Saturday, February 19, 2011

Good Enough

You know how I mentioned that my new job is with an old employer?
I worked with them a few years ago, before I left to explore some other, exciting opportunities in my career field. I gained some great experience doing work I had dreamed of - work many people in my career field dream of. It was fun while it lasted.

Anyway. Back on track.
So I'm back at the company I worked for prior to the excitement.

A lot of the same people are still there and they are welcoming me back with great affection. New employees are trying to figure what all the buzz is about and making an effort to get to know me.

From the old: "So what have you been up to? Are you married now? No? Dating anyone?"
From the new: "So tell me about yourself... do you have children? Are you married?"

Gah! It's just uncomfortable how one's status boils down to whether someone else in the world has found one worthy of partnering up.
At least they haven't asked "Why" I'm not married!

Then the other night I was out with my cousin and her husband. We live in the same city but see each other rarely. She's actually my second cousin, quite a bit younger than I so we don't socialize much.
To make conversation, her husband asked if I was seeing anyone.
I simply explained: "I was seeing someone but it didn't work out. Back to the drawing board."
That's it. I didn't wax on about being lonely or how old I am or about my withered ovaries... just a basic answer - and the first thing out of her mouth was: "You just need to lower your standards."

Motioning to her husband with my head, I blurted out the first thing to land on my tongue, "You mean like you did?!"

She laughed and demurred, playing along like, 'yeah I'm stuck with this bozo.'
We're relatives so we share the sense of humor, and moved on to talking about furniture or some such.
But after dwelling on the exchange, I began to steam. We have barely talked in five years and here she makes assumptions on my standards. On my worth. On who I deserve.

I was actually quite pleased with my retort. Just enough humor and I made my point.
Although when I relayed it to my mom she scoffed, "That was mean!"
Well, wasn't what she said mean? Guess it's more acceptable to insult someone's lack of a spouse than someone's actual spouse!
Why does she get a pass and I don't?

She didn't ask me about my standards. She just implied that whatever I'm looking for - I don't deserve.
I've been fuming now about what else I might have said in response:
  1. "What would be the point of marrying someone I don't respect or have something in common with?"
  2. "Oh? Is that what you'll tell your daughter some day?"
  3. "So should I just go stand outside a prison and hook up with whomever gets released that day?"
  4. "I just want my standards to be as high as those of the man whose standards I meet."
Ultimately, I am not prone to accept suggestions from those who married by the time they were 25 - because they have never really experienced 'dating'. If a life partner just fell into your lap before you even had to start a search - I don't think you get to give advice!

Actually, I find it quite telling that she said what she did. It shows she is young and inexperienced in the world.
Maybe it even tells me what she thinks of me... maybe she thinks I'm not attractive enough to have standards. Maybe she thinks I'm too old to hold out for what's best for me.
That's funny, to think that I'm holding out.

So, any thoughts on how to respond to such a statement?
Any smug marrieds make similar comments to you?


Anonymous said...

This happens to me ALL. THE. TIME. Me: Hi! Friend: Hi! Me: How are you? Friend: I'm great so are you dating anyone? Me: Seriously. If I was dating someone worth mentioning I would tell you. I promise not to keep my wonderful new guy a government protected secret when and if I find one. Therefore if I haven't told you about anyone, you do not need to ask. Friend: Jeez, ok! So my husband did the cutest thing the other day...

Genevra said...

Hmm. In those situations I just have to remind myself that everyone has an opinion, but it doesn't mean I have to apply it to my life. Sometimes I have to very strongly remind myself of this. :)

How frustrating. I did love your response though. And I didn't think it was any more mean than what she said to you. I thought it was the perfect response. A taste of her own medicine. Not to mention, I would almost bet that she will think twice before she spouts off a careless opinion like that again to you.

Melissa said...

Hi! First, I'm so glad you're back to blogging! I checked your blog regularly while you were gone, hoping you'd be back.

When I first read what your cousin said, I interpreted it a little different. (Granted I don't know her.) My first subconsious thought wsa that she meant something like "Guys aren't that wonderful. You're wishfully thinking that you're going to find a guy in existence who meets all your expectations." ALmost like dissing guys in general.

Just pointing this out because she really may not have meant it to be an insult to you. Maybe?

You're so right -- if she got married young, she doesn't understand. At all. And that attitude is hard to be around when you're older and single. Makes you feel awful. I so much prefer being around others who are still single or who were at least single for a longer time.

Sorry that you had that unpleasant interaction with your cousin. And, once again, welcome back to the blogosphere!!

Melissa Mease in Ohio
39 and never married