Wednesday, June 28, 2006

the case of the bowl set

A friend scoffed at me when she learned I had wanted a bowl set for my birthday. I spoke to her recently and mentioned to her I set my eye on an 8-piece casual china bowl set in an array of colors- mustard, tangerine, lime, blue, maroon, bone, black and ivory. It's so delightful, like Russian nesting dolls, you know, from tiniest to biggest, and I quickly fell in love with it. And even though my birthday was weeks away, my hubby purchased it for me. We went past it at the dining section at the department store, and so much like a case of love at first sight, I told myself and my hubby I have to have it!

And so we lugged my heavy birthday present (sans bows and shiny wrap) happily one afternoon. When I was still in college, I started a collection of pairs of interesting-looking bowls. I only managed to collect three pairs, and somehow it went kaput and gave in to more no-nonsense pursuits.

And then my friend gave me that most interesting remark the other day. She thought it was the oddest and most insincere gift to the female form! She said it wasn't exactly what she's expecting a husband to give on a wife's birthday.

Which got me thinking, am I that domesticated now? Have I become... too housewifely? Have I forgotten all that girly stuff and girlfriend necessities? Have I sunk deeply into the marriage abyss?

The thing is: I am not. I am more than I used to be. My friend told me the expected birthday gift would be, jewelry or a day trip to the spa. I explained to her things change slightly when one is married. In my case, my priorities have switched around a bit. It's because when you have a home to run, and a mortgage to reckon with, I believe it's best to 'acclimatize'.


My friend's argument was, a woman should be a woman no matter what, and her needs and likes should never be compromised. Marriage should not change the things that you get accustomed to. I told her that she would understand my point once she's also married. But she shot back at me that that was precisely why she dislikes marriage and thinks that marriage won't ever work for her.

She has become one of the I-don't-wanna-lose-my-identity-as-a-woman woman. And in her eyes, maybe I have become a lost-behind-husband's-identity kind of woman. But you see, I am not. And I'm not gonna scream at the top of my lungs to insist I am the same person. Because I am still the girly old me- I can't live without hair conditioner, I'd die without my beauty provisions, I still enjoy a long, (scalding) hot shower after my evening chores (a must!), I need to have my nails done before I step out, I love my earrings and my bracelets and necklaces and dream about rubies, pearls and diamond eternity rings. It's the same me. I still take forever to get ready in the morning.

But like I said, things changed just a tiny bit. I don't believe in losing oneself in marriage. I believe it's a partnership, and I believe there's growth in this partnership. The changes I speak of pertains to the drift and the structure of the things that I desire, compared to when I was still single. Maybe I like dining and housewares now, does it mean I am slaughtering my femininity?

I can't speak for every other married woman out there, but I never felt I lost myself in the shadow of my husband. Yeah, I might appear odd to others because of my strange choice of a birthday present. I'd like to be practical. And there's nothing more practical than a fancy, functional bowl set. I'm not gonna berate my husband into giving me a chichi necklace and earrings set just to celebrate and impose my womanhood. I'm comfortable and confident enough to want a humble bowl set for my birthday.

Different strokes for different folks. I can't blame my friend for thinking what an unstylish creatures we are. Maybe she was right, it was not the suitable gift. But then again, the bowl set made me happy and I'd rather stick to bowl set, be happy and be practical than oblige a jewelry birthday present and remain unsatisfied. And I still can't believe how the bowl set sparked a discourse on marriage!

1 comment:

BINGBONG said...

its sad that people tend to put other people in a "box"...i believe there are no conventions with gift-giving. One doesnt give the other a particular present because it is the conventional gift..rather you give this someone what she wants and desires regardless of conventions. As we move along in life, our wants and desires evolve...wanting a bowl set is never peculiar and its a "girly" thing as well. And certainly, this is no indication that one has lost her identity as a woman...it might be even one of those things that define her...