Monday, August 11, 2008

Old Maid?

I am an old maid. Yes, at 23 years old I am considered an old maid by most of my friends. Call it an Appalchian tradition or simply the way things are done in my hometown, but nearly all of my friends are already married.

Shortly after high school graduation, I began attending the weddings of close friends. I served as maid of honor for my best friend the summer after our freshman year in college. It was then that the questions began to come about when I would marry and why I didn't have a beau. In fact, the questions never cease. The next summer as a bridesmaid for another best friend I tried to count how many times I was asked when I would marry or my turn would come, but I soon lost count because the questions were unending.

At college, I subscribed to my local newspaper and every week turned first to the engagement and wedding annoucements to see which of my friends it would feature. Almost without fail it would feature a classmate or at least an acquantance that was "tying the knot."

I still consider myself young, and despite the pressures surrounding me, I am not in a hurry to follow my friends down the aisle. I will. . . in my own time. I think that the worst thing a girl can do is to be in a hurry to marry simply to have a wedding or because it just seems like the thing to do.

Don't get me wrong I do not subscribe to the belief that all girls who marry young throw their lives away. My best friend, who has already been married for years, will finish her pharmacetical degree this spring and has pursued a career along with her marriage.

All women in the South used to marry young. My grandmother married at 18 (and was old for her time) and my mother married at 19. Despite the fact that they both married young they do not want the same thing for me. They want me to choose who and when I shall marry. In fact, my grandmother made me a wedding ring quilt this fall, but insisted that it had no symbolism and that now that I had my wedding quilt I could marry whenever I chose.

And that's exactly what I plan to do. I will stand proudly as the only girl "of age" at the bouquet toss and answer the unending questions with a smile. I am just fine being an "old maid."

Have you ever felt pressure to marry?


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