The woes of a single girl are immense. From the uncalled-for pressure to marry to the unsolicited advice on how to attract the best male species, every day she has to put up with some mess of sorts.
I have had my fair share of this sour grape. Each time I justifiably lost my temper, it was blamed on my celibacy. I do not know when marriage became a temper prevention pill.
Instead of the people in question using logic to reason, they brushed off whatever I had to say with lame arguments of ‘this is a typical lack-of-man-in-her-life syndrome.’
This was not any better even among the elite. At my workplace, where you would expect maturity and corporate behaviour, more often than not my assertiveness was unfairly judged against my marital status.
I was not supposed to make tough decisions; I heard those were a preserve for men, or if need arose, for the married women. I wasn’t meant to stand up head high for the things I believed in.
That only justified their myths on single women. I refused to be deterred by such cheap ‘malwa’ talk. I knew what I wanted and I would definitely go for it.
Society always has this group of people whose job is to offer help where it is not needed. They will poke their noses in everyone’s business and offer solutions even where there are no problems.
On this eventful day, we had a conference. If you are in the corporate class and your organisation does not finance you to attend trainings, workshops and conferences, you do not know what you are missing. Meetings are held at high-profile hotels, with ‘expert facilitators.’
These will spend more than half of the time asking you about what you are supposed to be doing and how you can do it better, before recommending your own answers as action points to catapult your organisation to another level.
That is the true definition of today’s corporate organisation. The facilitator goes away smiling with a hefty sum of training fees. I guess this is what our teachers used to mean when they urged us to always ‘think outside the box’ to be able to face life squarely.
So, during this eventful training, I met this visibly ageing man. Having been born before the computer age, he found difficulty operating one, even for the most basic of operations.
Like the norm is in trainings, most of the work is done in group discussions. I was grouped with this man, who in age was fit to be my father. I was chosen to be the group secretary and ultimately the main discussant of our findings.
Like a computer wizard, I organized our discussion into a beautiful PowerPoint presentation, including graphs and figures with beautiful animations. When I stood at the podium to present, I kept stealing glances at my group members.
Amongst them, this particular ageing man stared at me, agape, as though I was presenting a paper on rocket science. When I finished my presentation, he stood up and clapped like I had won a Nobel prize. Had I done anything spectacular?
Definitely not! Poor ageing soul was only mesmerized by the computer presentation. To him I was the world’s wisest female specie he ever interfaced with.
I do not know if the idea of wanting me as a wife was birthed then or it was just a confirmation of an already preconceived thought. A few days later, this same man invited me for dinner.
Out of respect, I accepted. We treated ourselves to a sumptuous dinner at the hotel, of course at the cost of the organisation since we were still attending the training.
We discussed a wide range of issues; politics, money matters and religion. Then the thunderbolt struck. This man proposed marriage to me.
I was blunt with him, telling him off that at his age he should be parenting children my age. He looked me squarely in the eye and without an ounce of shame said his first marriage was a mistake because he had not yet met me.
I calmly told him that even if I was to eat a frog, I would choose the fat one. I left him at the table.