My Aunt Liz had been pestering me for weeks to have lunch with her, and I finally relented last Friday.
The reason why I put off our meeting for so long is the inevitable turns our conversations take to the subject of marriage.
Please understand that I love my aunt dearly. But she has it in her mind that, at my age, I should already be married with AT LEAST three kids by now.
So, we met at the restaurant and exchanged the usual pleasantries as we placed our order.
“How is work, my dear? Have you made peace with that boss of yours yet?”
Relieved that she hadn’t asked about my love life, or lack thereof, I dived into this topic with gusto.
“Work is great! My boss Is still behaves like the spawn of Satan but I do my best to stay out of her way. I have wonderful colleagues…”
“Male colleagues?” she interrupted. My heart sank. I could see where this was going.
“Er, of course. Some male, some female. We make a great team…”
“Sweetheart, you know I don’t beat around the bush, and I only have your best interests at heart. You believe me, don’t you?”
I answered hesitantly. I was on my guard because I sensed she was about to do the parental-reverse-psychology thing that they do so well. She’d trapped me with it before.
“Yes, Aunt Liz, I do believe you. But wha-…”
“Don’t interrupt, my dear. When are you going to make us all happy and bring a man home?”
Here we go. I knew this was coming. I was fumbling for something to say when the waiter saved my life and brought our food. I could have hugged him were it not for the hint of hygiene-
deficiency I noted when he leaned over with my plate, but that’s another story.
“Wow, this looks delicious,” I enthused, making a big deal of reaching for the salt, chilli, ANYTHING that would detract from the subject of my love life.
“Don’t change the subject!” There was no stopping this woman. “You need more than your job and your friends. That biological clock is ticking, you know.” Aunt Liz tapped her watch emphatically. Meanwhile, a tiny voice in my head reminded me that it is taboo to strike your father’s sister. I suddenly didn’t feel very hungry anymore.
“Auntie, I do get your point, but you don’t just go out and get a man like you’re buying a pair of shoes. When it happens, it will happen. Til then, I’m doing perfectly well without a man in my life.”
“Nonsense! You’re incomplete, you’re half a person. If meeting men is a problem, I’d be very happy to introduce you to some of my friends’ sons,” she offered.
No way. I’d rather eat my own head. I had been a victim of my aunt’s blind date shenanigans and had promised myself NEVER AGAIN. Celibacy is much more attractive.
The meal continued in silence for a while. By the time we finished eating, I think Aunt Liz had realized that her forceful tactics weren’t getting her anywhere. She adopted a more conciliatory tone.
“Listen my dear, I don’t mean to harass you. If you feel you don’t need a man right now, that’s fine. Take your time,” she said. Here was the parental reverse-psychology thing.
“Thanks Auntie. I appreciate your advice, I really do. And as soon as Prince Charming sweeps me off my feet, you’ll be the first to know.”
We paid the bill and left the restaurant. Just before she got into her car, Aunt Liz asked me to go for lunch at her house on Sunday. We seemed to have agreed to disagree, so I accepted.
“Oh good! I’m just having a few people over. And you can meet Maria’s son! Such a lovely boy, about your age, unmarried, no children and with a fantastic job! See you then my dear, take care!” And off she zoomed, before I could back out of her stealthily-planned blind date.
Surely I could come up with some rare tropical disease before Sunday?
I’ve never been so relieved to get back to the office. I was even almost happy to see my boss!
Actually, that’s a lie. Things were bad, but they weren’t that bad.