Monday, March 17, 2008

A Night in the Bitter Barn

this photo uploaded by Carhan on Flickr

You know that your family is desperate for you to get off the road to spinsterhood (a.k.a. matandang dalaga in Filipino) when you're told the following in the same mortifying conversation -

"Dapat naman kasi mag-ayos-ayos ka na, para naman mapansin ka. Papayat ka na kasi!" (You really should fix yourself up so that men will notice you. Lose weight!) - my mother.

"Pinagdadasal ko na nga sana naman makahanap na ng boyfriend." (I've been praying that you would finally find a boyfriend.) - a meddling aunt.

"Wag ka mag-alala, pag pumunta ka doon amin yung pinsan mo madami mga kaibigang lalaki, sasabihan na namin ipakilala na sa iyo." (Don't worry, if you come to visit us, your cousin has a lot of male friends, we'll tell her to introduce you.) - a sympathetic, if tactless, uncle.

All this is punctuated by an exchange of worried glances, the meaning of which they might as well have screamed, Poor child. What the heck is WRONG with her? There must be something we can do!

It's bad enough that I know they talk about the barren wasteland that is my love life behind my back. That they have now begun expressing their unsolicited opinion about my singlehood to my face underscores the depth of their concern. And the fact that my mother is encouraging any and all of her relatives to please find her eldest, aging daughter a date is enough to make me want to sink through the floor.

It doesn't seem that long ago when my well-meaning relatives - most specially my mother - were telling me to put any thoughts of a love life in the backseat. Be a good girl and concentrate on my studies first, they said. You'll have time for romantic pursuits when you're older, they said. Concentrate on the more important things first. Yeah, right.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming them for my state of singleness - the reasons for this particular state of my life is multi-factorial. I just find it painfully funny that they are now desperately seeking my Mr. Right after all those years of praying I wouldn't find him just yet. You know, because of all the things I had to take care of first (i.e. getting my medical degree, finishing residency).

Now they think that just because I've finally gotten everything else out of the way, it's high time I started looking for a - you guessed it! - potential husband. News flash, folks - most of the men in my age group are already married, are soon-to-be-married, or are wonderful and gay. Men do not grow on trees, and, even if they did, I am not the kind of woman who could happily pick them up and go my merry way. If only it were that easy...

Apparently, my family has never heard of the saying, "Be careful what you wish for."

Remember when I said that my degree of optimism about being a quirkyalone waxes and wanes? Well, today it's definitely on the wane. I can't lie and say I've never wanted all those things they want for me for myself - because I have. And, believe me, I've whipped myself about it and guessed and second-guessed some more about what I did or what I didn't do to end up alone like this. I guess love just comes hard for some people. Or it just doesn't come at all.

It's hard enough to battle with the demons of self-doubt and the fear of never finding anyone to share my life with without having to add their voices to the mix. I love them and I know they mean well, but sometimes I really wish they would just leave me alone.

Looks like I'm sleeping in the bitter barn tonight. Someone please throw me a rope and help me get out of here.

* * * *

"Oh the fear I've known -
That I might reap the praise of strangers
And end up on my own
All I've sown was a song
But maybe I was wrong...

... I'm working through the grammar of my fears
oh mercy,to have the things that mean the most
Not to mean the things I miss..."

- Language or the Kiss - Indigo Girls


Em Dy said...

Most people think that it's easy to find love, hence the unsolicited advice. I remember an OB-GYN who told us in 3rd year med to get into relationships while we're not yet doctors because it becomes more difficult when we rise up in the profession. Only doctors realize that. Lay people, parents and relatives mostly, seem to think that everything will fall into place somehow once it is time.

Evil Woobie said...

Ugh, I hate the 'pitying' look!!! I was 27 when I had a baby, and in my province where most girls get married at 22, that's an old maid. People have started snickering, except for my friends who are rejoicing that I am still unhooked and maiden because they need a Maid of Honor for their weddings.

(my bestfriend took me to be a Matron of honor, even if I have a kid already, because I didn't get married LOL)

Anyway, dr.claire, I have no doubt the guy you're looking for is just around the corner. Who wouldn't want a sweet tempered, articulate and successful doctor wife? Looks dont matter much really, as everyone ages and looks fade. You have a lot to offer sis, don't give up.


dr_clairebear said...

@em dy: yup, they don't know how hard it is to meet people in our profession. our world is so very small! unless you make an effort to do so - but sometimes, it's just so hard to muster up the energy.

@woobie: regarding the pitying look - you said it!!! fortunately for me, my circle of friends consist of singles as well, so we support each other that way.

from your keyboard to God's ear! :P sometimes I wonder why the odds are so skewed towards men, there seems to be a greater number of women who are "catches" than there are men. *sigh* i think it has something to do with market value and age...

iris said...

oh i know the feeling.. it irritates me now more than ever too :) sometimes i want to scream at them to just mind their own business but i know they just ignorantly mean well. :)

things like these don't come after much wishing, but only after much praying. never minds them. the only one who knows if it's time for you to get some lovin' is Him. :) yeah!

meeya said...

hi dr claire, got here from ris. :)

if it's bad now, i'll tell you from experience that the meddling doesn't stop. ever. :D

i was 27 when i got married so i, too, got my share of old maid jabs before that.

afterwards, it became: when are you having babies? and then when i had a baby, it became: kelan niyo susundan? and then: you should lose weight so your husband will continue to find you sexy! etc etc etc.

anyway, i've learned to just humor them and say "opo, opo, opo". anyway, if it's meant to happen, then it will. meanwhile, just keep them in perpetual suspense, hehe. :D

Anonymous said...

I hear ya. Imagine also if you do get married and decide that you aren't interested in having children...

Joey said...

The comments sound eerily familiar! I was in the same boat -- no-boyfriends-before-you-graduate-from-med-advise, followed by why-don't-you-have-a-BF, and may-papakilala-ako-sa-iyo...then when I finally got myself a boyfriend , may problema pa rin (won't go into that na, suffice it to say that I got married na when I was already considered an elderly primi). Haynaku.

BTW, thanks for the visit, Claire! Also for adding me in your links. I'll add you in my links.

dr_clairebear said...

@ris: i get the pitying look ALL THE TIME. :P hay. anyway, at least you have mia. one of these days, we really have to get that project i was telling you about started...

@meeya: thanks for the visit! sorry i haven't had time to reciprocate as i'm stuck somewhere with no internet access at the moment. limited wifi time. :) meddling filipino families never stop...

@endodontics: thing is, i think they'd go even more berserk when they hear i'm considering having children without getting married...

@joey: did you know that they've moved up elderly primi status to 30? hahaha... i'm WAAAAY past the deadline. :)

Anonymous said...

he will come when you least expected it.

as for those unsolicited advices, IGNORE them! keep your head high and continue living your life. trite as it may sound, love comes like a thief in the night:)

Anonymous said...

just click the ignore button.
Alam mo naman mga Pinoys, sobrang nosy. Everything is their business - whether it's the boyfriend, or why aren't you married yet, or how come you don't have kids yet, or this is what you do when your kid has a cold, or why'd you send him to that school...
The kakulitan never stops! You think they're gonna stop when you have a boyfriend? next q will be when are you getting married?
Just click ignore.

Rhebs said...

And worst part is, the nagging doesn't stop there. Once you find Mr. Right and settled down, they'll bug the hell out of you to have kids ASAP!