Pigs are flying. This was the password for my bridal registry. I got married “late in life” and while this was not a point of anxiety for me, I noted with some amusement that my nuptials were of considerable relief to my parents who had been worried that I would languish alone without the protection of a man.
They kept their worries to themselves while I was struggling on my own, career path firmly in place, a world-class education behind me. Despite my being happy, my parents were unable to shake their concerns that without a husband, I would become a sad spinster. Thankfully, they did not constantly share their concerns with me, as is the case with many Latina women who are often plagued with well-meaning familial badgering.
There is a persistent stigma that follows many women: despite their levels of education, career options, social stability and happiness, if unmarried, a woman is less stable and secure in the eyes of many people. Perhaps this is a remnant of an ingrained mentality, developed when the options for women outside the home were limited. Too often, feminism, the rise of women’s educational attainment, and the increasing numbers of women in the work force, have yet to make a comprehensive and permanent imprint on the minds of many who still see social security embodied in a male form.
Then there’s the “baby question.” Reminiscent of a time when a woman’s value was closely tied to her ability to produce offspring, as it still is in many cultures around the world, the thought that a woman might not want to bear children seems at worst like a dangerous act of rebellion and at best a sad fate for a lonely woman. The biological ability to bring life has in many ways determined the role of women in the world, a concept known as biological determinism. After the birth of my first child, my mother commented to me that now I could feel like a “real” woman. I was unaware that I had been walking around, wooden in my existence, like Pinocchio.
So how should an intelligent, educated, career minded woman respond to these intrusions? With a smile. And a zinger.
Q: “Why haven’t you found a husband yet”?
A: I knew there was something I forgot to do! What with studying for my degree and setting up my self empowering and fulfilling career, I just forgot to find that man!
Q: “When are you two getting married”?
A: You know, we were having so much fun being happy and enjoying our romance, we forgot to throw caution to the wind and enter the lottery of “who will get divorced after marrying too hastily”
Q: “When are you going to have children”?
A: I will get right on that! As soon as I am ready to commit to losing sleep, peace of mind, personal freedom and a significant portion of my income.
If all else fails, wear the single badge proudly and remember: mejor sola que mal acompañada.