Until I got married, I had no idea how deeply the traditions surrounding marriage were rooted in everyone’s minds. I have spent most of my life in an alternative culture, and I was so very unprepared for how my vanilla friends, (and even some of my kink friends), reacted to the news that I was signing a piece of paper which they all seem to consider wildly significant.
My attempts to explain why I felt so different were wordy and sounded pompous. Perhaps I can narrow it down in writing.
The first thing that was hard to get a handle on was all the tradition. It seems that every single woman I know has dreamed of someday wearing a white dress. I have not had this dream. Worse, I didn’t know that my lack of enthusiasm about a dress would actually upset people. Clearly, I had NO idea what a big deal wedding dresses were. (Maybe I’m an asshole for wearing black slacks and a T-shirt to my wedding. Maybe not. But I think that decision is up to me and my husband.)
I hate the cake in the face tradition too. I don’t care how old it is or why it started. I don’t need a cake, and I don’t need a cake shoved in my face.
And all the words that people usually speak at ceremonies make me nuts, like: The wife promises to love, honor, and obey her husband. Really? Obey? I think not.
All the social conversions surrounding marriage, right down to the idea that you need a public ceremony ALL piss me off.
Another example of my problem with stereotypes is the confusion about how a D/S relationship and a marriage can be going on at the same time. In an effort to understand the concept, my vanilla friends and some of my kinky ones took to calling Pet “the Wife.”
Now first of all, I don’t like how “wife” means the weaker person who is the maker of sandwiches and the bringer of beer. This is an awful and old stereotype that I would really like for society to move past.
In addition, Pet and I are on 100% even footing when we are not doing a scene. I would never ask him to make me a sandwich, and he would never ask me to make him one. We respect each other and we recognize each other as equals. Look; what I’m saying is that it evens out and there is no power dynamic between us outside of scenes. So basically, allowing that I think “the wife” meaning the submissive one is bullshit, the fact is that neither of us is “the wife.”
Again, social conventions are dicks.
This next bit will probably offend all the girls. Feel free to stop reading now, so as to avoid the urge to do angry things to me.
Diamonds are a dick-measuring contest for girls. They all look at each other’s rock to see who has the bigger bit of shiny on their finger, and I hate this.
First, I don’t do the dick-measuring thing. I am not so insecure that I need to compare myself to someone else. I live up to my own standards and no one else gets a say in my value as a human.
Why it bugs me even more is because women do not buy themselves these rings. They actually base their self-worth on what they got someone else to buy them. Think about how awful that is for just a second! The measure of yourself is not your own ability to produce and contribute. The measure of yourself (if you are female) is meant to be the amount you can force someone else to value you at. An engagement ring is asking someone to assign worth in money to you as a person.
I am sorry, female readers. I know that you’re going to want to tell me that it’s meant to be a sign of love and devotion and that if you really loved someone, even a small diamond would make you happy. I do see that side of it; but I think it is largely overshadowed by more negative things.
Oh, and the number one thing that pissed me off about getting married: The assumptions about sex.
I heard so much “Oh, your best sex is behind you now” teasing from people. And look, if you think that’s funny- you’re wrong. There is nothing funny about associating the concept of marriage with the idea of bad sex. It’s not okay, and you all need to stop that shit right now. I will continue to have sex with who I like, and with my husband. And I will LOVE it, if for no other reason than to spite the people who told me that good sex doesn’t happen within the confines of a marriage.
We’re still going to be poly, as we have always been. We’ll fall in and out of love with people, as we always have. And we’ll have lots of awesome sex with each other, too. I see no reason this should ever change. And don’t tell me things get stale in the bedroom after so many years. I have a boy I have kept around for almost 15 years now, and I have never gotten tired of fucking him. Seriously, every time I know I am going to see him I look forward to the sex. If anything, it has gotten better and better as we’ve gotten to know each other more and more.
So the point is this:
This is just my opinion, but I think marriage should be whatever you want it to be. You negotiate the terms for yourselves, and you create what kind of affiliation you want. I think every marriage should be free of past stereotypes and traditional expectations.
I got married. I’m glad I did it and I love my husband. But the process itself was a nightmare. I really wish society as a whole could agree to give this marriage thing a big makeover. Let’s not force others to do it the way we think it’s done, or the way we saw it in a movie. Let’s respect everyone’s rights to make their own traditions and their own rules about what a marriage is.