I am 22 years old. Naturally this is the average age of my closest friends, the people I have grown up and gone to school with. The early twenties. I went to a girls school for most of my life and even after school I have found that among my close circle of friends, there are more girls than boys.
Let’s talk about the biological clock now. Is it something that women actually feel? Or is it a social construct that tells a woman it is about time she took up her role as wife and possibly mother because looking around all her peers seem to be doing it? Or is it a manifestation of the advanced neurological development characteristic of girls? Or is the fact that women have so much pressure put upon them to be in control of everything and take care of everyone while the men kinda just need to show up?
Whatever it is, courtesy of this biological clock, my friends and I, shockingly, are at an age where we are worrying about running out of time. As objective as I wish I could sound right now, brushing it off as something I am too logical to experience, I have and still am a victim of this self imposed fear. Yes, I really do think that at the age we are at, whatever the biological clock is supposed to feel like, this is not it, this is self-imposed, the pseudo-biological clock.
In the master plan that most, if not all, girls grow up with pre-programmed in their heads, by the late twenties, one should have settled down, figured out their career and have started to have babies. If by that time one is to be settled down, then surely, simply working backwards a little tells you that right now, our early twenties, we should have at least some prospects, an inkling even, of who we think might be our partner in crime.
**Speaking for a small circle of friends that I have had this conversation with. Wondering it I am perhaps just escaping speaking honestly as an individual. Deciding to keep the ‘We’ and moving on swiftly.**
This panic is made even more urgent by the fact that we all want a story that spans a considerable number of years. At this point I’m picturing the couples featured on ‘The Wedding Show’ or whatever other wedding themed shows there are these days. How long they have known each other/been together is a question that the couple is always asked. 3 years. 4 years. 5 years. This makes sense, marriage is very serious business, nothing to be rushed into.
Put yourself in our shoes…look around…the social template has ordained that marriage is what comes after several years, not days or months or a year, but years of having known each other. Simple arithmetic, if we do not have prospects by now, our early twenties, are we at risk of going it alone.
Now, this is not even the worst thing that could happen to us, but it seems to be one of the things we fear the most.
Then there’s the gender gap.
The gender mind gap to be more specific.
Even before I was ever really aware that such a thing existed, I could have told you a thing or two about it. By the time I was in form 2(my second year of high school), I had very few male friends in high school. Everyone I knew and actually talked to had cleared high school by then.
The exact same thing is true for being in our final years at university now. We look around, all we see is a bunch of guys we really cannot relate with, and we panic some more!
A classmate of mine, a rather shifty fellow in my opinion, **cough cough** is always trying to get me to make a chill plan with him. Being very close with 2 out of the 3 other girls in my class, we talk often, about everything, and I know from them that he is always trying to make chill plans with them as well, using the exact same lines he uses on me! (Yes, beware guys, we talk about these things! Maybe you want to make sure girls are not in the same circle of friends before you start hitting on them?) One time, I suppose in a bid to discover whether or not I have a boyfriend, he casually asked if my “guy” is in Juja. (Juja is where my school is, so we all stay around.)
Allow me to digress here…I over-analysed this question in true female fashion.
Rather than approaching it from the, do you have a guy/boyfriend angle, he is trying to deflect, be a bit more impersonal, “Is your guy in juja?”, he asks. Making an assumption that I do have one and detaching himself from the disappointment that may follow the discovery that I may in fact may have one. Much in the same way as one would say “You shall be missed”, rather than “I will miss you”, implying that in fact they shall miss you but freeing themselves of having to really admit it out loud. Much in the same way as one may use ‘We’ rather than ‘I’ in a statement, to blanket things. Expressing feelings and being honest can be a bit scary guys!
Back to the question though, and what my response was. First, I laughed. I genuinely laughed! I’m in fourth year and among the oldest people on campus, save those that have 5 or 6 year courses or are undertaking post-graduate studies. I honestly look around and see babies and my motherly instinct is to take them under my wing and show them the ropes in the big bad world that is Juja. Or more realistically, keep my earphones on and just keep walking…
I’m trying to get at the fact that, given that I am among the oldest people on campus, I do not even look around. I really do not expect any of my age mates to wow me at this point. (Wondering if I shall ever have to swallow my words.)
A friend of mine recently went on a class trip and commented on how for the 5 or 6 hours that the trip back took, she was seated next to a bunch of her male classmates and she could not believe the content of their conversation. Cars, bikes, gadgets, sports, girls, alcohol. The end.
Do guys ever crave meaningful relationships with each other? Meaningful conversation? I will make a million excuses for these guys just so that it does not seem like I am biased by virtue of being a woman. Okay, not a million, just one. Perhaps these guys, despite being classmates, are not really friends. Maybe this was small talk that had to span 5-6 hours. Given that I can sustain small talk for only a handful of minutes before turning reclusive, I feel their pain and admire their efforts.
I asked a few of my male friends whether this is the norm and they said no guy wants to be the ‘soft’ one around their friends. Whilst the conversation revolves around fast cars and football, who wants to be the guy who breaks the cycle and brings up the fact that they may be inexplicably sad and moody…ha ha!
Sure, these may be their interests and there’s nothing wrong with discussing them, but if I had had to listen to this banter for 6 hours, I myself would have dismayed, pseudo-biological clock loudly ticking.
My friend who did have to go through this brought this up when we were talking and mused saying,
“Are these the men we are supposed to end up with?
Are they going to catch up soon? Are they all like this?”
Clearly we can be forgiven for letting our pseudo-biological clocks get to us, no?
NO! I will conclude with what I’m always telling my friends, “Stop panicking about finding men, the men to marry us shall find us”. A good friend of mine would at this point chime in and say, “We shall just marry ourselves,” but this is not her blog so I shall end with mine, “The men to marry us shall find us.”
Now go ahead and put that pseudo-biolgical clock on mute and finish that degree!