How long a couple waits before they wed varies, but for so many I know, two seems to be the magic number. Two years to decide that a life time of love is possible. I used to think that the younger the couple, the sooner they married. I now see that older couples have their own reasons to race to the altar.
Those who have been married in their younger years may not feel the need to wait so long to declare the relationship they wish to have. Those who are younger might romanticize the idea of marriage so much that they leap like eager gazelles to the nearest church.
Weddings are about romance, love is what came before and what is left after the blessed event.
Weddings like so many other celebratory events can contain trinkets of wisdom and symbolic wonder. I've always been a fan of symbolism as it is a language that is expressed without words. I won't go so far as to suggest that weddings can in no way harbor substance and sincerity.
For some, extensive planning and exhausting expenses are worth the day of tradition. Some are able to escape the tornado whirl of wedding plans and actually focus on the reason for it.
Even so -- amongst all the planning, there are other traditions that are also open for questioning. Bridal showers and bachelorette and bachelor parties, mark the last era of freedom and the new era of enlightened and committed love. What escapes so many is that freedom and commitment existed before anyone popped the magic question. Enlightenment comes from understanding that married love is not a special kind of love; a love that is different from unmarried love. We are all better off if we let go of the patriarchal idea that marriage defines any kind of love. Love doesn't have to wait for a proposal and it isn't suddenly easier to maintain that love when two wake up sleepily and utter, "Morning wife" -- "Morning husband."
Once upon a time, I believed marriage was important. As children with two parents or children who have witnessed co-parenting; most of us had a vague and distanced concept marriage. We knew that mommy and daddy (or mommy and mommy; daddy and daddy) lived together and had some sort of romantic relation to one another.
In kindergarten there was a boy named Michael, who told me he wanted to marry me. I was so flattered that I followed him around giddily asking for reassurance. "Do you still want to marry me?" One day I followed him to "the circle" which was duct tape on a classroom carpet; marking a seating arrangement. I crawled from my place in the circle, next to his and for the last time, smiled wide and asked, "Do you still want to marry me?" To my surprise he snapped at me with exhaustion; "YES!" From that point on, I stopped following him and he stopped chasing me.
It probably wasn't until high school that I drew a clearer picture of marriage. Although it was still fuzzy in my brain, I had a better outline. I entered my first relationship and he and I both harbored the idea that there was no point in entering a relationship if you weren't in it for the long haul. I was pleased to find a like-minded person in the midst of flimsy relationships and casual sex.
At the time I had the idea that I would want to get married in a church. I wanted to wear a white flowy, "fairy dress" while sporting body glitter. I'd go barefoot and wear a silver wedding band, and my husband to be would wear whatever he'd wear on an average day. I am not close with my family members so I had no need for them to be present. I envisioned that my partner would leave family out of the ceremony as well. Friends needn't be involved as the ceremony would be quick and there would be no reception.
When I reached my early 20s, I decided that all I needed was a court room. I didn't need the wedding band; a silver band with the lowercase worker "ever" engraved on the top and I certainly never wanted a blood diamond. I didn't need a pretty dress, I didn't want the pomp and circumstance. I didn't want to walk down the aisle, I didn't want to be the center of attention, and I didn't want to stand before a religious figure whom I had no relationship with or had never met before.
A courthouse wedding would be easier. Sure I'd be standing before a stranger, but it was just procedure. I realized that we as people do not necessarily need to stand before a pastor, priest, rabbi, in order to be married before the eyes of God. Churches are a piece of tradition but the earliest of marriages didn't include them. I didn't need a kiss, I didn't need rice, I didn't need vows. I needed a relationship.
Even further into my 20s, I changed my mind once again. I've never been one to change my mind so much, but in this case I'm glad that I did. I started to question why we held certain traditions. Traditions aren't necessarily a bad thing, but I find it's important to question any tradition.
I came to find that I had no idea what it truly meant to be married before the eyes of God. For those of us who believe in God; we do everything before the eyes of he/she. We pee before God; does that make it sacred?
I found myself resistant to the idea that the government had the ability to define my relationship. This is marriage; this is not. This over here is commitment, that over there is something else.
My fantasies changed. I had warm and pleasant envision of my partner and I waking in bed one morning and smiling at each other. We'd have a brief conversation about how much we loved each other and then one of us would pop the question. We'd kneel on the bed together; face to face and marry each other. "Will you marry me?" "Yes."
