Thursday, July 2, 2009
It's Boyfriend's and my fourth anniversary today. Yay!
We count the day we met as our anniversary, because we started dating pretty much immediately. Maybe sometime I'll tell the crazy story of how we met, but not right now....
Anyway, I suppose that it could be much more intense, but at 4 years, and our ages (30 and 27), the questions have started.
You know the questions I mean:
"Well, is your relationship going well? It is? Well, have you two thought about...."
"Do you ever think about....."
"If you decide you want children, will you, ya know...."
Yes, kids, the topic of the day is, once again, marriage. That honorary four-letter word.
It would likely be far worse if I lived somewhere more "traditional" where everyone gets married a couple years out of college and has 9-5 jobs, or something. Being in the Bay Area liberal/progressive haven, and being a performer, certainly help. No one can "settle down" because that requires money. Which no one has.....
But yes. Certain family members or friends have definitely started pestering us. My aunt even asked if we were getting married "within the next year." She's most perturbed by the pre-marital sex you see. I'm not sure what the "within the next year" thing is all about, though. Is there some little known passage of scripture that says that sex is less bad if it occurs within the same fiscal year as marriage??
And don't even get me started on having children.....
I love the perplexed looks, though, when I say that, no, marriage is SO not a priority. "Why not?"
Why not? Um, well.....
Sandra Tsing Loh's article in the Atlantic is a good reason. Because everything can be perfectly fine, and still perfectly wrong.
Because the patriarchal bullshit still abounds, no matter how much couples try to ignore or supress it.
Because of what Bitch, PhD said about Tsing Loh's article:
The Good Marriage is Supposed to be:
between one man and one woman (even though, or rather because, men and women Are Different)
for their entire lives
begun early enough that they can have children, plural, (if they want to), without having to go through infertility treatment
passionate, again, for their entire lives
respectful at all times
mutually supportive, at all times
able to accommodate two careers, if so desired
something you "work" at, but it's not supposed to feel like work
flirty--but only with each other
a Pillar of Society
Marriage should be like the early days of dating + the settled feeling of being "a couple" + a true partnership + a friendship + exciting + comfortable + productive (of kids, of material goods). People shouldn't get married "too young," but they certainly shouldn't wait "too long." They should both want to have passionate sex with each other whenever the other person wants to, but not when the other person doesn't, and god knows we don't want to see married people acting like teenagers in public places: holding hands is cute, and so are sweet chaste kisses, but come on! Especially if you already have children!
You mustn't fight--not in public, not in front of the children, and not so the neighbors can hear you. Certainly not in front of guests or friends. In fact, not only mustn't you fight, but you mustn't even act tense lest it make others uncomfortable. If one of you is abusive, then why does the other one put up with it???--but divorce, of course, is a Terrible Thing. Unless we've known all along that that person was bad for you, or that you were a terrible couple, or that the relationship was doomed, in which case for god's sake why didn't you divorce years ago? In fact, why did you get married in the first place?? We tried to tell you.
We also tried to tell you that that two careers thing wasn't going to work--you hardly spent any time together. It also doesn't work when one of you subsumes your life in the other person's career, though--I mean, don't you feel your masculinity is threatened? Isn't it your own fault that you don't have any savings or retirement or interests of your own now that he's left you/died/the children have moved out? Anyway, marriage is a total tool of patriarchy. And while we're at it, are you going to change your name or not?
If you're gay and you (want to) get married, you're just being assimilationist. And if your marriage ends, then not only are you a personal failure, but you've Undermined the Cause. Anyway, given how fucked up marriage is, why do you want to have anything to do with it? Except that oh right, we want you to save it for us, because god knows we've fucked it up. Unless of course your getting married is going to fuck it up even worse, in which case, forget it.
Marriage is a sacrament. It was ordained by god. It's a secular institution, which should include tax benefits and health insurance because it promotes stability and because financial benefits not only incentivize marriage but make it easier for spouses to support each other in hard times. But that's not fair to single people! So really, marriage shouldn't convey any benefits whatsoever--but you don't get to complain about the emotional or financial burdens of marriage, because after all, you chose to do it.
NOT that that means you can choose *how* you do it. Because your weird, unconventional marriage makes other people uncomfortable, and plus it sets a bad example for the children, who might think that it's okay to live that way. Which it isn't.
Why does any of that sound like fun?
Where in all of that is there time for tickle wars or laughing your ass off over horribly snarky jokes?
Why should I skip perkily into a life of frustration and trying to live up to expectations?
Everything is fine, and I like it just the way it is. Right now, on our fourth anniversary, I want nothing to do with marriage.
Even if all couples in the country could suddenly have all the rights of straight couples, even if there were children involved, even if someone could guarantee that the patriarchy would get the fuck out of the way.
Now I'm going to go make dinner reservations. And maybe get out of my pyjamas (yes, I'm still in pj's at almost-2-o'clock in the afternoon. Suck it.)
*Who can guess the reference?? Also, if the overture is all you know of Rossini's Guillaume Tell, you should seek it out. It's lovely.