False Expectations

23 09 2013
Photo - a snapshot from the movie, Baggage Claim via www.cleveland.com

Photo – a snapshot from the movie, Baggage Claim via http://www.cleveland.com

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.

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8 responses

23 09 2013
Blu

You’re right. As a 33 year-old (proud) single (hmm…) woman, I get tired of hearing the questions about when I’ll be married with children; especially since I’m not getting any younger. Yes, they say that. As I neared 30, I was fearful. Ever the spinster, would I get married? Could I really consider myself a woman in this world without a husband and children? I put enough pressure on myself in every other regard, the last thing I need is society playing a role in my mindset. I’m okay with me and still enjoying dating.

People are always asking me if I’m happy. Seriously? I’m overjoyed. I have a great life, family, and friends. Like I always say, I don’t want a man to make me happy because when he leaves, what’s left? I’ll just fall apart? No, I want someone to ADD to my happiness. For now, I’m living life and enjoying it. I just tell folks to stay out of my love life, reproductive organs, and live their damn lives!

Hope that all made sense. I went off on a tangent.

23 09 2013
dbaham

Oh it totally made sense! And I love that – he should ADD to my happiness, not make me happy. I wish more people understood that.

23 09 2013
Brenda

Great post. We need more movies where women are seen enjoying their lives and not waiting on a man to complete them because truth be told, marriage does not equal constant happiness. Its perfectly fine to be single and live a life you love.

23 09 2013
dbaham

Thanks Brenda! Not to give too much away, but I wouldn’t say the movie actually shows that but I completely agree with you on wanting to see more roles like that. Maybe it would help change some of the opinions about the role of marriage in a person’s life.

28 09 2013
tinam81

Very sad how much pressure is put on women to settle down and join the masses and start procreating. In my 20’s I actually thought that it wasn’t so much of a thing anymore, but now that I’ve hit my 30’s and am divorced the pressure is on from every direction it seems. My mother even asked me the other day if I thought the guy I’m seeing (it’s been a month) was “the one”. It’s been a month!! Yikes.

29 09 2013
dbaham

Yikes is right! One month in and folks want you to know if this guy is the one? That’s just… wow. I’m so sorry to hear that, but I hope you’re just having as much fun as possible and are able to block out some of those pressures (even if just for a bit).

1 10 2013
tinam81

Yeah, I try. I know deep down their intentions are good so I try not to get worked up over those types of questions. But there are always different pressures for every stage of the game. When I was married it was, “when are you having kids?” People never seem satisfied to let others live their own lives as they see fit.

2 10 2013
dbaham

Your last sentence just hit me so much, because it’s sooo true. Wow.

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