I went to cundae tonight for those of you that don’t know, which is most of you, cundae happen for an entire month every year—-they’re basically dinners with some food that has been prayed upon. Cundae were recommended by one of the Prophet’s descendants as a way to open up your house and your table to feed the poor. Unfortunately, in America they’re just dinners for friends and family.
I will begin by saying that I was apprehensive to go because aunties are constantly on the hunt to get their hairy, greasy sons married off without even telling them and they’re always scoping out girls at any/all gatherings. Anyways, I was alone for the majority of the evening as usual. After saying a few hellos and brushing cheeks while kissing the air a few times with women whose names I didn’t even remember, I grabbed a paper plate and heaped a mound of rice and some chicken onto it, and placed my ass in a corner of the room. I like to sit in corners, so that if a room is ever attacked, I have a full view of the exits. The reason I was eating alone is because there are no brown girls (that belong to our sect) in my age group on this side of Houston. I reflected and texted as I ate. It had been a while since I had gone to a brown person’s house for a dinner. I was uncomfortable with the pleasantries and my outfit and sitting on the floor and eating, but it was enough of an experience that I’m sitting here posting a blog about it!
While I was waging war against spiced chicken with a worthless plastic fork, an aunty for whom I used to work for came and sat down next to me. I used to work at this aunty’s Montessori. It was my first job at the age of 15, and I made $5 an hour. I worked two hours a week, and was a gym teacher for children between the ages of 2-4. The upscale gym included exercises such as jumping up and down, balancing on a balance beam less than six inches above the ground, and walking quickly on a treadmill that came up mid-thigh on a grown adult. Anyways, aunty and I exchanged small talk and then the inquisition began. Quite bluntly I might add.
Aunty Ji: “So, are you still teaching?”
Me: “Yes, I am.”
Aunty Ji: “How’s that going? Do you enjoy it?”
Me: “Yes, but I’d like to teach at a higher level, so I intend on getting my Master’s.”
Aunty Ji’s face frowns here. I wonder how she has made it through a life of brown events without being able to maintain the standard two face that is required by all social gatherings, regardless of skin color.
*Pause began with aunty’s frown and continues for a solid eternity….I stare at my plate, afraid to eat in case she asks another question and I end up showing her what my molars can do to some rice. *Pause finally ends.
Aunty Ji: “So when is your birthday?” <—–SUPER RANDOM. NOT SUBTLE.
Me: “July….8th” clearly, I say this with hesitation. I recall her eldest son from a few years ago. Hottie with a body yes, but I’m not ready for marriage.
Aunty Ji: “Okay, but what year?” <—–IMPERTINENT! YOU NEVER ASK A LADY THAT! rude.
Me: *nervous, apprehensive giggle “1989″
Aunty Ji’s face falls here for the second time and she concludes the convo with “Oh, you’re a month older than my son… I had just been wondering… Well never mind!”
ooooooh. aaaaahhhh. the burrrrrnnnn of rejection.
Is 23 the time to start muddling my age to people? I always vowed, I would never be one to lie about my age. I want to be proud to be 50, 60, 70 —- some people never make it that far. But in the marriage game, the rules are a bit different. This conversation sent a shiver of panic through me. I had never been too old to get married; I was always too young. The damn proposals started when I was 15. That’s where pale skin will get you in the South Asian communities… statutory rape anyone? Child marriage? No takers? Stupid America.
Regardless, the shiver went away and was replaced by: “I’m using clinical strength deodorant and lord Jesus it doesn’t have anything on my brown sweat glands”. Even if aunty ji thinks I’m too old for her son. I am still far too young to marry.
I need to get something of my own from this cruel, crazy, fantastic world before I can be told to settle down. Besides that, I have a bit of a commitment phobia. Most people would be surprised to learn this because thanks to all of the wonderful men I’ve somehow chosen to have romantic dealings with, god forbid we call them all relationships, I never really had to show that side of myself. Usually, the guys were commitment-phobic to the point that I ended up running after them. I’ve had two experiences though where my phobia was unleashed. Frenzied eyes glazed over with panic, knitted brows, shaking hands, and constantly saying the word “no” over and over again. Needless to say, I was not pretty when the phobia was released.
Regardless, my mom’s youngest brother, my uncle, is trying to remarry. He is a 41 year old divorcee. The number of women who are also divorced/unmarried in his age range are great in number. Thus, I don’t feel the need to worry. Although my age may be the time that women are considered “ripe” for the plucking, I will pluck someone’s eyes out with a fork if they try to shove me in to marriage right now (maybe my worthless plastic fork will come in handy after all). Women age like cheese and men age like wine—-life isn’t fair bla bla—-can I get a sex change?—-bla bla—-why was I born a girl? Whatever. At this point, I know that I would not be happy to have a child or to be married. I would not mind someone to lean on, but as time has proven, I may be asking for too much. Regardless, my burn from this evening healed almost as quickly as it was doled out. If only one could heal all things with the mind.