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ding dong the bells are gonna chime

So the other night in the Stag's, a friend said something about wanting her boyfriend to propose before she was 35 and started joshing me and P about when P was going to make an honest woman of me, etc. She certainly didn't mean to be obnoxious, but I found it slightly irritating. And no, not because it touched some secret, instant-marriage-craving nerve. Because it seemed to be based on a bizarre expectation of what women want. And what we want is for our boyfriends to ask us to marry them, the sooner the better.

Lest anyone misunderstand my feelings here, I must say that I am, very definitely, not against marriage - as anyone who has heard me squee with delight at the announcement of my friends' engagements will know. I'm against the idea of traditional marriage, yes, and I'm against what marriage has meant for women throughout history. But I don't see any connection between a woman being essentially sold to her father's friends as part of a land deal (as was commonplace in Ireland all too recently) and the happy marriages of my friends who have made their own, new sort of marriage. A sort of marriage which is about loving commitment to each other rather than the female half being the Angel in the House who's given up all autonomy to her husband.

However, what I am bewildered by is the assumption that, as a 29 year old woman in a stable, happy relationship, I am automatically dying to be married as soon as possible, and that I think my boyfriend is somehow to blame for not asking me yet. The whole thing seems such a bizarre, Cosmo way to carry on - and view gender roles - that I am amazed that someone in my social circle could even bring it up. Has anyone else actually encountered this sort of thing outside crappy magazines? And should I expect more people to start asking me when P and I are going to "give us all a day out"? Don't worry, I don't suddenly feel under pressure to oblige, but I am still somewhat aghast at the whole thing. Not least because I don't particularly like getting oddly defensive about my currently unmarried status during a nice night out in the pub.

Comments

biascut
Mar. 7th, 2005 03:15 pm (UTC)
My second Seely friend got engaged at Christmas, and is now eagerly waiting for the third announcement. Stinker bears the weight of this pressure, as I am considered a Lost Cause. Or, at least, too freaky to predict. Hurray.

I was just saying to yiskah the other weekend that my cousins and I have a terrible record when it comes to marriage: five of them in their thirties, including a 39 year old with three kids and her sister who's pregnant for the second time, and the other eleven of us all over 22, and not a single wedding to show for ourselves. My Grandma Mac had a bit of a moment about having great-grandchildren and no weddings, and I know my Grandma T is highly relieved that there haven't been any illigitimate great-grandchildren on her side. But there's still no marriage pressure, which is lovely. Actually, there's still marriage-reverse-pressure: my mum told me when I was eleven that she'd disown me if I got married before I was thirty, and has never relented on that.
stellanova
Mar. 7th, 2005 03:35 pm (UTC)
Only one of my cousins (who's in his thirties and got married last year) has tied the knot or indeed had kids. There's no family pressure at all for me, thank God - and I didn't realise there was any social pressure until Friday!

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