Picture by Vernon Leow of Vitalimages
Lately, I have been thinking about my status as a #SingleAsianFemale.
As a single female in an #Asian society, even one as westernised and modern as Singapore is, there is still the expectation for you to be in a #relationship, and there is the sense that you are not complete as a human being unless you have a partner. Maybe it is not just an Asian thing… perhaps it is a human, even biblical expectation… remember how Noah had paired all the animals in twos as he marched them into the Ark?
I often wonder why that should be the case? Why should anybody be less happy or feel less adequate as a human being if you didn’t have a mate, in particular, if you were a single female? Is it because our minds have been so well conditioned from birth to seek out a mate, that if I were a single person, I would not feel whole, or complete.
To the credit of my alma mater, (yes, that “elitist” all girls’ secondary school, and even in my formative years in my primary school) I have always been encouraged to think, and to forge a path for myself, to be self-reliant, to never depend on a man to support me, and to be without fear. I grew up in an era that believed in meritocracy, I believed that if I worked hard, I could be successful and excel regardless of my #gender . At home, the topic of a life companion or marriage never ever surfaced. The emphasis was always on good traditional values, to be the best that I could be, and to be successful on my own terms. I remember bringing my first boyfriend home when I was in the university, and my mom took me aside later and told me that I do not need to rush into anything… and to take my time, don’t settle. I wonder if she regretted telling me that now… hahaha.
Admittedly, life as a single female can be tough, you can easily lapse into self-pity, feeling like you are all alone in the world, imagining that life would be so much better and less lonely if only you had a mate. someone to go to the theatre with, to travel with, to have meals with, to workout with… etc. But, is it really? Married people tell me how much they miss having their own space and how, for many of them, they have grown apart from their spouses, but stayed together for the sake of their children.
When I was in University and when many of my friends were getting coupled and married, I always thought that it was too early to make such an important life decision as to who to spend the rest of your life with. You haven’t even seen the world, nor have you decided who you are going to be as an adult yet… how can you be sure that this person in front of you is going to be the person whom you will still want to be with ten, twenty, 30 years from now? If the marriage was because of the need to copulate, then, I would be slightly #unconventional here and recommend promiscuity (with protection) instead. Go and have sex with as many people as you need to (with their consent), get it out of your system. And, then, when you are ready to settle down with just 1 person for the rest of your life, then get married. The need for sex is never a good reason to get married. (Nor is the need to get out of the parents’ house, or to buy your HDB flat…)
In any case, I think, for me, like for most people, I will need like 5 different men… one to workout with, one to challenge me intellectually, one to go diving with, one to attend plays and events with, and one to make me laugh and eat sashimi with. As I get older, I realise that a good sense of humour more important than anything else. It is going to be the cure to many of life’s ills. Because, one day, I may not be able to touch my toes anymore, and I need to be able to laugh about it.