Sunday, June 14, 2009

Out of Date

My flatmate Saffy says that she is sick and tired of people telling her how wonderful it is that she’s young and single.
“The next person to tell me that gets punched in the face!” she threatened the other day after coming home from a visit to her dying aunt in the hospital. Apparently, Auntie Rosie had reached out with a bony, shaky hand to pinch Saffy’s cheeks and murmured weakly how she wished she was young and single again.
“What a thing to say!” Saffy huffed, her bosom puffing up. “I had to physically restrain myself from reaching for a pillow!”
“Old people can be so insensitive,” Amanda said while arching a perfectly drawn eyebrow.
“I’ll say!” said Saffy, completely oblivious to the sarcasm.
In the world according to Saffy, being young is one thing. But being single is a completely different kettle of fish. There’s nothing fun about being single. Especially if you’ve been single longer than you’ve ever been in a relationship. Being single, in Saffy’s books, is practically a death sentence.
“You do not want to be single!” she told her parents when they told her they were getting a divorce. “You have to go on a lot of dates when you’re single, and let me tell you that they are all dogs out there! And not the good kind either! You have to stay married.”
“But your father and I have grown apart! We have nothing in common anymore,” her mother said.
“Get over it,” Saffy advised. “It’s hell out here for singles. You’re always made to feel like a loser if you’re single.”
“Oh, that’s not true!”
“Spoken like someone who’s not been to a Chinese New Year gathering recently,” Saffy said, bitterness oozing from every syllable. “Or wedding invitations that are always to ‘Saffy and partner’, and if you don’t have a date, they stick you on the loser table of rejects from society.”
“You know, I was single once too and it really wasn’t that…”
Saffy’s bosom inflated to a dangerous volume. “The last time you were single, people still went to the library to look things up! Listen!” Saffy told her mother urgently. “You have got to stay married. It’s bad enough that I have to fight off people like Amanda for men, I am not about to have you competing with me too! No, I am not,” she added, shaking her head firmly.
Saffy’s mother laughed and it wasn’t a pretty laugh. “Dear, do you seriously think that I’m even thinking about dating again? I’ve spent half my life with your father and if I never sex again for as long as I live, it will be too soon!”
“Choy, choy, choy!” Saffy shouted piously and knocked on wood three times. “What a thing to say!”
As it turned out, Saffy’s mother got the divorce she so desperately wanted and within three months, she’d eloped with her divorce lawyer to the Bahamas where they got married on the beach.
Saffy was fit to be tied when she found out. “How the hell did that happen?” she screamed. “That’s not how it’s supposed to happen! That’s so not fair!”
“And your new step-father is cute too!” Amanda said, sliding the dagger in a few inches deeper.
Saffy spent the next few months writing to the Law Society demanding that her step-father be disbarred. He eventually found out about it and said if she kept this up, he was going to get an injunction against her. And when she was told that there was no rule against marrying one’s client, she threatened to write to the Prime Minister. Apparently, the Law Society sent her the PM’s mailing address together with a stamped envelope.
That night, Saffy went to a wedding dinner alone and told all the aunties who said how lovely it was to be young and single that they should just curl up and die. She’s been fuming ever since.
The other day, I came home to find Saffy at the dining table, tapping away at her laptop. “I’m writing a book!” she said without looking up. “It’s going to be about how once you’re married, you can’t get divorced ever. Or remarry. You made your bed, now you have to lie in it. You don’t get to double dip into the dating pool!”
“I think the Roman Catholics got to that rule before you did,” I said, but Saffy wasn’t listening.
“I’m thinking of calling it ‘Back off, Bitch!’ What do you think?”
I hesitated. “Uhm, it’s catchy.”
“And I’m going to dedicate it to my mother!” Saffy said, pounding the keys just a little too hard.