The other day I went
to visit a friend whose daughter had just gotten married and I walked
right into a trap: It was the
Ďyour-age-mate-just-got-married-so-when-will-you?í interrogation. The
people who normally ask this question are mostly older, pretty blunt
with their questioning and never give up until they wear you out. Since
you canít ignore them (out of respect), you just have to sit there and
take the punches as they dish them out.
"So how old are you
now? In your late 20s? Isnít it time you started thinking about a
husband and children?" the lady of the house asked as soon as we sat
down to eat.
"Ahh, I donít think
so, please pass the water," I replied.
exclaimed. "When should we expect children from you?"
"Probably never," I
joked. "And I have to find a husband first."
"Never? Are you out
of your mind? Your plate is almost empty, have some more food," she
"Iím not ready to
have children or a husband."
"Do you know how many
kids I had when I was your age?" she continued. (Told you these people
never give up). And the ruthless questioning went on and on.
It seems that even
children are picking up on this adult obsession. A friendís 7-year-old
niece recently demanded to know where my boyfriend was. I told the child
that my boyfriend had asked me a silly question and I had locked him up
in the boot of my car. I then knelt down and gently told this adorable
kid that she should stop asking silly questions, too, or she might end
up in the boot of someoneís car. Based on the raw fear I saw in her
eyes, I donít think sheíll be asking that question again.
Now if only we can
traumatise adults out of asking that question, life would be so much
calmer for the millions of single people out there. All the singletons
of the world would be able to attend weddings and bridal showers without
being asked when they will be inviting people for theirs. We already
spend a good portion of our incomes buying gifts and making rounds from
baby showers to weddings. Do we have to answer tough questions too?
It seems like this is
one question that is universal when you get to a certain age. It does
not matter whether you are Kenyan or American, male or female. When you
hit 25 and you are not married, everyone around you starts getting
restless. Men get asked the question once in a blue moon, while women
have to answer it on a regular basis. When I was a kid, I used to think
parents were in a rush to marry off their children so that they would
cash in on dowries ASAP. When I came to the US, a country where the wife
pays for the entire wedding and there is no dowry, I realised itís not
about dowry because American mothers, just like the rest of the world,
are also in a rush to marry off their daughters, regardless of how much
the wedding will cost them.
Is the world
suffering from a phobia of being single? Whatever happened to "Take as
much time as you want, just make sure itís the right person." It seems
like the motto today is youíre a loser if youíre not married by 25,
sweetheart. You better marry the next guy who comes along.
I want to have a
positive attitude and assume parents are afraid that their precious
children will end up as old maids. (Speaking of old maids, how come
thereís no term for guys who are not married at a particular age? They
are described as Ďplayasí or confirmed bachelors while women get the
not-so-attractive descriptions.) How else do you explain the constant
nagging to get married? The phone calls when one of your high school
friends ties the knot? The admonishing and subliminal messages whenever
your younger cousins announce they are getting hitched before you do?
You canít even open an account in a bank when you are over a certain age
without the bank teller asking you whether itíll be a joint account with
So in the spirit of
making my nice (but nosy) friends and family happy, I have decided to
take a co-worker up on an offer to go on a blind date (as soon as she
can find someone who meets the criteria on my long checklist). The goal
of the date, which will be in the next few weeks, will be to convince my
friends that Iím at least trying to have a life outside my career. If it
works out, then everyoneís happy. If it does not work out, they are not
allowed to ask me Ďthe marriage questioní again. Iíll report back on the
date in the next couple of weeks.
working on some comeback lines to unleash when people ask that question.
So far, I only have three: Is there a stopwatch out there that times how
fast people get married?
Did Congress enact a
rule that says you have to be married before you hit 30?
favourite movie starís name here) fault. He ran off and married someone
else. If you know of better lines that we can use to hush these people
up, drop me a line via email.
- The writer can
be reached at