An Open Letter to 'Those Aunties'

Thursday, November 24, 2016


'Get married, make babies.You look so...old'
- From the movie 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding'- 

Preface: I bet all the single women out there, in their late twenties or thirty somethings, get to hear this A LOT: ‘Hey! When are you getting married?’ – And in your head you’re like ‘Hey! When are you starting to mind your own business?’

This question is often followed by phrases like 'You’re getting old! Stop the press! Your clock is ticking'. And you want to scream at the top of your lungs saying 'You're getting nasty! Stop this nonsense!'

At weddings and other family gatherings, some 'aunties' hold you tight to their bosoms and exclaim 'Hey! Hopefully, you're next in the red dress!' - First, the words echo in your head like a hammer, then slowly you shake your head and register the tone and you realize the words weren't uttered out of hope or encouragement but pity; as if you're missing out on life because you aren't married hence not contributing with the rest of the world toward the fulfillment of man’s (read 'woman’s') only mission on earth.

In her eyes 'you're a poor girl' whereas in your mind you are probably the only one at the gathering toasting your freedom, high on your career triumphs, freely moving around in a fitted dress, and oozing confidence with every step – Ah ! What a pity ! Poor us! *sob* Does this sound like a sad story, by the way?

Anyway, this open letter is for 'those' aunties!

Dear Aunty

Yes, You! You are mostly found at family gatherings and weddings, wearing magic telescopes equipped to catch singletons. Although, you're 'aunty', so to say, but you could take many forms - even disguise yourself as a man. Yes! You've the ability to do so. You look the worst in that avatar of yours.

Dear aunty ji, the problem is not us getting or not getting married – the actual issue at hand is your assumption that we WISH to be the next! Not every singleton desires to rush down the aisle with her prince charming (like you probably did - is uncle your prince charming? awww how cute!).

Not every single twenty or thirty something is crying herself to sleep at night wondering where her proverbial knight in shining armor is. We are not averse to the idea of getting married – we would love to take the plunge someday at the right time, with the right person but not today or tomorrow! At the moment, we are enjoying our freedom and we wish to continue enjoying it for some time.

We consider marriage a major life decision; so, we choose not to rush it! We choose not to settle! We choose not to do the 'woe is me' single dance, rather focus on ourselves. Marriage isn’t a goal, it’s an option. We believe that it should be our calling, not yours or anyone else's.

We have much to offer and much to look forward to, and so much still to do, see and learn. A partner will not be the pinnacle of our lives. We don't doubt the happiness that marriage could bring to some women but what’s right for one isn’t necessarily right for another (not at this point, at least). And if we are single, it doesn't mean we don’t have options – it could be a well planned choice, which it most certainly is!

We are not old. We are beautiful and perfect all on our own. And we refuse to be defined by your definition of beauty and youth...and marriage! We know marriage will be beautiful, demanding, hard, rewarding, and incredible when it is the right person. But merely rushing into it out of social pressure or just because we are freaking out is tragic. Our time isn't up! Like my friend often says 30s are the new 20s!

Know that your remarks are flippant and we take them on the chin but for someone who may be less poised about herself, these words could be venomous. Your words may cause some vulnerable women to doubt their choices and become regretful. Isn't that mean of you to make others feel that way?

Isn’t it time we stopped dictating women on the subject of marriage? Isn’t it time we gave equal celebration to women who have successful careers and are seeking to advance further?

So aunty ji, if ever again you're at a wedding or any gathering and you see an independent woman striding along - the kind who is blazing a trail through the world in her field and spearheading her own business, that's when you find another woman and tell her 'Hey! Hopefully, you're next in the league of successful women!'

P.S when we finally decide to tie the knot, you've bleak chances to make it to our guest lists! 



Yours Not-so-Lovingly
The Single Women's Coven 

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14 comments

  1. I agree with your views.
    Generally girls are told or made to hear right from the very start that they have to marry as soon as a perceptibly decent proposal comes around. This tends to suppress their energies and drives about pursuing their life dreams - academic, career or passion related.
    Since psyche of our soceity is sadly defined by uncertainties, it is often considered safe by the parents of a young girl to arrange for her marriage asap.
    This trend needs to end.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, sir. You're right. It starts right from childhood...girls are taught that their only mission on earth is to get married as soon as they reach a reasonable age for marriage. And they're made to believe that they are somewhat weak and cannot take care of themselves. Society defines their roles according to its convenience.

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  2. The basic issue is that everyone has a right to live his or her life according to his or her own way. No one has a right to dictate terms or impose decision on others.
    Whether it is decision about marriage or something else, no one has a right to interfere in other person's life.

    Its so strange, you meet a person first time in life and he or she asks you couple of dozen personal questions. This is very unfair. We need to discourage this practice.

