Thursday, February 16, 2006

How I Used To Be

I had to go to a dinner last night. It was a family type affair and at one point I found myself in the middle of a throng of people who were talking about some fresh celebrity gossip. I tried not to look too obviously disinterested but found my mind wandering. If gossip about people I know doesn’t interest me what would I care about what's happening with some actor or actress I don't know? After what I thought was a suitable interval I quietly tried to extricate myself from the group and sneak off to wherever people weren't talking about other people's marriages. Unfortunately, my desertion attempt was noticed and clamorously drawn to everyone's attention by a very bright young person who among other things thought it incumbent upon her to inform everyone that "clearly" *giggle* "C__ didn't care for gossip."

Later as I was about to gather up my coat and leave with as little fanfare as possible I got a rather surprising and unexpected earful from a couple of elderly friends of my aunt’s who intercepted me inches from the door and well meaningly proceeded to inform me that men did not like women who were too accomplished or too sure of themselves. And since I clearly did not grasp the magnitude of this revelation they further went on to inform me that "watching jeopardy and turning my nose up at gossip" was not going to help me get married and have babies.

I find it a little hard to be mean to people when no matter how poorly delivered their message their intentions are inherently good (from their points of view anyway) or to walk away from obvious bores. So, trapped in my own social civility, I listened to another 15 minutes of what men are looking for (apparently everything I am not) and what they are not (apparently everything I am) before making my escape with a mild parting shot. I tossed a "If a man doesn't want me for who I am then chances are I don't want him either" over my shoulder and quickly slipped out before anyone could correct me.

On the walk back home I felt both like laughing and crying. In my family women marry young and I have had to put up with this song and dance for as long as I can remember. I have gone through a gamut of reactions from being upset to defensive to feeling put on the spot to nowadays simply being amused. But sometimes the amusement is mixed with annoyance.

I have always craved romance and passion, adventure too, but not marriage. This could very well be because I don't have a lot of stellar examples of wedded bliss. Or it could just be me. The idea of going skydiving or scuba diving or even cooking a meal together with someone excites me but babies and happily ever after doesn't creep into my thoughts often. And truth be told, an occasional tearful night aside, I am not that afraid of being alone. I am more afraid of not living life well. 15 minutes of lecture does not change that.

But I do wish people would stop trying to change me.


Blogger beefdrop said...

No kidding! And you look at those giving you the advice and wonder what makes them feel so right that you are so wrong. Its all pre-conceived notions about the way things ought to be, and how things work better if you follow the magic rules. Maybe some advice has some legitimacy to it, but for the most part, we could probably survive best just by doing our own thing, and be reap the consequences.

2/16/2006 1:30 PM  

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