I don’t have a boyfriend. Like Beyoncé circa 2008 and Kraft American cheese, I am indeed single. I don’t have too much of a problem with it. After all, I think half my academic success can be traced back to not having any distractions (also being homeschooled my last two years of high school and being a total nerd). The only problem with being a woman of no attachments is Day Camp… specifically when my 8-year-old charges relentlessly mock me for not being married already.
As surprising as that sounds, I and my fellow counselors are bullied relentlessly by our fifteen tiny Yentas for not “finding a find or catching a catch.” Maybe it is a phenomenon just associated with little girls raised on a steady fodder of teen brides and Disney movies, but they seem to have ridiculously high standards for my romantic achievements. During my first year of camp, when I was merely 15 years old, one of my girls actually asked me if I was married yet and had children. She seemed rather disappointed in me when I replied that I didn’t even have my driving permit, much less progeny. She hoped that I was at least engaged. When she learned I was neither betrothed nor soon-to-be-betrothed she got very worried and said I should better get on that or else I would never have babies and she would never get to babysit them and what a tragedy that would be.
As the years went on, the haranguing only got more intense. The girls made it their mission to butt in every time I was so much as standing in the same general vicinity of a guy my age and ask if their dear Sister Maddie had finally decided to leave the convent. I said no, I’ve never even talked to that guy and no we are not getting married. But I was within three yards of that young man at church, surely we must be tying the knot now? No, just being in a hundred foot radius of a person does not make us romantically involved. The miniature matchmakers were never satisfied. As long as their dual obsessions about weddings and motherhood went unfulfilled, I would be the target of relentless mocking.
“Maddie, when are you going to get a boyfriend?” One of the girls sitting on my lap a couple of weeks ago asked. I looked at her pointedly and glowered. “I’m never going to get a boyfriend. I’m a strong, independent woman and I don’t need no man.” The little girl ignored my feminist declaration and continued on her train of thought. “You should get a boyfriend. Then I can be in your wedding as a flower girl” she replied sweetly. “What if I don’t get married till I’m 30?” I replied snarkily, “You’d be pretty big for a flower girl in twelve years.” “That would be terrible!” She exclaimed, “You’ll be a grandmother by then!” “Are we peasants in Eastern Europe during the Middle Ages? Do I need to worry about my dowry and the coming winter making my presence in my parents’ household a burden on our grain supplies?” I retorted, “Nobody nowadays gets married before they’re in their 20’s!”
“Madison and Christian are getting married, and they’re only 18.” The little girl countered, as if the one extreme was the rule. To be honest, just the idea that people my age (or even younger) are getting married (or even considering it) is deeply distressing to me. While I’m sure they have excellent reasons for getting hitched and are probably a million times more responsible and mature than I am, it is still extremely troubling when I imagine what I would do if I was in their shoes. First of all, I am 18 years old and I live with my parents. I do not have a job and I am pretty much a full time student. My car is messy and I don’t know how to make meatloaf. I enjoy playing Minecraft and reading novels about the Zombie Apocalypse. After working for a CPA for five months I still have no idea what a deduction is. Does that sound even remotely like a mature adult ready to make a lifelong commitment to you? I can’t even decide what t-shirt I want to wear, much less who I want to spend the rest of my life with.
Please, 8-year-old children! Stop pressuring me to get married! I’m not even old enough to drink alcohol! I can’t even rent a car! I know you think I’m really pathetic for not having my whole life together right now, but for goodness sake I’m 18! Who expects an 18 year old to be an adult?! Ok the US government does with all the voting rights and ability to smoke and join the Army and whatnot, but my government doesn’t even trust me with a beer so don’t go around judging me all condescendingly with your disapproving little 4th grader eyes when I say that I shouldn’t be trusted with a husband. Seriously, I will probably forget to feed him or something. Husbands are like goldfish, right?
But in all seriousness, while I respect and even applaud the choices of some of my peers to become responsible grown-ups with responsible grown-up responsibilities, that kind of life is not for me, at least not for me yet. I’m not fully personified yet. Maddie is still cooking, you guys! If you serve her now she will probably give you food poisoning! It’s dangerous, don’t do it! And even though I disappoint my pint-sized matchmakers, I do not have someone in my life at this point that I’d want to marry. So for right now, I am quite content with being an 18-year-old spinster, I know God has the right person out there for me. The kids can mock me all they want but I’ll just laugh back at them because they’re short and they can’t drive. I’m a free-range chicken and I roam free! *Guitar Riff* *Laugh Hysterically* *Sob Uncontrollably*