Thursday, November 22, 2007

Mama, don't preach

For one of the most independent and most headstrong women I know, my mother sometimes astounds me with her archaic views in life, particularly when she dispenses advice (read: lectures) regarding my love life (or more accurately, lack thereof). The other day, we were talking about a couple who's getting married in a rush because the girl got pregnant. My mom made a comment about how sweet-natured and naive the girl is, and proclaimed in all her sagacity that that's the type of girl men prefer, and in the same breath admonished me to be more like that type. In a withering tone, I responded, "So you want me to get pregnant too?" To my satisfaction, that shut her up.

I really don't understand what decade my mother is stuck in, that she thinks all women have to behave a certain way to be considered desirable by the opposite sex-- and more specifically, to be considered marriage material. I guess in her head, all men want to be wed some sort of grotesque Maria Clara-Marsha Brady hybrid. I'm sure there are some guys who do go for that kind of thing, but do I want to be with that sort of guy? I think not.

Here are a few more of the unsolicited, antiquated gems my dear mother is so fond of sharing with me (read: shoving down my throat):
  • Men don't like women who appear smarter than they are. - Right, so I have to act insipid and ditzy to improve my chances of attracting guys. I should channel Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton, and all the dumb blondes I can think of to pull this one off.
  • Men are intimidated by successful women. - Okaaayyy, so I should conceal that I graduated from a prestigious university, was hired by a major insurance company to be trained for a managerial position, studied abroad in one of China's top universities, taught high school English at an exclusive private school, and now help run my family's flourishing retail business. Let me go shred my resume now...
  • On a date, the woman should always let the man do most of the talking. - I have a suspicion this also implies that the woman should not ask too many questions or initiate conversation, so I guess that means I should just concentrate on chewing my food. Daintily. That, and I should practice nodding a lot and laughing politely.
  • It's a turn-off when a woman speaks in an animated or expressive manner. - Interpreted as: she should be meek and mild and demure, and as entertaining as dry toast. The challenge here is how to keep the guy awake throughout the entire date. Through intense eye contact, perhaps?
  • Women should never come off as opinionated or argumentative. - Shouldn't be too hard to maintain a passive demeanor, since I won't be doing much talking anyway.
  • A "proper lady" does not stay out late with a gentleman. - When it comes to dates, my mother's idea of "late" is 10PM. Which helps reinforce the image of the engaging, fun-loving personality I would have already established by not talking much, and in the rare instances I do, in a completely un-animated, un-opinionated manner. The guy will probably be raring to bring me home anyway, after my having been such an enchanting dinner companion.
Admittedly, I haven't had much luck being a smart, successful, talkative, animated, opinionated girl who stays out past 10PM. But not ALL my dates have been horrible, and I HAVE met guys who, miraculously, don't seem to be cowed by intelligence or success, and don't mind listening to me talk and share my opinions. Let's say I do heed my mom's advice and pretend to be this silly, softspoken, submissive, hollow-headed, prim and proper prude, and let's say I do attract more men, and I do end up marrying one of them. Then what? I keep up the act and live in self-loathing forever, or show my true colors and shock my poor husband with the kind of woman he really married? What's the point in putting up a false front during the dating phase of a relationship? Besides, I don't want to spend the rest of my life with a guy who can't handle that my IQ or income is higher than his, or who won't let me speak my mind and be me. I'd rather stay single forever (but no, Angelo, no cats :p).

Ironically, the kind of woman I am is very much similar to the kind of woman my mother is. Yet here she is, telling me to suppress all of the characteristics I'm proud to have inherited from her. I know she means well and just wants what's best for me (and I know she's anxious to see me married off so I can start producing grandkids for her). But for all my love and respect for her, I firmly believe this is a case where mother doesn't know best. Sorry, Ma.


At Thursday, November 22, 2007, Anonymous pamy said...

"Men don't like women who appear smarter than they are."

"Men are intimidated by successful women."

hi ms lim. i have heard of this "motherly" advices from my own mom too and i find it amusing since it seems to look like we woman have to step down from being someone great.

it's this kind of thinking that stops us from being equals with men. in this world we live in right now, we should just ignore this advice and be who we really are :D

At Thursday, November 22, 2007, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

I agree completely Pamy! Here's to being fierce, fabulous females, single or otherwise! =D

At Friday, November 23, 2007, Anonymous Christa said...

It's so 'Stepford Wives'. X_____X

At Friday, November 23, 2007, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

I told my sister that if ever I start showing signs of becoming a Stepford Wife, she'd better bitch slap me until I come to my senses. Haha.

At Monday, November 26, 2007, Blogger sugeina said...

"...and I HAVE met guys who, miraculously, don't seem to be cowed by intelligence or success, and don't mind listening to me talk and share my opinions."

so what happened with them?

At Monday, November 26, 2007, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Erm... they turned out to be deficient in other departments. Haha. Some of them are still around though. It's just a question of whether they'll stick around long enough for me to decide if I WANT them around or not. :)


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