In the past two or three weeks, approximately eleventy-three people I know have gotten engaged.
My feelings towards marriage can best be summed up in the words of the great Elizabeth Taylor:
“MARRIAGE?! Noooooooooooo! Now I’m gonna howl. Ahoooooooooooooooo …”
To clarify, I am not ready. I’m not against it. I’m sure someday I’ll get clubbed and dragged down the aisle myself. And when that day comes, I’ll devote an entire year and a half of my life to picking out a dress, shoes and table linens for this one day and I’ll try to prevent the DJ from allowing any sort of song that causes white people to dance in unison. But ’til then, I’ll pass, thanks.
I guess I don’t get the whole getting married young thing. Actually, strike that, I get it in the very specific and certain following scenarios:
1) You are pregnant.
*waves* Hi Bristol. I talked shit about your mom a couple weeks ago. I promise this is not your turn.
Shotgun weddings. They’re actually not just for Republican Evangelical teen daughters of Vice-Presidential candidates! For some, once you hit that gray area age of 23 or 24, where you’re out of college and are actually making money, if you get pregnant, I guess you figure you might as well keep it. And if you’re in a good relationship with the dad, hell, might as well get married too. You’re really just ahead of schedule in that case. (Note to Boyfriend: Don’t worry. I take pills for that kind of thing.)
Now while some judgmental bitches might frown upon the notion of pledging your life to someone you’re maybe not old enough to know for certain is the one (*raises hand*), when there’s a kid involved, I guess it kind of makes sense. I mean they’re going to be in your life forever anyway. Again, I’m taking pills for that kind of thing. And vodka. (Kidding. Though that’s not a bad idea.)
2) (Speaking of Republican Evangelicals) You are a virgin.
Abstinence-only education isn’t always a horrible misstep (totally joking, yes it is). It actually works on some people. These people wear rings pledging their bodies to God until the night they ascend into wedded bliss, to have their precious gifts opened by the one they love most, the one for whom they’ve been waiting their entire lives to give their foreverdom.
Oh, and these people are always engaged the absolute second they turn 18.
Look, I don’t have a problem with people saving themselves for the person they’re going to marry. That is their personal choice and good for them. But when you put such a deep focus on sex, it takes over your thoughts. Focusing on not having sex is still focusing on it. I’ve read countless interviews with celebrities who’ve pledged to stay virgins until their wedding nights and they all go on and on about how difficult it is and all the temptations.
Speaking as someone who did not in fact wait for her wedding night (unless my dad is reading this, in which case I’m so super virginny for reals), I was never tempted. It wasn’t hard being a virgin in the slightest. And when I had it, it wasn’t a “finally” thing. It was special; it was with someone I loved (and still do. Hi, bubs.)
But for the kids who were raised to live this way, no wonder they get engaged the instant it’s legal. They don’t want to do the actual grown-up stuff, like merging checking accounts and picking China. They want to bone! And they think this is the only way they can do that. So while I think their parents need to be slapped around, I get the people who do this. Poor lambs.
I’ve chosen to be classy and not mention the problems that could arise with actually losing your virginity on your wedding night (including, but not limited to pain, bleeding, quick finish, nervous limpness, nervous dryness and of course finding out that your beloved’s genitals are horrible and misshapen (again, I’m keeping it classy here)), but seriously, I actually want someone to explain this to me. Melt my icy heart. Leave a comment or send me an email.
3) He’s 90 and you’re in for a big payoff.
Then you’re just awesome.
Other than that, I guess I just don’t see why you can’t wait a few more years. I guess I just don’t get it.
But in the interest of full disclosure, I think it’s kind of sweet. I mean, people seem so happy. And in love. And I kind of really want a whole day devoted to ME. And I like shiny jewelry (which is why in lieu of a ring, I would like an engagement tiara that I will wear daily.)
BUT! I just started making my own money, I’m not ready to share my money and stuff and co-decorate and all that! Fuck that! And hell no, I’m not changing my name! And don’t get me started on kids; I want NO part of that for a LONG time.
Buuuuut, the thought of waking up next to the person I love every day, starting a family, it’s all so beautiful. And “Paperweight” just came up on my iPod and that would be such a pretty wedding song. And my tiara, which upon wedding day will become my regal wedding crown, that alone makes everything worth it.
BUT BUT BUT! I’m still just a kid! I’m not ready for the Christmas morning I *don’t* wake up at the house I grew up in, with my parents and brother. I’m not ready to have someone else see what I really do on my weekends (for example: sit on the couch for literally hours on end, sometimes never moving all day, eating chocolate and watching all four seasons of Mr. Show with the commentary tracks on).
As you can see, I’m conflicted.
Basically, I don’t get it. Yet. And I don’t have to. I’m too young – for me. But if these people I know do, and they’re ready, then maybe they’re not too young – for them. Godspeed and good luck. I wish you all the happiness in the world. Mazel tov!
Courtney Enlow is a writer living in Chicago and working as a corporate shill to pay the bills. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.