Sunday, January 30, 2005

i fought the law (b/w anniversary waltz)

yesterday 00soul and i celebrated 10 years of unwedded bliss. (in the usual fashion, by indulging in a sickeningly expensive and incredibly fabulous french dinner.) it's amazing how so many people, upon learning of our longstanding unmarried togetherness, will insist that we actually are married, even if we haven't taken vows. "oh, well, you're common-law anyway," they will say. this drives me absolutely nuts. no, we are NOT common-law anything, i usually growl through gritted teeth. after all, there's a reason we're not married. 00soul has his reasons; i won't speak for him here. but for me, i have never wanted and never will want to be married. i don't believe in it. i don't find it appealing. to me, it's perhaps the singlemost vile symbol of the patriarchy, representing mass cultural sanction of treating women like property. the hallowed institution of marriage has made possible the accepted abuse of women in innumerable ways over the centuries. my favorite part is how it was turned into a romantic thing, oh, a few hundred years ago, so now it's supposed to be all about "love" and junk. whatever. society instills in women a need for male approval and love and acceptance and worship that makes them think marriage is a wonderful, desirable, necessary thing. then society devalues women's "traditional" role in marriage, to the point where supporting your husband (by maintaining the household) and raising your kids isn't a real "job." being a "wife" in the traditional sense doesn't contribute to the very society that allegedly holds wife/motherhood in such high regard? yeah, right. whatever. marriage to me stands for institutionalized slavery, and i'm not interested in perpetuating that.

on the other hand, i don't think people who get married are necessarily perpetuating that. nowadays a lot of women and men define marriage the way they want to define it. a couple make their own choices about how they want it to be, in truly equitable relationships, anyway. and that's fine ... i don't care if people wanna be married, and that includes gay people. whoever wants it, should be able to have it. i just find the idea distasteful for me personally. in addition to my historical/feminist outrage, i just kinda don't get the attraction. still, i've had plenty of fun at friends' weddings, and i know lots of people who are happy in their marriages. so, whatever. i'm not gonna force others to see things my way.

that's why it bugs me that others so blithely insist on fitting my life into their preconceived notions of how relationships should be. and so i am terribly grateful to the lovely (and happily married) bettie, who recently informed me that california does not have common-law marriage. yay!!! that little bit of knowledge was a great anniversary present. so, happy anniversary to my fabulous not-husband. and to all my well-meaning but wrong-headed pals: we're not married, and we never will be, so nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah! deal with it.

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