Thursday, 23 February 2017

Ladies, the fear of “ending up alone” is a silly reason to marry in your twenties

I have seen women saying and feeling wedding as their biggest achievement. They taunt others that wedding is their accomplishment and I've always laughed at such silly girls. Because for me getting married before the age of 25 sounds a lot like leaving a party before 10 PM.

Just because the society insists, aunts and relatives taunt, there's no need to rush into the wedlock. Just because your parents emotionally blackmail you, you need not end up in someone's life and make yourself a stranger. I came across a beautiful article from a wonderful woman, who's 31, still not married and why and how she's happy about her decision.  

Despite what samaaj insists, you won’t suddenly become unlovable, unfuckable, and infertile as soon as you turn 30. Do whatever you want and whoever you want, whenever you want, says Rukun Kaul on Buzzfeed. Read it, enjoy it and support her decision:

The thing about me is that I’m thirty-one, unmarried, and recently bought myself a Cartier wedding band I’d been eyeing since I was twenty-four.

I’m thirty one, unmarried, and recently bought myself a Cartier wedding band.

(Its gold goes really well with the gold of my watch, and what is the purpose of life if not to match your jewellery with everything you own?)

I could have waited for a proposal, but for a few reasons (a – we’re too busy living our professional lives, and b – I don’t want any progeny to come out of my bacche daani), my boyfriend and I haven’t uploaded the quintessential “Diamond dekh ungli pe” status on Facebook yet.

And really, it’s so unbecoming of a raging feminista like me to wait around for a guy to buy her a ring. I have a killer job, 1183 tweeples follow me and I’m getting published by BuzzFeed – imma do what I want, son!

And what I wanted was to buy that ring and wear it on my ring finger.

Another thing that I want is to marry only when I’m darn well ready to. Right now, I’m not even ready to host my boyfriend’s parents at my house for a second Sunday brunch.

I oscillate between congratulating myself and freaking the fuck out.

I’m only human though. I oscillate between congratulating myself for staying unmarried and freaking the fuck out for still being unmarried.

Congratulating myself because I’ve successfully avoided the social pressures that go hand-in-hand at my age, and freaking-a-leak because I still haven’t given my parents the mental relief that they so desperately crave.

They have structured their physical and financial health around my impending nuptials. “I’ll buy that lake house when you’re married” or the most recent, “I’ll go for a prostate exam once you’re married”.

My unmarried status isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

My heart goes out to them because the reality is that my unmarried status isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

My partner and I are in that need-to-make-them-dolla-dolla-bills mode and no amount of peer pressure can convince us to channel our ambition elsewhere.

“This busyness is fine abhi ke liye” is often what my parents tell me, “But what will happen twenty years from now when all your friends are busy with their families and your parents are dead? You’ll have nobody left, you’ll be all alone.”

“You’ll be all alone.”

That warning which leads so many of us into marrying the guy whose parents demand our haath-ka aaloo paranthe and baingan bharta on weekends. “So modern they are, only expect you to cook on weekends. Adjust beta, nahi toh budhape pe kaun saath dega?”

Ending up “all alone” is something I’m sure most unmarried women in their 30s have fretted about. It’s not a baseless worry either – people do get busy with their married lives and may not have that much time to dedicate to you and your single life problems.

And I will admit that as my parents grow older, the thought of living a life without their support keeps me up at night. Every time I have encountered major struggle in my life, I’ve had them to fall back on, and it’s possible that, in my old age, I’ll have to live without that kind of unconditional support.

The fear of ending up alone is driving many of us into marriage.

So I empathise with the knee-deep fear of ending up alone, but I wish it weren’t the reason that drove so many of us into marriage. Giving into fear of the unknown leads to bad decisions – just look at the US.

Frankly, instead of rushing into marriage, women should be encouraged to think critically about it. After all, don’t we know how tedious and expensive divorces are?

But it’s not in our society’s DNA to think of young women and their wellbeing. Instead, it relies on fear mongering, and weaves a narrative where unmarried older women become social pariahs after a particular age, or the one where spinsters love cats and hate younger women.

These hateful stories, fed to us constantly by well-meaning friends and family and relatives, make companionship tedious and age dependent – behno, tees ke baad sanyaas le lo. You only have a friendless, empty life ahead of you now.

It’s not in our society’s DNA to think of young women and their wellbeing.

Well, firstly, life has solidified my belief in the power of female friendships and the support they offer in our older years (a belief corroborated by feminist playwright Eve Ensler’s memoir, which every scared girl should read). And even if that doesn’t work out, given my introversion, the thought of being friendless at fifty doesn’t bother me much anyway.

Secondly, you see, my life’s ambition in itself is ridiculously rewarding – I want to continue mentoring young women to be boss ass bitches who shatter the glass ceiling to bits.

I’m sure there are plenty more women like me whose ambitions and interests keep them occupied and happy. So why the hell aren’t we growing up with stories of amazing unmarried men and women who’ve lived perfectly satisfied lives following their dreams and not platinum wedding bands?

Why does everybody make marriage sound like the end of all unhappiness?

Marriage is not always the cure for loneliness.

Because it isn’t necessarily so. Marriage is not always the cure for your loneliness. It doesn’t always mean unconditional support and companionship. You can be married and still feel as alone and as grim. The only difference is that now you might also have an aloof or abusive husband to deal with.

Don’t look to marriage to cure your dry spell either. You’ll grow tired of the giving a ritualised hand job before sleep and pray to god that he cheats on you so that your wrist can be spared the carpal tunnel. See what I did there? How do you like them fear mongering apples now?

So enough of this end-of-all-existence crap. The worst exists on both sides, and nobody should be made to marry out of fear.

We don’t die after turning thirty and we certainly don’t become unlovable.

Women face so much anxiety due to the expiration date that is placed upon them.

I say fuck that. We don’t die after turning thirty, we don’t suddenly turn infertile, and we certainly don’t become unlovable (or unable to fall in love!) overnight.

We can fall in love with a younger person in our 60s, marry a divorcee in our 40s, adopt a child in our 30s, have raunchy affairs with our next-door-neighbour at the old age home in our 90s, or do whatever we want and whoever we want, however we want, whenever the hell our hearts or minds or vaginas want.

Happiness isn’t age dependent, and in my books, it isn’t only attained from marrying someone. I’d like to believe that I’ll marry when I’m well and ready to, with a partner whom I’ll share an equitable and honest relationship with.

Happiness isn’t age dependent.

Until then, you’ll find me busy trying to fight with my current boyfriend BECAUSE HOW DARE HE NOT CALL ME LAST NIGHT TO SAY GOODNIGHT.

As Rasa Devi once said, “life is right in any case”. You may call that confirmation bias. I call that “chup be, Mira Nair can script no wrong.”

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