Mawage.

BACK!!
Went to a wedding this weekend. Actually, was in a wedding this weekend. I had a blast, everything went off without a hitch, and it completely and utterly reinforced my opinion that I want nothing to do with marriage. I just have no emotional or practical need or desire for it.

Its not because I personally have any negative experiences with it. My parents have been married for ages, as have my grandparents and aunts and uncles and my brother seems to like it a lot.

Im just entirely uninterested.

Some of that probably comes from my non-religious upbringing. When you make a child like me, who has never been forced to go to church, attend numerous Catholic weddings (mass + wedding), the end result was a visceral, negative reaction to the phrase ‘attend a wedding’. Pointless, silly voodoo, that lasts forever. Songs where I didnt know the words and dog-whistles where I didnt know the response, chalices filled with blood and creepy crackers. Money thrown down the drain on flowers and ice sculptures and not-good-but-still-expensive food and drink and hideous dresses and suits. And worse of all, where I had to dress up for no discernible reason. My interactions with the ring-masters of these fiasco have been universally negative, to priests using their time during a wedding sermon to damn homosexuality (while the grooms lesbian sister is in the front row) to shockingly inappropriate statements about bridesmaids appearances, to simply cold, automated individuals who gave the impression they viewed the ceremony as a machine, churning out a product rather than what I view the concept of marriage should be, simply love and celebration of that love. Thats what my brother did– his wedding was a small affair, outside, and presided over by my brother-in-law, + big fun party. Nice.

But I view ‘marriage’ itself as functionally useless for that purpose: celebration of love. On the one hand, I have the impression that ‘getting married’ is like throwing a party for your family and friends, announcing to everyone “HEY! We are going to break up in 4-5 years, if we last that long! LOL! Thanks for the toaster, we will be sure to argue over it in the divorce proceedings for 3 weeks!”. On the other hand, even if I beat the odds and entered a marriage that ‘lasted’, it disgusts me that I can enter that governmental contract and the financial/personal benefits it entails, while my homosexual friends cannot. My friend who got married this weekend had been with her partner for a relatively short period of time. Our mutual homosexual friend has been with his partner for about four times as long. Our homosexual friend was integral in this weddings success, yet he is forbidden from getting married. I feel like ‘getting married’, in todays political climate, is flaunting rights in front of others. “HI! I KNOW YOU CANT GET MARRIED, BUT WHY DONT YOU COME MAKE MY MARRIAGE AWESOME? AND THEN YOU CAN WATCH IT. WATCH ME GET MARRIED WHILE YOU CANT. K THNX.” My friend who got married certainly did not mean that, nor did our mutual friend take offense at her marriage, Im sure, but I personally am repulsed by the idea of taking part in a right others are restricted from (of course, unless partaking in that unfair advantage helped the disadvantaged group, ie voting to give African Americans the right to vote back in the day) Me getting married wont help homosexuals obtain the same rights.

But what we also celebrated this weekend was NY State granting homosexuals the right to get married. Our mutual friend lives in NY, and we had a fun time threatening his partner with marriage proposals (they arent ready, and though they have been dating a very long time, theyre still too young in their lives and in their careers for marriage– OMFG A RESPONSIBLE VIEW OF MARRIAGE! TEH HOMOZ WILL RUINZ EVERYTHING!!!!). We went straight to FOX News to watch them all having heart attacks… but they were covering some murder case that no one cares about (has anyone told the news stations no one cares about this case? because theyre all covering it and I feel bad they are putting all this effort and all we are doing is changing the station…) I was super pumped to listen to talk radio on the way home, but not even Jay Sekulow (THE SECULAR MAN!… wait…) was covering it. The only place I could get my fix was via some Catholic talk radio– basically, they want to excommunicate the governor of NY for supporting the right of homosexuals to get married. Which also grosses me out– why the hell would a pro-gay-rights individual be Catholic? Ugh. Again, a mutual friend who is Catholic was in the wedding, who supports gay rights, and has been threatened with excommunication herself– I asked her WTF. She feels she is a part of The Church and wants to correct it from within. I joked she needs to be careful not to ‘be a part’ of a rotting corpse (we have been friends for ages, an atheist and a Catholic, liek NO WAY!!)

