The common perception of married people (or at least my perception prior to getting married myself) was that they are boring. People who were hitherto social, entertaining and fun gradually disappear of the radar once hitched. Partying starts to be relegated to weekends and then that too becomes rarer, until they almost exclusively make plans that only include dinner and at most, a quiet drink. A lot of the entertaining begins to happen at home, and increasingly, the other people invited are couples too. Often, you don’t see them for weeks on end, and when you do, it’s almost an event.
I would like to say that I have proved these myths false but to be honest, I think the reverse is true.
Over the past year and a half, V and I have found ourselves becoming increasingly anti-social. On weekdays, after work, we just want to go home. Where we watch TV and eat dinner, sometimes cooked by V, and go to bed at 9 pm. Yes, I did say 9 pm! By 9 pm, we are dozing on the couch and just want to crash. This in a city where a 1 am bedtime is considered normal, and not among the movers and shakers either. I often look my single friends amazed when they go out partying mid-week and say they slept at ‘not too late – at 2’. Just the thought of staying up till 2 makes me sleepy.
On weekends, we just hang around at home, clean the house, cook stuff, catch a movie, go shopping go out for dinner, or go to a place in the city we haven’t been to before. Occasionally, we do some of these things with other people but most of the time we just do them with each other. Not because we don’t have friends to do stuff with but because it turns out, we don’t mind hanging out with just us – this is a surprising development and I don’t think that it’s typical. Most married people I know do have a group of friends they hang out with regularly, but so far, V and I cannot be bothered. Well, basically to plan in advance which is required with other people, and because just us is fun too.
Recently, we were having this discussion about honeymoons and someone said that after a couple of days on theirs, they were wishing they had brought their friends along. To which V actually said – but we actually like travelling alone. And I realised that we do. We have travelled with each other a fair bit and while we like meeting up with people a bit on vacation, we have enough to do and say if there are no extras either. All this sounds pretty fairy-tale and like everything else, I have to cynically wonder if it will last but it was something I truly hadn’t forseen – this comfort zone of two.
Which is why I groan when one of the endless invites to drinks at some bank cocktail party or other comes along. Free drink holds no allure, and it’s not just the stress of socializing on the finance beat – I just want to be home with V. And I was surprised to discover that he kind of feels the same way (I hope).
In fact, to avoid becoming one of those people who ends up at the end of a marriage with no friends, I make it a point to go out with friends on my own but I have to force myself to do it. Of course, once I do, I have a good time, but I would actually really rather be hanging out with V. Maybe it’s because the quality of the company in HK isn’t ideal and of course, most couples go through this clingy phase, but it’s been a year and some and we live with each other.
I guess only time will tell.
But I have changed as a person. I don’t know whether this is because of marriage or something else, but I can no longer be bothered to be a sparkling personality (if I ever was one – that is). I look at my friends who are single and I wonder if there’s something wrong with me or them. Where do they find the energy? I can no longer push myself to get smashed and be a wild party child – this may be a function of age. My friend E, who epitomizes the single girl in the city, says that since she turned 26, she noticed that she’s slowing down too. But I can no longer be bothered with witty repartee, to make conversation that gets me noticed. I just want to do my work and go home and go to sleep. Maybe because my work has dulled my brain, but also because maybe I don’t need to be noticed anymore.
Which brings me to another theory – and I’m still mulling over this one. Maybe the cliches were right after all. Partying is really an extended mating game… and once you’ve found your mate and the initial round of dirty dancing is over, you begin to find the whole thing to be slightly bizarre. And people who are single don’t always want you around either, because you are no longer in the same game. My friends often suggest – let’s do this , all girls! And I understand their sentiment – because when I was single, I didn’t want people’s ‘better’ halves around either, it’s just not the same thing – but I also find it mildly annoying.
Of course, V and I still feel the need to let our hair down every once in a while and get smashed and do wild things but I suspect this need is getting rarer and rare.
PS: When I say ‘single’ I am not refering particularly to my single friends in India but to those in HK, where singledom is more manic