Thursday, August 7, 2008

First Comes Love (of self), Then Comes Marriage

So after recently being thrown out of a lady friend’s apartment for asking if she ever considered that she may never get married, I quickly came to the realization that I too may share the same fate. My question to her was hypothetical but firmly grounded in my own beliefs. Couple that with her recent termination of an engagement and one can ascertain that the timing of my inquiry may have been a bit premature (in my defense, I did ask her if she was comfortable talking about this and I only inquired after she brought it up). Now I could easily dismiss her behavior as rash, and it in fact was, but this would not be the first time my questioning of marriage garnered emotional backlash.

My questioning of marriage is not because I don’t love love or the idea of having a life long partner. I am after all a hopeless romantic (although fleeting) and a passionate idealist (also fleeting). It is also not because I am a commitment-phobic man whore fueled by copulatory pleasures with multiple partners. Deuce Bigelow-esque behavior can be enjoyable but also taxing once the emotional scales become unbalanced (I like to have sex with you, but not in that way). My gripe is mainly because I cannot find anyone who feels the same way about marriage as I. Once I identify that individual who believes marital practices are complete and utter bullshit but wants to go through with it anyway, I am off to Harry Winston post haste for this magical beast is indeed my true love!

My perspective may not be the norm and certainly does not mirror popular consensus, although the growing # of divorces may refute that. Marriage to me is a status driven practice predicated on the literal (update to emotional) possession of another individual, typically the woman. At point of origin, women were often used as currency to pay off wealthy land owners or as bargaining chips to attain a higher social status. Funny how Women are now the main proponents (I need that marketing strategy so I can persuade my employers on the benefits of paying me not to work). And don’t even get me started on the best man (named so because he was the most adept with a sword and capable of fending off individuals audacious enough to try and reclaim their kidnapped daughters). Most people are not abreast of the history of marriage, nor do they care to find out but most will adhere to its practices (is this not the very definition of ignorance?) After a past girlfriend told me that if the engagement ring wasn’t to her liking, I need not waste my time proposing, I became all the more suspicious of these rituals. As I am innately contrarian and mildly self righteous, I have always been leery of any readily accepted norm. Posing questions come as naturally to me as an overweight person’s desire for extra cheese on their ham flavored Kool- Aid.

I often hear women say being married makes you want to work out your problems because you can’t just walk away. Counterpoint 1); Men have a problem being contractually obligated to love and 2) why the hell can’t I leave if I no longer want to be involved? As an idealist (see paragraph 2), should my desire to remain in said relationship not be fueled by my own volition? We can all be fickle but staying in a relationship simply because it would be too messy to dissolve is about as healthy as starving to death because cooking is just too cumbersome. If we have come to an end pass, and differences become irreconcilable, why should public humiliation and fear of losing half my possessions be my motivation to further progress unhappiness? And although I have no possessions worthy of divorce court litigation, I am protective of my future assets yet to be acquired (preemptive strategies I picked up from the Bush administration).

Weddings these days somehow parallel Ringling Brothers triumphant return to Madison Square Garden. Monies spent, limos rented, tuxedos adorned and all in the name of what? So one can profess their undying love for someone who already knows they are loved? Or to validate a union in the eyes of a God who also already knows how you feel (as said deity should since said deity is responsible for all this). God, like Santa, also knows that you have been having premarital sex so why is it we conform to fragments of societal norms that benefit us but discount the rest? Once again, we want what we want and when we want it.

Folk seem to believe that after a certain age /subset of accomplishments, marriage is the next logical course on the road to perceived happiness. Personal development has absolutely taken a back seat to personal accomplishment and to be quite frank, I don’t believe focus on self was ever in the driver’s seat (sorry Tony Robbins). We are all in search of qualities in others we deem valuable but few are willing to accept those traits are lacking within us. The poverty stricken want to marry the affluent, the mentally ill desire the sane, the Shreks of the world want Charlize Theron, etc. . . . Those who find security in these desired attributes need not look to others for that is most often a temporary fix. Why not strive for personal affluence, peace of mind, and beauty if those are the values you hold in high regard? Has anyone considered the unrealistic expectations we place on our respective partners by asking them to complete us? Happiness (construct of your beliefs and user defined) can only be attained when you realize that you and you alone are responsible (SELF esteem I believe it’s called). Public declarations of love and admiration from and for others, albeit endearing, cannot and will never subsidize love of self.

If elected president, I can personally minimize the divorce rate and all marital woes in America in 3 years (give or take a week). Firstly, we all undergo stringent requirements before being allowed to partake in nuptials. In order to be accepted into a reputable institution of any sort, one must first meet strict mandates. Why should marriage be any different? My marital perquisites would consist of a thorough psychological evaluation, a financial assessment by a trained professional, a spiritual advisor or shaman if one is available, a strength and conditioning coach to keep those gluts up to snuff, and written affidavits’ from the parents or guardians certifying the worthiness of the opposing candidate (good luck on the last one). To ensure sustained qualifications, these evaluations are to be repeated annually. If you do not meet the requirements, you are cited on you first offense, separated on your second and back in the club by the last. Since we are all raised on a reward system, it seems foolish to believe that we can exist outside of that. If there are no consequences for underperforming, there is no desire to measure up. Of course some of us are self motivators and kudos to you guys but the rest of us would all be at home scratching our asses if we were still being paid to do so (some of us still are and yes, my ass is itchy).

My overlying issue is the ease in which we gravitate to norms without question. I cannot convince myself to be with someone who does not question their actions at all points in time. It is quite cumbersome to be so self reflective but like any goal one designates worthwhile, obtaining happiness should be arduous! My unwillingness to accept popular perceptions is probably why I will pass away spouse free and end up donating all my belongings to charity (don’t know what the Red Cross is gonna do with all that porn but someone will be put it to good use.)



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