Busted Halo
feature: sex & relationships
January 14th, 2003

Telenovela

Love and the Social Pressures of Marriage

 
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“It’s about time you got married, don’t you think…”

This phrase should be deemed the cultural stigma that we cannot get past. First, when I was in my early twenties, my childbearing years were quickly passing, and everyone (except my mother who to this day says she’s too young to be grandmother) just looked at me in wonder. Even that cousin—the one no one thought would ever get married—found his mate.

In the year 2001 twelve babies were born in my extended family. Suddenly, I was the only one who did not arrive at family gatherings adorned with a diaper bag, stroller, walker, pictures and, of course, the camcorder (we don’t want to miss any of those special moments).

My family stopped asking about boyfriends when I reached my mid-twenties and showed no sign of a committed relationship. Then they changed tunes and asked if I was going to be a nun.

The long distance man
So last year when I announced a man in my life, my family and friends quickly began to ask, “Where is this going? Is there going to be a wedding soon? What will your dress look like?” Such large external pressures arose.

When I mentioned these questions to my boyfriend, Noel, who lives across the country from me, he said, “Isn’t it strange how many social pressures we have around the institution of marriage?” We are both in our late twenties, and he is number 6 in a family of 11. He is the only one, besides his 8-year-old sister, who has not begun a family of his own. I only have a thirteen-year-old brother, so not much friendly familial competition is arising from his end (let’s keep it that way!).

Telenovela love
Being in a long distance relationship, I believe I have come to know Noel well, but cannot tell you of those everyday habits which I will find endearing or taxing. We have not figured out how we “fit” on a daily or even weekly basis in each other’s lives.

He says we have a telenovela(soap opera) relationship. We can tune in via PCS to PCS when we wish. We can turn off the cell phone when we don’t want to hear from each other. If we even begin to argue, we can hit the end call button and blame it on a faded signal.

We still remain very individualistic. Most of our friends are single. When our few friends who are couples have couples night out, we are not invited because living in different cities does not allow us to have a public “couple face.”

Neomi & Noel’s new season
But our lives are soon to change because we will be living in the same city. To those family and friends who continue to tune in to the “Neomi & Noel” saga…well, I have given them a variety of responsibilities for the maybe-someday-wedding, because they really just want a big party.

Of course, what the protagonists of this telenovela really want is to look beyond the party to a long and life-giving relationship. In the meantime, the big question I have asked Noel is, “What if we really don’t like each other once we are in the same city?”

 
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The Author : Neomi DeAnda
Neomi DeAnda writes from Chicago.
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