It’s the way people say it that bothers me. “You know, you’re getting at that age.” As if at any moment, I’ll move on into the afterlife and be able to look down as some random stranger offers his/her eulogy at my funeral. But no. Their reference to me aging has an outcome far more gloomier than that of inevitable death… marriage.
I consider myself to be an independent, headstrong, creative, and ambitious woman of the 21st century. And I’m certainly not in any rush to walk down the aisle anytime soon. The thought itself sends shivers down my spine. I’m just not ready to make that kind of commitment yet. But coming from a Korean family who is rather traditional, conservative, and old-fashioned, it’s difficult to avoid discussions of the “M” word once you start wearing make-up out in public without your overly conservative mother trying to smear it off.
The following is a typical phone conversation with my mother…
Mom: So are you seeing anyone now?
Me: No, Mom.
Mom: Why not?
Me: I’ve been busy with work and writing.
Mom: Well, how about that nice doctor fellow? You two seem to get along so well.
Me: It’s not like that. We’re just good friends.
Mom: Good friends is always a good way to start off. Well, dad is praying every morning that you will find a good husband.
Me (sighing heavily): Yeah. I know.
My mother hands the phone to my father…
Dad: Hi, honey. How are you doing?
Me: Hi, Dad. I’m doing well. How are you?
Dad: Me? I’m good. How’s the car (dad always asks about the car)?
Me: It’s running. More than I could ask for.
Dad: How’s the job?
Me: Busy as usual. But you know how I like to stay busy.
Dad: Do you have a boyfriend yet (he was building up to this question)?
Me (sighing heavily): No, Dad. Not yet. Like I said, I’ve been busy.
Dad: Okay. Well, I pray for you every morning. Oh, and one of my friends has a good-looking 26 year-old son in Seattle.
Me: Dad! And exactly what am I going to do with someone in Seattle anyway?
Dad: I don’t know. Don’t you have e-mail?
Oh brother. You know it’s pretty bad when your parents condone or even encourage Internet dating. Before you know it, mail-order brides and grooms will become a hot commodity as our parents flip through the catalog searching for just the perfect genes. Then they’ll clone that poor sucker for each of the siblings as well.
Everywhere I go, people are trying to set me up. Parents, relatives, friends, even strangers. It doesn’t help that a majority of my close friends (who are 23 and 24) are now engaged and headed off for marital bliss. So naturally, something must be wrong with poor, lonely, single me. But I’m enjoying my single life. I wouldn’t want it any other way right now. But for others, it seems completely unnatural and foreign to be happy in a state of solitude. Hello? In this day and age, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a single, Asian female at the age of 24.
Now in five years from now, it’ll probably be a different story. But in the meantime, my father is praying every morning for me and probably surfing the Internet for a compatible mate. Ahh… the miracle of prayer and the wonders of technology.