I’m over 30, single, and at my 25-year old cousin’s wedding in Turkey.
While all the couples joini the happy, couple on the dance floor, I’m left sitting at the table with my paper cup full of Fanta, listening to my aunt drone on about why my time has come. The women on the dance floor flash their golden armbands, which go all the way up their arms, under the flickering lights. Yet another signal for my aunt to tell me that my time is actually up.
“My time.” It sounds as if getting married is something that is written on life’s to-do list. When the time comes, you have to cross it off.
It doesn’t matter where you find a man to spend the rest of your life with, or if you are even ready to get married. What’s important is that you’ve got a ring on your finger and have worn a white dress once in your lifetime; that way everyone else is happy. You`re safe with a ring security. You get peace with a husband .
While I watch the couples bob back and forth without an ounce of coordination, another aunt of mine asks my mother if she’s trying to “pickle” me. “Not a bad idea,” I think. That way I could extend my expiry date and wouldn’t have to listen to people telling me that I’ve gotten old, don’t look as good as I used to, and that my hair used to be fuller.
Being a single woman in Turkey, you get no respect. People say things directly to your face without thinking that it might be inappropriate. Only a husband can act as an official between you and all the bullshit. A husband protects your “honour” just by being there. The honour that your family constructs, and which is called into question if you are over 30 and still single.
If you’ve got a husband nearby, then you’re free. You can be fat, old and drunk.
If your husband doesn’t set any boundaries for you then no one else has the to bridge your private sphere.
Since I haven’t got this protection, I have to listen to all the humiliating comments and advice packaged in sympathy: “A marriage is important,” “When are you going to have children?” Now and then, women also whisper honest confessions to me: “No matter what, don’t get married,” “Live your life.”
What should I do? Marry to give my life a meaning or stay single so that my life retains its meaning?
While I ponder over these questions, a tall, lank waiter serves pieces of wedding cake. He shoots me a furtive glance, but notices my mother’s strict gaze and looks away again.
I’ll never find a man like this. Does my mother realise that? It’s fine by me.