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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

alicetiara
Mar. 7th, 2005 04:43 pm (UTC)
Maybe the marriage pressure is worse in the US because I definitely feel it, all the time, and if you think it sucks to be pressured into marriage when you are in a relationship, think of how it feels when you're single! I seem to be considered somewhat of a freak, being 28 and not at all coupled, with very little interest in finding a long-term relationship.

The marriage industry is out of control here. Do people in your neck of the woods regularly spend more than $US 10K on a wedding? I doubt it. One of my friend's sisters spent thirty thousand dollars on her wedding. My richest friend is getting married this summer and it involves a wedding shower in northern Washington, a bachelorette party in Vegas (which is $200 not counting plane fair) and then a huge wedding for three hundred in a vineyard in St. Luis Opispo (CA). Granted, I can't WAIT for it, but it's going to be a little outrageous I think.
radegund
Mar. 7th, 2005 10:59 pm (UTC)
Do people in your neck of the woods regularly spend more than $US 10K on a wedding? I doubt it.

Yes, is the short answer. Last I heard, the average Irish wedding cost about €22,000, which is $29,000. (I got married last month; we spent considerably less than the average.)

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