I’ve been scrolling through my Facebook’s feed recently and I’ve come across to a rather interesting post from one of my ‘friends’ in there. That person has posted a picture of a medieval woman holding a cat, this is not the best part of it, he wrote in the description section something like ‘When the most pretentious ladies become grumpy in their late 30-40s years and having an abundance of kittens”. What a strange post, you may say, but rather funny as I’ve gathered from the discussions in the comments below.
Whatever it may be the intentions of the person who made the post, I find it rather inappropriate and a rather exaggerated way to make an assumption about these ‘pretentious’ ladies. As a woman in her late twenties (approaching my 30s) , faster than I want, I felt a pang of anger in my chest and I’ve felt strangely offended by it. For three reasons, firstly because this is just crude and unrealistic assumptions about us (the women), secondly it exercises a certain level of peer pressure by saying that women in their 30s/40s should have that and that and lastly, why do you label ‘pretentious’ with such a negative meaning.
Here is a little scenario, imagine a woman, let’s called her Anna, 32 years old, having a date with Mark, who is an accountant, they have a few dates, but she suddenly cuts him off. Why? Because Mark is too materialistic, or because he is not into half of her interests, or because he is not so adventurous or he doesn’t have a sense of humour. Should we say that Anna is too pretentious not to want to be with him even though he insists on seeing her again? Maybe Anna didn’t feel the spark between them, maybe she is irritated by his behavior? But here is the plot twist, what if Anna feels the peer pressure and a little voice says to her ‘Come on, he is not that bad, isn’t it? He has a good career, he is intelligent, at times too straightforward and blunt, but… think about it, you have to try, it’s not like you are in your 20s, the clock is ticking, tick-tock!”
And then she bowed down to the pressure, they ended up together, 4 years later, Anna is divorced and hopeless, wondering whether she made the right choice at that time or not.
Does that sound too extreme or far-fetched to be true? Well, think about it, we all had been in relationships that were doomed from the start and we had been with people not because we had been madly in love with them, but because we felt lonely and we needed someone, didn’t we? What about settling down with someone we are not at least 90% sure that we want to share a house, have kids and get old?
Such decision can’t and should not be a product of the society’s expectations or forced by a peer pressure.
In my country, we say ‘For every train, there are passengers’ which means that you’ll find someone who is right for you, not perfect but just right. And I believe this to be true, as it takes the pressure and the unnecessary worry from you.
However, the scrutiny on women and the whole cocktail of expectations remains, we can see it in the cultural industry which surrounds us, in the movies, in the music, in the books, in the adverts we watch on the TV. I’ve come across an article which literally says that women in their 30s should not be so pretentious in their choice of partner simply because the “pool of men available” shrinks. If that is not a form of a bad influence, I don’t know what is it.
People marry even in their 60s, people should be happy with their choices, not to be forced to make them.
So, be pretentious doesn’t mean that you should decline every offer or date you get, it means that you know what you want and you wouldn’t settle for less. Take a deep breath and take your time!