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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

stellanova
Mar. 7th, 2005 03:18 pm (UTC)
One of them said that "wife" means security: if she is a wife, her man won't leave her. (EEEK!)
The other said that "wife" means that you hvae someone to take care of, who also takes care of you, and that you can just enjoy doing all those things like making dinner and doing the washing up and stroking your partner's brow, because you're a wife, and you aren't just playing at house anymore!


What. The. Fuck? Seriously, I wish I were more surprised, but a former friend of mine and glitzfrau explained her decision to marry someone she'd known for six months and admited she didn't fancy by saying "I can't bear the thought of ever going through another breakup, and if we get married we won't break up." This from the child of divorced parents.

I think I must be pretty lucky, really, because I never usually encounter these assumptions - even my parents don't pressurise me or indeed leedy to get married. So when I do I'm fairly shocked.
jeejeen
Mar. 7th, 2005 03:50 pm (UTC)
UGH! I know, it's horrifying, isn't it?? And one of them is a deconstructionist anthropologist, but gets all fucking HAIR-FLIPPY and squee when it's time to talk about marriage. That being said, I do think that she has a good relationship, but the ideas floating around in those heads of theirs, oh man.

Why are you so lucky, with the no weird friends? I want some less weird friends too. And it's awesome that your parents aren't the pressuring kind.

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stellanova
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