Great expectations…

12 Nov

What is wrong with women?

I’ve just read a book (a horrible one, but beside the point) about a 30 something American woman who throws the towel on her amazing life in NYC to move to Paris with the sole intention of meeting a man. I mean come on, really? She seems to be a somewhat intelligent person (though the same could NOT be said for whomever edited her book) and here she is changing her life entirely to meet a man. No other real objectives at all.

But it’s not all her fault. We’ve all been brought up in a society where only when you are married, are you truly accepted as an adult, as accomplished and as finally having achieved what it is we are here for. Never mind if that someone is an international human rights lawyer working for the Rwandan War Crimes Tribunal (as a completely uninformed example). My little girl is MARRIED! Isn’t that just great?

How can someone who has achieved so much, and experienced so much, be made to feel like life is incomplete, and that SHE is incomplete?

I have a friend living here in Paris, a very successful expat, telling me that going home and seeing her friends happy with their partners, moving to the next phase of their lives, made her feel like she was waiting for her life to begin. I mean SERIOUSLY. I can’t believe someone would say that! And yet, if i’m honest, i would have to admit that i share those same feelings. Often. I can see that it’s crazy, but it’s impossible to escape.

But then tonight, after bawling my eyes out while watching a (terrible but addictive) Australian drama series in which the wife of a young married couple died in a car accident, i found myself really confused.

I finished the show, sat down on the toilet (i needed to go, was an hour-long episode), looked at myself in the facing mirror, and thought, ‘Man. Shit can really happen. I’ve got to make sure i don’t waste time thinking bullshit thoughts and just enjoy everything.’

So now, i’m not gonna think about it anymore. Ha, just joking.

I know this epiphany is extremely legére, (and talked about repeatedly) but really, we cannot base our own happiness on societies’ ideas of what being complete is.

Or can we?

Maybe I, the modern, thinking woman, am wrong and history and tradition is right.

I know that if i went back to Australia with a big fat belly and a ring on my finger, my parents would probably be prouder and happier than i’ve ever seen them. I’m not even ready OR wanting to move to that stage and yet it still plays on my mind in a massive way.

I’ll admit another thought that crossed my mind while sitting on the toilet was ‘shit, maybe i should just settle for anyone, or i might die before i get the chance to experience the next stage of my life’.

But that’s probably best left unsaid, that one.

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11 Responses to “Great expectations…”

  1. Anna November 12, 2010 at 10:03 am #

    Ah one of the classic romantic comedy plots – a woman who’s acheived it all (usually as a magazine writer or some kind of event planning) but still hasn’t “made it” because she’s not married.

    I was feeling that way when I joined my high school class 10 year reunion Facebook group and it seemed everyone was married with kids but my friend pointed out that they’re probably looking at me wishing they could have the opportunity to live in Paris. It was a good point.

  2. Poulette November 12, 2010 at 10:07 am #

    Well, i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again, the grass is always greener! Everything has to be ticked, and when there’s one thing that isn’t, we are incomplete. I wonder how happy those married at 28’s are anyway? (could be sticking my foot in it there!)

  3. Expat Stu November 12, 2010 at 4:10 pm #

    I wonder if the crap book you read was “Paris Hangover” by Kirsten Lobe — the description certainly fits, especially the terrible edit (the “Café de la Marie” at St. Sulpice, UGH.)

    I wrote a less-than-rave amazon reader’s review of Ms. Lobe’s literary effort. I’m absolutely certain that if I came across her for real we would hate each other.

  4. Uigei November 12, 2010 at 6:03 pm #

    Do Not Settle for just anyone. Have a good time, while scouting out that real life man, not the dream boat (they sink).
    I had a big belly four times…that shit is hard work…and let’s leave it at that !
    I repeat…Have a good time. Live your life (or let the character) like it’s Golden, and according to your desires.
    I never have been one to do things to make other people happy !
    Peace

  5. Poulette November 12, 2010 at 8:36 pm #

    Stu, it was!! How completely horrible is both the book and HER!! And buying wine at Nicholas? Where is that? God don’t get me started again i have been angry about it all week…and i’m not even finished. What an idiot. What i hated THE MOST was her horribly crass ways of speaking about her ‘conquests’. Revolting and not even lyrical in the slightest. I’ll stop. So what are your thoughts on the whole not worrying about love/settling debate Stu?

    Uigei, the dream boats sink. That is excellent advice. I would never settle, i just could not do it to myself, and to be honest, i’m not sure i want anything unless it’s someone that has the very same desires. Thanks for the comment!

  6. Expat Stu November 12, 2010 at 10:11 pm #

    That’s TOO FUNNY, that I guessed the book. Here’s my brief Amazon review:

    “The editors of this book did its author no favours at all. It has all the faults of a book edited and proof-read by computer: homophones galore, mis-spelled French names and misunderstood French culture. Quite a disgrace, actually.

    Also, Paris-lovers beware! The book’s setting is almost exclusively the parts of Paris inhabited by rich Americans, not the real Paris. ”

    As for that OTHER question, oh dear. Men and women are so different about that. All I can confirm from personal experience (not by any means all bad) is that women approaching 40 who have not had a baby by then get a VERY powerful urge. The solution is on a spectrum from marriage all the way to random insemination. The latter can be arranged any time, especially in Paris, as we know.

  7. Poulette November 12, 2010 at 11:34 pm #

    HA, i read that review!!! I thought it was SPOT ON. One thing that i didn’t mention is that i’m still not finished the book, i have a couple of chapters that i am struggling to digest. Alas, i think i may now know how it all turns out…lol.

    So are you saying that if women neglect to actively seek out love early that we will turn into Kirsten Lobe? Now there’s a scary bedtime story.

  8. Anna November 13, 2010 at 4:16 am #

    Once while out with my friend for happy hour we passed a woman sitting in the hall by the bathrooms all ready half drunk (6:30-7) on the cell phone talking to a friend, grilling her about a man she was bringing to set up with her that night about all the potential husband-related details. I turned to my friend and said not to let me turn into a desperate husband hunter like that if I’m still single when facing 40.

  9. Poulette November 13, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    Interesting story. I’ve an aunt who is in her mid 50’s and single. Never have i known her to have someone serious and i even lived with her for some time. Her life is AWESOME. And she loves it, everything she does is for herself and everything she has built she has done it on her own, there must be some sense of huge achievement from that. Not to mention the satisfaction of having everything your way. I once asked her if she gets lonely, and you know what she said? She said ‘sometimes, when it’s cold, you think it would be nice to have someone to hug you in bed, but, that doesn’t outweigh how amazing it is to be completely free’.

    I’d rather be like that.

  10. PigletinFrance November 16, 2010 at 9:08 am #

    Sounds like a book I’ll avoid reading!

    I have found that France increases the expectations of requiring a ring and family to be happy as the French are so family orientated. That said, I still have my career and never, ever in my wildest dreams thought that I’d be happy as a housewife, but here I am, married, pregnant and longing to spend the next few years pottering around my house, looking after the babychild, organising dinner parties!! WTH?? This is not me!

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