I liked the idea of marrying without a license because I felt that it was entirely possible to do so. I asked myself a silly question; what if a character from Gilligan's Island wanted to marry another? Would they have to wait for rescue in order for this to happen? A rescue that might never come? I say no.
Even further down the road I sorrowfully concluded that I would have to concede if I wanted to be next-of-kin to my partner. So, my vision changed again. I decided that I still liked the idea of my partner and I marrying each other in bed, and THEN later we'd trot over to the courthouse. We'd marry each other first so as to signify our real relationship and not one that society had built for us. We'd marry legally out of necessity.
When I later learned that in the state of California, I could be granted next-of-kin rights without marriage, I was elated. I've always considered California to be my home, and I don't plan on leaving it.
The next obstacle is finding someone who doesn't mind foregoing holy matrimony. My mother loved telling me how I was essentially cutting out a large population of men. This is true, and it is frightening; but I can't force myself to want something I wholeheartedly do not want do not want.
My reasons for not wanting to marry do include my feminist
views, (duh) but have more to do with
There is this myth; that if you are in love and have been
together for a certain amount of time, marriage is to follow “naturally”; a natural progression. Marriage
is expected in our culture. If you have been with your partner for what others
deem to be a long period of time, you are likely to get the question; “So, when are you getting married?”
thrown at you from every corner. Marriage does not ensure longevity and it does
not “solidify” anything; “I do”, does not equate to a lifetime.
Whenever, I hear of someone who is engaged to be married I
experience two thoughts:
1) I am happy that the two love each other
and are going to engage in an act that they feel is celebratory and joyful.
2) Most relationships end therefore more
than likely the marriage will end. While
this may seem dreary or even rude, I can’t help but think that relationships
aren’t necessarily meant to last forever. Initially this was a devastating idea
to hold as I certainly wish to be in a healthy/enjoyable relationship that
lasts until my dying day. Some actually do make it until “death to we part.”
But even with the hope and belief that a relationship – married or not -- will
last forever; relationships can end after 3 years, 10 years, 36 years, and so
I’ve noticed that when some couples talk about their future,
they discuss whether they want to marry but rarely discuss why they wish to do
so. The why seems to be a given,
therefore it is not discussed. When one
party decides that they are ready to marry and they sense that the other is
ready to marry, they pop the question. The explanation that seems to seal the deal
is, “I want to spend the rest of my life
with you” or “I want to grow old with
I sometimes question as to whether couples would pursue
marriage if it weren’t considered a romantic occasion. If there were no
flowers, no white dress, no tuxes, no extravaganza; would marriage be as
appealing? I do not understand how a wedding day signifies something that is
different from any other day of devotion; nor do I understand why a wedding is
described as “the best day” of our
Being that there is this standing myth that marriage is the
epitome of love, it is often accompanied with the belief that if a spouse does
not wish to marry, they are not truly in love or committed. It has the
potential to feel like a slap in the face and can often lead to a break-up; a deal
I once had a conversation with a friend who told me that she
believes monogamy without a license is not likely to last. Her belief was that
marriage would motivate a couple to work things out much more than a
relationship that wasn’t “locked down.”
She went on to say that the threat of divorce is much more frightening than the
threat of losing a boyfriend.
As sad as this is, I don’t necessarily disagree with her.
Avoiding divorce is not only about the fear of losing a loved one; but enduring
a legal process that is emotionally and sometimes financially draining. What’s troublesome
is that the legal aspect is often the motivation to stay together, rather than
Because marriage has these legal binds; a relationship
without it, seems easier to walk away from.
In some ways it might be, but commitment is commitment. It’s possible to
do your damndest without witnesses and an altar.
There are many financial benefits to marriage and if you are
like me and you do not wish to marry then you definitely need to think about
how you are going to cover yourself if your relationship results in Splitsville.
Historically, my only attraction to marriage was the fact
that I wanted to be next -of -kin to my partner.
Luckily I learned that in the
state of California it is possible to be a legal next-of-kin to an unmarried
Marriage in many ways is still somewhat of a business
arrangement. Fathers still give their
daughters away and say to their future sons in law, “Take good care of her.” Even though we are far from the days where
fathers exchange cattle and land for the expectation that the groom will
protect a defenseless woman; there is still the idea that a woman needs
protection and should be treated like a lady (whatever that means).
Although couples can certainly define their own marriage;
most refer to contemporary traditions, based on historical rule.
