foxinsnow's Diaryland Diary

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why I don't want to get married

“Marriage is wonderful institution. But who would want to live in an institution?”

-Groucho Marx

I don’t want to get married.

Ever.

It should be a no-brainer. It should be: “You don’t want to get married? Okay, so, don’t get married.” But, I feel pressured into getting married by my family, my friends, my culture. My dad calls unmarried women old maids. He wants me to date men who have good jobs. Now, I definitely like to date guys who have something to do during the day (like a job) so they’re not sitting around all day with their thumbs up their butts waiting for me to call them, but how does their insurance plan affect me at all if I’m not going to get married? It doesn’t, but as far as my dad’s concerned, that’s a pretty big “if.”

Luckily for me, at twenty-four I’m still a little young to be surrounded by the Marriage Madness people in their late twenties begin to subject themselves and loved ones (including significant others) to. But, this one guy more-or-less proposed to me. At first I was really into him and the idea. That was even after he started writing me love poems. The day after our first date, this guy showed me love poems that read, “I stare into your serene dark eyes and know that you complete me…” “You are what I’ve always been waiting for…” “you are the yin to my yang” and so forth. I thought he must be psychotic. Anyway, we started talking marriage, and he told me he “just knew” we were going to be together for all eternity. He didn’t tell me how he knew, and moreover the topic was not open for debate, discussion, or negotiation. He “just knew,” he would say with that smug, superior, half-wit’s gleam in his eyes. Well, we’re not dating anymore, we’re not speaking anymore, and I totally hate his guts, so obviously he didn’t know shit. And furthermore, he didn’t even love me! Any person who wants to ask my father, thank you very much, for my hand in marriage, like we’re back in the fifties when a “woman’s hand” was a priceless commodity but a commodity nevertheless, obviously has no clue or doesn’t care about what I want, and therefore does not love me.

My two favorite movie stars (other than indie queen Parker Posey) are Angelina Jolie and Kate Hudson. Evidently, Angelina is considered to be way, way out there, a crazy girl, and Kate is this kind of charmingly offbeat hippie girl-next-door type. They’re both generally in bad movies (although I fell in live with Angelina in Girl, Interrupted and Kate in Almost Famous) so my persistent infatuation is not based on admiring their work—I don’t like cheesy action pseudo-girl-power flicks and I certainly don’t like charmingly offbeat romantic comedies. But Angelina is so fucking hot I can’t get over it and Kate is enchanting… her eyes, her voice, her fairy-tale marriage with Chris Robinson… which I’m getting so fucking sick of reading about! It’s all the same thing: “We’re so in love.” “I’m so in love with this man, it’s ridiculous.” “From the day we met, it was love, love, love.” And so forth. At first it was enchanting, or at least entertaining, but lately when I pick up magazine articles about her I skip over the parts where she’s talking about Chris to see if she has anything new or interesting in her life—a movie that’s not a charmingly offbeat romantic comedy, a political issue, for fuck’s sake (if you’re such a bohemian hippie type, go protest the war in Iraq, bitch, don’t just flash a little peace sign at the Oscars), something other than “Chris, Chris, Chris, the baby I’m having with Chris, I make my own jewelry, I like to bake apple pie.”

Angelina Jolie may be a bit of a drama queen, but she doesn’t piss me off. She actually has a really good quote in Cosmo, of all places. She says: “Figure out who you are separate from your family and the man or woman you’re in a relationship with. Find who you are in this world and what you need to feel good alone. Find a sense of self because with that, you can do anything else.” Amen, amen. Okay, so she got burned. Maybe Kate will get burned too, and that’ll make her more interesting. But somehow, I doubt it. Kate’s just not one of those girls who gets burned. Seventeen Magazine described her as a “sunny free spirit.” Well, I have news for them—any woman living in this country right now who is “sunny” is guaranteed not to be a free spirit. Angelina is back at ground zero, with nothing to lose—except she does have her adorable little adopted Cambodian son, who she’s raising alone. You can tell she has the heightened awareness of someone who has just been through something emotionally wrenching. She’s the one who’s free.

