英语学习杂志 2014-12-05 11:20





By Erin Munro 木沐 选 黄湘淇 注

I recently moved back to Melbourne after 18 months spent living in London. When people asked me if I was nervous about returning home after such a long time away, I had to admit that I was. But not because I was concerned that my home town would seem quaint after living in one of the most bustling of metropolises1, or because I feared being mocked for having adopted some strange turns of phrase (I now say ‘half five’, instead of ‘half-past five’). My apprehension2 was entirely due to the fact that all my friends are getting married.

In London, nearly all of my friends were single—though brief trysts and hook up stories were rife—and saved their energy for blossoming careers and exploring Europe.3 Back in Melbourne, engagement ring selfies4 on Facebook and ‘Save the Date’ cards were suddenly flying thick and fast. And while I was thrilled for my friends, I felt a twinge of self-pity, knowing that my single status would be more marked than ever before in our Noah’s Ark-like society where people must be paired off two-by-two.5 How was it that almost everyone I knew had managed to find their life partner by their mid- to late-20s?

I’ve always been the perennially6 single one of all my friends. Boyfriends have rarely lasted long, probably because I seem to have a penchant for flaky musicians and artist types, and in all honesty, this has rarely bothered me.7 For me, a boyfriend was always the icing on the cake rather than the cake itself; the element that made life even sweeter when everything else—career, plans, my sense of self—was going well.8 Like most people I want to fall in love, and eventually build a life together with someone I care deeply for, but I’ve never believed in having a relationship for relationship’s sake.

I can feel frustrated9 sometimes at the ways being single affects my life, but primarily due to practical concerns. Such as, if I want to avoid living in another share house and find a place of my own instead, I’m going to be paying double the amount a couple would pay for a one-bedroom apartment. Or, if I go on a vacation with a group of coupled friends, am I going to find myself on a foldout couch10 or blow up mattress rather than a lush guestroom with a double bed?

Ultimately though, my unattached11 status seems to bother others more than it does me. A question I’m asked with frustrating regularity is,?“why don’t you have a boyfriend?!”, typically voiced in an incredulous12, slightly shocked tone. The subtext seems to be something along the lines of: “but you’re such a special snowflake! Can’t you find anyone who wants you?” It’s intended as a compliment; it’s really an insult.13 The query’s underlying implication is that the only reason a woman would be single is because nobody wants her,14 and it can’t possibly be by choice or design. And, in a world where women are expected to have a romantic relationship as their foremost concern, where?being single is a problem to be solved, people can’t help but look at you askance if you’re in no rush to snag the nearest male who expresses even a fleeting interest in you.15

“Why don’t you have a boyfriend?!”?tends to go hand in hand with that oft-repeated, equally frustrating refrain about men,16 that?“all the good ones are taken.”?The notion that some people willingly remain uncoupled or are waiting for something better to come along is a concept our society appears to struggle with. But at least men are given the dignity of the ‘bachelor’ image. They’re playboys, too cool to commit, too many wild oats to sow17, no biological clock ticking loudly at them every minute of every day. Single women, on the other hand, are painted as spinsters, sad and desperate and still burdened with those same ‘maiden’ names (aka, our own names) bestowed upon them at birth.18

The truth is, I’m picky19. Most people seem to misread that as “I’ll only settle for Ryan Gosling20.” What it actually means is, I want to date somebody who I feel a mental and physical attraction to—and physical attraction is not code for “ripped and looks like Alexander Skarsgard” by the way,21 and nor is it something men are expected to compromise22 on when looking for a mate.

The fact that I’m not willing to compromise on this is something some people find very confusing, and, dare I say, even confronting. Friends have told me on more than one occasion that I should date someone merely because he asked me out, with no regard for my feelings on the matter. But why would I embark on23 a relationship with someone who feels wrong to me, when it would serve no purpose except to see me with a partner (and would in fact distract time and energy I could better spend on focusing on being the best person I can be)?

Here’s the thing. Relationships are an enormous commitment. They take work, and while I’m sure the benefits are plenty, I don’t believe in settling if you haven’t found one that will work for you. Finding someone who fits the criteria—someone you find appealing both inside and out, with whom you have that inexplicable spark, that ‘zing’ of chemistry and connection—and who wants the same things as you at the same time and whose lifestyle and goals and dreams are compatible with your own—well, that’s no easy task, but I’m not going to settle for anything less.24

And even if that means I’m going to be sleeping on the foldout bed at the guesthouse indefinitely, I’m okay with that.


1. metropolis: 大都市,首府。

2. apprehension: 忧惧。

3. tryst: 约会;hood up: 搭上关系(尤指工作或社会关系);rife: 流行的,盛传的。

4. selfie: 自拍照。

5. thrilled for: 喜不自胜的,激动的;twinge: 阵痛,刺痛;self-pity: 自怜;Noah’s Ark: 诺亚方舟,是《希伯来圣经·创世纪》中的故事,创造世界万物的上帝耶和华见到地上充满败坏、强暴和不法的邪恶行为,于是计划用洪水消灭恶人。同时他也发现,人类之中有一位叫做诺亚的好人。上帝神指示诺亚建造一艘方舟,并带着他的妻子、儿子与媳妇,凡洁净的畜类,要带七公七母;不洁净的畜类,要带一公一母;空中的飞鸟也要带七公七母。因此,此处文中指成双成对的社会。

6. perennially: 永久地。

7. penchant: 嗜好,倾向。flaky: 古怪的,与众不同的。

8. 对我而言,男朋友一直都是蛋糕上的糖衣,而不是蛋糕本身;是当其他方面——事业,计划,和自我感——都顺顺利利的时候,让生活更加甜美的成分。

9. frustrated: 失意的,挫败的。

10. foldout couch: 折叠沙发。

11. unattached: 独立的,此处指单身的。

12. incredulous: 怀疑的,难以置信的。

13. compliment: 恭维,称赞;insult: 侮辱,无礼。

14. query: 疑问,质问;underlying: 潜在的,根本的。

15. 而且,在人们普遍认为女人应该把谈恋爱当成头等大事的世界里,单身是一个需要解决的问题,如果你没有及时抓住身边那个对你有一星半点儿好感的男人,别人就不禁会对你产生怀疑。askance: 斜视地,怀疑地;in no rush: 不急;snag: 抓住;fleeting: 短暂的,飞逝的。

16. oft-repeated: 多次重复的;refrain: 重复。

17. sow wild oats: 过放荡不羁的生活。

18. spinster: 老姑娘,未婚女人;aka: also known as,又称; bestowed upon: 赋予。

19. picky: 挑剔的。

20. Ryan Gosling: 瑞恩·高斯林(1980— ),加拿大男演员,代表作有《蓝色情人节》《恋恋笔记本》等。

21. ripped: 指肌肉线条呈撕裂状;Alexander Skarsgard: 亚历山大·斯卡斯加德(1976-)瑞典男演员,因在HBO电视系列剧《真爱如血》中出演艾瑞克·诺斯曼而知名。

22. compromise: 妥协,折中。

23. embark on: 开始做某事。

24.找到一个符合各种标准的人——一个从里到外都吸引你的人,和他一起你有妙不可言的火花,有化学反应和心心相吸的激情,所求所想和你同步,生活方式、目标和梦想都和你匹配——这可不是一个轻松活,但我不会将就。appealing: 吸引人的;inexplicable: 无法说明的,不能解释的;zing: 活力,生命力;compatible with: 与……和谐相处,与……相配的。

(来源:英语学习杂志 编辑:祝兴媛)



















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