Are you scared of becoming that woman with 27 cats?

Have you ever wondered why it is always the woman with the 27 cats and not the man? Why do people not say the man with the 50 dogs as this lonely, spinster who pines alone for his dogs? It is very odd. If a man is single, in any culture, at the age of 25- he is the bachelor who is living it up. He doesn’t need actually need to even have a relationship to be accepted. Heck, he can even get to 50 and as long as he has a stable job, people won’t even think twice about it.

However, is that really the same for women? In the Asian world, and probably many other worlds, women at 25 and not married is classed as ‘out of date.’ Women fear it and once upon a time I did as well. I used to hear from the age of just 18 that marriage is around the corner. I always said to my mum I would be the woman with the 27 cats. I didn’t even feel any embarrassment saying it- I probably should have though. Not because of my parents, I mean if my dad had it his way, his little girl will be home every day of her life. She doesn’t need anyone as long as she had her dad holding her through life. But, society is different.

Every girl is raised to fear ending up alone. You go to weddings and will hear ‘You’re next.’ I can assure you there have been 50 since I first heard that and for all of you girls thinking about this, you probably heard it too. Why must we fear not getting married more than death itself? Why do we need to think that marriage will solve all of our problems? Is this cultural or is this religious? It’s both by the way.

Anyway, when you grow up as a girl the one thing you think about is the wedding day and not the marriage. Many girls today will be told marriage has to happen because heaven-forbid they do not get married but is that it in life? If you are not married by 30, that’s it isn’t it. You start the catery up. You knit the little jackets for your cats and you begin to rock in the corner. That doesn’t ever happen but that’s what you start to imagine.

Parents with sons do not have to worry about this. They encourage their sons to get a stable job first. There is no sell-by date but there is the worry of course but not like the ones with daughters.

I see it more today in all cultures than I have ever before. It honestly doesn’t matter what race you are I see it. Girls are showing their engagement rings, planning their weddings and excited for their big day. It is beautiful to see it really is because in our eyes, we are doing what we were raised to do.

But.. were you told about how life would be after the wedding day? I am sure you looked amazing in your wedding outfit, your family looked happier than ever, tears were shed but what about the day after? Have you two discussed where you want to be in 10 years, have you discussed your life goals or the most horrific topic of all- money. Have you discussed chores? Have you planned when you want kids? Have you discussed your core belief system. These things do take time and thankfully a lot do. However, a lot believe we need the ring. We are taught to put a ring on it. That’s it. The rest is over- he is trapped now. Wrong. No one is ever trapped and if you think that, you need to think harder. We are in a modern day where things are only getting better. Cheryl Cole or Cheryl Vas something was divorced in less than 14 seconds. If you do not think about the core principles of marriage, that could a possibility.

We start to think the day after our wedding day. You wake up and you really start to think about your life more. Are you going to be a housewife that you promised your husband because I mean it is not unheard of making out you are Nigella in the kitchen and the most family-oriented person in the world. You may have even thrown out the ‘whilst you work, I will look after your parents.’ Or did you go the other way, did you say you will be the breadwinner and earn the millions and will make time for all of the other menial chores.  What expectations did you say before? Thing is, expectations is just that. It is not a tangible good you can keep forever. It is a concept and concepts can change. You both must be ready for it..

Now let’s start by discussing the parents with the sons. Ha they got it easy right, they didn’t worry about daughters and planning their big day before they hit the old age of 25? Incorrect. No their struggles are just beginning. They have inherited a new daughter. A daughter raised to believe the wedding day is the biggest day of their lives. Their new daughter has been raised to the point of their wedding day. You have to treasure this daughter like she was treasured in her own home. Are you ready to open up to her? Because the rest of her life is up to you. I mean you’ve taught your handsome son to focus on getting a good job and staying out of trouble. Have you taught your son how to listen to women or help out in the house? Are you willing to admire your new daughter like she has been admired in her life? Will you stick up for her when she is lower than low because her family isn’t calling her every second in the day anymore.

