Nephew: “Auntie Mantha, have you ever been married?”
Nephew: “Never? You haven’t even tried it once?”
Nephew: “Why not?”
Me: “Ummm … I don’t know. Well, if I was married I might not have as much time for you. Besides, you don’t want to get married do you?”
Nephew: “Of course I want to get married! Auntie Mantha, it’s a natural part of life!!!”
It was bad enough having that conversation with my nephew five years ago, but even worse now that this theme has become more frequent as forty gets closer. I’m even having similar conversations at work.
If you read the ‘About’ section of this blog, you know that I am not a psychologist or working in any capacity that requires me discuss my personal life with my clients. Yet, for some reason my older clients are under the impression that when we meet it is they, not me, who is in charge.
Mrs. Z is such a client. Mrs. Z is one of my older Greek clients. She is a lovely woman well into her seventies, whose English is as heavily accented now as when she left her homeland some fifty years ago.
Mrs. Z: “Eh, Manta (she still can’t pronounce ‘th’)! You still no married yet? I still see no ring!”
Me: “No, Mrs. Z., I still no married.” (For some reason all it takes is 20 minutes of being around this woman before I start speaking like her.)
Mrs. Z.: “But, why no married? You a nice girl. You work hard. You still look good. So, why?”
Me: BLANK STARE
Mrs. Z.: “You need do something!
You no go church? Never mind answer. I going to church today and will pray for you. Okay?”
What else could I say in that situation? When a person offers to pray for you, you accept. But, in return I have a prayer or two to make.
I’ve decided I need to start praying for all those people who seem unnaturally concerned about my relationship status lately. This concern always seems most heightened when I’m at social functions with other women.
There was an occasion last summer when my singledom ruined another woman’s evening.
We were all seated at a banquet table making the usual chit-chat, exchanging the normal pleasantries. Somehow during the discussion my relationship status (single) and the suggestion of my age (I now play coy with my age … it drives people nuts!) being further from 25 than my companions thought. These two facts caused a quick change in the atmosphere around the table. I could feel a sudden chill in the air and its source was one particular woman I had made the mistake of taking for a meek little thing.
Well, this Minnie Mouse quickly morphed into a territorial interrogator. All of sudden she was firing questions at me with the speed and staccato effect of an AK-47 rifle. I was under attack! She wanted to know everything: Where did I live? What did I do for a living? And the most important question of all: why was I there alone? The answer to this one question was obviously what this Queen Rat really wanted to know.
I don’t know why my being there without a date was of such concern to everyone – male and female – at the table. I had reached a place where I was (and still am) confident in who I was which means being comfortable enough to go out with or without a ‘plus one’. I am being quite philosophical about all this now, but I wasn’t feeling the same way then.
Fortunately, being both a lady and woman of a certain age I edited my reply to this question. You simply cannot call yourself a lady AND tell another woman that you have absolutely no interest in the snivelling, specimen of a man she called her husband. Instead, I got up and decided to enjoy myself. I had a great time. I ate, danced, and met a few new people too.
Oddly, every time I returned to the table there was Queen Rat. I don’t think she ever left the table. She sat there with a clawed hand wrapped about her husband’s arm. And each time I returned to the table it seemed that her behaviour kept getting stranger. She could go from hostile to overly concerned in seconds. And her concern truly went too far.
At some point in the evening after sitting at the table, I discretely excused myself as I need to use the facilities. Well, low and behold if Queen Rat didn’t announce to the entire table as well as the neighboring one, that she needed to ‘fix herself’ (I assume she meant her girdle or what not) and she could ‘lend me a hand’ too. So, I ask you, what pray tell did she want to lend me a hand with? So, I declined her offer. She insisted. I gave her THE LOOK then walked away.
About an hour later, I took another break from my gallivanting about the hall. I had decided to sit and talk to one of the other women at the table. But, every few minutes our conversation was interrupted by Queen Rat’s incessant questions. Once again the Queen was worried about me: “Are you okay?”, “I hope you’re not feeling too lonely being here by yourself” and she finished with my favourite, “Oh, your feet must be killing you with all that dancing about!”
At this point I decided to handle this woman in the best way I knew how – with honesty; “Oh, I’m fine,” I replied. “In fact, I’ve been having a great time since there has to be at least 200 people here this evening. But, are you okay? Are your feet hurting because you’ve been sat on that chair all night with a face that looks as upset and miserable as a slapped backside!”
And with that said, you know what comes next …
Laters & G’Night,