At all of 26, Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley) in Bridgerton’s season 2 was constantly referred to as a spinster and it was assumed that marriage was no longer on the cards for her since the ideal time had passed. If you think this mentality was left behind in the regency era the drama was based in, you’re highly mistaken. In the span of the last 6 months, 4 out of my 7 best friends got married—with each wedding, the balance in my universe kept shifting and the pressure to join the ‘settled’ ones on the other side of the bridge became more prevalent. All of us are 26-27 at the moment. Until 2 years ago, we were treated as top-tier commodities in the marriage market. Most conversations revolved around the growth of our career and what the next step in our professional life would be. 2 birthdays later, we are now the leftover players who don’t get picked on by either of the team. Statements like, “find someone quickly,” “there are hardly any good men, lower your expectations,” oh, and my absolute favourite, “do it before 30 or you’ll only find uncles,” are being thrown around like confetti.
Mourning The Man Child
Don’t get me wrong, in my head, I still have a long way to go before I take on the responsibility of legally binding myself to another human being. I can barely keep a plant alive or make a meal to survive—unfortunately, it doesn’t match with the timelines set for me by society. To give them some credit, at least the questions now have gotten innovative—instead of asking me when am I getting married, the curious kitty aunties at weddings ask me if I am seeing someone seriously. How do I tell her that my therapist and I are still working on my recovery from the last time I got attached to a man child with no emotional intelligence? Is there a gentle way of letting them know that we have scoured all dating apps and the results are beyond disappointing? Asking for all the awkward aged millennials subjected to this polite trauma.
The Marriage Business
A small section of privileged women may come for me, stating that the times have changed and women no longer have to follow a rule book. To them, I’d only like to ask for their zip code. While I am mad at the mothers, grandmothers and aunties of others who circle me at weddings, I am proud of my parents for not collapsing under this pressure. Recently, my father’s business acquaintance asked him about my marital status—instead of making up an excuse my father questioned the man about his son’s professional status- I guess his awkward silence answered his own question. In no way do I condone shaming of personal choices, but sometimes being nosier with the nosey crowd is the only way to go about things.
Another interesting section that heavily promotes the holy matrimony is the already married gang. Why do married friends, relatives and colleagues suddenly take the onus of promoting the union, right from the moment they leave the altar? The newfound wisdom sounds tone-deaf and insensitive after a point—we can totally spend the game night discussing your over-priced charcuterie board instead of dissecting my single life.
Ageing Like A Fine Wine
Ironically, the age handbook for men dictates a completely different set of rules. At 26-27, he is just about getting settled and is the perfect catch for every girl who sets her eyes upon him. At 30, he is mature, established and is the ideal spouse material. Even post 30, men are vividly validated for the same qualities that women are shamed for. We are too picky, they are selective. We are too rebellious, and they are just driven and ambitious. Many of us, while fighting this trope, fall right into it as prey—unknowingly we start internalising the pressure that was always just supposed to be on the outside. While there is no race, we are constantly reminded that crossing the finish line is of utmost importance.
Eat Pray Lust
When did it stop becoming about love and started becoming more about checking something off a list in life? The unknowing anxiety caused by people often results in hushed decisions. Whether it’s the generational gap, biological clock or the lack of good options—no reason is good enough for someone to settle. It’s 2022, my expectation isn’t a fairy tale romance—we’re from a generation where even a text back and weekly consistency is considered as a green flag. So ladies, if like me, you’re constantly fighting internal and external battles about this subject, take a pause and look at the life you have built. If you could navigate puberty, patriarchal pressure, teenage heartbreak, body image issues and major career decisions—finding a partner shouldn’t be a concern. Let that idiot find you! You take that solo trip, do your PhD, adopt a dog, move countries, buy a house and do everything that you were told to do post marriage. To quote the legendary Cher, “A girl can wait for the right man to come along, but in the meantime, she can have a wonderful time with the wrong ones.”
PS: If my mom is reading this, the last quote is just me trying to end it on a cool note, by no means am I having any fun with any man.
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