Thursday, October 18, 2007

Did Carrie Bradshaw teach us NOTHING, people?

I recently ran into a former (male) coworker on my train ride home from work.

Somehow, as we made smalltalk, the topic of turning 30 came about.

(Five years away for me, six for him.)

All of a sudden, he said to me, "Don't worry, I'm sure you'll be married by then."

(We really should have stuck to discussing the weather and Britney Spears' custody battle.)

I would love to know exactly WHY he said that to me, what it had to do with turning 30, and why he assumes I am CONCERNED about not being married by the age of 30.

Somehow, I think that if I had said the same RANDOM thing to him, he would have thought I was incredibly strange for saying it...because women are SUPPOSED to obsess over snagging a husband and make it their entire purpose in life...men, however, are not expected to lose sleep at night crying that they'll never have a wife.

It's pathetic.

Why are women still under this pressure that they MUST get married in 2007? Does anybody ever CONSIDER that it just may be possible to be happy as a single woman, and if love and marriage finds you...great! If not...you are still happy enough with yourself to be alone? (And is anybody ever REALLY alone? There are a reason friends and relatives exist, you know.)

The other day, a (single, she doesn't even have a boyfriend) friend of mine posted a survey on MySpace. (I have no idea what anybody did before MySpace. Probably read a lot more!) One of the questions was: How old will you be in 3 years? Her answer: 28. UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Next question: Do you think you'll be married by then? Her answer: Yes, or at least, I really really really hope so.

Aren't you supposed to get married when you find somebody you WANT to marry, instead of because you're 28 and it's apparently the thing to do at that age?

For the record, if somebody was going to tell me I was getting married any time soon, I would actually be upset because I honestly do not WANT to be married right now, or in the near future. I remember my mother freaking out when I told her (several years ago, not last week or anything) that the idea of marriage scares me a lot more than having children...because you can MARRY the wrong person...but you can't HAVE the wrong baby!

When I was in college, we watched a movie called Raise the Red Lantern (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101640/#comment) in my women's studies class. It's 1920's China. A man we only know as "The Master" has four wives. Each night, he decides which woman he wants to sleep with and announces his decision by "raising the red lantern" (get it?) over their quarters. The women line up nervously, and when the "winner" (loser!) is announced, she gloats...while the other women pout.

While many of my classmates thought the movie barbaric and unimaginable and hard to believe that something like this could EVER happen...I could only think of one thing.

The Bachelor.

Each episode of that show ends with the Bachelor giving roses to this week's "winners." The girls that he does not pick weep into the camera about how she just lost her soulmate. She really DID love this guy she had known for ten minutes.

It is the same exact thing as Raise the Red Lantern.

Women sacrificing their dignity, for the sake of a man. Women clawing each other's eyes out, for the sake of a man. Women willing to be on national television with racoon eyes, for the sake of a man. Women not caring if the man they "love" is also making out in jacuzzis with about ten other women.

Once again...pathetic. Personally, that show makes me embarassed for my gender. I think if I ever ended up on that show (yes, because I am EXACTLY the kind of girl they would cast, aren't I?), my family would deny that they even knew me.

I also had a friend wonder if she was single while her younger sister was in a serious relationship because she had curly hair and her sister, straight. I tried not to take that as an insult against my own curls, remembering all those, "Has anybody ever told you that you look like a much much shorter Minnie Driver?" comments I have gotten over the years, and just told her she was insane for thinking that way. Do boys ever stress over the texture of their hair and blame their single status on it?

I am guessing they don't. But, for some reason, women do.

Yup...

New York City, 2007
China, 1922

Much more similar than one might think...

Diana Rissetto