Marry, Marry, Quite Contrary

There seems to be a widely-regarded notion that every human being’s raison d’etre in life is to find that one person of the opposite gender, fall in love, marry them and stay together for the rest of their lives. We are taught from the very beginning, even before we understand what life and love are all about, is that in order to be truly happy in life, we have to be married to someone we love and have children (especially sons, to carry on the family name). I never took a lot of stock in this idea of wedded bliss, and even less so since I have gotten older and know better.

Well, let’s just say that the state of holy matrimony is not my thing, okay? And it has nothing to do with my being gay either. You must be aware that gay people do get married all the time, and nowadays not only to the opposite sex. It’s that marriage is indeed an institution, and I do not wish to be institutionalized! It’s something with which my mother and I strongly agreed. She admitted that neither of her two marriages should have ever taken place, although I have managed to honor my convictions. We are just not of the marrying kind. But also, in my case, I have still not met anybody to whom I would like to be married. Marriage, in a way, has certain merits, but being manmade, I believe it to be a highly-specialized life situation, which makes more sense to me to be an exception for humankind rather than the norm.

As all other games in life, marriage has certain rules which are expected to be followed. But most people don’t always want to play by the rules. They say certain vows to each other, when they have no intention of abiding by them, although some may be serious at the time. I’ve realized, since I was of marrying age, that I did not agree with the rules of marriage for myself, so I knew better than to subject myself ever to such a commitment. More often than not, people get married for all the wrong reasons. They frequently fall in love with the idea of marriage and have been so brainwashed and influenced by their families and society in general, rather than seriously considering just what it really entails. If couples considering marriage would really think long and hard about what they were about to do, I think that there would be fewer marriages, therefore fewer breakups.

So here is the real deal. Let’s really explore this whole marriage thing. First of all, marriage is supposed to be forever. Till death do you part. Think about that for a moment. You are committing the rest of your life to one person and one person only, supposedly. That restriction alone is enough to steer me away from the whole idea. I am not a hypocrite and I would take all the marriage vows seriously. And since I have no intention of committing my whole life to only one person, I should not be married. It’s as simple at that. Marriage vows are basically the “mission statement” for marriage. If you don’t agree with them and/or don’t intend to abide by them, then just don’t do it.

Nobody has to be married, you know. Some people make a mockery of marriage—Hollywood movie actors, especially, what with all those hasty, multiple marriages that they go through. So it’s evident that they are lying when they are uttering those vows about the marriage being forever. They said the same thing all those other times, too, didn’t they? You know that something is wrong when a couple gets divorced after only two months of marriage, sometimes even shorter. They are not even giving it a chance. Or what they should have done is to take that extra two months to get to know each other instead of rushing into marriage.

There was a man on one of the TV talk shows who had been married and divorced 18 times and a woman who had been married 22 times! One of her frivolous marriages lasted only one day. What is the urgency and why the desperation, Girlfriend?! I try not to be judgmental, but wouldn’t you agree that there is something definitely wrong with those people? There is even a word for it. A person who has an abnormal interest in marriage is said to be suffering from gamomania. Even that woman was ashamed of herself. It’s difficult enough to find one man to make that kind of commitment. Everybody wanted to know how she got 22 different men to marry her—and in small town Anderson, Indiana, yet!

Were all of those men the primary reason for every breakup? Well, it occurs to me that the common denominator in all her relationships is she! It’s like the person who says, “Everybody that I have come in contact with today has been a real asshole.“ Uh, have you considered that perhaps you are the problem, rather than everybody else? Maybe Ms. “Gamo-girl” is one of those people who think they have to be married to every man that they have sex with. In that case, her gamomania stems from the fact that she’s just a nymphomaniacal slut! I don’t mind that, however; it’s the multiple marriages part that I have the problem with. It couldn’t have been true love with all or any of them. So after she’s made it with these guys and they have served their purpose, it’s “Next!“

Conversely, there must be some individuals who are afraid of marriage. In Runaway Bride (1999) Julia Roberts plays a confused woman who gets up to the wedding altar four times in the film and then does not go through with it. I kept thinking when I watched it, Bitch, if you don’t want to be married, apparently, why don’t you just give-a da up? Again, you don’t have to be married. As life seems to imitate art, a few years earlier Julia herself cancelled her marriage to Kiefer Sutherland at the last minute. I, myself, don‘t have gamophobia. I’m not afraid or against marriage. I just don’t want to do it.

