If I have to read one more article on how a group of people must somehow be damaged because they aren’t in a 1950s nuclear family, I am going to spit nails.
Kay S. Hymowitz has a piece in the Wall Street Journal where she complains that men in their twenties “hang out in…a hybrid state of semi-hormonal adolescence and responsible self-reliance.” Poor Hymowitz and her fellow women can’t find a husband and breed. All the guys are playing video games, fucking around in bands, smoking pot, or watching porn and comedy central.
Don’t feel too bad, dudes. Tracy McMillan, has been married three times and so styles herself some sort of expert on what is wrong with those loser women who haven’t even managed to get married once. According to her, women are shallow, selfish, slutty, lying bitches who don’t spend enough time acting like a doting mama to their men. And if you are a black woman who isn’t married, well then your lack of a mate is headline news and asshats like Steve Harvey make money telling you all the ways you should change yourself in order to attract a charmer such as himself. (I just threw up a little.)
Why is it that people are so fixated on marriage? Why is it so fucking important to them that they will excoriate anyone who doesn’t hop right onto the marriage bandwagon? (Why the hell is our tax money going to try to make poor people get married?)
Usually, marriage pushers say some crap about marriage being the foundation of society. Horseshit. Marriage as a monogamous death pact has not been the foundation of society. The foundation of society has always been much bigger than the fragile nuclear family. If marriage has historically been the foundation of anything, it is privilege, hierarchy, sexism, and the accumulation of property. The kind of marriage we are familiar with is an ownership arrangement.*
If you really want to get to the heart of why people are so marriage obsessed, you must read the conservatives on the subject. Here I actually appreciate them. Most people pretend that they want you to change your entire self for your own good. They tell you it is what you really want. They tell you it is about love. At least some conservatives are honest.
Sam Schulman says that marriage is about controlling sexuality, especially women’s sexuality. And we can’t possibly let the gays marry, cause gay marriage has nothing to do with controlling who people can fuck. It’s like telling everyone they can go out and fuck willy nilly. We can’t have that. And my god, didn’t you realize that,
Even in modern romantic marriages, a groom becomes the hunting or business partner of his father-in-law and a member of his clubs; a bride becomes an ally of her mother-in-law in controlling her husband.
How the hell are two gays supposed to navigate those all important elite and gender specific roles? I mean all our parents hunt and belong to a club right? (Seriously, you should read his piece. You can’t make that shit up.)
These people piss me off so much. They want you to revere an institution that gives them privileges. They want you to modify yourself to serve their needs. They want you to give up looking for something real so that you can be as miserable as they are. They want to stuff you into the same tiny box they have stuffed themselves into. They want you to have the opposite of love.
Love is not about putting people into boxes, making them into something that suits you. As James Baldwin put so perfectly, “Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.” These people are telling you to put on more masks, to be as phony and miserable and deluded as they are. And for what? So rich people can have a system for property inheritance? So selfish people can delineate which tiny group of people they have to care about in life? So men can delude themselves into thinking that there is some virginal housekeeper waiting to take care of him who will never, ever want to fuck anyone else?
To hell with that.
Guess what? Not every girl has that Disneyland princess fantasy that McMillan and the rest claim we do. As Violet so eloquently put it, some women listen to all that crap and think “Yes, I’d like to put a ring on it. The kind attached to a ball gag.” And here is another crazy fact for you. Men are actually human beings with feelings and not just walking hornbots. No, it is true. I swear. It is possible to be a man and actually want something more than sex or money from people. I know, I could hardly believe it either.
I have no intention of getting married. I knew that by about the age of fifteen. It doesn’t make me damaged. It makes me someone who actually thinks about things before doing them. I have no idea if my fourteen-plus year relationship will last another four years or fourteen years or forty years. I do know that I love my video game and guitar playing, pot smoking, porn and comedy central watching bfriend. And I have no intention of telling him to “grow up” and fit into some Ozzie and Harriet idea of what a man is supposed to be. And I know that he loves me, not despite the fact that I am angry and raunchy and thoroughly undomesticated, but because of it.
So to all you marriage pushers who want the rest of us to sacrifice our happiness on the alter of your delusion – I know you hate to see people be honest about who they are, despite the harsh social consequences people like you met out for not conforming. It must remind you of your own phoniness, unhappiness and mediocrity. I kind of feel sorry for you, but mostly I just want to tell you to suck it.
* If you have never read Stephanie Coontz’s book, Marriage A History: How Love Conquered Marriage, I would highly recommend it.