The fact that my dad and I are the eligible bachelors in the family means we get a lot of advice around the dinner table. They bring up available women. Friends of friends, daughters of dance partners, or this-person-I-know.
It’s strange to come upon the sudden realization that my dad and I are at the same point in life. Does that make me old, or him young?
They ask us our tastes: Looks? Personality? Older or younger? I say, “Money”, but they know me well enough to know I’m joking. A joke to hide my answer, for to reveal myself in this way is to expose a certain vulnerability. So they sidestep the question and ask me if I’m after anyone, thinking that if I describe a person I’m interested in, they’ll be able to figure out what I’m looking for. It’s complicated, I think to myself, so only reply with a “No”. They ask me if there’s anyone after me. “No”. That’s even more complicated.
Last week, my grandmother asked me how old I was. “28”, I told her. “Already! You’re almost 30. It’s time for you to get married.” She says if I stay in Hong Kong all the girls will be after me because I have some kind of gentleman scholar look. My dad too; he’s the man’s man, who’s always been fun and popular. And we have Canadian passports. Apparently, we’re in demand.
But they also want to make sure we’re not getting involved with the wrong type of women. Someone who will take our money once we’re married, or force alimony once they trap us with children. They tell us to keep an eye on each other. I say that my dad doesn’t need my approval if he wants to get married, but I don’t need his approval either. So they tell us to bring our girls to meet them, to be sure they’re okay.
I wonder; is love this easy for other people? Something others can control, when I can’t control it myself?