I know that this is a so-called free country and all, but there should be some kind of statute of limitations on excessive multiple marriages, just like there is for polygamy. It negates the sanctity of the institution and makes marriage all a pointless joke. I have a suggestion or two. How about this? Why couldn’t consciously-responsible people put themselves on a “Marriage Quota” system? Allow themselves only one more marriage after an unavoidable divorce. But I even take issue with that. They don’t have to get divorced. They could try to stay together and work it out. Then if that second one does not pan out, that’s it, that’s all you get. A third marriage would occur only when someone loses a spouse to natural death. But I am afraid people would find a way to get around that. They then would be murdering their spouses, in order to remarry, which some are doing already when it suits their purpose. Why do they have to keep getting married anyway? Look, you tried it once or twice, it didn’t work out, so just stop doing it!

Or more practically, I think we should do away with the confinement of the marriage contract altogether. Why should consensual cohabitation be subject to legal jurisdiction? All other members of the animal kingdom couple and mate without obtaining marriage licenses. So are they all “living in sin,” and is every creature’s inevitable offspring considered a bastard? Humans have imposed a morally judgmental double standard with regard to us and our animal friends.

Let’s further explore the hypocrisy of marriage. First of all, we all need to face the fact that homo sapiens, as a species, is not, nor ever has been, a monogamous creature. Monogamy and fidelity are idealistic human concepts and are, in fact, myths. Realize that Man invented the institution of marriage in the hopes of curbing his wild, unabated promiscuity. He thought that settling down with one life mate would be a good thing for all concerned, that it would bring some kind of order and constancy to male-female relationships. But try as he may, he has never been able to quell his insatiable lust for multiple sex partners, although I, for one, don’t think that there is anything wrong with that. It’s just the nature of the beast, if you will, pun intended.

The early Christian Church may be responsible for suggesting the institution of marriage for its lay constituents in order to regulate paternity, for one reason. When a pregnant, single woman had sex with more than one man, she didn’t always know who the father of her child was. When she is married, it is then assumed that her husband must be the father. But of course, we know that that is no indication of proof either. He still might not know whether the kid is his or not, hence the need for modern-day blood and DNA testing to determine true paternity.

The original definition of monogamy is “the practice of marrying only once during a lifetime.” As archaic as that is, it’s both unrealistic and improbable. So the term has now come to mean “the state or custom of being married to one person at a time.” And even that meaning has been extended to include unmarried people as well. Some couples who are only dating, or if they are having sex, too, but only with each other, will say that they are in a monogamous relationship.

But still, if Man were meant to be monogamous, he wouldn’t have invented divorce. So there’s a major discrepancy right there. If marriage is supposed to be a lifetime commitment, then we have no need for divorce, do we? Presumably, people quit a marriage so that they can explore other relationships. Otherwise, they would stay where they are. Divorce is an all-too-convenient escape clause in the scheme of things. The first time anything goes wrong in the marriage, they want a divorce. “You’re not the person I thought you were; let’s get a divorce.” “Now that you’ve lost all of our money, I don’t want to be married to you anymore; I want a divorce.” “Since I am doomed to be a quadriplegic for the rest of my life, I will grant you your divorce, as you requested.” They seem to forget about their marriage vows of “for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.” You know, “I’ll stay with you as long as everything goes my way, but if anything bad ever happens in our lives and if you ever get sick, I’m out of here!”

Espoused couples don’t seem to realize that marriage is a job and requires work on a daily basis. Most just give up and stop trying. They would rather break up than try to work out their problems. How about trying to stay together instead of running to the divorce lawyers all the time?  You made your marriage bed, now lie in it!  Or maybe they should have waited until they were sure or not have gotten married in the first place.

There is something definitely wrong with the system when more than one out of every two marriages ends in divorce. It’s a similar thing with prenuptial agreements. Either or both parties want to protect their interests in the event that the marriage doesn’t last. But they must be already worried about it failing or they wouldn’t be concerned with inevitable divorce settlements. That should be a clue and signal right there that maybe this union is not meant to be. Why do you need a just-in-case precaution for a supposedly permanent arrangement? There is one nation, however, who forces its inhabitants to honor their wedding vows. Divorce is not allowed in the Philippines. So I suppose the couples there, whether they are married or “living in sin,” are either frustrated and miserable or deliriously happy.

