The linear ever after

Rants

The second sex, may by no means be the weaker one, according to Simone de Beauvoir, but according to Cypriot culture, it’s the one whose life has already been pre-determined. You don’t need to look into the remnants of coffee stained cups or the palm of your hand ladies, your life is spelled out for you the moment you are born without that golden member. Your life is an equation of sums and losses that all equate your perfect, charming quotidien into a meagre sense of achievement.

And here is your cue to say “Thank you”, whispers your grandmother.

My problem with this, is that increasingly, I’m not just hearing about this happily-ever-after from my grandma, whose old fashioned take on life can best be taken as quaint and romantic, if not blatantly ignorant. No, increasingly, I’m hearing this from my peers. I find it disappointing that in the 21st century, the majority of women my age cannot think beyond the domestic box of marital happiness. As 20-somethings, where is the thirst for new experiences? Where is the insatiable energy for learning and self-discovery? Why all this sudden rush to wear our bank installments round our neck with a sense of pride at our adulthood? Why do I feel more added pressure from the women my age, than from parents and extended family?

Of course, this is only exacerbated by the very fact that we are traversing across the very trying expanse of wedding season. I never used to hate weddings, but I do now.  Walking towards the bride and groom to offer my heartfelt congratulations I’m convinced the mixture of exhaustion and greed (after all, why invite 6,000 guests?) makes me a barely discernible figure as I near the couple’s stand; at most, I’m seen as a € sign. And the underlying logic that echoes from person to person leaves me nothing more than shocked: “It’s an investment, I go to their wedding, they come to mine”. So basically, what everyone is doing is circulating the same €50 around and around and around. A genuine gesture, indeed.

But what particularly got me today, was a rather indiscreet question as I was having my morning coffee and talking about canoeing. It cut through my sense of individuality quite sharply: “When are you going to have a baby?” And suddenly I felt the extra weight of expectation, the additional stress of not wanting to meet the standards predefined by apparently everyone in my circle. It makes me want to despise everything within the linear fairy tale that everyone seems to fool themselves into. A baby? I’m still a kid myself!

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t claim to have the answer to a happy life. For some, marital bliss and everything that comes with it may be that which fulfills them. But leave some room for the odd ones out, will you? We can’t all fit into the cookie-cutter world of the predictable. Some of us might want to try going the other route and in all honesty, what’s it to you?

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The unsuspecting vegetarian

Rants

Courtesy: Jorge-11

Easter: a time of vegetarian solidarity. The much dreaded religious holiday is already well underway and to top it off this year, I have my birthday to crown the greatest of all feasts on Easter Sunday. Oh dear.

I have never been one to hang around the lamb on the spit, gradually roasting its way into mouth-watering decadence (for some). As for the liver wrapped in intestine, I unsuspectingly declined plates of this delicacy falsely believing it was rooster, which was offensive enough to my innocent spirit, let alone the vulgar reality of the aforementioned specific body parts. Indeed, Easter has always been out to get me when I least suspected it.

As a kid, I have fond memories of lighting firesparkles, a ritual that required speed and enthusiasm. The end goal was lighting all the firesparkles in the garden. The reward? A soup of intestines, liver and stomach. I slurped unsuspectingly without really understanding what it was I was forcing myself to digest.

Years later, no longer the soup sucker that I was as a kid, I was pretty much against most food on the table, simply because it didn’t agree with my palate. On Saturday night after church, after gathering at an aunt’s house for the traditional soup (thanks, I’ll pass), meat (no, I’m fine thanks) and potatoes (do I have to eat this at 12:30 a..m? Really?) I scanned the dining table for a sign of something barely edible so late in the night. There was hardly anything worth noting: the usual suspects were there, as was the gelatin with private body parts, ears and whatnot floating in a see-through volume of a globe. Then I noticed a plate of spaghetti and eggs, a newcomer and a rather unusual recipe altogether. I hurried to add a serving; given that I was always criticized for the lack of food in my plate, I was more than elated that the spaghetti took up a considerable portion. But of course, there was a catch. As I forked a bunch of spaghetti and egg and raised it to mouth, my uncle across me asked calmly: Since when do you eat intestines? Since, omg I’m going to faint. I barely smiled politely.

That was a close one.

And then here we are now, not so many years later. Am I traumatized? Hell yeah! Every Easter I dread all the food on the table, all the jokes on my eating habits and all that meat that’s trying to make its way into my mouth, one way or another. But this year, , let the whole world rejoice with souvla on my birthday. I will feel happy to mouth a bit of green and a slice of cake — I’ve got my 29th to chew on.

Note: soon something you can chew on. More in coming entries.