The organised chaos

Age is not just a number

After watching the finals of the Contender Asia last night (’twas a mighty good fight!), the boyf, Shaz, the Cuz and I went off for supper. In the midst of devouring our ee-mian and fish slice bee hoon, the boyf joked that we would be seating the two of them, both single and in their 30s, in a table full of eligible bachelors for them to pick and choose during our wedding reception.

It has never failed to puzzle me why these two women are still swinging single. Both are successful in their careers, financially independent, stylish, youthful looking for their ages, funny, kind and generous. But because they are on the wrong side of the 30s, they are automatically overlooked by the other sex.

I may be jumping to my own pessimistic conclusion, of course. But that fact was crystallized by a comment that a male friend of mine, who shall remain nameless for his safety, made. He is a successful man himself, single and in his mid-30s. When quizzed about his criteria for his partner, he admitted that she has to be someone younger than he is.

“Look, I am in my mid-30s. If I marry someone older, she will be nearing her 40s and it is going to be very hard for us to have children and form a family,” he pointed out.

He is not wrong, of course. It probably is in the DNA of many males to procreate and prolong his family name. But somehow, it struck me as unfair and a tad chauvinistic.

A lot of it is due to biology, true. While men don’t seem to have biological clocks, those of women are constantly ticking against them, day after day. We are often told that it’s best if we had children early because it will be easier for us to bounce back from childbirth, because the risks of illnesses and disabilities are lower, because this, because that. When a woman at the age of 50 becomes a mother, the world condemns her act. Nobody finds it imperative to tell an 80-year-old man to stop sowing his wild and not-too-limp oats everywhere.

I may be belaboring the point a bit, I’ll admit. But when I look at Shaz and the Cuz, I am constantly questioning our societal norms and wondering why it is all so unfair for the fairer sex.

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