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“Why aren’t you married”
It was 11:30pm in Oxford and this questions was thrown at us as Alex and I were smoking hookah and drinking prosecco with some guys we met from London. In the midst of the chaos, breaking through our conversation, the loud music and the chatter of everyone, this question was asked of us. Alex and I were startled, not by the question as it comes up a lot as a couple who have been together for 5 years but by the vehemence in her tone and by the fact that we had absolutely no idea who she was.
As two people traveling as a couple we are used to getting asked if we are married, are planning to get married, are engaged, or any number of other questions similar to these. Usually we just laugh it off and answer that we have been together for over five years and instead of paying for a wedding (and believe me, I know how expensive they are, I was a wedding planner after all) we decided to take our savings and travel. USUALLY this answer suffices and people understand and the conversation moves on. Not so much this night though.
Did not expect to be accosted in such a serene place…
When we responded politely to the woman who randomly accosted us about our marital status, she simply responded, “Well, you should propose now”. Alex and I were both mightly taken aback by this because A. Why would I want Alex to propose to me at a bar, prompted by a stranger? and B. Why the hell did she care? These two thoughts warred in my mind and tried valiantly to make their way out into the open but I suppressed them in the interest of being polite and so instead I simply replied “No, that’s ok”. I mean what else was I supposed to say?
I was hoping that it would be left there and it was for a time. We all got back to chatting and drinking prosecco. Man, do Brits love prosecco! Overall it was turning into a good night and I was pretty happy to see that our marital status had been abandoned as a topic of conversation…or so I thought.
I also love prosecco!
Apparently our favorite nosey stranger was quite done with us yet. During the night she had kept trying to rope me into her side of arguments even though I generally did not agree with anything she was saying. I believe her refrain was “Us women have to stick together; you agree with me, right?” I did not. Her views of women’s rights were a little backwards in my opinion and honestly not anything I want to get involved with especially since we were all having a fun night just enjoying getting to know new people and having a good time.
As the night was winding down and the bar was getting ready to close, I thought we were in the clear. I must have let my guard down too early though because suddenly she was back with a vehemence.
“Really, you ought to be married. How can he protect you while traveling if you aren’t married? Seriously, I think he should propose right now. He isn’t going to be faithful while traveling around the world. You need to marry him otherwise you can’t count on him to be faithful”.
Well, I was stunned after this tirade. Who does she think she is, to judge us like that?
Whether we are married or not is not something I thought I would ever have to defend. Sure, traveling as a couple I figured we would be answering this question a few times but never to this degree. People are naturally curious, especially when they discover we have been together for five years and we never hesitate to answer but this was something else entirely. I was completely taken off guard by her words and even though this conversation took place back in June under a fog of prosecco I still, remember her words clearly.
There are many things you learn while traveling the world especially as a couple. We have learned so far that couchsurfers don’t like to take couples, hostels will always cost double so just rent the airBnB, I get very talkative when I am utterly exhausted and annoy Alex, and sometimes some people just can’t let it go. This particular encounter has taught me to be patient because not everyone’s views on life are the same as ours but hopefully she will remember us and remember that you don’t have to be married to travel the world or to be faithful to one another.
Oh ya, and then she tried to take us to a stripclub at the end of the night…..
Thanks Oxford for the story!
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