Marriage is just a stupid contract. Sometimes a helpful stupid contract, as I learned from years of watching Judge Judy. But I drove about 20 hours total this weekend, missed days from work, and wore a cliche awful pink dress for one of my best friends because I love her. I would wear a million pink dresses and drive a million miles, if she needed me to. Shes one of my best friends. I didnt need to sign a governmental ‘Best Friends’ contract. I didnt need to have an official ‘Best Friends’ ceremony in a church, overseen by some jackass in a fancy robe.

Its really nice that some people want to get married. Its really nice that homosexuals are finally getting the same right. But this stuff just is not for me.

Comments

  1. #1 D. C. Sessions
    June 28, 2011

    $HERSELF and I have both been married, and we’re taking the “optimism over experience” observation to heart. Not like there are any chances of kids or whatever, etc.

    But that means that, among other things, I can’t include her on my rather good health insurance. It means that should she be hospitalized in an emergency, the hospital might not let me see her, might not respect the medical power of attorney, etc. Loads of stuff that aren’t just “a contract.”

    Well, that’s our choice. Sucks much worse to not even have the choice in the first place.

    Until, in that devoutly-to-be-wished future when the State gets out of the “marriage” business entirely and just enforces those “just contracts” and looks out for the well-being of the offspring that they sometimes produce — well, check the URL.

    And in the meantime, I’ll raise a glass and party as hard as my rather decrepit ankles allow for the friends and family who want to throw a party to celebrate being together. Best way to spend a day or three I can think of, short of babies. And, yup, I did one of those 5000-mile sprint drives from AZ to WV and back for a wedding a couple of weeks ago.

  2. #2 becca
    June 28, 2011

    I can never decide. Should I get married to flaunt my right to wed my beloved long-term partner of a different race? Or should I continue living in sin to bother the godbotherers and in solidarity with my non-heteronormative fellows?
    *sigh*

    Seriously. 99% of people only think about such political statements to retroactively justify whatever makes sense for their personal life.

    @D.C. Sessions- even my not-very good health insurance policy has a provision for domestic partnerships. Have you called up the company and asked?

  3. #3 HP
    June 28, 2011

    I love this post so much that I refuse to marry you!

    Seriously, I’ve been having a hard time articulating why I am anti-marriage-in-general and pro-gay-marriage at the same time, and you nailed it.

    It’s like a bunch of kids building a secret clubhouse for the sole purpose of keeping other kids out.

  4. #4 daedalus2u
    June 28, 2011

    Yes Abbie, but that is because you have your shit together. There are less fortunate people, people who don’t have their shit together by so much that they do need to “have an official ‘Best Friends’ ceremony in a church, overseen by some jackass in a fancy robe.” Even then they can’t pull it off.

    This is why they can’t allow gays to get married. Many gay couples will show that they can pull it off and pull it off better than straight people like Gingrich. People like Gingrich, don’t want to allow gay couples the opportunity to show that they can be better husbands and wives than some straight people are.

    Gay marriage is no threat to straight marriage, what it is a threat to is the myth that a “best friends ceremony in a church, overseen by some jackass in a fancy robe” makes a difference in a relationship.

    That is one of the major goals of discrimination, to deny even the opportunity to a member of a minority to demonstrate that they are human and have the capacity to have human traits like love, honor and respect. The bigots don’t want to end up like Rudyard Kipling:

    “…Though I’ve belted you and flayed you,
    By the livin’ Gawd that made you,
    You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!”

    and admitting (even to themselves) that their bigotry was and is wrong.

  5. #5 Don F
    June 28, 2011

    My wife and I had our wedding in a UU church. After the ceremony, my now sister-in-law said “I don’t think the pastor mentioned god once!” Our mawage is a 40-year contract: my wife was single for 40 years and she’s going to try mawage for 40 years and then decide which she prefers. I hope she has pity on me and keeps me around when I’m a dottering old fool of 88 . . . .

