I overheard two people talking at a pub – says the first line of this post.
Here’s a little snippet of what I wanted to share:
Person 1: “Mom wants me to get married.” Cue exasperated and exaggerated sigh right here.
Person 2: “This has been an on going thing in your family. What’s the issue?”
Person 1: “Doing the whole arranged thing. Mom’s gotten some decent bios for me to go through.” (Cringing already)
Person 2: “I think, you should just look through the bios where the girls are good looking, and are graduates from reputed overseas universities. That’ll do for your mom.”
(I’m currently rolling my eyes, and face-palming really hard. I bet you are too whilst reading this.)
Person 1: “Yea, I guess so. Mom has to approve. So might as well look through these and take my pick..”
I’m shaking my head in disgust by now. And because I could not go through this entire eavesdropping session without rudely interrupting them and using a string of expletives to tell them how fundamentally sexist, shallow and downright idiotic they sounded, I got up and left. Not without seething in anger and balling up my fists and wanting to punch those morons’ lights out.
So, after I departed the pub, I whipped out my phone and called the then other half (code name: shitface) and asked him, “Babe, why did you marry your ex-wife?” His answer confirmed everything: “She had a double masters from a very good school, and my mom seemed to like what she saw on paper, she seemed to come from a well-to-do family, and so I figured I couldn’t go wrong, but I guess that didn’t work out too well in the end, did it?” (And this is where I should have realized a colossal train wreck in the near future… but we’ll save that for another day.) I got off the phone a little more upset than I’d have imagined, and thought to myself:
- Having an education from a reputed/Ivy League university factors into whether you are fundamentally marriage material? and
- How shallow are we becoming? Progressive humanity, we are not.
Now, you’re probably thinking that education is important, and I will absolutely agree with you. Fundamentally, should it matter where you got it from, given that how you use it, how it helps in your job prospects is really the idea here? How does that one piece of paper determine the compatibility and the kind of person you are in a marriage? It boggles my mind that it’s such a big deal in choosing a partner.
So this is where I should tell you my own incident – bear with me, it’s a quick story that will reiterate my point.
Shitface (I’m very eloquent.) ended things with me with these delightfully pleasant words:
“Bro (He bro’ed me. He did.), you’re better off without me.” – I’m already ready for the next bit – “I don’t see you as someone I want to settle down with…” And then comes the icing on the cake – “You’re someone who is more of a buddy.” (Then why the f*** were we together for nearly 3 years?) And it gets better – “Someone I can watch movies with, have dinner with, go drinking with…not someone I see spending the rest of my life with.” And that was the last I heard from him. Till I found out that he was getting married to some doctor from somewhere in the sticks. See what I mean? Doctor – more appealing and apparently more’respectable’ to say he settled with someone in medicine rather than, someone who is ‘just’ in the education field (me).
So my wondering here is – why are we so hung up on the titles and degrees that our potential significant others should hold in order for them to be marriage material? Just because I don’t have a Masters from Harvard makes me not suited for marriage? Apparently so. And it isn’t just the millennials who think this way – old aunties and uncles do too. At a wedding, one of my a-foot-in-the-grave aunts says, “Dear, I have a boy for you.” (Major internal eye-roll) – “He’s a doctor living in L.A. He’s very rich. You should meet him, and maybe think about marrying him.” Whoa, slow down. What makes you think any of this is appealing to me? He could be an arrogant jerk, who I am pretty certain I will want to punch in the face so no aunty dearest, I’m going to say hello, have a polite conversation, but I shall not immediately think of marrying him. You see how this is alarmingly a common trend?
Look, face it – we are shallow in some way or the other. When I meet a man, he’s got to speak well. He’s got to be well put together and I will be taking in the clothes he wears, especially if it’s a suit. If he embodies all those traits, (along with several others, but we are doing superficial at the moment) but hasn’t been educated in the top 50 schools, it does not mean I will immediately dismiss him. You will come across men and women who take the education part a bit too seriously – and even if the guy looks like Chris Hemsworth’s doppelgänger, with the heart of Keanu Reeves, but isn’t Harvard educated, they will tell him to bugger off. And it is incredibly disconcerting. You are literally making your choices on a piece of paper that may not even hold any weight in the real world? I actually feel sorry for you. Truly.
I think the world now is so fiercely competitive that people want to show they are better in all aspects of their life. Even whilst choosing a partner – it isn’t just education alone, some want trophy wives or husbands – I’ll give you another example – ‘Your daughter is very pretty, but – my son thinks that she’s too tall (I’m laughing already), she’s not petite, and he wants someone a little more petite.’ Good luck with that. How are you choosing your partners on just their superficial qualities? Have you no heart, and no place for love? Do you want to not have a partner that you can grow old with in good times and bad, have laughs with and build a life together with? Clearly not. And it actually makes me feel sad.
So I’m going to sum up with this: My name is Shilpa, I am happily educated from a non-Ivy League University and I work in education. If that is what you’re judging me on, I wouldn’t hold your breath because I’m already better than you. I’m never going to base my choices on superficiality alone (there will be some, I’m not that stupid.), but I will want someone with whom I can get along with, with whom I can share a laugh with, love with, grow old together with, fight and still be happy with and someone that most importantly respects me, gets me and supports my choices. I am woman, I am pretty awesome, and if you don’t factor that in, you will miss out.