A lot of my single friends are complaining that society is not cutting them any slack. When eid time comes or if there is some family event, suddenly the girl becomes the center of attention and her aunties start speculating on “WHY is she still single?” The girls don’t get annoyed by their single status as much as they get annoyed by society’s reaction to their single status.
Maybe that’s the point. Make her single life miserable enough so she’d get married. To the first guy who knocks the door, regardless of whether he’s suitable for her or not.
One of my fellow Kemeni blogger, posted about this recently in Being Single, ” You tell yourself “I am happy being single” then you hear a nikkah from a near by mosque. Your thoughts wonder, some one is getting a companion tonight, they will build their future together. Then you evaluate yourself why are you still single? Is there something wrong with me? Then you end up saying am worth the world! I am strong independent, Its not written for me yet! But secretly you question your self esteem! At the end you go back to saying “I am happy being single”, all the horror stories about marriage that I have heard. Its such a vicious circle! Emotional blackmail to one self!”
One thing about the traditional Kemeni society is that if a girl’s age is around 22 then she’s by default a spinster until stated otherwise. When men go around searching for wives, they want someone who knows how to cook biryani just like his mother, and who likes children and has experience raising them (preferably her own siblings). There are some who explicitly state an age (15-18) because the younger, the less they know about the world.
Or at least, that’s what the guys think.
So someone like JJ, a women who graduated from college in the US and holds a proper job, and has a blog – OH MY GOD! WHAT A SHAME! – is too opinionated for the typical Kemeni man who wants a wife to go along with everything he says, stroke his ego, and make him sandwiches. So the other day, a question was raised, would you rather be divorced or single? The statuses are very close to each other, except that nobody bothers the divorcee about marriage anymore.
But when a girl is single, and is enjoying every second of her single life – from shopping to coffee outings with the other girls, to saloon appointments, and gupshup-filled sleepovers with her girlfriends- nooo, the aunties just want her to settle and be miserable, and tell her, “You’re nothing without a man, all those degrees you have amount to nothing (not that I would give your name to my friend who’s looking for a wife for her son because you’re too ‘modern’ and unsuitable for him), but still, this lifestyle of yours is just so wrong.”
And it’s even stranger when the advice comes from someone who is already miserable in their married life.
So how do you react to such comments. How I’d like to react is by quoting Sherlock from the modern Sherlock Holmes series, “Listen. This (his head) is my hard drive and it only makes sense to put things in there that are useful. Really useful.”
Of course I never really say it out loud.
The thing is, they are the ones making us feel like there’s something missing in our lives because we are single; they are the ones who make us even feel guilty about our single status; they are the ones shrinking our self-worth by their comments. So what would they rather have us do? Sit in front of the mirror and ask, “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, where is the charming prince of them all?”
Take an extreme example; society talks until the girl can’t handle the pressure anymore and marries someone unsuitable (just so they’d shut up). And because the person is unsuitable, maybe the relationship is rocky and ends up with a divorce. Would society help the woman get back to her feet after a divorce? No, they’d say that there must be something wrong with her, that’s why she couldn’t keep her husband for long. Then maybe she’d be shunned. So whether she stays single or gets married to the wrong guy and ends up in divorce, it’s a lose-lose situation.
So dear single lady, my advice to you is to focus on yourself. Focus on your building up your Imaan, focus on developing yourself mentally, socially, professionally…Focus on yourself, because life does not come with guarantees. There’s a nice quote that says, “Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children,maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either.”
Think about how many people are married and miserable. Think about how many couples who stay together only for the children. Think about the sort of people for whom married life is a boring routine that they have to go through for the sake of going through…If you’re still single, don’t sit and get annoyed and frustrated, and believe that you must be single for a reason, so make the best use of it and capitalize on your assets, the main ones being your time and freedom. And for those who are pressured into marriage with unsuitable people just so that the train doesn’t pass them by. Isn’t it better for the train to pass you than crush you?