would change things, but it did. It really did. And even now while it's breaking up, I don't regret it, not any of it.

vapidly vibrant said...

Rosanna, you can do that? (the artcoffee, i mean, not marriage - if you can see yourself doing that as well, very good then (i was just generally curious as to why, is all. Not to pry or second guess anybody's intentions, of course, but more as a... survey? :))) Anyway, i took the picture from a café around here. Not only is it purdy to look at, it is sooooo gooooooooood. *drools*

Jay, that's what i'm told.
And i'm so very sorry to hear about your news... My best wishes are with you, for whatever that is worth... *hold hands* [unless you don't like that]

Rosanna said...

I sure can :D I'm a pro at it. It's rather easy... once you learn. But it took me a long, long time.

Sorry to hear your news, Jay. Chin up (and beautiful comment)

Boo said...

GOLD GOLD There's so much gold in this here post. Where do I begin?

The conversation you describe is being played out in every cafe from here to the moon. 28 is 'the age', and (as I have discovered) 30+ is 'the age' for procreation. Thus people can finally act upon whatever Spring-like urges (as you say the button marked 'fornicate') they may be experiencing.

And then there's another conversation - where to give birth - in a hospital or at home? How to rearrange one's finances? Where to live - (they all move out to the boon to get the bigger house they 'have' to have, and in one fell swoop isolate themselves from less-mobile and PT-dependent friends, not naming any names). Oh, and they have to have a much bigger car, because that's the done thing.

I note that all of these conversations are blissfully free of any idea of parenting, or how they actually think they're going to raise the child, but whatevs.

You're not hopelessly naiive, VV. You're just living your life without some pre-prepared, crocked up 'idea' of how it 'should' be. Go forth, fornicate and enjoy, I say!!

vapidly vibrant said...

Good god. Have i been abducted? Did i miss the memo? I don't understand. Someone, hold me.

Boo said...

Good lord, woman. Your golden post inspired some sort of wedding-inspired rant against Tiffany's and the colour blue in general. Thank you for lancing that boil.