Thursday, January 26, 2012

Me and Marriage

I stumbled across some videos of brides trying on wedding dresses on a reality show, and it has prompted me to write something of a more personal blog.

I am 31 years old, never had a boyfriend, been on a total of about four things that could be called dates--in my life. I don't even have my first kiss yet. I've spent a lot of time wondering why, exactly, and as I get older, some kind of biological compulsion is kicking in making me more disposed towards considering the possibility of a mate.

As for the marriage thing, well, even when I was a child I said I'd never get married. The adults I said this to laughed and told me I'd change my mind. Whenever anyone claims to know me better than I do, it triggers a stubborn circuit in my brain, that makes me dig my heels in and vow on several deities to never, ever do what the person has just said with such assurance that I will do.

I never dated in high school. I went to one dance, and hated it. I was bored out of my mind. Extroversion is the accepted and promoted social behavior of the US. Us introverts end up fending off the pressure to conform to extroverted behavior. At any rate, high school social gatherings were never enjoyable for me. As an adult, too, going out to parties that involve mainly loud music and drinking makes my list of "things I want to do" only slightly above "swim in a murky tank with crocodiles" and behind "swim in a clear tank with alligators." (I'll have to write a post later devoted totally to my frustrations related to the extrovert-introvert dynamic in society, which I've been dealing with since childhood.)

I realize now that there might have been some boys during middle school and high school who were actually interested in me. Who'da thought? At the time, I took their interest as bullying, teasing, and mocking. Perhaps, that was in fact what it was, but boys of that age have no other way they know of to express "I like you" to a girl. Though, the boy in high school who asked me out while his girlfriend stood around the corner of the lockers smothering giggles was probably doing it only to hurt.

I practiced martial arts all through my youth. When you're a boy who "does karate" it's cool. When you're a girl, it makes you a target, and of course I could not use my martial arts knowledge to defend myself. When the groups of half a dozen kids would surround me on the playground, when they'd steal my books and my notebooks with my stories, I couldn't hurt them, even though I knew how. It's a rule. No using what you know unless to defend yourself, and stealing my books for a game of keep-away wasn't exactly a physically endangering threat.

Maybe it was my martial arts that led me to be more boyish, but I think I remember starting to reject dresses even from an earlier age. I have a photo of me receiving a Barbie doll as a birthday gift when I was probably around seven or eight. The look on my face made it perfectly clear what I thought about it. I played with toy horses, toy dinosaurs, and toy cars. I did have a Cabbage Patch doll, but there were no games of "tea party." I remember enlisting my dad to help me play war between factions of my dinosaur collection. The only reason I once asked for a Barbie was so I could have the motorcycle that came with her. The Barbie itself--ignored. My toy automobiles actually spoke and had personalities all without a driver, in my world of make-believe.

At any rate, I spent my first decade of life just as a person. The male-female thing made no difference to me. I never saw it as a dividing line. Puberty was a horrid wake-up call. I hated it vehemently, but as my peers were all excited about it, and any adult I expressed my disgust to discounted my feelings, laughed, or told me "it will all be worth it when you can have a baby" I learned to keep my feelings of betrayal, disgust, and growing body-hate to myself.

I have no desire to be male, but I hate being female. I would wish for a sexual characteristic-free body. I didn't wear a dress--well, skirt--until the senior banquet in high school, and it was simple, floor-length, and black. I did not go to my prom. There was never even the slightest inclination to go. No boy asked me, and I had no expectation that one would. After all, I was "kung-fu girl" (despite the fact that I was not studying kung-fu) and might beat you up, right? Beyond that, I wore glasses, braces, had nasty acne, never chose clothes with the intent to flatter myself, wore no make-up, and always had my nose in a book reading or a notebook writing or drawing (though by that time I had well learned to always hide my writing and drawing to avoid ridicule).

Even in college, when a few different guys were interested in me, the knowledge (at least I'd gotten to the point that I could recognize it, right?) of it only made me afraid of them. There was one boy at the studio where I practiced martial arts in high school, with whom I one day realized I had a mutual attraction. He was three years younger, and attended a different high school. Maybe he knew a different side of me. Maybe at the studio I showed a different side of myself. Somehow, he liked me when I was nothing, even when I hated myself. And somehow, neither of us knew what to do about it. I went off to college while he was still in high school. We didn't keep in touch. I often wonder where he is now.

Since then, there have been a few times I've noted a mutual attraction, and I've had a few long and lasting crushes, but somehow nothing has ever progressed. Partly, I've spent a lot of time figuring myself out and trying to overcome some major personality hang ups. If you believe such things, I can blame part of it on my personality type (INTJ) which makes me very unique for a female (less than 0.5% of the female population) and other parts, well, who knows.

So, back to the title of this post--me and marriage? Unlikely. My parents learned long ago not to pressure me about it. Most of my relatives have even fallen in line with that, too. My brother is getting married, which I hope will take the focus off me. Realistically, at this late in the game, with no relationship experience to guide me, the statistical chances of me figuring out dating, courting, and getting around to the marriage thing are very, very low, I'd say. Most people start practicing mating behavior in high school, perfect it in college, and by then have their partner settled. Granted, a lot of marriages fail, and some are not healthy, so maybe it's not all that great anyway.

But I was watching the clips of brides choosing their wedding dresses and like 99% of the time when I watch other females of my species, all I could do was shake my head. That will never be me, and I would never want that to be me. I am incapable of getting excited about a completely white dress that I will wear only once but pay thousands of dollars for. I am a Rational. This does not compute. In a way, I'm glad that I ended up taller than my mom, so I can't blame my not getting married in her dress purely on my un-marrying-ness.

If I ever were to get married, the dress would not contain even the slightest scrap of white, and I would at least design it myself. I can't say I'm a good enough seamstress to take on the task of sewing it myself, however. I just can't understand the fuss over a two or three thousand (or more) dollar wedding dress that you have no emotional or time investment in, that is as ultimately as forgettable as every white wedding dress, and that you'll only wear once. Then there's the expense of the wedding, too. If I'm spending thousands of dollars, I'm going to spend it on something good, like a house, or a vacation.

So, nobody hold their breath, okay? The wedding thing and me is not in the least bit likely. Sure, there's an outside chance, but based on my history, personality, and let's not forget location, not to mention height and appearance (though I have ditched the glasses, braces, and acne) I think it's safe to bet on my eternal singledom. I've got a lot of other things going for me, though, like my writing and my teaching, and being unfettered has allowed me to live in many places and experience lots of things that the people with the dog, kid, and SUV in the suburb will never get. There is some mopey "aw, but I don't get what everyone dreams for" rattling around in my head, but that's a societal impression.

I would, however, like to get my first kiss someday (and maybe more, wink wink), but it's gonna take a pretty unique guy to mesh with the big package of uniqueness that is me. As I've said before, the future is a mystery, and that's what makes it so exciting. Let's all stay tuned--and see what happens tomorrow!

Mata, ne.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck! You sound like lots of fun already just from a read of your text. I'm not being sarcastic, "just saying." がんばってね~