I want to be free. I never used to equate being unmarried with being free—because, for almost a decade, my sense of self-worth revolved around being with a man. I was not happy during this period. Now, for the first time in my life since I was eleven, I’m really happy again, and I’m realizing that the happier I am the more I want to be alone. To write. To read. To eat. Definitely to sleep—I toss around a lot, and it’s frustrating to have this other body in the bed. To daydream. That’s a big one, because when I was little, I would daydream about Prince Charming, and I thought I enjoyed the daydream because it was about Prince Charming. Now I think I enjoyed it because it was my daydream that I enjoyed alone. That and the fact that now I know there is no such person as Prince Charming. Oh, there are great guys out there, but none of them are going to save me. And I’m not interested in saving any of them. Prince Charming is the one who saves you, keeps you safe, and loves you forever. I don’t want any of that. I want sex, but… even in that arena, I’m pretty self-reliant, if you know what I mean. Heh heh. No, guys, you’re not the only ones.

My abhorrence of matrimony doesn’t just begin where a diamond ring is presented. I fear marriage. I fear it. Why? I fear commitment. Not monogamy, but boyfriends expect more commitment than just being faithful. They expect you to spend a hell of a lot of time with them. I fear being a couple—I hate the little gestures a boyfriend employs when you’re walking around with him in public that establish that you are, in fact, his girlfriend. Like guiding me with his hand against the small of my back as I’m walking through a doorway, for example. It gives me the same feeling as when my hair or clothes catch on something. A nuisance. Or of being suffocated.

But, really, a lot of this has to do with my fear of sex. I’ve always been very sex-positive, as they say—I was passing out condoms for my high school’s AIDS awareness group two years before I lost my virginity. (The joke about this group was that nobody in it was getting laid, but we were telling the rest of the school how to.) I have had good sexual experiences—I’m talking about intercourse here. I am one of the reportedly few women who can have an orgasm inside the walls of her vagina, as a matter of fact. But, I have had bad experiences. And, they haunt me. I try to forget about them, but what I push out of my mind my vagina remembers. When I look at a penis, my vagina says, “ouch.” My last relationship—the guy who wanted to marry me—was amazing until we had sex. Our first time, I found myself paying more attention to analyzing the cracks on his ceiling than to him. That’s what I did when I first started having sex, praying the guy wouldn’t thrust too hard against my intestines. Anyway, after Kim and I started having sex, it was the beginning of the end. And it occurred about 3-4 weeks into our six-month relationship. I avoided him because I didn’t want to have sex—I avoided him in every sense of the word. When I did have sex with him, it was like a game to see how fast I could get him off so it would be over. And I resented him. I resented him for wanting to have sex with me.

I know at this point you probably think I was raped at some point, but I wasn’t. At any rate, you probably think I need therapy for this problem, this problem that’s at the crux of my aversion to a house, kids, a dog, and a fuckin’ white picket fence. I do want to have sex with a man again—I want my vagina to relive the good times and forget about the bad. But having bad sex with people I don’t want to have sex with in the first place is not going to solve that problem, and that’s what happens when I get into a relationship. So, I want to avoid them until I can think of a better plan. And emotionally, I’ve gotten so used to being single and, well, getting myself off that I’ve come to like it, even prefer it.

That’s what’s so mind-blowing about the husband, kids, dog, fence, SUV plan—it’s really all based around the fact that not only are two people having sex only with each other, but the definition of sex in this paradigm is vaginal intercourse. That specific act is what this whole big fuss is all about. First of all, there are tons of fun ways to get your freak on without inserting a penis into a vagina. Second of all, I may have sex again and love it (god willing) but do I really want to base my whole lifestyle around it? It seems to me that in this day and age, a person doesn’t have to do that. I don’t have to do that.

