I am cozied up in my bed one Sunday afternoon when a man I haven't spoken to in a while calls. He asks what I am doing, and I say I am in bed. “What kind of a woman is still in bed?" He rattles, and I roll my eyes and ask if he has just returned from hunting and gathering. He chuckles and says he wants to be with me but I have to change a few things about my life.
“I agree.” I say, “I feel like I need to travel more.” Of course, that is not what he was going for, and you can bet that he and I don’t talk anymore.
Not the prize
Marriage is the prize. If you are a woman, a man – any man – is the trophy you get to carry home for being a good girl. Definition of a good girl: withholds or has no opinions, tolerates all the bullshit from every direction, dresses as expected, would rather scrub sufurias than be caught dancing. Add to the list.
This disclaimer should come with everything I write: as long as you are doing what you want to be doing, you are good.
I have minimised my reactions to the general public’s ideas. I see memes or posts that would have sent me on a rampage, but now I skip on to the next. One of the common things that pop up on my feeds is the “who will marry you” kind of content.
Reasons no one will marry you
You are wearing that? Who will marry you? You are showing your cleavage? Who will marry you?
Your thighs are out? Who will marry you? You are wearing all that makeup? Who will marry you? You are drinking? Who will marry you? You have tattoos? Who will marry you? You have so many piercings; who will marry you?
Of course, these statements advance to 'you have a Ph.D., who will marry you?'
You do not have to bother anyone for the battalion to find you. You just need to exist on social media or just exist. They are armed with verses of the secret 'People who will get married manual' and are generous enough to hint that people like you are not legible in the book. So they tell you what hair colour is ideal. What amount of laughter is appropriate. Women must drink wine or cider, but it’d be better if they didn’t drink at all. They should not smoke sheesha because the men they smoke with will not marry them.
The nightmare of ‘belonging’
Men do not have to accommodate a woman’s lifestyle, but if he is a churchgoing faithful, she might have to start attending church. Most women who are committed to their faith go alone (I know a few in my neighbourhood back home). It all boils down to changing yourself so you can be accommodated in a man’s world.
Lately, my simple answer to who will marry you has been, “Nobody like you, I hope.” Because all the people that have expressed their desire to marry me have never required me to change who I am. However, I am not running the race of my life because I expect to meet a man at the finish line.
We spend much of our childhood dreaming of the day we will belong to someone who will never belong to us. Society teaches us to be ready for that day and get excited about it. Yet, marriage serves more advantages for men who become dysfunctional adults as soon as a woman comes into their lives.
I love the new consciousness among women. They are seeking that which sits right with them. Only committing to partners who will not feel forced to be partners but rather believe in their own role as a piece of that relationship. As long as the scale of our marriageability keeps being our giving up living, I think most of us will be living for a long time.
Drinking men are okay, but drinking women is where you draw the line. Educated men are admirable, but educated women are intimidating. Single fathers are adorable, but single mothers couldn’t keep a man. These biases are endless. My rule? Be okay by yourself, and then you will be okay leaving situations that drown your existence.
Who will marry you? Definitely not men who think unmarried women are incomplete, and hopefully not a man who believes a woman only gets an identity after marrying him. Trust me. I know men who believe that. I wish I didn’t, but I do.
Your choices should make you excited about your life, not tick off the templates whose origin we do not care.
Also Read: Do Women Marry Their Fathers?