  6. #6 Mu
    June 28, 2011

    I don’t mind them, they’re a good reason to party every 10 years or so. So this last one might work better, we’re too busy yelling at the kids than at each other.

  7. #7 D. C. Sessions
    June 28, 2011

    Have you called up the company and asked?

    I’m on first-name terms with the Benefits people. $COMPANY doesn’t do domestic partnerships, regardless of plumbing arrangements.

    That was one of the (very) few disadvantages relative to the previous employer (a European company with consequentially enlightened personnel policies.)

  8. #8 Robert Bruce Thompson
    June 28, 2011

    Barbara and I have been married for 28 years this September, and I still introduce her as “my first wife”. At our wedding back in 1983, I remember thinking how outrageous it was that my gay friends weren’t able to marry. (Of course, as an atheist anarchist I don’t believe in church or state, but still.)

    New York gives me hope. At least a few Republicans had the courage to do what was right rather than follow the party line. Perhaps they’ll be examples to Republican legislators in other states. Not to mention that gutless Obama.

    So, the other night Barbara and I were talking about the victory in New York just before we sat down to watch the first disc of the HBO series Big Love, which is about a polygamist family. Barbara commented that it was disgusting for one man to have three wives. I asked her how, since she’d just spoken in favor of same-sex couples to marry, she could deny the right of these four consenting adults, one man and three women, to live their lives as they saw fit. What business is it of anyone other than the involved parties? She conceded that her feelings were not rational, and that in fact consenting adults should have the right to marry polygamously. But, she added, if I brought home a second wife, she’d kill me while I slept.

    I pointed out that people do the very same thing all over the US. The only difference is that some men divorce wives after they’re too old to have children and marry a new, younger wife. Isn’t it better, I asked Barbara, to just keep the old wife and marry additional ones instead of just dumping the old ones?

  9. #9 Kevin
    June 28, 2011

    If you want to have a wedding even after this impassioned objection, ask for cash gifts and donate 10-20% to an organization that supports gay marriage.

  10. #10 Jason Dick
    June 28, 2011

    Hehe, the last woman I remember saying that was my French teacher back in high school. The next year, she had a different surname. We were a little amused :)

    Personally, though, I guess I am completely ambivalent about marriage. The whole wedding thing just feels silly to me. I would go through it if my partner wanted to, but other than that I’d rather just elope (or have a very small wedding). The marriage itself, to me, is far, far less important than the commitment to the other person, even though I realize there are very significant legal benefits.

  11. #11 Sili
    June 28, 2011

    She feels she is a part of The Church and wants to correct it from within.

    Pity she’s a woman, then.

    Though to be fair, teh menz aren’t much better at making change from within, even if they’re not constitutionally prohibited.

    When you make a child like me

    Awesome though it might be to have more ERVs around, I think I’ll stay out of babymaking business.

  12. #12 Noadi
    June 28, 2011

    I have mixed feelings about marriage. As an institution I think it’s an outdated concept. On the other hand the legal contract involved (which should be open to all adult relationships regardless of what configuration of genitals they have) is incredibly useful, especially when children are involved.

    Me and the BF are planning to move in together soon and when that happens I’m sure the questions from our families about when we’ll be getting married will start. Honestly I think we’ll probably end up making the decision based on practical grounds, insurance coverage and the like, rather than romantic notions of marriage.

  13. #13 SteveS
    June 28, 2011

    > why the hell would a pro-gay-rights individual be Catholic?

    I am Roman Catholic.

    I support the right of people to join in same-sex marriage.

    My Church’s position on the issue is wrong. I ignore it.

    THAT’S How a pro-gay-rights individual can be Catholic.

