Special note: I talk about some of the aspects of the new movie Baggage Claim in this post. If you haven’t seen it yet and you plan to, you should probably read this after you do so.
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a free screening of the new movie, Baggage Claim, provided by Essence Magazine. And while the movie was actually much better than I initially expected, what struck me the most (even more than just how FINE Trey Songz is) was the secondary premise of the movie — that many young adult women would relate to feeling pressured to meet their husband the closer they got to 30. And if they’d passed 30 already – then my God – ring the alarms!
But while I’m slightly making fun of this assumption held by those involved in creating the movie, the truth is that it did resonate with many women in the audience (including, unfortunately at times – yours truly). Now (SPOILER ALERT), I don’t know how many of us are going to expect a man to propose to us after one evening, but I can kind of see where some folks might be tempted to go to that extreme.
I’ve told you all before that I’ve been blessed with parents who haven’t put any pressure on me about marriage, but unfortunately the same courtesy has not been given to me by co-workers (of all people – they barely even know me!) and friends of family. I can’t tell you how many times I get asked things like, “Oh so you’re not married yet? You have no kids at all? Well when do you plan to start?”
My response is usually something along the lines of “I have to find someone that I still like after 3 dates before I can even think about anything else.” But honestly, I’d really like to say, “Wait – aren’t you married and unhappy? Then don’t come for me unless I send for you.” I don’t say that. But Lord knows, I’ve been tempted to do so on a few occasions.
Anyway, I think these types of questions come from this expectation society tends to put on women that says that if you’re not married, you’re not fulfilled or happy. As if happiness can only be found with a ring on your finger. As if every person shouldn’t always be seeking their best life imaginable, no matter whether they have walked down the aisle or not. I also think it’s important to note that there’s a guy who works with me who is my same age and actually seeing someone pretty seriously, but I’ve yet to hear anyone ask him when he’s getting married. It’s just not as assumed about men as it is for women.
Those same expectations are not placed upon them, eating at them, and pulling on them to the point that multiple men are found crying during a movie that really no one should be caught crying at. But I saw that last week with so many women. I saw that they got the frustrations of Paula Patton’s character. That they understood the desire to just try and find someone (anyone!) to make their life happy.
And I wanted to scream (after the movie was over, of course) that this was such a false expectation. I wanted these women to know that you can live and you can love, and if you still want to get married someday – it will come to you. Maybe not in the way that you plan or with whom you visualize yourself with on a daily basis. But it will. And if you don’t ever want to get married, that that’s okay too. I really just wanted them to know that you can be happy without a ring on your finger. That they were looking at someone who while she wants to get married someday is currently very happy without a ring on her finger. Luckily, the movie seemed to say all of that without my help. I just hope they were listening.