Wednesday, June 29

Arranged Marriage

all my life, i have been very careful what i reveal to my family about my romantic life.

coming from an Asian family, on top of which i'm a daughter in an Asian family, means i face certain traditional notions associated with dating and boys. here are a few rules i live by.

Rule One: never inform any family member about who you may be dating: this is a rule every Asian daughter should abide by if you are from a traditional Asian family. there are multiple reasons for this:
1. everyone has a different definition of the word "dating."  it's broad enough to mean a serious relationship, casual (closed), and casual (open). with traditional parents, when you introduce a significant other to them, they see it as "serious relationship" and "marriage." if you're not sure that you're going to marry this person, do not bring him/her home to parents.

2. if you made the mistake of bringing 1 person to the parents and that relationship ended, you better hope that person was actually so awful that they set the bar low. if they were great, you're screwed. because any person you introduce after that will always be measured against that 1 "perfect" person. and if your next significant other doesn't match up (in terms of job, looks, personality, or manners), you'll never hear the end of how you let "the good one" get away.

3. if you introduce more than 2 people to your family, you run the risk of looking "easy." they start questioning whether you're a little too "loose" in the morals department because you've been hopping from relationship to relationship. or, they start wondering whether you've got low standards because all the people you've been dating have been so "meh." or, they start thinking there's something wrong with you because you keep getting dumped by significant others.

it's just a traditional Chinese nightmare. which i choose to avoid. i've had only 3 instances when i broke this cardinal rule:

FIRST, when i got spotted by my grandma meeting MissionImpossible for a date while in Taipei. although i wasn't actually dating MI, i think that just made it worse. and the fact that MI had a girlfriend at the time didn't reflect well on me either. can we just chock it up to the impetuous of youth?

SECOND, after i came home from my junior year abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland. Papoose came to visit me in September and my grandma's bday happened to be during his visit so i was required to bring him with me to her bday dinner and we stayed over at my parent's house in NJ for that night. (why is my grandma involved in both of these? weird.)

THIRD, when i was dating Gohm. actually, Gohm's never met my parents. even while we were dating i was very particular about them not meeting and i'd explained to him why. in addition, i probably always knew, deep down, that Gohm and i would never get married since i'm not korean (i know, what a stupid reason. trust me, it wasn't the only one. but it was the one that would never go away or be resolved) so i knew i could never introduce him to them. however, Gohm, perhaps because he's the only son in a korean family, was the exact opposite of me. he always wanted to make his presence known to my parents by buying them Christmas gifts and wanting to take them out to dinner. so in turn, i became uncharacteristically comfortable talking to my parents about him. so even though they never actually met him, it feels like they did in spirit.

as another compelling reason to avoid involving family in your romantic life, is my current situation, which i refer to as "My Arranged Marriage."

to be clear: it's not actually an arranged marriage.

a few months ago, GreatAunt (one of the matriaches of our family in NJ), wanted me to meet the son of one of her friends. although warning lights immediately started flashing, there was no way i could say no due to her position in our family. so i politely acquiesced and made the requisite efforts to coordinate a date with ShyGuy, which we went on. no immediate sparks, but a nice guy nonetheless.

after the date, i received the expected phone call from GreatAunt inquiring how the date went. i responded politely that he seemed like a nice guy and we would see what happens. since that time i'm constantly bombarded with comments from my mom who keeps getting phone calls from GreatAunt, asking when i'm going to go out with ShyGuy again, how he's such a good guy (good job, good height, good family) and thus great marriage material, and that ShyGuy seems to have taken an interest in me and i should be more proactive.

it's a lot of pressure.

everyone keeps trying to "nudge" us together. and they're starting to push some very sensitive buttons for me (my age, my current relationship status, my weight). and sometimes they're really good at it...

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