So a few months ago I was in writing class and we were reading from our work (we'd progressed as far as reading to the entire group, rather than in pairs, which for a fledgling writer is a big deal.) The theme of the lesson was character studies. My snippet contained a conversation between two relatives (sisters, as it turned out) with one significantly older than the other.
The snippet is one I'm actually rather proud of, even if it was inspired by an actual relative whom... hmm... let's say I have conflicted feelings about. But that's beyond the point.
Anyway, the scene starts off with the older sister yammering away about her life and the younger feeling distinctly uneasy. And then, the first question the older sister asks is:
"So, how is your love life?"
And when I read that out, I swear, every woman in the room gave a knowing chuckle.
Every. Single. One.
You know, it's one thing to read about annoying relatives in chick-lit, or see them portrayed in movies. They seem so inoffensive: sure, they push, but you know they mean it well, and for the most part, they're just comic relief, right?
The ladies of my writing group chuckled at the comment and the sister's discomfort, but when I was in that situation a few months prior, it was pretty darn frustrating.
Actually, no. It was even more frustrating. While my fictional characters restrained their pushing to getting into a heterosexual romantic relationship, in real life, I was told (TOLD,) that I'd be having kids by the time I'm 25.
*sigh* You know, Emily from Incurably Curious has a pretty nice blogpost on this topic, and whatever I'll say, she's said better. Also, I know there's plenty of people out there who love being parents and think that having kids is the best thing that's ever happened to them.
But can we please acknowledge how damn patronizing it sounds when someone you barely see once a year makes assumptions about your family prospects? It doesn't cross their mind that there are ninety-nine reasons why I might not be interested in reproducing - reasons within and beyond my control, fair and unfair, silly or grave. Hell, I can't imagine myself six months into the future, I'm certainly not embarking on such a long-term planning campaign.
Yes, yes, life doesn't always work out how we like, but it is still rather frustrating, not to mention insulting, that people assume the alpha and omega of your existence is giving birth. (Another funny tidbit I learned in that writing class: Apparently there is a Chinese saying that women are like Christmas trees - they're only good until 25. I mean, damn!)
With Single Awareness Day looming over the horizon, I'd like to take this moment to remind us (and myself especially) that there is nothing wrong with being single. Whether you're shy or loud, play for all teams or none, romantic, career-oriented, sporty, dancy, or whatever set of adjectives you identify with most, we are awesome and don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.