Colorless Green Ideas Unintentionally Amusing In Person
Friday, February 13, 2004
T.H. has never been a big V-day guy. Once, to demonstrate how arbitrary the once-a-year expression of affection can be, he bought roses for a woman every day, February 10-17, except Valentine's Day. She got annoyed with him for missing Valentine's Day. (Why, yes, this was during his very early 20s! However did you know?)
I don’t especially mind T.H.'s Valentine-avoidance, though I have gone through periods of feeling differently—notably, when I worked in a bank in which every other woman received an enormous wad of flowers on V-Day, and spent the day looking pityingly at me while I explained over and over “You see, he feels that it’s more important to express his affection in a personal way on a daily basis”, and they all shook their heads sorrowfully behind my back and whispered “The poor dear… making these transparent excuses for that slacker of a man…”.
He has, in fact, gotten me very thoughtful gifts the last several years—quirky handmade cards, custom-burned CDs, and so forth, and I am appropriately aware that I had a wonderful spouse who loves me and thinks up ways of expression his devotion in a unique way.
This year, I recieved a wonderful CD of songs (that will also be playing during the April Wedding Bash).
Elvis-- "A Little Less Conversation"
Rosemary Clooney and Perez Prado-- "I Only Have Eyes For You"
Harry Belafonte-- "Will His Love Be Like His Rum?"
Doris Day-- "The Way You Look Tonight"
Louie Armstrong-- "A Kiss To Build A Dream On"
Frank Sinatra-- "Old Devil Moon"
· we’re less than a week out from Valentine’s Day
· there seems to be a rashof bloggers doing wedding-prep
· there are a lot of op/edarticlesandcomments floating around about marriage
· there’s a lot of media attention being given to marriage—straight, gay, and temporary · we’re right about six months out from summer, also known as Wedding High Season, so all of the advertisers and contributors to the Wedding Machine (a.k.a. How To Have A Lovely Wedding—You Must Order Your $4,000 Dress At Least A Year In Advance, Or You Are Not A Prepared Bride! Use Our Handy Checklist!)
· I’m actually only—what? 6? 7?—weeks out from the April Wedding Bash (and I just last week ordered a dress, because I changed my mind about what I wanted to wear. We’re not doing the April Wedding Bash right at all—in fact, I mentioned in passing to T.H. that I think we’ve done everything totally wrong, judging by the formbook.)
· My sister & mother are freaking-out busy planning my sister’s July wedding, which is by the formbook—her dress was ordered months ago and was delivered last week, and my mother keeps calling to wig out about dessert forks and matching linens. (This would be why the April Wedding Bash is not being planned according to the formbook.)
All of these discussions and issues swirling around weddings, marriage, divorce, the sanctity of marriage, etc etc, have given rise to so many thoughts and opinions and comments in my mind that I actually can’t straighten them all out enough to create a coherent entry, although I have tried. So instead of being coherent, I’m just going to bung down some of my many thoughts about marriage. These are just my opinions—feel free to comment, or argue, or whatever. I, not surprisingly, have a lot of strong opinions about this, and I want to get some of them out in the open.
Weddings are something that can be fun, can be stressful, can be a waste of time, and can be lovely. Sometimes the Wedding Machine gets going, and people forget that after the Wedding, they’re married—i.e. in a marriage, which takes work, and also the correct mix of people. My first (nearly temporary, it was so short-lived) marriage is a decent example. I was in a relationship that wasn’t healthy, with a guy who wasn’t right for me, and married him partially because I didn’t want to call the wedding off. No, of course it wasn’t quite as simple as that, but that was certainly part of it.
Of course you can be happy and single, or be happy and unmarried (but not single), or be happy and married, or whatever. Marriage is nice, definitely, but that doesn’t mean everyone has to do it. And it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a commitment-phobic weasel of you don’t happen to want to get married.
On the other hand, there must be something important about getting married, right? I think so… but I don’t really know what it is, or how to describe it. I do know that before T.H. decided that he was ready to get married, I spent a fair amount of time & mental energy justifying (to myself and to others) the fact the we were committed but not married. And most of the women I know who are in long-term non-married relationships have done this. Those whose boyfriends, at long last, decided that they were ready to get married, were, without exception, ecstatic to announce their engagement/marriage. I don’t think that the ecstasy about getting married makes the previous justifications a lie, but it’s interesting. And it might be just me. Or just me & my friends. Or just girls. Or just an odd type of social pressure that causes this reaction in most girls. I have no idea, but I think it’s interesting.
I think denying gay couples the right to marry is ludicrous. Gay couples do not, not, not pose any risk to the sanctity of marriage. Please—how could seriously committed couples pose a threat to the sanctity of marriage? Marriage is tricky, and a lot of straight people don’t take it seriously enough—that’s a much more dire threat to the sanctity of marriage. And refusing to allow a social institution to evolve along with the society that validates it will just make the institution obsolete. I mean, a woman used to become her husband’s property when she married, and marriage as an institution seems to have survived that evolution without tearing apart society. Come on.
The trick to being happily married (or committed, or whatever) is to figure our your own way of doing it. Everyone’s relationship is different, so everyone needs to work out their own give-and-take, and who does what chores, and all that. Whether you’re happy will depend a lot on who you’re with, how well you get on with them, and how willing the two of you are to work together. There aren’t any absolute rules, and it’s not something that can be defined easily or simply.
Marriage isn’t all about having or raising babies, but you can sure get wonderfulbabies that way, if you want to. (Congradulations!)