And for the parents who are raising your daughters, you have taught your daughters to stay home and not become too social. Yeah YOUR home.Not all homes are the same though. So although you have   protected the apple of your eye from the big, bad world, you’ve now released her to it? She is so so used to being in your home, with you paying for her, feeding her and you cleaning her clothes. Now she is expected to do that for someone else. Is she really ready? She’s ready to look beautiful and to tell the world she is Mrs .. but is she ready to become everything you are now? Have you taught her that marriage is hard work or have you encouraged her to have her big wedding day the minute she finishes her university degree.

Can you see the dilemma yet?

Sons are being taught to become independent and earn money and girls have been taught to stay sheltered. When she says she wants to pop out and socialise, you will ask for what time she is back? When he says he will pop out and see some friends, you wave them goodbye- That’s my boy. They are taught very different things and now they are running a home together. These expectations that have been sent from above is causing a lot of hiccups in society today. Can your son be ready for his new wife’s demands. They now have new limits to their freedom. Can they cope? They are different to yours but that’s what a marriage is. It is a partnership. Is he really ready for that? What if the man isn’t earning as much as he would like and the girl is not as homely as she wants to be? Nothing kills a relationship more than over-promising and under-delivering.

I have had a thought and that is 50/60 years ago, marriages lasted for multiple reasons, such as fear of society, social norms and gender roles that are enforced. They were taught how to be a good wife and a good husband. Now, it is a little different. We are raised to have the big wedding day. We want to put the pictures on the wall, we want to upload the pictures onto Instagram, we want to basically tell the world. Parents worry about getting the spouse more than keeping the spouse. Parents are sheltering their kids from any possible scandal so they marry them quickly. However, is a divorce not as scandalous anymore? Not really. I mean it happens in every family. Thing is, why marry at all if you fear there could be a divorce? Marrying for the wrong reasons will never work out in my opinion and I hope people agree with me. I’m not saying drag out a relationship or live together first. I mean communicate clearly why you want to get married and be sure of who you are first because you want the grounds to be as steady as possible first. You need to know your 10 year plans, your idea of perfection and to be willing to open up to another family.

You need to be sure who you are marrying as a woman. Women are quick now to say yes to someone because they are fulfilling their duties. Thing is that is just one. When you are married, you have a million more. If you are not ready for that or if you are not sure you want the person you are marrying, why are you getting married right now? Because we are all too scared to become the woman with the 27 cats, that’s why.

Are you scared of becoming that woman with 27 cats?

Are boys only allowed to become independent?

Let me set the scene for you..

Perfect little asian family, perfect little home, perfect little neighbourhood, perfect everything. But what defines perfect to you? In asian society, perfect is having the whole family spending every minute at home. My mum would probably like to add cooking to that too might I add. But is that really reasonable to ask in this day and age..

This blog is written by someone who clearly likes to challenge the norms. Not because she enjoys it believe it or not, but because what better way to express ones feelings than writing.

Back to writing. Hope you enjoy my thoughts.

So I have been thinking.. I am one of the lucky ones believe it or not. Extremely lucky. Went to a top Grammar school, allowed to live at university and even buy not one car but two in the first year of driving. I was allowed to skip the boring chores and relax at home. All day, every day. Maybe so relaxed I forgot that I am basically horizontal as my mum would say. I am living on cloud 9. This isn’t unusual for the bengali culture before you start judging me. I have seen countless people in my life where the kids live in a bubble. Not because we are all spoilt brats, which I agree we are. But because it is safe for all of our parents to believe that by staying at home and having very little social life with the outside world, we will be protected. Protected from the bad western influences, the gossip from the community-led local whatsapp group and protected from making a mistake.

