“How about the day after your funeral or when having mass orgies with multiple strangers stop being fun?”
That should have been my response when yet another obnoxious relative deemed it fit to ask me the singular most hated question all singletons dread for the umpteenth time: ”So, when are you going to get married? “
Instead, I did what I always do – gazed away awkwardly and apologized profusely for being a colossal failure at snagging a man – and said sadly: “I don’t know…I’m so sorry”. What the actual f***?!
Kids, by 2015, I had had it with that freaking question and everyone, from the multi-divorced aunt to the won’t-croak-soon-enough neighbour and overtly friendly office queen asking it as if they were the first people in the history of the world to do so.
The worst part is the perverse pleasure they seemed to take in my discomfort at their question – didn’t they realize that I spent many a night beating myself up, my mind going round and round, pondering that same futile question, scared shitless that I was going to end up and die alone?
And the occasions they chose to pose this question, begged for consideration too – a cousin’s baptism, a divorce celebration (yes, welcome to our screwed-up family, kiddos – with most of them changing spouses like they changed their underwear, there were quite a few end of coupledom piss-ups!), prayer meetings and office parties, no event was off limits in cross-examining me about my lack of marriage prospects.
Eventually, I stopped going to family events because f*** it, life is too short to feel like you are the Medusa in a clan of man-attracting goddesses ( despite the fact that these male companions were more often than not, not quality material but hey, who cares about taste and standards, right?) until my great-uncle’s funeral one winter’s day.
Your Nan’s cousin happened to pass me by mid-interrogation by one of the other cousins, flanked by my mother and her sisters and obviously saw my embarrassed expression. Cousin Belinda saunters over, places her hand on my shoulder and says to me in front of the mob:
“You know what, my child? I can see that you have seen a lot of failed relationships in your time and that you are biding your time until you find the right one. As you should, because the Creator is on your side and preparing your mate for you. Don’t ever feel like you have to justify that. You just be patient and He will make it happen.”
I’m not much of a religious fanatic as you can tell from the way you’ve been raised, my loves, but I could have kissed her right there and then, if only because the awkwardness emanating from the mob was so worth it!
Your great-grandmother, though, was much more understanding of my disposition than her children and kin. For years, we’d clashed over my independent ways and lack of patience for age-old customs until she eventually accepted that of all her grandchildren, I was the most likely to do my own thing and succeed in the face of disapproval.
Mother’s Day 2014 …
We’d gathered at one of the aunts’ homes for afternoon tea and your Great-Grams was gazing down lovingly at my cousin’s two-month-old babe when suddenly she looked over at me:
“You know, Fazielah, I had a cousin once who got involved with a man, shacked up with him for a few months, got pregnant and kicked him to the curb shortly afterwards. So, if that is something you felt like doing, I’d be ok with it…”
Kids, for a minute there was absolute silence because a) this was the more religious of my grandparents –she’d freaked out when she discovered a copy of the Bible next to a pack of condoms on my dressing table during my teens (a school project on abstinence I was working on but she was convinced I was converting and giving the choir boys special treats every Sunday!) and b) was she saying this because she thought I was a good-time girl or because she was tired of waiting for it to happen and wanted me to be happy ( and if she got to continue her bloodline at the same time, so much the better, right?)
Taking a brief moment to absorb what she’d just said, I shakenly replied: “”Wait, what? Did you just give me permission to have a love child? Can we postdate this conversation for two years and can I have this in writing?!””
By the spring of 2015, I was nowhere near meeting and bedding a suitable baby daddy despite 22 months of dating everything that moved but the fact that at least I had my grandma’s support, made those awkward moments with prying kin and strangers easier to bear.
As for the next time someone asks that asinine question… well, how does “As soon as Satan has the throne room converted into a wedding chapel and puts your name on the guest list” sound?
Stupid questions deserve stupid answers.