In China, where I won't get married

Recently I have read a post by Kate of Adventurous Kate, about being too late to have a baby, and I was reminded of a funny event that had just happened to me.

Again, I have to thank my laoshi for her enlightening tips on Chinese society. This time, however, I would have probably preferred to stay in the dark.

Whenever she perceives a lack of attention in the class, our teacher throws in some funny bits of oriental etiquette, and this is how I suddenly realised I'm getting too old for having an "ordinary" life.

To be honest, I had already noticed how Chinese people react when I tell them I'm 32, not married and have no children: their head slowly starts leaning on a side, and the movement is usually associated with a compassionate "Aww...". Only when they see my puzzled look, they rush adding: "Oh, but you look 25!"

Probably because I've always lived in Europe, and only traveled out of Europe without really settling, this has come as a surprise. So far, I had never been considered "too old" and most of my friends are neither married or have children. Actually, marry too early is an aspect of Italian life a couple of generations ago.

My grandmother, for example, got married at 19, and at 26 had already to six children. Wisely, she has always advised her daughters not to do so, and instead pursue their personal life goals first. But obviously things had changed since the '40s and '50s, so my mom and aunts had the opportunity to make their own choices independently.

Fortunately, my mother has never put any wedding pressure on me, and has actually always advised to live the life I want, setting my own priorities.

Now, however, I'm gradually accepting the new reality: I won't get hitched in China.

Our laoshi's revealing anecdote was also very funny, telling about a quirky tradition in which desperate parents get to Shanghai city centre to stick their daughters' "CV" on trees or wherever they can in the hope that a Chinese version of Prince Charming can pick his future wife. However, what most has remained impressed in my mind is the very first statement: "Are you over-30? Forget it, you are too ripe to find a husband."

Apart from having already reached the fatal expiration date, I've never felt the need, nor the desire for that matter, to get married.

It's not that I'm totally excluding the possibility, but admittedly, my nomadic lifestyle of changing country (or Continent!) every two years, doesn't help.

Call it "commitment issues", "restless soul", "running away from something", anything might fit the description, but at 32 years of age I haven't thought about marriage yet. Should I?


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