Thursday, January 31, 2008

Being Petty

If your little brother’s getting married before you, should there be a problem? I’d say no problem at all. But somehow some people think there is. Including my mother. She cautiously raised this issue last year, thinking that I would feel the same as she did. Little does she know I have a completely different idea, not only to this issue, but to marriage at large.

For one, I never understand why younger siblings have to wait for their older siblings to get married first. It’s ridiculous and unreasonable. How long do they have to wait? What if the older ones never get married? Does it mean they have to wait indefinitely?

The second issue was aroused when my mother’s future in-law asked her what should they give me, remembering Javanese’s culture that the older sister should receive something from her little brother/sister who got married before she did.

I’ve no idea why they were asking her that. We’re not Javanese. Even if we were, I wouldn’t want anything from them. Of course I’d love getting presents or some tokens from friends or family, who doesn’t? But not for this particular reason.

When my mother mentioned it to me lightly, I guessed I got a little bit upset. So I didn’t tell her that they shouldn’t be worrying about something like that. Instead I asked her what would they give me.

To my dismay my mother switched ‘they’ to ‘your brother’ saying that he might be able to buy me a dress, as he didn’t know what to give me who could even buy a brand new car in cash, bought $ 300 bag without blinking an eye, and buy almost anything I want whenever I want it. And then she added that his income was barely enough for himself.

That did it I guess. I got completely incensed by that time. So I went up to my room without clearing the issue and telling her that she could tell her in-laws not to worry about it. That the sister is quite happy with the marriage and wishing nothing from them but the best wishes for the new couples.

Having your younger sibling getting married before you do isn’t hard. What makes it unpleasant is the assumptions made by the people around you, people who don’t even know you, but expecting you to feel and behave in ways in which they think is proper for unmarried siblings.

I remember the first sentence uttered by my brother’s future mother in-law when she saw me, “My, Kakak (older sister) is very pretty!” I was quite speechless, as I didn’t know how to respond and how to take that comment.

Just like other older siblings whose younger siblings got married before them, I got my share of uncomfortable moments. Not for the usual reasons. But I got it nonetheless.

I guess I would never tell them that I’m sincerely happy that my brother is getting married, that I’m quite pleased that I got a sister in-law into our small family. I’ll let them sweat for a moment, as they seem to be quite happy feeling uncomfortable, as if they’ve done something wrong.
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