She Speaks: Chinese family won’t stop asking the same dreaded question
It’s the one question columnist Diane Lee dreads the most: “When are you getting married?”
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Just the other day, I ran into my aunt at Costco as I was pushing my grocery cart toward the exit. “When are you inviting me to your wedding party?” she asked me in Chinese.
It was the first question that came out of her mouth.
Not: “How was your day?”
Not: “How was work?”
Not: “What have you been up to?”
But: That dreaded marriage question.
“I’ll send you an invite when I do,” I replied in Chinese with a chuckle, then changed the subject.
It’s the one question that I dread the most: “When are you getting married?”
And as I approach my mid-30s, I seem to be hearing it a lot more often.
That night, I returned home with a tote bag of groceries and greeted another aunt who — guess what — asked me the same question. True story.
I could be at a graveyard burning incense sticks to pay my respects to a deceased loved one, and a relative will manage to sneak in the marriage question (funny enough it’s usually an uncle).
Never mind about my incredible journey to California, Oregon or Japan. Never mind about my passion for photography and videography. Never mind about my recent foodie adventures.
They just want to know the date of my wedding. Ugh.
MAYBE it’s a Chinese thing. In China, women often feel pressure to get married before the age of 27 — or else — they’ll be deemed as “leftover women.” Just like how you discover leftover pizza stashed in the back of your fridge, you get stoked about the freebie meal and celebrate like it’s National Pizza Day. Some foods taste even better as leftovers. Leftover pizza, leftover women — same thing, right?
I once got a remark from a female friend to hurry up and settle down because “the clock is ticking.”
I understand the odds of childbearing grow longer as women age. Perhaps, that’s why there is such a big emphasis on women to get married and settle down with children before it’s supposedly “too late.”
I understand that everyone who asks is just worried about my future (thanks y’all).
Most of my high school friends have already done so judging by their wedding and newborn pictures on Facebook.
But not everyone in my generation is on board; millennials between the ages of 22 and 37 in 2018 are delaying or forgoing marriage, according to the Pew Research Center. And they are “somewhat slower in forming their own households.”
On the other hand, another study claims we’re responsible for lower divorce rates because when we do get hitched, we’re serious.
It’s not that I don’t want to settle down — far from it. I just haven’t met the right person for me. You know, the person who shares my values and goals; accepts my quirky habits; cheers me on when I may have doubts. The person I want to spend the rest of my life with. You know, the Han Solo to my Leia or the Jay-Z to my Beyonce.
Marriage, I believe, is forever, as in “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part.”
I’m not naive. Marriage doesn’t always end happily ever after like most Hollywood movies. Marriage is hard work. Divorce happens. Plus, raising kids is a full-time job (props to all mommies out there).
My married friends tell me I’ll meet the right person when I’m not looking, so I prefer to focus on growing my passions. If the right guy comes along, then hey, that’s cool. We’ll enjoy our lives together. Maybe eventually send out those wedding invites (finally).
For now, if you run into me, please ask me about anything — the weather, my hobbies, my life. Anything but the dreaded marriage question.