  14. #14 ERV
    June 28, 2011

    Robert– I have no problem with polygamy either. Consenting adults etc etc. One of the many reasons I was so disappointed with the LDSs involvement with Prop H8. Another reason I dislike marriage: It encourages the myth of The One. “OH, I JUST KNEW SHE WAS THE ONE!!!!” is just a big “Fuck you” to all the women you previously dated and previously loved (still love?). People are in love with different people, at different times in their lives, and sometimes multiple people at the same time. And sometimes those multiple people love each other too, in a platonic way or brotherly/sisterly way or in a romantic way. How nice if that works out! Just like its nice if only two people fall in love. But one circumstance is no more ‘real’ than the others.

    And on a practical level, frankly Id rather the polygamists all got married and didnt try to collect state benefits for being ‘single mothers’ when they are really in a four income household…

    Noadi– “… questions from our families about when we’ll be getting married will start…
    Heeeeeehehehehehe! I loved pulling that stunt on my friend and his bf this weekend! Now we all can deal with that crap from friends/family, gay or straight!

    Note: My family has never pulled this crap on me.

    SteveS– I do not doubt the existence of Catholics who support homosexual rights. I gave an example of such an individual in this post. What I question is ones ability to be logically, theologically, and morally sound while doing so.

  15. #15 Greg Laden
    June 28, 2011

    After several attempts I think I’ve finally gotten it right.

  16. #16 Alisa
    June 29, 2011

    Here in Australia, de-facto relationships (where you live with your partner, share finances etc but don’t have the official marriage certificate) have exactly the same legal benefits/detriments as marriage. So there’s no point for us to get the certificate, and quite convenient that we don’t have to for tax purposes etc.

    My partner and I get less of the “when are you going to get married” and more of the “when are you going to make babies for us”, mostly from his parents, which is infinitely more annoying to my mind.

  17. #17 Scott Hatfield, OM
    June 29, 2011

    (amused)

    This could come back and haunt you some day. You’ve probably read about the time Darwin tallied up the pro’s and con’s of married estate on a piece of paper…which he saved. That scrap of parchment became a running family joke and, eventually, a beloved heirloom.

    It is true that marriage at its most utilitarian is simply a contract with the state. For, um, in part the disposition of real property and providing for the welfare of offspring. Yes, you can certainly share a home, share a life and reproduce without benefit of the blessings of either church or state.

    Just don’t expect to be automatically granted the same rights in an American court in the event any of the above is contested…!

    Oh, and whether you like it or not, you may find yourself, against your best judgement, desiring a meaningful relationship with someone who holds different views on marriage than you do. It happens.

  18. #18 Mary
    June 29, 2011

    With the same man for 30+ years..no marriage on the books, no piece of paper, no certificates… well, I do take that back..when MA legalized gay marriage, we went and took out domestic partnership papers, which finally gave him legal control of me and visa versa, should anything happen..

    Way back in out hippie days, we put on our best tie dyes and on the beach, in front of our friends, we became partners..the only person who has a problem with this is my, god fearing, 81 yo, roman catholic, praying 24/7, watching ewtn etc..mother.. If the pope banned lawn mowers she would be out chewing cud…

    And here, in her final days, it is her heathen daughter and her grandchildren, born of sin, seeing her through till the end.. *sigh*

    Nothing really against the white dress and the ceremony..just could never see myself doing it…

  19. #19 Improbable Joe
    June 29, 2011

    If I had to make a guess?

    You’ll change your mind if/when you need to, for completely rational and not at all sentimental reasons. I know that my marriage proposal was absolutely the least sentimental thing I have ever done. My wife and I went to a meeting at my job about the new insurance they were offering. It included domestic partnership benefits… but I’d have to pay taxes on the employer contribution which was going to cost me a boatload over the space of the year. It was good and expensive insurance, and was almost like an extra paycheck a month worth of taxes going out.

    On the way to the car after the meeting, I say “crap, maybe we should just get married and save the cash.” Four months later and a quick trip to the courthouse and the deed was done. Plus, both sets of parents sent boatloads of cash and I may have gotten myself onto my father-in-law’s will which could be pretty awesome since his three-month-long temp jobs pay him $1200 a day.

