Accursèd Hag 

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

My thirtieth birthday is a month and three days away.

Once a lady is thirty, I've heard it said, all chances for marriage vanish like cotton candy in a downpour. Cold lonely days spent with peanut butter-licking dogs replace picnics by the riverside with a loving husband. Nights stretch into record cat-brushing sessions instead of evenings at art galleries with a jovial companion.

A marriageless lady puts herself at risk for elderly homelessness, whereupon sadistic schoolboys will beat her. If she can still pay the rent, her knees will freeze onto the floor and the neighbours will mistake her anguished cries for a defective toaster. Regardless of her location, cats will eat the unmarried woman's eyeballs.

I don't suppose I will get married within the next 33 days. There are no prospects for an engagement either. I've already resigned myself to the inevitable.

Truth is I knew I was cursed for years. I've stepped on the toes of all the marriage superstitions.

At seven, in a thrift store, I put on a wedding veil. My mother shuddered. Any young woman not about to marry - if she puts on a wedding veil dooms herself to eternal one-sided games of Monopoly. No further word of this incident passed the threshold of my mother's lips.

At thirteen, I swept a broom over my own feet. My grandmother scolded me, that if a young woman sweeps her feet she will watch all her friends disappear into a labyrinth of joyous afternoons spent riding in sleighs and the occasional joy of being painted upon with chocolate and whipped cream.

At twenty seven, there were so many people around the table, I sat on the corner. No Johnny Castle barged over to say "No one puts Baby in the corner." But my friends were there to point out that the corner seat makes one unappealing in nightclubs and therefore not good enough for the requirements of evolution.

For a few years, I thought I had a chance. Others have beaten the odds. How many clumsy maidens, in Ancient Sparta, swept over her feet but still found their Menelauses? Some slipshod scullery gal from Bruges must have tried on her mistress' wedding veil, only to wed a year later. Surely at the height of the octagon table craze, some Medici teenager found herself in a corner seat?

With my last remaining 33 days, the governor shows no sign of a reprieve. All my energy goes into choosing my last meal: oysters, sashimi, brie, Tom Yam Kum, washed down with a Kama Sutra martini, followed by a molten lava chocolate cake, and finished with a glass of champagne.

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