Thursday, February 07, 2008

Long Weekend. Dread the Relatives

Today is Chinese New Year, so, for anyone reading this who is Chinese, Happy New Year.

The greatest thing about Chinese New Year is that we get two days off work -- the first and the second day of Chinese New Year are public holidays. The downside is, most of the Chinese businesses are usually closed around the first two days at least. So, the coffee shop where I usually get my caffeine fix is closed, and I have to rely on Starbucks or Spinelli. I usually pick Spinelli's, because they seem to be the only cafe around town with a lunch menu that makes some consideration for the vegetarian.

This being the festive season, I should be happy, right? Okay, I love the long weekend - Thursday to Sunday - no work. But if you know anything about Chinese families, you may understand how annoying it can be to be an unmarried and unattached Chinese female during family gatherings.

There is little sense of propriety among my aunts. They somehow feel entitled to ask any personal questions that come to mind - like, "Why are you still not married? You're not that young anymore. You'll have complications when you want to have children later. You may end up having retarded children." (Oh god.) Yes, they say things like that.

Or, they would tell me things like, "Your upper forearms are thick, so you will be fat when you're forty." This particular nugget of information was conveyed to me at my aunt's funeral. I kid you not. Some decorum, please, Auntie.

One year my uncles suddenly cornered me and demanded I should do my sisterly duties and introduce a girlfriend to my similarly unmarried older brother. I was horrified, but they were dead serious. "Call your girl friends. Introduce them to your brother," they instructed me. I'm not going to set my friends up with my brother. That's gross, my friends dating my brother - especially since some of my friends actually give me a little too much information about their love/sex lives.

One time, an aunt actually blamed - yes, blamed my mom for my brother and I not being married. How dare my mother not put her feet down and do something about it, she exclaimed in outrage.

"It's up to them," says my mom mildly. "It's their lives." Thank you, mom.

I love the holidays, same as anyone else. It's my relatives that I can't deal. Can they just stay away from my love life?

6 comments:

Ah Leng said...

I'm getting the "You're 31, you should be having kids" line. Yes, i KNOW my ovaries are shrivelling, thank you very much.

Dark Orpheus said...

Yeah, but when you have your first child, it will be "Are you having your second?" "Which school will you send them to?" etc

My cousin - the lawyer - just had his second son. It helped deflect some attention this year, but only some.

Stefanie said...

I'm not having children, my entire family knows I'm not having children. My husband's family knows we are not having children but they still wonder if my biological clock is ticking and when I will change my mind. Sigh. When I turned 20 many many moons ago. one of my grandmas told me I was officially an "old maid" because I wasn't married and had no children. Ah, family. :)

Dark Orpheus said...

Stefanie Ah...family. :)

Between a puppies and children, I prefer puppies. Is that a bad thing? *sigh*

Bybee said...

It's not just Chinese families, sad to say. At my cousin's baby shower, the female relatives swarmed and attacked my other cousin who had married several years before but hadn't had children. One relative even told her that "your eggs start getting old at 27." She got defensive, but the way she handled it was to go on and on about how great her job is. I used to get crap about how I "needed" to have a brother or sister for my son, but now that he's grown that noise is finished. But it's always something: "How long do you intend to live in a foreign country?" Always. Something. But happy new year anyway, Dark Orpheus!

Dark Orpheus said...

Bybee Hee. Do our eggs start getting old at 27? Stefanie's grandma is right then. I guess I would be better about it if I actually believe the harpy aunts (oh god, please don't let any of my aunts ever read this blog!) actually cared. But they don't. They gossip and bad-mouth me behind my back, and I was working for more than 4 years before they realise I've graduated from the university. D'oh.

Happy New Year to you too in Korea. :)