Taxi Theory in the Philippines

Everyone who’s a fan of Sex and the City knows about the encompassing Taxi Theory.

As stated by the great romantic cynic, Miranda Hobbes, “Men are like cabs. When they’re ready to get married, they turn their light on. The next woman they pick up, BOOM! they marry.”


I wonder if this is true?

In the Philippines, it seems that this is almost always true.

Here, men always have their lights on. Compared to their overseas counterparts, men here take relationships and marriage a lot more seriously.

How serious?

Well, let me tell you. People here for example just don’t date you because they like you at first glance.

In fact, it takes them a lot of time and effort to get to know you, often by texting and calling, before they even ask you out on a date.

In fact, men here are like lions, circling their prey and trying to get to know the woman without first making their intentions known. They’d like to observe you in group environments, seeing how you interact and react in different scenarios, judging on whether they want to get to know you better before even making a move.

They’re ‘torpe'” a friend once told me, alluding to the fact that men here have no balls. They don’t approach you because they’re afraid of rejection.

I’d like to think that they’re more “segurista.” It means “to be risk averse” or “to be sure of something before making a concrete decision.

If they are not sure of a woman, they don’t make a move, choosing instead to remain friendly and non-commital. It’s not bad to be friendly anyway. You’re not leading anyone on. And you can still observe other women to see if they are better matches for you.

In general, guys here would generally get to know you better first before asking you out.

Sure, they would text and call you, but they’re only being friendly. It’s only when they up their ante and text and call you more often that they’re making ligaw (courting you).

And it’s only when they believe you’re a potential life partner would they ask to date you exclusively.

I guess that’s why marriage is an issue many guys here do not shy away from when they start dating you, especially when you reach of age (e.g., mid 20s and up).

With Trader, we’ve talked about love and marriage around two weeks when we first started dating exclusively. With Boyfriend, marriage and kids are topics that pop up ever so often. And it’s not uncommon. They’re not running to the hills just yet just because these topics are discussed.

In fact, I do have a 36-year old girlfriend who is entertaining a suitor right now, and they’ve already talked about marriage. Mind you, they haven’t really started dating exclusively just yet. She said that the guy had already told her that if they started dating exclusively, they should start thinking about marriage already.

I was befuddled.

Didn’t he run away when you talked about marriage too soon? You’re not even together yet?” I asked.

True, but marriage is already an inevitability, no?” she answered. “Diyan din naman pupunta yan e.” (That’s where it’s going to end up anyway).

I think Philippines take romance and marriage a lot more seriously. It’s as if the taxis always have their lights turned on.

My boyfriend has told me that for many people, they think that their life is somewhat incomplete without someone beside them. “My ama (grandma) still worries about me because I’m unmarried,” he huffed. “She’s happy to rest in peace once we get married.”

Then we should get married as late as possible then!” I joked. I do actually adore his 93-year old grandma and I don’t want us to be blamed for her earlier passing.

This is weird for my counterparts abroad.

In Taiwan and Hong Kong where I lived, people normally started settling down in their 30s. Marriage in your 20s meant settling down too soon and not really living life to its fullest. “How about traveling without boundaries?! Sowing your wild oats before settling down?! Living the life you chose without any dead weight?!” they would ask.

It’s funny — here in the Philippines, people are already married off in their 20s. Those who remain unmarried in their 30s are “expiring.

At least you don’t look your age,” teased Boyfriend. “You only look 26.”

Uhuhhhhhhhh….” I pouted.

Looking back however, I do believe that marriage is a serious decision and should be entered in with eyes wide open. Many a times, we want to get married far too much that we take whatever we can get.

I’m glad I didn’t get married too soon.

If I did, I would have ended up with the wrong guy. Boy, that would have been a sure-fire disaster.

I’m glad I was able to travel more. My mom was right that once you get back to the Philippines, you probably won’t have the financial resources and time to travel as much.

I’m very happy that I managed to work abroad and get some invaluable experience. Money can never buy that.

And I think that as a guy has his taxi light opened, so can a woman.

For example, when I was 26, I was still starting my career and was working tons of overtime. I enjoyed this thoroughly. A guy with serious intentions would’ve dampered my momentum and I would have found him clingy.

At 28, I was on top of the world. My bank account was bursting (or at least for the standard of a normal 28-year old), I was traveling 2 to 3 times a week, and I was confident to the point of arrogance.

I was also a brat, and insisted on getting my way all the time because I deserved it. It doesn’t take a genius to know that a relationship takes two to tango and if you stubbornly insist your own way all the time, the others would tire of always accommodating your needs.

I only wanted to get married on my terms and didn’t really like children as they would hamper my career.

Later on, I was taking up my MBA in Hong Kong and London. In 2011, I think I’ve moved six times in three countries. It would be hard to maintain a relationship then.

When I moved back to the Philippines, I was like a baby slowly being introduced to the world and solid food. I really didn’t know anyone, and if I did, they were mere acquaintances after being away for almost a decade. I also didn’t know what the Philippines was like and spent the last few months getting used to the Philippine weather, dust, corruption and inefficiency.

Yes, my taxi light was still off.

It doesn’t take a genius to know that anyone who ended up with me would also be dragged into my sorry hyper mess of a life, and we would have fought against odds to make it work, more so because I wasn’t helping and insisted on being a stubborn brat.

And then there is today.

Talking about marriage and children feels more like breathing. It comes naturally, and it doesn’t scare me as it did before. I am less of a brat (thank goodness) and in a loving relationship with someone I admire and respect.

Now, I don’t know if Boyfriend is already the right guy for me. Lots of things can still happen in the weeks and months that follows. Shit happens.

But I think that maybe, to the right guy and the right circumstance, my taxi light is finally turning on. Slowly, gradually, and taking its time.

Let’s hope for the best. And as Boyfriend said yesterday, “And the best has yet to come.”

Have a great week everyone!

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