bebek rewel

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, Duck is from Earth

Piece of Mind: Being Single Is OK in Germany, But Unimaginable in Indonesia

Bagi masyarakat Indonesia, urusan nikah-gak nikah (atau urusan kawin-gak kawin) memang selalu menjadi perbincangan yang tak pernah lekang oleh masa. Baik yang ngerumpiin temen yang mau nikah, gosipin rekan kerja yang gak nikah-nikah, sampai kasak-kusukin kenalan yang memang tidak mau menikah (Duh kenapa ya? Apa dia trauma sama lawan jenis? Pengalaman buruk orang tua? Pecinta sesama jenis? Bla-bla-bla…).

Tulisan ini membahas tentang problema seseorang yang berpikir untuk memilih menjadi single di Indonesia. Dalam beberapa hal, tulisan ini juga membuat bebek mengingat sebuah buku karangan Ayu Utami yang berjudul “Si Parasit Lajang”.

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August 06, 2009

Katrin Figge

I attended a wedding this past Saturday and, as much as I enjoyed watching my friend and her partner celebrate their commitment, was reminded of the fact that I’m not in the same position as them. In fact, I’m not even close to tying the knot.

Next month, I will be celebrating my 30th birthday. Being half-German, half-Indonesian, the German part of me tells me not to panic, to wait patiently for my fairy-tale ending.

My Indonesian side, however, is not as calm and as understanding. I remember talking to two Indonesian colleagues during a cigarette break. I said something like “Well, maybe I won’t get married at all. In Germany, that’s actually a very common thing to do nowadays.”

I will never forget the way they both looked at me, with expressions of shock on their faces. One of them almost choked on his coffee, while the other mumbled in disbelief: “Don’t say it, take it back, take it back!”

I guess that’s just the Indonesian way of thinking. For most people here, it is unimaginable to never marry, especially if you’re a woman.

I see the same attitude in my Indonesian family: they are worried about me, scared that I might live out the rest of my days as a spinster.

Whenever I bring a male friend to a family gathering, everybody ends up asking, “Is that your boyfriend?”

When I shake my head and explain he’s just a friend, I can see the disappointment in their eyes. My sister, who is three years older than me, had it even worse. Random guys started calling and asking her out for dinner, saying, “I got your number from your aunt, how about we meet up next weekend?”

My sister got upset by the matter so my aunt didn’t do the same thing to me. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel pressured, especially as my 30th birthday, which kind of feels like a crucial age especially where getting married is concerned, is just around the corner.

Earlier this year, I saw a Chinese fortune teller who told me I would get married in 2010 and that by July 2009 at the latest, I would already know who my future husband is going to be. It’s already August, and I still don’t have a clue.

Is that a bad thing? I don’t really know. There are some potential candidates who match the fortune teller’s description of my future husband. But there are always little details about them that seem wrong. And I am a person who seeks perfection.

Actually, all I’m looking for is someone who is loyal and honest. And maybe someone who shares my passion for football, sushi and whiskey, even though these are minor details I could live without — if I had to.

And I still believe in romance, in being swept off my feet. But it’s really hard to find a good man in Indonesia. Why? Because by the age of 30, most Indonesian men are either already married or engaged or in a serious relationship. As much as I enjoy living in Jakarta, I honestly believe it’s very hard to find the right one for me in this city.

That’s why I am running away for my 30th birthday — I will celebrate it in Singapore with my sister, who has been working there for five years now. That way, I won’t have to deal with pitying looks from my relatives and can instead spend the day with my sister, who is my shining example of an unmarried career woman who can still manage to be in a committed relationship.

I also have a very simple and basic reason — my birthday this year falls near the end of the fasting month of Ramadan and I can’t stand the thought of NOT having a drink on my birthday.

Because in the end, as much as I don’t like feeling pressured about getting married and having lots of beautiful babies, when I was younger, that was exactly how I pictured my life by this age to be like — happily married, the mother of two girls, with another one on the way and definitely not going to sleep alone every night.

Katrin Figge is a features reporter with the Jakarta Globe.

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