Jakarta, 28 August 2005
Written under Miss Sassy (1)
The Rajab month has arrived. Started in August, with 27 Rajab falls on the 2nd of September. For the Muslims, the day marks the ascension of Prophet Muhammad SAW. For most Javanese and Sundanese, whose traditions got as much influence from Islam as from Hindu and Buddha, this month symbolizes an auspicious time to wed. I don’t know why.
My friend Dee and I are both in our early 30s, I’m single and she’s recently divorced. Unsurprisingly, when we attend weddings, we’re swarmed by questions from supposedly well-meaning friends, which unfortunately often came out as intrusive. To me, it’s the favorite “Where’s your boyfriend and when are you getting married”. To Dee, it’s the unsolicited advice of “He’s a jerk, poor you, but don’t get traumatized, it’s still so much better to have a husband than not”. It’s obvious why Dee and I prefer to attend weddings together whenever possible, because then we can lend each other support when people’s questions are getting suffocating.
But I still go to weddings. I actually enjoy weddings, plus I won’t let some snide remarks stop me from coming to celebrate my loved ones’ love fest. My other friends, attractive successful professional in their 30s, have long stopped attending weddings because of those barraging, often insulting questions. Can’t blame them. If you play it too cool, they start rumors about you being gay. If you happen to be moody and produce a rather assertive reply, there goes the whole sensitive spinster stigma thing.
This weekend Dee and I happen to be invited by our dancing buddy, a shy guy who turns into Ricky Martin once the music starts. He met the girl in the dancing circles, which gives Dee and I some hope that there are eligible, straight single men who likes and know how to dance. His reception’s full with dancing enthusiasts, and everybody came wearing their glitziest dancing shoes and carrying a mixed CD. Someone nudged the DJ to start earlier, and people scrambled to the dance floor, forsaking the kambing guling and chicken sate, surrendering to the allure of Latin music. It was a pure blast.
I was just taking a break after a 5-song salsa marathon with a dynamite Latino when someone tapped my shoulder. Apparently a college friend, who now works with the bride. Predictably, right after the usual pleasantries, the ultimate question ensued. Upon hearing my being single, instead of the typical “Oh you must be very picky” response, she let out a sigh. Not judgmental, but more like a disappointment. Why, I asked. ‘Cause I thought that hot Latino was your man and I was just very happy for you, she said.
I laughed so loud Shakira’s voice disappeared into the background momentarily. Honey, be happy nevertheless, cause I’m actually happy right now. I’m here with good friends, and I just burned 600 calories from the salsa. Hot Latino boyfriend or not, I’m really having a good time, so please don’t tell me that I should be feeling like I’m lacking something, Allow me to indulge it while it lasts, before I return to my normal life that includes attending the nuptial ceremony earlier today. Life’s events regularly remind me of my single status already. Allow me to deal with it privately. I don’t need people to put me on the spot and expect some graceful responses all the time.
Naah, I didn’t give her the speech. Instead, I gave her a peck on the cheek and made a detour to the dance floor. Dee was turning and flipping with a groomsman who’s apparently a much better dancer than the groom. And as any wise dancer knows, you need a man who can lead to make the dance work. I need to wrestle that man away from Dee.
It’s just another weekend for us singles here in Jakarta. You just smile, and salsa away…. Nos bailamos, amigos!
As published: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2005/09/04/marriage-season-upon-us-tying-us-knots.html