Monday, December 5, 2011


My grandparents, Cleveland, 1949. Still married!

Maybe the reason I did not see myself getting married before is because I had a misinformed portrait of what a marriage was supposed to look like. I thought, what's in it for a nonreligious feminist? What say we keep the arcane inside joke language and the small cozy gestures, and toss the tense sexless resentment? Yes, what say we do.

But the spring before we got engaged, Nick was accepted formally into his graduate program to study rural poverty and I was quite underemployed waiting tables and hoping for a silver bullet in a down economy. We talked about where his research could take him and my dashed childhood dreams of joining the Peace Corps/working in diplomacy.(Self-dashed, by the way. I stopped pretending I was brave enough to go it alone.) Many nebulous but exciting ideas to that effect began to take shape, but it seemed like we'd need to be married to make it work.

Now, I pretty much came out of the womb fighting tooth and nail to do things my way. This is a little embarrassing and bratty to admit (hey, what's a public online diary for?), but one thing that appealed to me about marriage is that it would become impolite for other people to tell us what to do. (I'm not naive, being married has not stopped the spring tide of "helpful advice", but at least it's hedged with a pre-emptive apology now.)

Marriage is indeed a privileged state, bureaucratically, socially. I am, somewhat guiltily, enjoying its structural benefits. And I feel very acutely pissed these days that in many places, same-sex couples are shut out of it.

1 comment:

  1. Your grandparents look like they're kind of the shit.

    I'm a fan of the "adult, don't tell me what to do" bit of marriage. And so VERY angry about it not being okay for everyone to have it.