Here’s the thing about human nature: we’re never satisfied. Nothing’s changed since the beginning of time. First, when we were all happily living outdoors and breathing fresh air, we decided we wanted somewhere dry and warm, so we built little huts out of twigs and mud. But we got cold inside, so we built little campfires and basically smoked ourselves like salmon.
Then we thought, “Oooh, I’m not liking having to pee in the bush all the time. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had an en-suite?” And when we got that, we decided that, maybe, it would be fun to have a garage to park our swords and chariots. And the next thing you know, we’d gone and built the Great Wall of China.
It’s all just a never-ending sequence of greed and restlessness.
Another example: Saffy. For the longest time, she moaned to everyone that she was sick and tired of being single. “Do you have anyone you can hook me up with?” she said to my mother on their very first meeting.
“Uhm,” said Mother, a little panicked.
“Or maybe I just need to get laid! You know, just between us, I’ve not been laid since ‘Friends’ ended,” Saffy added. She later said that she felt so comfortable with my mother. “She’s very easy going!” she told me.
As soon as she got home, Mother emailed to say she wasn’t sure I had picked quite the ‘right sort of girl’ to live with. She said the same thing to her sister who then told her daughter Mei who then told our cousin Mark who immediately rang me all the way from Seattle and said, “Your mother says you’re living with a prostitute. Dude! Is that true?”
And then, one day, Saffy met the man of her dreams, Bradley. Here, finally, was a man who adored the ground she walked on. Who said her habit of sitting with her legs wide open on the window sill (“I’m airing myself!”) made complete sense to him and that people just needed to lighten up. Who told her that there was nothing wrong with eating an additional slice of cheesecake if she wanted. Who bought her Estee Lauder and told her she looked wonderful in a dress she was convinced made her look fat. Who reassured her endlessly that he couldn’t imagine life without her. And, more importantly, who patiently sat through a DVD marathon of ‘Notting Hill’, ‘Love, Actually’, ‘Cinema Paradiso’, and ‘Beaches’.
“Aiyoh,” sighed Sharyn, Saffy’s best friend. “I tell you, ah, if I not orredi marry, I sure kidnap Bladley, one!”
Saffy practically glowed.
A few mornings ago at breakfast, Saffy suddenly piped up, “Why doesn’t he want to marry me?”
Amanda looked up from her Blackberry. And then she looked at me. After much practice, we’d learnt that conversations with Saffy tend to include a lot of mentally connecting the dots.
“Uhm,” Amanda began. “Have you discussed this with him?”
Saffy’s chest expanded. “No, we’ve never talked about it.”
“Then how do you know he doesn’t want to marry you?” Amanda asked.
“Well, if he wanted to marry me, he’d have said so, wouldn’t he? He hasn’t said so. Therefore, he doesn’t want to marry me!”
Amanda later said that just when you think you’ve got Saffy all sorted out, she turns right around and gives you a virtuoso performance in spatial thinking. “It’s like living with Dustin Hoffman in ‘Rainman’!”
Leave it to Sharyn to point out some home truths to Saffy. “Aiyah, why you so gun zheong? You think you very easy girlfriend, is it? He so far not run away is enough, what! What for get so upset! Marriage, hah, I tell you, is not for everyone. Some people can take it. Some people marry, straightaway get die-vorce! Like my sister. She fall in love in JC, marry, have one baby and one year later, the husband have affair. He say after the baby, she get fat. Aiyoh!” she sighed tragically.
Of course, discontent still rules our little flat. In the world according to Saffy, the real test of a man’s love is a Tiffany’s engagement ring. A year ago, that test would have been passed if the man called you the day after the date.
“I hope I don’t become like that,” Amanda said, no doubt thinking of the fact that she’s not been on a date in two months.
This morning, at breakfast, Saffy said that sometimes she misses being single. “Being in a relationship is so stressful! Men just never do what you want them to do! It’s a wonder more women don’t become prostitutes!”