This is a draft I had completely forgotten about but just found thanks to a usability update to the WordPress dashboard…
Jezebel, my guilty commute pleasure, just ran a short article on ten realistic reasons you’re not married as a response to yet another “all the things you need to change to become Mrs. Right” self help book. Their reasons are, well, reasonable. They are not unlike the reasons I’m not married.
But first a thought about self help books, ones like Marry Him: the case for Mr. Good Enough, and Find a Husband After 35 With What I learned in Harvard Business School – they work. They work if your goal is to be married because there is an easy middle of the road kind of girl that fits well with easy middle of the road kind of American boys. And there are a lot of middle of the road red blooded American boys and if you fit the bill, they will marry you. Or they work because Harvard Business School prepares you to sell just about anything. Perhaps most importantly, they work because they make you the kind of person American boys *think* they should marry; that image is a generation behind anyone’s reality, and I think this is the case in every generation, but that’s why it’s a fantasy. Perfect doesn’t exist, but you can pretend – you can pretend in your dreams, in fiction, or, for a time, you can carefully curate your life and pretend that way.
Here is the catch, your top goal has to be to become married, that is the goal these books help you achieve.
Now the personal part: I say the yet is applicable because when I think about my future I think about very tight intimate networks and I think about resource sharing in a sustainable and ongoing basis. I think about kids (ok, mostly I think about being pregnant and wish someone would take away the infant and bring back a teenager some time later). I think about tax optimization, shared budgets, and mutual support. In short. I think about things that, while not defined by marriage, are more easily achieved through marriage.
I also think about the sacrifices I am unwilling to make, at this point, to become Mrs. Right. I think about the time and energy I want to dedicate to my job – time that I have no desire to put into dating. I think about the people I love, who form non-traditional partner networks around me: my platonic husband C, my play partner and chief agitator Maymay, my newest romantic interest who may or may not want to be named on a blog, my metamour(s)…people whom I love, people whom I invest energy and time in, and people who, let’s face it, take away any urgency I might feel to look for Mr. Right. (And make me far too messy to be the kind of middle of the road red blooded American girl who is most marketable as Mrs. Right.)
Some days I wonder if I should be doing my future self a favor, just freaking get married so I could cross it off the old todo. But, y’know, marriage is just not my priority right now. C is right, my relationship needs are met and I love my life, this saps any motivation I might have for dating like nothing else.
This is all tempered by the fact that I’ve had the chance to get married. If I was any closer to mainstream I probably would have. Regardless, the truth of the matter is that I am not married because when faced with the potential in the past I wasn’t ready. And when faced with the sacrifices and work that goes into meeting someone who is open to and available for marriage today, I’m just not interested.
So yes, there is a part of me that worries about being the only single bridesmaid at my best friends wedding, there’s a part of me that does the math on my fertility, but, there’s no gentler way to put it: it’s just not that important to me and I have enough chutzpah to know that if and when it becomes important I’ll make it happen.