“Men confuse me,” declared Taline. “They say one thing but do something else.” She’d been on a date on a recent Friday night. She had very much looked forward to the night out with the young man. She spent two days fretting over what to wear and, on the day in question, she couldn’t help glancing at her watch every few minutes waiting for the work day to end.
“We had a great time,” she said, “we stayed up till three in the morning talking about everything.” When he finally left, reluctantly, he’d made sure to ask if he could call her again. That was almost two weeks ago. “I’ll talk to you soon,” were his last words as he bid her goodbye.
“I hate these games,” said Silva, “I wish they’d just say what they mean instead of what they think we want to hear.”
“They’re scared,” said Aline.
“What are they scared of?” I was curious to know. Everyone here had passed on the usual night on the town and instead opted for a rare evening of staying home, wearing comfortable clothing and discussing their week without the usual distractions. All of them are single and range in age from twenty four to forty four. Amongst them they represented a wide spectrum of professions from law, business, art and education.
“Of being an adult,” Aline responded. “They are almost forty years old and they live their life like they’re still twenty five.”
“But it’s good to act young,” insisted Taline. “Who wants someone who acts like an old man?”
“There’s a difference between ‘childlike’ and ‘childish,'” corrected Silva. “The first is endearing, the second is just sad.”
“It’s worse if they’ve never been married,” added Aline.
“Right. Because then they can maintain their delusion that they’re not almost middle aged,” agreed Silva as the others chuckled at the thought. The sight of a man acting and dressing like his former younger self as he attempted to talk to a girl a third his age was a familiar sight to everyone in the room.
“It’s just as bad if they’ve been married because then they are so wrapped up in the ‘ex’ or the ‘kids’ that they have a convenient excuse to stay aloof,” expanded Taline.
“Why do you think they do this?” I asked.
“Fear,” said Aline again. “They’re afraid of the responsibility.”
“Being an adult is not easy and certainly having a wife and children is a huge responsibility,” agreed Taline once again.
“Yes, but people have been doing it for centuries,” Aline said. “Why now has it become such a huge thing that stops them from doing it?”
“But I don’t want to get married,” Silva interjected. She has a well paying job and is successful in her field. She had stressed this sentiment before in prior conversations. “I’m not looking for a man to support me or marry me and I certainly don’t want children. I just want a partner in life.”
No one could answer Aline’s question or had a comment on Silva’s statement. Instead they distracted themselves by taking a sip of a drink or lighting a cigarette.
“You know what’s even sadder?” Silva asked. “They don’t want to be old and alone but think that it’s far into the future and they don’t have to worry about it now.”
“Time flies. They’ll be sixty years old before they know it,” Aline said, surprised at their deliberate denial of the passage of time. “Look how fast the last 20 years flew by!”
“I know,” agreed Silva.
“Can you imagine a whole generation of unmarried eighty year old men in Ararat Home trying to pick up the young nurses?” asked Taline.
“Or the sixty year old residents?” added Aline.
The round of laughter rippled through the women at the image of the old men with their walkers chasing the relatively younger female residents or the even younger nurses.
But the laughter died down as the reality of the situation dawned on each woman in turn.
“What are we going to do?” Taline asked and broke the momentary silence that had reigned in the room. “There has to be some decent men out there.”
“Of course there are,” Aline reassured her.
“Who are mature,” Taline added realizing that decency and maturity are not mutually exclusive.
“Unfortunately for that you may have to expand your search criteria,” said Silva.
“What do you mean?” I wanted her to clarify this dry scientific description of the search for love.
“Get outside of the Armenian environment,” she said. “It’s always the same people everywhere you go. If you give up on finding an Armenian then you have more options to choose from.”
Even living in the largest Armenian community of the Diaspora, these women still felt the lack of options in finding love. To give up the expectation of finding an Armenian man was a decision each one of them struggle with but the passing years make that choice easier to make.