So divorced people marrying again negates the monogamy theory. Remember, one marriage partner in a lifetime. That also applies to widowed people. If your spouse dies, then you must remain single for the rest of your life. You can’t remarry, because you are allowed only one for your lifetime. Don’t you see how unreasonable and impractical that is? I figured out a long time ago that I could not expect only one person in this whole big world to fulfill my every need in life—sexual, emotional, intellectual, whatever. That’s such a burden to lay on any one person. It’s also unfair and unrealistic.

It’s said that there is somebody for everybody and our one true love is out there in the world somewhere. That well may be. But what is the chance that this special person lives right in the same neighborhood or community or workplace as you do? That could be the problem right there why most marriages don’t work or last. Those people don’t wait to find Mr. or Ms. Right. They usually just settle for whomever is convenient or available. “How did you two meet?” “Oh, we’ve known each other forever. We were high school sweethearts.” So out of all the people in this entire world, your one true love and soul mate just happened to be in the same class at school with you? You didn’t even have to look for each other. How amazing is that? But are they really The One? How could you know, when you haven’t met everybody? In all of my travels and living in New York City for 47 years, I still have not found my true soul mate. I have settled a few times, but none have ever lasted. They either died or we went our separate ways.

I have had many sexual partners in my lifetime. My experience has taught me that most men (I suppose women, too) are creatures of habit and routine. All the guys that I have sex with on a regular basis tend to do the same thing every time. I know what to expect from them, because I know what they like and what they like to do. My sexual activities are quite varied, however, and different men all like to do different things. If one guy doesn’t like to be screwed, then there is always someone else who does like it. Some guys are not into fellatio, and some don’t kiss as well. Why should I be tied down, for life, to someone who is not as adept or as versatile in the fine art of lovemaking as I am, or is not willing to do all the things that I enjoy doing? I can’t blame someone for not wanting to do certain things; it’s their preferential right. I just find someone else who is willing, which is my prerogative.

Let me explain it this way. I equate my sexual appetite with food and eating. How boring would it be if we each, like the koala, had to eat the same food item for every meal for our entire life? Sure, we all probably have a favorite dish which we like a whole lot, but we don’t want it all the time, at every single meal, do we? I certainly don’t. If I want pizza, for instance, I go to an eatery that serves them. If I feel like Chinese food one day, then I will go somewhere else. I regard sexual partners in exactly the same way. So just as we all enjoy sampling many types of food and flavors, I like to sample many types of men. Variety is the spice of life.

And anyone who says differently is just deluding themself or are in denial of their true feelings. A husband complaining, “Tuna casserole again?!“ is really a not-too-subtle metaphor for how he feels about having sex with the same woman every time. How do you think she feels as well? Any normal, sexually-able man or woman who has had sexual relations with only one person in their entire life–I’m sure there must be some–and is totally satisfied with that, has to be in the very least minority and is the exception rather than the rule.

Newsweek once ran an issue feature story with the headline, “No Sex, Please!—We’re Married.” It has been reported that at any given time and for whatever reason, there are 80 million married men and women who have expressed a disinterest in sex. They have lost all desire, and some don’t want their life partner even to touch them. So why then are these same people so surprised or outraged when their spouses with normal libidos go about looking for sexual intimacy elsewhere? What do they expect when they are not getting it from their spouse? There are wives who endure years of neglect and indifference from their husbands and vice versa. They may be romantically-willing and would certainly welcome the attention, but their spouses just are not interested and prefer to seek companionship outside the home. It’s unfortunate, for the individuals involved with these neglected spouses and sexless marriages, that it should lead to infidelity, but that is the natural tendency. Yes, natural. No reason to feel hurt or even betrayed.

Infidelity is so commonplace now, why is it even an issue? It certainly should not necessarily be grounds for divorce. I contend that marriage should be based on more than mere, mutual sexual fidelity. Is that all they have going for them? So the husband has an occasional one-night stand with another woman. Who does he come home to at night? Is he still a good husband, father and provider? Do they still love each other? In fact, consider this. If the wife is so put out by her husband’s infidelity and wants to leave him, claiming that she does not love him anymore, then why should she care about his affairs? Maybe that is why he is tipping out in the first place. But if she does still love him, she would not want to leave but try to fix the problem with the marriage. I’m not condoning adultery, exactly. I’m just saying that it should not be so big a deal as people make it out to be. They don’t have to break up over it. I would hope that there is more going on with their relationship than just sex.