  20. #20 Robert Bruce Thompson
    June 29, 2011

    I have no problem with polygamy either.

    So, assuming I can somehow get Barbara to approve having a sister wife, will you marry me, Abbie?

  21. #21 cynical1
    June 29, 2011

    Q: What is the longest sentence in the English language?

    A: I do.

  22. #22 Rob
    June 29, 2011

    Been with the same partner for 18 years, no marriage. She was previously married, obviously unsuccessfully, and was sort of “been there, done that.” It’s a stupid piece of paper. If a person isn’t as good as their word, if they can’t live up to their promises, then how will a piece of paper change that?

    Next year we are going to have to get married because I am retiring from the university at which we both work. I’ll lose my health insurance, but if I marry my partner, I can be on her policy.

    My university provides benefits for domestic partners of the SAME sex, but not for the opposite sex. Seriously.

  23. #23 becca
    June 29, 2011

    “People are in love with different people, at different times in their lives, and sometimes multiple people at the same time. And sometimes those multiple people love each other too, in a platonic way or brotherly/sisterly way or in a romantic way. How nice if that works out! Just like its nice if only two people fall in love. But one circumstance is no more ‘real’ than the other”
    Amen! If you’ll forgive the expression. ;-)

  24. #24 ErkLR
    June 29, 2011

    Note: My family has never pulled this crap on me.

    I used to say that too. 31 years of thinking “well at least they don’t pull THAT kind of shit.” Considering my family’s non-traditional history I don’t know WTF gives my divorced (and one re-married) parents the idea that you just up and decide to meet someone worth marrying, and then it gets done. Especially at someone else’s insistence. I think it had something to do with finishing my Ph.D. and them deciding that must mean “real life” now. Gah, hope your streak continues unabated.

  25. #25 jose
    June 29, 2011

    Marriage as a piece of paper with legal value is good: child support, inheritance, taxes, healthcare plans.

    Marriage as “institution” is a load of crap.

    As for the voodoo witch doctor performing the ceremony, I see no difference between a catholic stole and a bone through the nose.

  26. #26 theshortearedowl
    June 30, 2011

    Don’t confuse marriage with weddings. I blame the fixation on fairytale/Hollywood weddings for the divorce rate.

  27. #27 ErkLR
    June 30, 2011

    But if you expect the fairy-tale wedding, you likely expect the fairy-tale life as well. If you’re out of high school and think you’re going to have perfect love forever with someone, you are a moron of the lowest calibre.

    *obviously the general “you”, not you personally.

  28. #28 JustaTech
    June 30, 2011

    Just got married, so, therefore, biased for it. We didn’t do any of that church nonesense, we had the best man’s bi sister do our ceremony, complete with Dr. Seuss vows and a glass-stomping that my SO defined for himself. So what if his grandma was sad it wasn’t a Jewish wedding? She’s already gotten over the fact that I’m not a nice Jewish girl (just a nice girl), and my godfather didn’t seem to care either.

    After 10 years it wasn’t just for the tax benefits, but mostly to throw a big party and get his parents off our back. Which totally backfired, because now it’s all “babies, babies babies” all the time.

    IMO, marriage and weddings are what you make of them.

  29. #29 Ray
    July 2, 2011

    Glad to see my old home state coming around on the marriage equality issue. Hope the other 44 will follow soon.
    Never had any use for the idea of marriage when I was younger. I thought it was only useful if you were going to have kids and I didn’t want anything to do with that! Well, life happens. Somewhere along the line I met someone and changed my mind. I still don’t have any use for the religious trappings, but the legal contract can be useful. We had a great party with bunches of relatives at our wedding (kinda wished we had gotten a voodoo witch doctor complete with nose bone to officiate, but went with some gawd botherer my wife knew, bleh!). Fifteen years of marriage and two kids later I’d say it has worked out OK. Marriage is not for everyone, but I believe people should be open to that option if it makes sense for them.
    As JustaTech@28 said “marriage and weddings are what you make of them.” Just so.

    Cheers And Happy Monkey,
    Ray

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