There is nothing like seeing your mom disappointed. Because of you. Specifically, your lack of a boyfriend. At the age of 17. Surely, there must be a god-fearing, decent enough man out there to recognize that you are girl of ripe age, bourgeois upbringing and good education, a man that will one day save you from your single, dumb freedom and provide you your maternal purpose. Surely, you will meet a boy that will gain the approval of your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends of cousins, cousins and second-cousins, maids, your parents’ Facebook friends, parish priests and your drunk, gossiping neighbors. The man is perfect as long as he’s (1) devoutly Catholic, (2) not black, Indian, Arab, and/or pure-Asian, (3) dripping with masculine charm and homophobic vitriol, (4) rich, (5) not bald, (6) emotionally distant except at the sight of failure, femininity and your future children, (7) well-mannered until provoked, (8) a ladies-man as long as he goes home every night and never goes too far, and most importantly, (9) willing to marry you and plant his seed in you before your biological clock stops ticking. Surely, there are still ‘real men’ out there for you (albeit rare like unicorns) but in the meantime, let’s build your dowry under the disguise of your once-braced teeth, your long, jet-black hair, your not-too-brown exotic skin, your shaved everything, made-up everything, your curves in the right places, your legs crossed in right position, your hymen intact, your skirt in between asking-for-it and prudish, your button nose burrowed in a book everyone reads, your hands holding some flowers or a spatula, your feet in the perfect ballerina turn out, your voice in the right decibel, laughter in the right timbre, your mood always cheery never bitchy (unless you’re on your period, but of course that’s a different matter), your head to the sky but nowhere too far, you in your right place. Beside a man.
Because no matter how you frame it, your life as a woman is in preparation for something else. Marriage. Children. Everything you do now leads up to that walk down the aisle, to meet the perfect man for your perfect life, because you’re a girl, and you aren’t yours, even your name isn’t yours until someone lends his to you. But don’t think about it now. Don’t look depressed, stop frowning, no one likes a girl that’s angry, a girl who fights. Stay silent, stay the right things, don’t try to argue, pray to God and the ultimate He will offer you the world if you ask for it kindly through His virgin mother. Don’t think about it now. Study hard, but not too much that you won’t be open to meeting boys, be kind to all of them no matter what because you’re a girl and you’re supposed to, let some of them break your heart but never take it seriously, because we’ll send you abroad to meet a white French man who will sweep you off your feet in his chalet in the mountains so you can drink wine and have beautiful children, far more beautiful than the ones your friends will have in the future. Or if you don’t meet one, go back as quickly as possible so you can get a job in a beauty company here, build your resume up and work hard until you meet a nice man here, but make sure to seal the deal before you turn 30, or else you’re in danger of our pity. You can be single but looking, or single but devoted to God, or single but chaste.
Never single and free, don’t say that, don’t even think about that, that’s just sad. Because sweetheart, you’re not free until you meet the man of your dreams. Because that’s all you dream about, right? Meeting the man of your dreams. Study all you want but not if you don’t meet someone. Talk all you want until he starts talking. Travel and search the world to find him. Study to find him. Talk to find him. Work to find him. Pray to find him. Exist to find him. Because that’s all you dream about, right?