Today someone asked me if my parents are applying the pressure now that my sister is engaged. I don’t understand this “pressure” thing, actually. I should probably be glad – I get the impression that it’s not the sort of thing you enjoy if you feel it. But I don’t know what it is, exactly.
Is pressure when people say things like “what are you waiting for?” or “just marry someone already”? I wouldn’t call that pressure; I’d call that idiocy. If you could marry without a second party having to agree to it, you’d probably have done it years ago. If anyone says that to you, answer, “I ordered him last week, but shipping takes 10-14 business days.” Alternatively, pull out a photo of the most unlikely guy and say that you’re just waiting for him to propose tomorrow night. They might just feel relieved when they don’t see you on OnlySimchas.com.
Maybe it’s when your parents ask things like “Why don’t you give him another chance?” when you’ve just explained that he blew his nose on the tablecloth. Or when they stop trusting your “I just know it isn’t going to work,” because how can you just know something like that? Especially when the neighbors’ daughters don’t know such things about their dates—look, another one got engaged last night! That could be pressure – it could also be borderline emotional abuse. When a date is really bad, blow your own nose on the tablecloth. Then you won’t have to worry about being the one to say ‘no’.
Or is pressure when your parents have another date lined up for you every night and you can’t remember the last time you weren’t wearing lipstick at 8 pm? Definitely time to tell your parents, “He’s going to say ‘no’—I kept forgetting he wasn’t that other Dovid and asked about his rain dance in New Guinea.” When they blanch, “Rain dance in New Guinea?” it’s your cue to feign delirious dreams and potential psychological side-effects of constant dating. If you’re unsure how to be mad with a method, read Hamlet.
Or maybe it’s when they don’t let your forget that your current tafkid in life is to get married? “Like this new recipe? I’ll teach it to you for when you get married.” (Answer: Heaven forefend I should cook well before marriage.) Or “You’re coming to my uncle’s neighbor’s wedding! There’s going to be a shadchan there. I think.” (Answer: She’ll get a great impression of me sulking at a wedding I don’t want to be at.) Or “There’s a yeshiva shabbaton going on down the block. Want to stroll past and see if anyone looks interesting?” (Answer: No, I was planning to walk cross-town with an Available sign on my back instead.) Or “I hope you don’t eat like that on a date.” (Answer: Yes of course. I want him to see me how I really am.)
Or is it when they shove you out the door in the morning and say “Don’t come home without a diamond ring”? That would be pressure indeed.
I’ve never experienced any of the above. What I have experienced is relatives, family friends, and other strangers saying “So now it’s your turn!” and “So now there’s nothing in your way!” and “Now I hope to hear the same about you soon!” as if something drastic has changed.
Nope – the closest I’ve come to feeling pressure regarding marriage from my parents was when my father threw up his hands and suggested I just bring a suitable guy home for dinner one night. Now that is pressure. I mean, have you tried looking for suitable guys recently? They’re not exactly a dime a dozen. I’m glad it’s not my primary responsibility. I don’t know how my parents manage it—for both me and my brother. Now that must be pressure.