Yesterday I called my dad about something mundane, then the following conversation occurred.
Dad: “How’s work?”
Me: “It’s fine.”
Dad: “Good. Then you can work on something else now. Like getting a boyfriend.”
Me: “EXCUSE ME?!…Oh wait, today’s April Fool’s Day! Good one, Dad! Haha.”
Dad: “Oh, is it? I didn’t realize. No, I’m serious about this.”
For those of you thinking that he is just really into the prank, nope, he went on to explain all the various reasons why I need a man in my life. I tuned out after a while.
This is not the first time he has pressured me. A few months ago, I took him out to fancy dinner for his birthday-
Me: “So how old are you turning, Dad? 59?”
Dad: “No, I’m 60 years old now.”
Me: “Oh really? Oops, sorry!”
Dad: “Yea I’m really old now, so you should really start getting serious about settling down and having kids.”
While I sat there literally with my mouth hanging open in shock, my dad continued with a lengthy description of this “very nice Chinese boy” who is his friend’s nephew or something like that. Yep, my dad tried to play matchmaker for his daughter. Did I mention that I’m only 24 years old?!
My father is also not the only person in my family who has less than gently nudged me about landing a beau. Au contraire, almost every older relative has mentioned something about it at family gatherings. Thank god my mom is the only child because I already have 5 aunts and 2 uncles to nag me.
I assure you that this is not just a phenomenon common with Asian parents’ or in immigrant households. Yes, they might be clinging to more conservative traditional values, but plenty of my friends have experienced similar harassment (And for the last time, not all my friends are cute tiny Asian girls like me, so stop asking me to hook you up).
I used to be incredibly offended and annoyed every single time it happens. I still have the urge to end the conversation or roll my eyes, but recently I had a two-part epiphany.
First, I have come to understand that your parents don’t know the majority of what’s going on in your life. Even if you’re really close to them, I bet/hope you don’t tell them all the details. They don’t understand that you have plenty of friends for company and hobbies for stimulation. This is especially true when you don’t live near your parents. How they imagine you live your life is what they see young people do on TV and in movies, which is quite alarming and disturbing even to me sometimes. They also do not know anything about dating in our generation. Chances are that they have not dated in decades. How are they supposed to know the subtle difference between :P and ;) in text messages, and that you can pretty much accurately estimate if someone is taken already, a psycho, or a player based on their Facebook profile?
Secondly, parents actually pressure you about having a significant other for a positive reason. No, seriously. The unstoppable truth is that they’re aging and there is less and less they can help you with. And they’re thinking about how soon you might have to take care of them instead of the other way around.
And let’s face it- it’s not like you are actively rejecting the notion of having someone around. I would go out on a limb here and say that most people would like a boyfriend or a girlfriend. It’s not a necessity in your life, but it would be nice.
If Ryan Reynolds comes to my doorstep asking me out on a date, I’m not going to say “Sorry, Ry. I just really hate falling in love. It’s the worst, and I cannot risk that again.” So really, you and your parents want the same thing for yourself, but you just have different motivations and reasoning, which is why I made this comparison list below:
What you want: Someone to cuddle with on the couch on a rainy day while you watch a movie.
What your parents want: Someone to put that roof over your head. And pay for that couch. And that widescreen TV.
What you want: Great physical chemistry and attraction.
What your parents want: GRANDKIDS! House full of laughing babies!
What you want: Someone who will support you emotionally, even more so or in a different way than a best friend.
What your parents want: Someone to support you financially. Maybe not fully, but you know, just so you will never come close to starving.
What you want: Commitment and stability.
What your parents want: PUT A RING ON IT ALREADY!
What you want: Someone your friends will like.
What your parents want: Someone your relatives will not hate.
What you want: Someone who loves you just the way you are, including all the imperfections, quirks, and nuisances.
What your parents want: Someone to love you as much as they do, which of course they think it’s impossible since they fricking made you.
See, it’s just two sides of the same coin! Bottom line: your parents just want someone to make you happy. So next time, just let them say their piece. Nod and say “uh huh” a few times politely while you really think about something more exciting, like what concert you want to go to next, or those really cool shoes you saw online. That’s what I do.
It is still kind of rude though. I’m raising my eyebrows at you, older Lu’s.