According to my grandmother, anyway. Have to. I evidently have no choice in the matter. She’s been on this topic since my sister and I were very young. Once, when we were visiting the biggest mall in the world (in Edmonton, Canada) we went on a submarine ride (like you do, in a mall). The submarine broke down and so we were stuck inside for an hour waiting for them to fix it. During this time, Nana struck up a conversation with the nice Italian family in the row behind us and noticed they had a very nice 13 year old Italian son. She decided it would be completely plausible (and not at all inappropriate) to set my 9 year old sister up with this 13 year old Italian boy. Despite Ceci’s protests of, “NaaaaaaaNA!” there we were, for an hour, while my crazy Italian grandmother dug herself deeper into a cliched hole.
So you see, this has been going on for a very long time.
Awhile ago, I had a conversation with my crazy Italian grandmother and it’s best to just transcribe the Awesome here:
Me: Hi Nana, how are you?
Nana: Do you have a boyfriend yet?
Nana: A boyfriend. You need to be dating in order to get married. I want great-grandchildren.
Me: Talk to your other granddaughters.
Nana: Well, your sister doesn’t wash her hair and has a nose ring; nobody will marry her. And the other girls are too young.
Me: Well, me washing my hair isn’t the ticket to great-grandchildren for you. I’m sorry.
Nana: My days are numbered, you know.
Me: I know.
Nana: I’m old.
Me: Not *that* old.
Nana: I’m praying to Saint Jude for you.
Me: Because I am so brave and moved to a new city where I don’t know anyone?
Nana: No. Because you need a boyfriend.
Me: But what if I’m happy with my life right now? What if I’m not really looking for a boyfriend?
Nana: YOU ARE UNFULFILLED. AND I WANT GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN. I’M PRACTICALLY DYING RIGHT NOW.
Nana: I could go at any time.
Me: Like, I could say goodbye and you could be all, “THUD,”?
Me: And so you pray.
Nana: To Saint Jude, the patron saint of lost causes.
The next time I talked to Nana (months later, because OMG, can’t handle her too much) we had this conversation. I like to call this: Giving Nana a Big Helping of BOOYAH.
Nana: Why don’t you have a boyfriend?
Me: Um, because the last guy I went out with tried to convince me polygamy was a good life path.
Nana: You are too damn picky.
Nana: I’m serious. You and your sister. You both just have your expectations set WAY too high.
Me: I’d really like to marry someone who doesn’t frighten me is all.
Nana: See? PICKY. Love grows with time. You are too judgey.
Me: Again, clearly.
Nana: I’m not sure where we went wrong in raising you girls. Did you know your sister might not *ever* want to get married.
Me: Yes. I understand where she’s coming from though.
Nana: OH YOU’RE KIDDING ME.
Me: Well, think of the marriages we’ve seen!
Nana: Oooooh. You girls.
Me: You know, I blame you.
Me: Well, you refused to buy us a Ken doll when we were little. We had tons of Barbies with gorgeous ball gowns and nobody to take them on dates.
Nana: Oh, that’s ridiculous.
Me: No, think about it. We begged and begged for a Ken doll and you refused! So we had to take a Barbie and cut her hair all short and butch and she had to be our “man” Barbie.
(At this point, my (much younger) cousin jumped in and was all, “YOU GUYS DID THAT? We always wondered why that one Barbie was so messed up!)
Me: See? Even the girls agree!
Nana: No, I bought you a boy Barbie! I remember!
Me: No. You bought us a generic boy doll. His name was “Dude.” And Ceci accidentally dropped Dude on the first day we had him and his arms, legs, and head popped off.
Me: Yup. And clearly, that scarred us for life. So you really have nobody to blame but yourself for your lack of great-grandchildren.
Nana: Oh, that’s terrible of you to say. Here, have more cookies.
I was so proud of myself. Finally, I’d come up with a valid argument that laid all the blame at my grandmother’s feet. (I’m Italian, through and through, I guess.) And the matter was settled.
Or maybe not.
I talked to Nana again this week and asked her what she wanted for Christmas. Her response: A big sigh.
Me: What’s wrong?
Nana: Oh, nothing.
Me: Okay then.
Nana: I just know it’s silly to tell you what I really want.
Me: You want great-grandchildren.
Nana: But I ruined your life, you know. I turned you off of love forever. I should have bought you a Ken doll.
Me: You didn’t *ruin* my life.
Nana: No, I did. I’m awful. And I don’t deserve great-grandchildren. Hopefully my number will come up soon though, so I don’t have to live with all of this guilt.
Me: Nana. You didn’t ruin our lives. I’m sure we’ll get married. Ceci even has a boyfriend now.
Nana: No, it’s okay. You’re right. I’m awful.
Me: Oh my goodness. I promise you didn’t ruin my life. I like boys, I swear. I promise I’ll get married!
Nana: It might be too late. I’m very old. Hurry up and this can be my Christmas present.
Me: Fine. Christmas. Got it.
Well played, old woman. Well played.
So evidently I have 3 weeks in which to get married. If only I still had the number of Mr. Polygamy…
Of course, I can always get out of it. Her number might come up.