Scrolling through my Facebook feed, I see that yet another classmate has got engaged. An Instagrammed image of the thrilled bride-to-be's engagement ring is bound to pop up on my screen soon, the thought of which makes me sigh. I don't exhale with the stereotypical wistful envy, in fact I dread what people will soon be asking me - "When are you getting married?"
I have been in a relationship for over two years now, a longer period of time than some betrothed couples I know. Therefore, when discussing the latest engagement with friends, talk turns to my own plans. The most common enquiries are:
(a) "Do you think your boyfriend will propose on your graduation day?"
(b) "You must want to get married, right?"
Before I continue, let me once and for all clear up the answers to those questions:
(a) Not if he knows what is good for him.
(b) I am 21 years old and this isn't a Jane Austen novel. Remaining unwed doesn't condemn me to a life of sobbing on a Regency window seat - I don't 'have' to want anything.
Today marriage isn't the norm it once was, a fact that should be celebrated. No longer does it have to be the camouflage for an unplanned pregnancy, or the 'done thing' that turns into a life sentence with someone you fall out of love with.
Technically, young people now are supposed to have a freedom that means they can choose whether matrimony is right for them or not.
However, when I am asked questions about my love life, I often feel that there is still an implicit certainty that a woman must want to get married at the earliest opportunity, a belief that is confirmed in the whites of people's eyes when I tell them I am not keen on the idea.
It is even worse when the topic moves on to children. If you don't act like your uterus is about to burst forth from your body in a bout of maternal madness and claim the nearest baby as its own, then you are bound to draw a few raised eyebrows.
Women can choose how to live their lives now, yes, it is just a pity that we get no say in how we are judged.Suggest a correction