"¿Y el novio?" There it is, almost every relative's favorite question for me when I go home to visit my family in California. I'm the youngest in a family of 10 and the only one not married or with kids. To add a cherry on top, my twin sister got married last year, and now my family has started a full-court press to find me a man. Please tell me I'm not alone.
My oldest sister even published a post on Facebook promoting that she had a single sister to see if any of her 271 friends were interested in dating me. She got one reply but he was already married. Go figure. Not to worry, because she also has promised/threatened to raffle me off if I’m still single when I turn 30.
Then there are always the family parties and BBQ's where I get asked, "Eres la casada o la soltera?" They used to ask if I was the tall twin or the short one; the one with the freckle on the left or the right of my face; but now they ask if I’m the married one.
Not everyone pushes novios on me, though. There are also the sympathizers. "No te preocupes hija, vas a encontrar a alguien." I appreciate el ánimo, but I don't remember ever saying I was on the hunt for a boo or that I was losing hope of ever finding mi príncipe azul.
Then, of course, there’s the matchmaker. "Te voy a presentar al hijo del primo del tío de mi cuñado. El muchacho tiene cuatro hijos y es un poco feo, pero es trabajador." (Ay cabron!)
When I was younger, I was always told not to get caught up with boys and focus on school so that I could build a successful career. I accomplished that. I’m 29 with a masters from Georgetown working in public relations in New York City. Now I’m getting the complete opposite: Esta bien que tengas una carrera, pero tampoco queremos que te quedes solita.
You just can’t win. It’s sort of like when your tías first criticize you for being gordita. Then you lose weight and get criticized por estar muy flaca. (Bueno pues, pasame un taco.)
I will never forget the look on a family friend’s face when my older sister asked her if she knew of any eligible bachelors for me. This woman’s eyes nearly popped out of her head. "No me digas que estas soltera! Pero estas tan bonita!" she said. Thanks lady. No part of me ever associated being single with the fact that I might be ugly. I might not be Selena Quintanilla (okay, let’s face it, we ALL think we’re Selena), but I definitely do not think I’m La Bruja del 71.
Growing up I was the one in our group of friends to always be in a relationship. Everyone expected me to be the first to get married. Most of my sisters got married and had kids at a fairly young age. Although they are happy with no regrets, I always wanted the opposite for myself. My mind, like many other Latinas, has always been less focused on marriage and more on earning my masters degree, buying my own house, and traveling the world.
Also, I have over a dozen nieces. I want to show them that they have options and that there isn’t a right or wrong path to choose. My 15-year-old niece recently told me that she doesn’t want a boyfriend because she wants to focus on getting good grades so that she can become a journalist in New York City when she graduates college. I want to think that I had a little bit to do with her adventurous and ambitious spirit.
I’m writing this in solidarity for all my chicas out there that resist giving their tía a major eye roll when she starts to ask for the chisme about your love life. We resist the eye roll out of respect, but also because we fear our mom’s chancla that can come flying from around the corner like a boomerang and hit you upside your head.
Now don’t get me wrong. Yes, I would love to have a man to hold me down. I admit that I have had my hater moments when I see couples show affection on the subway. I’ve spent over two years on my own on this New York hustle and it’s exhausting! It’d be nice to have a man’s support and have him pamper me, versus feeling like it’s me against the world.
Until that day comes, I will continue to enjoy being set up on dates and am happy to add a new man to the roster (#TheStartingFive). If he ends up showing that he is starting-point-guard potential, I’m willing to retire from the game and settle down. In the meantime, I’m going to take full advantage of being a triple threat: smart, chingona, and cute AF (Mom always said, "Si no te das ánimo, quien te lo va dar?").