    Babar

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    1. Exactly! There is no concept of respecting privacy of others. It's entertaining for most of us to interfere into people's private matters and get curious about things related to them. Ridiculous !
      Thanks for your input!

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  3. OMG ! I could totally relate to this. It was hilarious in places and then there were deep serious tones as well. Perfect example of good writing!

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  4. Dear Mam
    Reference is made to your above blog, wherein you have asserted your position as going against the stereotype and giving an impression of an all independent, equally strong and powerful woman.
    I understand that your above asserted position is unquestionable and undeniable. However, it lacks the following underlying logical fallacies which beg remedies in the following manner.
    Before commenting on your premise, I would like to highlight the important aspect of your premise for your ease of reference.
    “(1)-We would love to take the plunge someday
    a) At the right time
    b) With the right person
    c) But not today or tomorrow

    (2)-We consider the marriage a major life decision; so, we not to rush it! We choose not to settle! Marriage is not a goal but an option.

    (3)-To give equal celebration to women who have successful careers and are seeking to advance further”

    Kindly appreciate the serial No. 1 (a) above of your premise, the right time is a subjective connotation. In fact the time of decision highly depends on variables like, biological, economical, psychological and sociological factors. Any inordinate delay may cause more complications and turn the simple decisions into something more complex in nature, which resultantly may cause hiccup in relationship adjustments and acceptance with the desired person.
    So losing a right person at the cost of waiting for a right time and vice versa, may cause undue hardships and unbearable losses.
    (1)(b)-Right person. There is no right person. We ourselves, lack in terms of personality, morals, standards, education, intellect, in many ways and in many aspects. Therefore, we should settle for a person who we can give to, even 05 out of 10 numbers. We all are imperfect in many ways.
    (2)-As far as the marriage being a major life decision, I agree with your assertion. However, kindly appreciate that your contention of marriage being not a goal but an option, is high displaced and is in contravention of the many established psychological and scientific surveys and tests. Kindly refer to same to see the other side of the picture.
    (3)-I understand that the problem as referred to serial No. 3 above, can easily be sorted by mutually drawing red lines, based upon understanding, self-respect keeping individuality and limited liberty and freedom of each individual involved.
    In view of the foregoing, your assertions made above are void ab inito and lack the underlying variables in support of your views. It is also evident that they are based on the stretch of imagination and under the pretext of fashion of anti-stereotype.
    Yours faithfully

    AS ;-)
    PS:After having to reply to notices and orders, I have become stereotype...lol

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  5. That's the typical societal psyche you're presenting there - measuring everything from the length and breadth of strict 'rules'. And that's exactly the point of the whole debate in the write-up. You did not catch on the actual meaning of it!Take for an example your interpretation of the 'right person' - right person is far from being perfect. It could very possibly be someone full of imperfections!

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  6. Hahaha i had fun reading this... and this is not only in Pakistani...it happens every where... not just aunties... even friends.. they will be busy asking are getting married? you are getting old.. this pisses me off... I just wrote a blog post last week on the same topic.. it is about time people understand that age does not defines a woman's marital status...

    This was beutifully written... thank you | https://www.dailylifetalk.com/

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I used 'aunties' as a general term for anyone who is bothered about others' marital status :D..and I am sure aunties exist everywhere and this annoying behavior is universal. I would love to read yours on the topic you mentioned. I'm sure I would love it! Thanks for visiting my blog xx

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  7. If you feel like these aunties try to hold your hand and lead you to the victory stands and all by themselves you should whisper them quietly that 'Every victory turns into a defeat if one lives long enough to see'. Hopefully this will help them reflect on their own lives. LOL

    Marriage as it's Urdu word Shaadi tells us is about happiness, so one should only get married when one is happy about it and if it will become a cause of more happiness in one's life.

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    1. hahahaha I would do that the next time I come across one :D but I don't believe they would be smart enough to read between the lines of the statement!

      And I do agree... marriage should happen when and if it equates happiness, not because of factors like age or society.

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  8. Hey amna:)

    I can so well relate to this.. i hope this socieety and the way people think changes soon so we guys arent stressed up :)

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    1. Thank you for your comment, Manu :) Yes! There is little hope the society will ever change.. so it's best to stop stressing one's self over their ridiculous ideals.

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Amna's Goodreads Bookshelf

To Kill a Mockingbird
Animal Farm
Of Mice and Men
The Alchemist
Me Talk Pretty One Day
Romeo and Juliet
Lord of the Flies
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Odyssey
A Tale of Two Cities
Frankenstein
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale
Les Misérables
Eat, Pray, Love
The Poisonwood Bible
The Joy Luck Club
Middlesex
The Memory Keeper's Daughter
Lolita
Under the Tuscan Sun


Amna Tariq Shah's favorite books »