Friday, October 23, 2009
She was one of the warm faces when I first got here. Tall, slim, composed and gentle especially when she opens her mouth and speaks with her catching British accent. Let’s call her Sultry Suzy for this blog entry, shall we.
Of Arab parents but raised in London, U.K, Sultry Suzy is a faculty member in the department. She’ll look you in your unsettled face, that face of yours that says I’m a new puppy in town still trying to settle in, and she’ll warmly declare: “ I’ve been here for eight years darling and it’s been magic. You’ll be just fine”.
Sultry Suzy is over 30 years old, single and looking. Or so I assumed when we were walking home one day, each one carrying a box of essays to mark and literally being the sight for sore eyes on the street. While we talked she said: “ those embassy boys are just clueless. I mean come on, what’s left is that I throw my number on the floor and pretend I need someone to pick it up for me”.
I giggle, she looks me in the eyes to see where I stand on this issue of boys and ‘number-tossing’, we both see in each others’ eyes the differences we have, and we both decide, in the same moment, to respect our differences.
Days went by and I run into Sultry Suzy on my way to the copyroom. Still elegant as ever, she giggles my way about having coffee these days, we keep saying we’ll have coffee to each other but it seems we never actually get to it. Which remains a good topic to strike up in a hallway conversation.
As we talk, Sultry Suzy suddenly says, while still half giggling about some joke I had said: “ oh and did you check out the new faculty men, I’ll have you know since we’re both single that there’s a cute one there, a must see”.
She tells me his name.
I say: “ oh. Him. Not my style but let me know how it goes my dear. You’ll have me at the wedding now wouldn’t you”. We keep smiling and talking and being friendly while still reading each others’ eyes for those unheard declarations of differences on the question of being single, and looking.
Perhaps I’ve never given it thought, but it did catch my attention how Sultry Suzy categorizes me with herself as a single person who’s on the margins of aging for marriage and therefore ought to catch the next train, running, running very very fast with her best pair of Addidas on.
In my mind, deep in there I guess, I must have thought that such a stereotype about “aging women” would only come from older, more traditional women and not Sultry Suzy who chooses to live an un-Islamic (I’m not sure she’s Muslim, actually, can never tell unless I ask) lifestyle of a modern city girl who dates men in order to find a husband.
It is good to learn that despite the different routes we take to approach the question of marriage, what remains common to just about every person out there is that level of anxiety, perhaps a sprinkle of resistance against societal pressure, or the common disappointments one encounters in men/women throughout life, getting through bad choices or growing peaceful with the search for the right one. Or that instinct of waiting for love and not rush. Or to rush and get it over with, regardless of love.
That zone, now I see more clearly, is a universal one, even across genders.