According to Merriam-Webster marriage is defined this way:
a (1): the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband
or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2): the
state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that
of a traditional marriage marriage>
The "admitation" is unfortunate. Try to get by it. It's hard, but try.
the Men's Rights Movement: “If a guy starts saying what you are doing
is reverse sexist, he is obviously threatened by what you are doing.
He’s threatened because he thinks there are only two ways to be:
powerful or powerless. He assumes you asserting you rights is a way to
take power away from him. He assumes you wanna “switch places” with him.
He knows you get treated like shit and he knows he gets advantages from
your imposed inferiority. He’s fearing REVENGE, girlfriend. His fear of
“reverse sexism” is basically an admitation on his part that he knows
you get treated like shit and does not want to switch places with you.”
Tower Records wasn't the best record store in the world, but it was a record store. In case you haven't noticed, we don't really have them anymore. Amoeba Records is my nirvana and I am indeed grateful for it. The day that store dies, a part of me will go with it.
I can't imagine what Tower Records was like back then as it was before my time. What pleased me about its existence is that it carried more than just mainstream recordings.
Looky what I got! A new 1940s vintage piece purchased at Adored Vintage. The Vintage Boutique is located in Los Angeles. The show room is available by appointment and the site allows for purchases online.
AV finds their items at flea markets and antique shops. They sell their clothing in good condition and take the guess work (for the most part) out of sizing and fit. Eras range from 1900s to 1970s and an occasional 1980s piece. I'm almost always a 1940s gal, but once in a blue moon, I'll find a 30s piece I like. Check out the site, and see for yourself.
Sorry fellas, they don't sell men's clothes.
AV calls this dress, Navy Orleans Dress.
Description from the online boutique: Vintage 1940s dark indigo navy blue dress. Rounded neckline, short
sleeves, and sheer illusion bodice along the top. Fabric has pinstripe
piping throughout and contrasting horizontal lace panels. Features
attached little brooch with rhinestone and original belt.
Belt buckle is a bit faded; stitching remains in tact.
To find your own special piece, visit Adored Vintage. Shop is updated regularly.
Am emotional piece that's hard to shake -- I sat with this for quite a while. Below is a well written article by the always honest, Hugo Schwyzer. Schwyzer is a gender studies professor at Pasadena City College.
10 summers ago, my third wife and I went on a family genealogy trip
to Ireland. My father-in-law was one of those men whose life mission was
to fill in as many branches of the family tree as possible. He was
also generous, flush from a handsome payout from his recent retirement.
In the summer of 2002, he made his son, his daughter, and their spouses
an offer that couldn’t be refused: an all-expenses paid trip to the
Emerald Isle for a fortnight of eating, drinking, hiking and poking
When we boarded that flight to Dublin, “Elisabeth”* and I were just
14 months into our marriage. It was my third, but her first, and she was
already growing certain that she’d made a terrible mistake. We were
good friends, intellectually compatible and from similar backgrounds. We
looked good together; the kind of couple that elicits remarks like
“Seeing you two together gives me hope for true love” from single
friends. Our cordiality and ease together wasn’t an act. We liked each
Elisabeth and I had very little sexual chemistry. After making so
many impulsive choices based on lust when I was younger, I was ready to
settle for warmth over heat. Increasingly, as the marriage wore on,
Elisabeth wasn’t nearly so willing to settle. By the time we passed our
first anniversary, we were fighting daily, in that civil way that
involved a lot of anxious whispers and very little shouting. And by the
time we left for Ireland, we hadn’t had sex in more than a month.
Perhaps it was the return to the land of her ancestors that gave her
the courage to demand the divorce. On our third night in Ireland, in a
tiny room in a B&B in rural Wicklow, Elisabeth told me -- tearfully
but with resolve -- that she wanted out. I pleaded, keeping my cracking
voice low because my in-laws were on the other side of a paper-thin
wall. My wife stayed firm. We stayed up until dawn, talking and crying.
As the sun rose, I agreed to the divorce.
Because Elisabeth and I were both good WASPs (I’m half-Jewish, but my
demeanor comes from the Anglican side of the family), we decided to
pretend that nothing was wrong for the remaining 11 days of the family
trip. Though I later learned my mother-in-law suspected something was
amiss, we played the part of the still happily married couple (“We might
try for a baby next year!”) from Bantry to Ballycastle. When we were
alone in our hotel bedrooms at night, we watched TV or read, speaking as
little as possible and with exaggerated courtesy.
