The festive season is always an excuse for
old friends to compare the year's successes.
In my motley circle, John, an insurance
agent, made it to the Million-dollar Round Table.
Celine sold her restaurant for twice the
amount she expected.
Romeo, a one-time Talentime star turned
flight steward, earned his Leading Steward promotion.
Me? Let's say I can finally afford to buy
a few more purses and shoes after paying my monthly rent.
Yet success these days seems to be
measured not by marital status.
At one dinner party, my friend June and I
were ruminating over how well our lives have turned out - despite our
Secondary Four teacher's predictions that we would end up sweeping
roads, the day she caught us skipping class to watch Dirty Dancing.
June is now a successful lawyer, and I'm
- well, I have a fortnightly column in The New Paper on Sunday (it's all
And then came the inevitable.
'So, you married yet?' asked an old
schoolmate at the party.
'No,' we both replied cheerfully.
And that's when we were met with the
dreaded head tilt. Which, if you're not familiar with it, implies pity.
'Oh,' our friend said, her head tilted to
'Well, you two have always been the
On another occasion, my friends Josh and
Rose announced they were getting married. This was, of course, followed
by congratulatory toasts.
In the three hours I was at the party, I
was lectured by a 25-year-old single mother (who never married, by the
way) about the joys of marriage and children, asked five times if the
boyfriend and I were planning to marry, and subjected to eight head
tilts from people I didn't even know!
One C-list celebrity actually said, 'Not
married? Aiyah, poor thing!'
The way it was bandied about, you'd think
marriage was as easy as picking up some guy at a salsa party and doing
the horizontal mambo to create the requisite baby.
Sure, research has shown that married
people are happier and live longer than single people.
Plus, it must be fantastic to have the
power of two incomes.
But single people are single for a
reason: They may not have found the ones they are meant for.
Or they could be recovering from
emotional hurt. Or, perhaps, they are perfectly content with their
Couples can, and do, stay together for
years before they don their finery and recite their vows. The point is,
it's their business, not yours.
So this New Year, instead of tilting your
head at singles, look them in the eye. Wish them love.
Because in a world filled with money,
terrorists and natural disasters, we're all vulnerable - married or not
- and love is something we could all use.
Plus, it's more polite.