Every Johnson family get together is pretty much the same. Someone will drink too much, someone will make an excuse about having to leave early when really, they just want to avoid having to help clean up, and someone will ask Jeff and Diane’s daughter, Sarah why she still isn’t married.
“You’re not getting any younger,” someone will observe.
“What are you, a lesbian?” someone else will ask.
“A career woman, are you?” a small contingent will guess.
But this Christmas, the comments were different.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” her Uncle Pete said. “Even Charles Manson has managed to find girlfriends while in prison.”
“Don’t forget Osama Bin Laden,” her cousin Paul chimed in. “He got married. Come to think of it, so did Hitler. If three of the world’s most despicable people were able to find love then, well, you must be the most unlovable person ever.
A few of the relatives genuinely laughed at Uncle Pete’s and Cousin Paul’s cruel remarks while a few others forced a smile in hopes that poor Sarah would think that the two bores didn’t really mean what they had just said. Although the family was starting to wonder what the deal was with Sarah. It can’t be normal for a forty-eight year old woman to still be single, can it?
“I hate ironing,” Sarah said in response.
Huh? What did ironing have to do with anything?
“I don’t like ironing my own clothes,” Sarah then went on to explain, “so why would I sign up to iron someone else’s? That’s what happens once the courting is done and the marriage vows have been said. Men are expected to be super handy and women are expected to be super domestic. I have yet to meet a man who makes me want to iron.”
Obviously, the woman was a man-hater, they all concluded. No wonder she couldn’t get anyone to touch her with a ten foot pole.
But the truth was, Sarah did love men. Smart, funny, gentle, considerate, supportive, not stuck in the dark ages men. But that’s not the type of men that Johnson women have a history of landing. They attract men like Uncle Pete or Cousin Paul; crude men who cheat, or beat or talk down to their wives. Men who buy every little electronic toy on the market for themselves but then say ‘no’ when their wives point out that it’s time to buy new furniture. Men who expect their wives to come home after working all day and take care of dinner and the housework while they sit on the couch and watch hockey and make fake promises about getting around to those household repairs.
She, too, dated a number of those types in her younger days. When she recognized the pattern repeating itself in her love life, she decided that she wouldn’t date again until she found someone worthy of having his shirts ironed by her. She’s still waiting.
In the meantime, she’ll enjoy her independence, her financial freedom, and having her self-respect in tact.