On our last night in Ireland, we stayed in Navan. After a last grand
family dinner, Elisabeth and I retreated to our room. She went to the
bathroom to shower. Half an hour went by while I waited impatiently on
the bed, leafing through a magazine, my bladder uncomfortably full. I
didn’t want to pee in front of Elisabeth anymore, and there were no
public restrooms in the B&B. Just as I was about to go outside to
whizz behind a tree, my wife came out of the bathroom. She was naked,
something she hadn’t been in front of me since we’d agreed to separate.
stuck. I’m sorry, but I think I need your help to get it out.”
Elisabeth’s face was red with embarrassment and frustration. “It’s never
happened before. I tried to change it before we left for dinner and I
couldn’t. I’ve been trying for half an hour but it’s wedged so high I
can’t get to it with my fingers. I can’t find the string. I don’t want
to leave it in overnight.”
Elisabeth and I may not have had much sexual heat together, but we’d
always had kindness and at least flashes of empathy. I thought of what
the last few minutes must have been like for her before she came out of
the bathroom, as the realization set in that she couldn’t get the tampon
out without my help. From her face, I guessed she’d tried absolutely
everything (including, she told me later, using her toothbrush handle)
to avoid having to ask for such intimate assistance from a man she was
determined to leave.
I told her yes, of course, I’d help. Awkwardly, I got up and began to
walk toward her. Without meeting my eyes, Elisabeth pointed to the
bathroom, telling me softly to cut my nails and wash my hands first.
When I came out, Elisabeth was lying on her back on the bed, an
unopened bottle of lubricant beside her. I’d packed it in the optimism
that the aphrodisiac of travel would rekindle our lukewarm sex life. But
it had never left the suitcase.
I opened the bottle, lubed up my fingers, and asked Elisabeth if she was ready.
“Yes,” she said, her voice resigned and certain. She drew her knees
up as if she were in stirrups. “It’s really up there. Go slow.”
I slid my fingers into her vagina, my heart pounding. Suddenly,
embarrassingly, I was erect -- more a conditioned physiological response
than evidence of real lust. I needn’t have worried that my
soon-to-be-ex-wife had noticed; Elisabeth was studying the ceiling,
trying to breathe deeply as I tentatively probed inside of her.
Somehow, the tampon had worked its way behind Elisabeth’s cervix and gotten itself wedged in there. I could feel it but couldn’t grasp it at first.
“I’m going to have to push a little harder,” I told her.
Her voice was tight and pleading. “Just get it out, Hugo. Be gentle but do what you need to do to get it out. If you can.”
I’m not sure how long it took, perhaps three interminable minutes as I
worked my fingers into places they’d never been when we were first in
love and playing at being passionate. At last, I found the string (which
had wound itself around the tampon), and pulled; it all slid out easily. Elisabeth gave a little grunt of deliverance: “Jesus.”
She jumped up from the bed, and we had a strange fumbling moment as she reached for the tampon
to go throw it away, and I didn’t let it go. I finally let her take it
from my fingers, we each whispered a quick and simultaneous, “sorry,”
and Elisabeth disappeared into the bathroom. I remembered suddenly how
badly I needed to piss, and I went outside to relieve myself behind the
parking lot. Strangely -- or maybe not -- my cock was still hard as a
rock, and I had to wait a painful while before my erection subsided
enough to let me urinate.
When I was finished, I stood staring at the Irish sky, feeling a
greater sadness and sense of imminent loss than I’d felt at any time on
the trip. I let the tears come.
When I came back to the room, Elisabeth was out of the shower, with
nothing on but the towel wrapped around her hair and a fresh tampon
string dangling between her legs. We looked at each other, and I knew
with absolute certainty that I was seeing her naked for the last time.
“Thank you for that,” she murmured.
“Of course,” I replied, biting back the “I love you” that rose instinctually in my throat.
Elisabeth smiled. “Well,” she said with the laugh she used when we both needed comforting, “we’ll always have Navan.”
I believe story telling is an art form and blogging is a medium in which to share stories and ideas. Within this blog I hope to cover a spectrum of topics. From the serious to the silly. Here you will read my views and inquiries about subjects such as feminism, other various socio-political issues, psychology, spirituality, sexuality, and general interests such as film, art and music. You will also be exposed to my obsession with cupcakes, tea, books, Hello Kitty, and quirky day to day journeys. I enjoy learning from others as I am constantly attempting to introspect, grow and evolve. During this process I will be jotting down musings on this blog. Pull up a comfy chair and a spot of tea and join me!