#InMyOpinion

Save It For Tiffany’s

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This was originally published on As Told Over Brunch. ❤

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So what is it about being in your twenties and a relationship that makes people assume marriage is right around the corner?

I had a college boyfriend. The kind you kiss behind the dorm room door while your roommate pretends not to be annoyed in the common room. The kind you Snapchat more than you talk to and fight with more than you love. The boy that you never knew you weren’t going to marry.

I’m not in college anymore. I don’t have that boyfriend anymore, either. I’m with someone I didn’t meet in bio lab or in the dining hall. He never want to a campus party with me. We talk way more than we text and if he doesn’t answer me for six or seven hours, I know it’s because he is busy. We don’t fight about iPhone drama the way my college boyfriend and I did. There are a lot of reasons for that, including my increased level of maturity, but the number one reason is this: I’m not in college anymore. I have a different life now, one that includes dress pants every day and business cards in my wallet. My new boyfriend has business cards too, not for the same company (thank goodness), but his life is like my life. We match in many ways.

College graduation is a conclusion, but also a real beginning of an era that is impossible to prepare for (sorry, current grads. I promise, it does get better). One of the biggest changes that comes with this new era is how people perceive you. With my college boyfriend, I was not once mistaken for his fiancée. This has happened numerous times in my new relationship. What is it about business casual and being in your twenties that makes people assume you are ready to be married? The first time, it was an old co-worker of his. She asked how his fiancée was doing. He told her I was doing well, and was sitting in the car, which I was, because I was in sweats and not real people clothes that day.

The second and third times were both in New York City. We were there for the weekend, and were passing by a street seller who suggested my boyfriend purchase a hat for his wife. His wife? I nearly ran away right then.

The third time was in Central Park. We were walking by one of those horse and carriage drivers selling overpriced romance and a bumpy ride. He asked if we would like one; we declined.

“Save it for Tiffany’s!” the driver shouted after us. I don’t think my boyfriend heard. But I did, loud and clear. You are not in college anymore. You are old enough to reasonably be engaged/almost engaged to another human being. You are not engaged, because goodness knows you aren’t ready for that. But the rest of the world seems to think you are.

So what is it about being in your twenties and a relationship that makes people assume marriage is right around the corner? Of course, many people do take that path. This is the age of meeting people, in bars or grocery stores or wherever your adult things take you. And I’m not saying it isn’t around the corner for me — but I’m not saying it is, either. Society is the one making all the assumptions. I’m just in a relationship, with a man I don’t Snapchat, and that is apparently a big deal. But right now, I don’t really care if he is saving for Tiffany’s or not. I’m just a girlfriend who feels awkward when someone mistakes her for a fiancée.

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20 thoughts on “Save It For Tiffany’s

  1. I think that you are over reacting to a misconception based “the norm”. So many people are engaged or married in your general age range so the assumption (albeit wrong) is not a surprise. When I was planning my retirement, I was continually being asked “So what traveling do you have planned?” I can only assume that most people travel when they retire… but I am not “most people”! I have a friend (lady) who had a diesel powered car. While filling up at a gas station, a condescending voice (her description) came over the speakers – “Does the lady at Pump number 3 realize that she is putting diesel fuel in her car.” Apparently she shouted back “Does the man in the office realize that I have a diesel engine in my car?” It may be fair to say that a large proportion of women have no particular interest in what is powering them around hence the generalization. It is not right, but it is not surprising. 🙂

    I generalize all the time. Most people I meet are pleasant and courteous, but I expect that from everybody!

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    1. I think the generalizations we all do are so interesting. For me, this post was mostly inspired by the fact that once I started having a different lifestyle (aka graduated college and started working), the assumptions were made so quickly. There have been other times (not mentioned in this article, I tried to pick entertaining ones!) that people have commented to me about it, too. I guess it always confuses me, because we all have different goals/plans for different life stages, so why generalize? Definitely a topic to think about in my opinion — and something I try so hard not to do in my daily life!

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  2. Interesting post! I’ve heard from friends who have lived in the US that people there marry earlier. I know a lot of Germans and Swiss in their mid-twenties and I’ve never perceived that society expected them to be married. Neither in Uruguay. So when it happens again the next time just remember that there are millions of people in other parts of the world who also don’t plan to marry in their early 20s 🙂 though I know how tiring it can be when people have certain expectations you don’t comply with. But great that you don’t listen to them and follow your own path!

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    1. Thank you! 🙂 It totally is related to an American cultural thing. I think our world here is so fast-paced and so focused on THE NEXT THING that we forget the present moment. Happens all across the world, of course, but I feel it especially so in my own country. Also interesting the many conversations I have had with coworkers, friend, etc. who are getting similar pressures (or, if they are married, the pressure is just switched to having babies!)

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      1. Oh, dear. Then you’ll only have some peace when you’ve settled down with some kids? I can imagine it’s less extreme in Europe. Speaking of society’s expectation, many people in Uruguay ask me what I’m studying because that’s the normal thing to do after school. I try not to feel bad about postponing my studies.

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      2. You shouldn’t feel bad at all! It sounds like you are doing some really cool creative things. I think no matter what country you are in, there are expectations — and the important thing is to only value YOUR OWN!

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      3. Not always, currently I’m having a blockade :/ but you’re right, I’m not spending my time doing nothing – thanks 🙂 yes, we definitely have to listen to our heart, as stupid as it sounds!

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    1. So true. I definitely try not to let it get to me 🙂 (he doesn’t either because he is awesome!) It is so interesting which pressure comes at certain times of life…just a year ago, I felt pressure to graduate and find a job. Now, I feel pressured to get a husband! Life is funny.

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      1. I forgot about that, but your post reminds me that I experienced completely the same. Once the education was done, people bothered about marrying. Once married… where is the child? A week after my daughte was born the first one asked when the second one is planned… people are just people… As you say, life is funny and we better see it that way… lol?

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  3. Great post! While I have never been in a relationship before, I can imagine how irritating it must be for others to assume that the person you’re currently involved with will be the person you marry. I have seen many twenty-somethings in relationships, but I don’t necessarily consider them to get married. Perhaps they will, or maybe they won’t.

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  4. This is funny! A lot of my friends married in their late 20s. I wrote a poem a while ago called Dating in Your 40s about how in your 20s it’s all fun and games, in your 30s you start thinking about settling down, and if you’re dating in your 40s. you’re just looking at each other like ‘what’s wrong with you that you’re single??

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  5. Yikes. That must feel awkward. I’m not so sure marriage around 23-25 is the norm anymore anyways. It seems more likely for people to marry on the other side of 25 to me. But I wouldn’t take a sales pitch as personally as something an acquaintance said- they say anything that might make you buy stuff, so you might not actually look marriage-y in real life.

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  6. So true about the sales pitch! 🙂 Honestly, most people do marry later now — but I am forever surprised by the amount of friends I see getting engaged! Looks like I am just not ready lol.

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