As you can imagine, there are a lot of pros in this deal. Free food, free from responsibility routine, free everything. But is it really free? It did cost one thing. This one thing could mean absolutely nothing to some and absolutely everything to another person and that is independence. Could the easy life be the most fulfilling life? In my opinion, I have personally never liked rules. I have always liked to challenge them. In school teachers would say stop talking and I would say okay I will write notes instead. In university, I would frequently voice my opposition opinions in Politics. I mean do we  really need a free NHS? I studied for 4 years on challenging opinions, expressing arguments and voicing my own opinion. Therefore, it is not surprising at all that this cost to me would be a tough pill to swallow. I didn’t just study to be different, I was raised to be different. That can be expressed in a blog so big it might as well be a novel so I will write that another time. So I want to share my feelings and see if any of you agree.

Anyway, back to my question, some children, and I use that term lightly because lets face it, they are probably 24/25/26 years old, are just perfect in the eyes of the culture. They go to a great job and go straight home and start making samosas. They know their independence comes with marriage and nothing sooner. So I ask, can one lifestyle be applicable to all? I sadly disagree.

So I could have passed my 11+, gained 12 GSCS, 4 A-levels, 2 Degrees and I sadly am not still not classed as perfect in this lifestyle. Independence is not something girls, in my opinion, are entitled to. We are entitled to be educated (Now!) but not quite the independence and freedom others can have. This is all down to the idea of perfection. We don’t ever talk about girls in the idea of educated, hard working, independent and thick skinned. We think of girls as someone’s daughter or wife. We do not celebrate girls degrees in society but instead their marriages.  If you go on social media, speak to your mum, turn on the TV, marriage is what parents aspire for their daughters and being an independent man for their sons.

This is the key difference. Completely different perceptions of perfect. Boys can travel across the world and settle there if they wish and say it is to keep sending money home but really they are experiencing independence. Yes, I can send money home too. I would love to but it is still not a valid reason for girls. Would they even accept the money? I think not. Even though I was encouraged to study, I never need to put it into practice.

So I ask another question, if you never experience being happy by yourself with real life experiences, can you ever run a home?

I have started to notice differences in my mum and dad. My dad is wise. Too wise some would say. This is a trait from my home town- yes you guessed it Beanibazaar. If you aren’t familiar with this, are you really even bengali?

Anyway, back to the story, he never has implied religion is the end all which is quite strange for an Asian dad. He never really put those social norms onto me at all. I would cut my hair a cm and he would say why not cut it short. I would write with a paper and pen and he would say why not use a laptop. He gave me the true start to being different and advanced.

As my analytical mind got to work, I started thinking. How can my Essex born mum from Southend have a less understanding of independence and freedom than my Bangladeshi born dad with 8 other siblings. How is that possible? That defeats everything. Being in Essex has got to make you loosen up right? WRONG. My dad travelled independently, he made friendships all over the world, he connected to people different to himself. He learnt from others, he listened to others and he knew what kind of person he wanted to be. He was quite the rebel in my eyes. But still yet, I looked up to that my whole life. Why would you not want to be like that? That was a dream I am not quite allowed unfortunately. My mum was slightly different. She went from the perfect daughter at home straight to being married. She stayed with people with the similar thoughts as her parents and her own. She learnt from people in her social norm. My dad had a little gap in between. He gained at least 8 years of independence. Yes yes you can say he had to earn money to run a house but that does not go against the idea he lived in Dubai, America, UK and probably so many more places he hides. He found himself before getting married and my mum found herself in marriage. It begs the question, are boys only allowed independence? My answer is.. yes. You cannot say independence is in marriage because as my mum rightly says ‘Your guardian becomes your husband’ you have to ask for someone else’s permission. If my mum married someone different to my dad, she wouldn’t necessarily even gain the little independence she did receive. That is all luck. Boys have the luxury of becoming better people through experience however girls do not have that, they have to just become better whilst being secluded. Is that really possible? Is it really that surprising that women leave marriages quickly now? Do they know how to act to something out of the home? These are all questions I think we should think about.

Independence, self awareness and feeling comfortable in your own skin is crucial for building relationships in my eyes. If you cannot make yourself happy, how can you bring that happiness to someone else’s life?

I will stop for today. Don’t worry. I will be back.





Are boys only allowed to become independent?