Diamanda Galas, a singer/performance artist who makes Angelina Jolie look like Julie Andrews, has a whole lot to say on this subject. She wants to have sex when she wants it—she doesn’t want some guy in her bed every night, she claims. Well, that sounds good to me! I mean, she really hit the nail on the head—you can go three years without sex, if you want to, and then find a guy you like and fuck his brains out five times a day, maybe even fall in love with him, and see how long that lasts.

The most outrageous thing Diamanda says in this interview is that she is offended by childbirth. She finds it offensive because she considers it the male ego perpetuating itself into the demands of a consumerist culture at the expense of women. Now, aside from the radical chic, over the top, convenient ignorance of her statement (I know a lot of women who claim to enjoy being pregnant and having children—or at least I hope they do, because there’s a whole helluva lot of ‘em doing it) while I don’t necessarily believe in what she says in principle, I believe in it practically speaking: I don’t ever want to bear children. I want to adopt. I figure, hey, there’s kids out there who need homes, the world’s grossly overpopulated anyway, and I have this overwhelming fear of giving up cigarettes for nine months and of giving birth, so what’s wrong with adopting instead? Answer: not a damn thing.

There’s another thing, though. While I disagree with Diamanda, I love that she said what she said. See, there are all these people out there—not just men—who think women should bear children because it’s natural. These are the same people, by the way, who think that the nuclear family is natural. The “people should behave a certain way because it’s natural” argument—which, incidentally, has taken the exact place in socio-political space as the “it’s what God wants” argument—is bull shit for the following reasons: 1) if you’re so bent on people being “natural,” put down your cell phone, take a shit in your front yard, and start dating women who don’t shave their armpits, 2) if it’s really natural, I would want to do it the same way I want to eat, breathe, sleep, and fuck (a verb I am not using to exclusively describe intercourse), and 3) oh, great, now you’re going to tell me what is natural? Should I start addressing you as Mein Furor?

When Diamanda Galas says, “I don’t want to watch someone give birth because, frankly, I find it offensive,” what she is really saying is “Fuck that!” Fuck this assumption that because I was born with a uterus, I will one day give birth. Fuck this insidious assumption that because my goals are different than those of most women, I am wrong. Fuck this idea that because people are paying money to see Charlie’s Angels in theaters, they like strong women and therefore women are indeed liberated. And finally, “fuck you” to anyone who dares to tell another person—a person in an inter-racial relationship, a homosexual, a person who takes psychiatric medication, or any person who for whatever reason can’t or won’t “fit in”-- that they are unnatural. “Fuck that!” she says, and I say it too.

I’m sick of other people telling me how to be happy. I’m sick of pinning my dreams for the future on one day, one day that I am told is now rapidly approaching, when I will receive a diamond ring, like some slim shadow puppet in the DeBeers commercial who is featureless and gray except for the expensive jewel on her fluttering hand. Perhaps I’m being trite, but my decision not to marry is my way—not my only way—of saying “fuck that!” to a culture that not only defines happiness for me, but also has the gall to define methods of getting it. You have no idea what a relief it is, to not be talking to some hot guy I just met at a bar and think, “Is this the man I’m going to marry?” To not be looking forward to the big house, the big yard, the big white picket fence—looking forward to it even though every time I think of it, I have this notion that the big house is caving in on me and the white picket fence goes on and on forever. And most of all, what’s really wonderful is that I have started dating again after a long time, and not only am I not looking for my future husband, I don’t even feel inner pressure to kiss, fuck, or be monogamous with either of these guys by a certain deadline. I’m just seeing what happens and keeping my options open, as they say. The great thing is, I can honestly say I really don’t care what happens. Now, a lot of people do that who also want to get married at some point their lives. But for me, the desire for marriage has always come from the same place in my brain as the desire to jump into relationships or into bed with guys I don’t know very well. It comes from a need for security. And for the first time in my dating life, I’m not looking for that. I’m starting to think that I can do just fine on my own. I have been all along. I just didn’t realize it until now.

7:00 p.m. - 2003-03-30

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