Ladies (and gentlemen), I have met the enemy and she is a tiny little myopic thing that works in accounting.
I was out with old co-workers drinking at the Spank Bank – I know, I know, I hate this place, but they keep giving away free happy hours to my friends – what’s a girl to do? So, I’m standing there, catching up with a woman I used to work with, asking her how things were going at my old place of employment, when she started talking about Senior (her boss) and the Enemy rolled her eyes.
Okay, I didn’t actually catch the eye-roll, I only assumed it happened because my former co-worker, whom we should call Polly because she sort of looks like a Polly, commented to her, “I know you don’t like her, but she really is a great person.”
I looked down at the Enemy (and I was wearing flats so imagine how tiny she must be) and her face was still contorted in disgust. So I asked, “Oh, you don’t like Senior?”
She twisted her face up even more and shook her head.
She continued to shake her head as Polly protested, “She’s really an amazing woman, you just don’t know her.”
Which is when the enemy finally piped up, “If she’s such an amazing woman, why isn’t she married?”
Readers, I almost hit her. Thank god I had only had one glass of wine at the time or I may have. Instead, I asked, “Your definition of an amazing woman is that she’s married?” with all the attitude mixed with horror that you can imagine.
“Well, no, but I mean, if she is really so remarkable, why isn’t she married?”
Polly jumped in and started singing Senior's praises as I staggered back, shocked at this little girl’s ignorance. As Polly explained to this little insect that Senior could have been married, had she wanted to settle, but instead worked on herself and her career and her spirituality and is now really happy with her life.; a life so full it leaves little time to find a man – a life so full it begs the question whether one really needs a man.
Still struck dumb, I nodded and looked into the face of the enemy. All I saw was smugness. Her face clearly said, “Sure, whatever Senior needs to tell herself to get to sleep at night. But at the end of the day, we all know she can’t possibly be happy without a man in her life.”
At this moment I found my voice. I turned to Polly and said, “I have to go before I hit someone.” I then glared down at the enemy, who no longer looked smug, but frightened. I started to walk away, but doubled back. Now that I had my voice, I realized I had more to say.
“Can I ask how old you are?” I was still glaring and the Enemy who was still clearly scared I might hit her.
“Umm, 22.” She squeaked out.
I smiled. “That explains a lot.”
Here’s the thing. At 22-years-old, you don’t know anything, but you think you know everything. How can I know this? Because I was once 22 and I remember thinking I knew everything. I remember thinking it was all so easy. That you can have your cake and eat it too and still fit into your size two jeans. And yes, you can have it all – but it isn’t easy. It’s a full-time job on top of your real full-time job.
And because it is so hard you learn to value what is really important to you. Some people call these compromises, but I don’t think that is the right word for what you are doing. I think prioritizing is a better word for it. Yes, you would like a boyfriend, but you want a promotion more. So you work harder, longer hours, maybe go to school, and this leaves less time in your social calendar. So you have to decide how you would rather spend your few free hours, on an awkward first date or out with your girlfriends, laughing your face off.
Then when your schedule does free up some time to meet a special someone you find even there priorities have changed. Yes, it would be nice to meet someone with a full head of hair, washboard stomach and Popeye forearms, but what would be even better is to find someone that supports your goals and likes your friends. And, as you look around at your life and realize things aren’t so terrible and actually are pretty awesome, you realize that there are things won’t compromise on. That whomever you decide to share your little perfect world with will have to be pretty exceptional.
And inevitably your mother will call you too picky and, apparently, 22-year-olds will question your awesomeness.
Well, 22-year-olds, now you know the truth. Your ignorance on this matter will no longer be tolerated. If I ever hear you say anything like, “Well if she is so great, why isn’t she married?” you will be punched.
In the throat.