"So, when are you gonna get married?" the friend of a friend of my parents asked me at a wedding recently.
I had apparently met this person once before, twelve years earlier, though I hardly remembered him. Regardless, it seemed like a highly personal question to begin a conversation with. Had "so where are you living these days?" or "what kind of work do you do?" not crossed his mind as potential openers? Using his logic, it seemed appropriate that I perhaps inquire about results of his most recent prostate exam.
Instead, I smiled a huge (fake) smile and told him I hoped that was the first and last time he asked anyone that question, before walking away and toward the bar to refill my wine glass.
I didn't mean to be rude--seriously. It's just that I can't seem to understand why everyone's inner Jewish grandma manages to pop her head into casual conversation lately, with questions about the status of my left ring finger, whether there is a man in my life and/or whether I'd like to go out with their friend/nephew/grandson.
My real-life Jewish grandmother never pressured me to couple up or get married (with the exception of one time when I was seventeen and she and my grandfather tried to set me up with their neighbors' forty-year-old, Jewish, brain surgeon son, but that's a story for another day). As a general rule, my grandmother maintained the belief that I would get married when I was good and ready and that I would apply the same good judgment in selecting a husband as I have to the rest of the big decisions in my life. Historically, I've tended to agree, though there's nothing like having your relationship status brought to light by a near-stranger to make you wonder if you might doing something wrong.
When I apply logic to the situation, I am of course reminded that I am just fine and not an old maid by any means. If this were, say, Utah, my single status at age twenty-eight might be the provocation of the occasional double-glance, but here in the San Francisco Bay Area, land of free-spirited-start-up-entrepreneur-backpacking-marathoner citizens, I am right at home, if not practically a tadpole.
Besides, even if I were close to being ready to choose a partner, I'm not sure I could even tell you what I'm looking for. Kind? Yeah, of course. Handsome? Yeah. Funny? Smart? Likes my cooking? Yes, yes, and, yes. Jewish? I don't know, maybe. But that's about it. I like to think I'll know when I find him.
Until then, I guess I'll try to minimize the sarcastic retorts when chatting with near-strangers...but I'm not promising anything.