I consider myself a "Charlotte." (Yes, yet another analogy in relation to the Sex and the City characters. In my defense Season 6 has been rotating in my DVD player as of late to woo me to sleep, so deal with it!)
In many ways I consider myself a women's rights advocate; a hard-working individual who doesn't need assistance from a man, acknowledges the glass ceiling (especially in my field) but is adamant to breakthrough (while wearing a subtle but sexy pencil skirt, pink silk camisole and five-inch heels, of course). However, I am still traditional in many aspects of my life. Like Charlotte, I have such a strong desire to lead the "perfect" life. I want stability, protection, the white picket fence surrounding the ideal house filled with 1.5 children and one seemingly perfect dog.
Photo of Kristin Davis by the Rainforest Action Network.
I grew up believing that these things trickle into place once you find a hard-working, loving man to be your husband. This was taught to me by my grandmother, who would tell me "No" with a quietness and reserve unique to her personality before explaining that someday when I get married, my husband will buy me whatever I want. Obviously, I'm old enough now to realize she was just trying to prevent a tantrum in an aisle of Toys R Us. But, I still believe that the traditional view of achieving the American dream still lies out of reach simply because I continue to mark single on my taxes.
This realization became full-blown in my mind this week. The other evening, my boyfriend and I attended a black-tie event for a community fundraiser. It had been the first time in many months that we dressed up and spent the evening together without work or cell phone distractions. I felt like a couple again, not just a roommate or a best friend. During the cocktail hour, I supportingly stood by my boyfriend's side as he discussed business with his directors and managers. As I scanned the room, the crowd was mostly older adult (40 years old and above) couples. Politicians, lawyers, small-business owners, perhaps. I felt a twinge of jealousy for these women; they were seemingly happy, successful and married.
This wasn't the first evening that I have longed to be married. This has been on-going for the past two years of my four-year relationship, to be honest. I have always known that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with my boyfriend. But that evening was the first time I felt jealousy towards another couple, for the committment they had and the one I lacked.
The topic of marriage has been easily discussed in my relationship and agreed upon, but a timeline has never been outlined. We both agree that this is where we are headed. So, I ask, why the wait?
My traditional values tell me I must wait until the man courts me, until the man asks me to be his girlfriend, until the man asks me to marry him. Why in the heck does the man get to make all the decisions?! When the tables are turned, whenever women make the move they are viewed as such unpleasant adjectives as: desperate, needy, insecure, clingy and domineering. Society has taught us that men make these decisions, and we should all be so lucky for one of these wonderful men to ask for our hand in marriage.
While I strive to break the glass window in the corporate world, I am held down by the glass window of my relationship without much fight. I am not alone. As often as women fight for equality and proposing to a man becomes more and more common, there are still many more of us waiting for the man to decide our future.
I for one could never imagine the shame I would feel while telling the story of the time I had to ask my husband to marry me because he wouldn't ask me himself. Perhaps, this feeling is exactly what is allowing the men to continue to dictate our relationships. If only they knew the power they held... well, perhaps they already do.