Question of the weekend: “So is there an age after which people look down on you if you’re not married?”
There’s a loaded question. I mean, I hear the rumors of it all the time. Everyone “knows” that people do. But I dunno. Maybe I just don’t hang out with the right ones.
Excepting the high school kids. They have a slightly twisted perception of expiration dates. I remember when I was in high school I thought 23 was kind of old to still be single. Funny how it doesn’t seem that way now. But the current crop of high school kids, being on the younger side of 20, still feel that way. It must be a perception thing. Kind of like how I think my parents are old because they’re over – well, over a certain age. Let’s not go there.
Not that being looked down upon by high school kids is anything to be sniffed at. A neighbor of mine has taken it into her youthful head that the only reason I’m not married is because I’m not dying to be married enough. (This is a peculiar assumption seeing as she’s been dying to be married since about 9th grade and she’s still single.) Every now and then she buttonholes me and earnestly lectures me on the importance of marriage to a Jewish woman and everything I’m missing by not having a husband at my side. And having a somewhat perverse personality, I respond in a way that convinces her even more strongly that I am actively avoiding marriage with all of my facilities.
Seeing as she’s my sister’s friend, when I say buttonhole I mean she pulls some pretty aggressive tactics. The two of them once descended on me on a Shabbos afternoon when I was reading in bed. One sat on the blanket on one side and one sat on the blanket on the other, effectively pinning me between them. By the time the indoctrination session was winding down I was ready to strangle her, so I guess it was good that my arms were pinned.
But people who aren’t in high school? I don’t get that feeling so much. Well, except for people like the segula ladies of the world just dripping in sympathy. But they’re not looking down. In fact, just this very same weekend I got into a related discussion when I said that the vast majority of my high school class was married. “Are they?” the querying woman asked. “Because I get the impression that in some communities, being unmarried at 23 is now normal.”
Mental puffed-cheek exhale. External pellucid good humor.
“Yep,” I nodded. “23 is the new 21.”
“Oh, more like the new 20,” she corrected.
Twenty! Twenty is just barely old enough to date! Surely I’m not such a fledgling at life?
Suddenly I felt very young… and perhaps a bit… not looked down upon, but minimized. Three years of life experience, just stripped away like that. Why on earth would anyone lie about their age?