There are some married persons—I imagine this is more common with men than with women—who maintain secret, double lives, with two separate families, residences and everything. It’s usually the original cuckolded spouse who is totally oblivious of their mate’s bigamy. Now I suppose the marriage contract could be amended to include adultery and polygamy as acceptable extramarital alternatives, which many married people do anyway. But then why even bother to be married, if that is what they intend to do? If you are not willing to share your spouse with other people occasionally, then maybe marriage is not your thing. You can continue to maintain separate households or even shack up together.

According to most statistics, marital fidelity is certainly more the exception than the rule. Whenever one spouse (married or not) begins to show signs of disinterest or unusual behavior, and even if they are completely innocent, usually the first thing that comes to mind is that the other is having an affair with someone else. So infidelity seems to be a natural conclusion for most, which would suggest that they are acknowledging the belief that humans, by design, are not meant to be monogamous.

For the religious-minded, adultery is considered to be a mortal sin. So why do these philanderers purposely put themselves in that position? If one is not married, then they cannot commit adultery. I was under the impression that polygamy is supposed to be against the law, but certain people, like your Mormons and some Mid-eastern and Asian cultures, apparently have gotten around the legalities of multi-spouse cohabitation. They must have some kind of diplomatic immunity when these guys can go on public television and flaunt this unconventional lifestyle and act as if their family situation is common and lawful practice. But then, how can bigamy and polygamy even be lawfully possible? When someone gets married for the first time, any subsequent current unions would be invalid. You can’t be legally married to more than one person at a time. It’s only the first one that counts. So all those other “wives” are merely mistresses or concubines.

Let me bring up the little matter of “premarital sex” here. This term has no significance to me whatsoever. It is based on the presumption that everyone in the world will be married at some point in their life. So to engage in the sexual act before that inevitable event is a violation of some kind of moral injunction. There are some religious fanatics that contend that sexual intercourse should be reserved only for married persons of the opposite sex and that any other instance of sexual union is sinful. This is an edict from “God Himself,” mind you. I say to these self-righteous ignoramuses, ‘God didn’t invent marriage, Man did!‘  God doesn’t give a shit what you do.  When “He” allegedly said, “Go forth and multiply, He didn’t add, “But be sure to get married first before you do.“

So, what about us lifelong bachelors? There is no written law that says that everyone has to be married. Are we expected never in life then to experience sex, just because we’re not married? Are widowed and divorced persons, regardless of their age, not allowed to have any more sex for the rest of their lives, unless they remarry?

Those of us who never intend to procreate are never to indulge in recreational sex?  I’m sorry. I love sex, and there is no reason why I should abstain from it.  I also have no intention of procreating.  There is no practical reason for me to make a personal contribution to the population of the world.  If I ever get the desire to raise a child, which is very unlikely, at least at this point in my life, I would consider adopting a parentless one that’s already here.  And as having children is a selfish endeavor in itself, I would not do it because I can’t afford it!  As I can just barely take care of myself financially, I never have been and still am not able to support a child.  Everything that they require, I would be responsible for providing it for them.  Until they reach a certain age, they are virtual needy moochers. They don’t work, and they don’t have any money themselves to contribute anything.

I find it interesting that the French word for unmarried is celibataire, which suggests that if a person is not married then they must be celibate, because, of course, one can’t have sex if they are not married, right?  So you see, even language is subject to arbitrary moralistic attitude. Pubescent children, especially girls, are told by their parents to “save yourself for marriage.” “If he really loves you, he will wait until you’re married to have sex.” That’s such an antiquated and impractical idea. That type of thinking suggests to me that it’s more about getting married, and sex is just one of the aftermath, occasional fringe benefits. The true fact is, if he loves you, he wants to know how you are in the sack!  I would think that she would, too. Suppose they don’t hit it off sexually.  Will they still want to get married because they love each other so much?  They could look at it another way.  A couple who don’t want to have sex with their intended may not be as in love as they think they are.  I mean, sex is supposed to be part of the whole love experience, isn’t it? If this is going to be just a platonic, sexless relationship, then why bother to get married?

I have heard that some female, and male, too, virgins refrain from having sex indefinitely because they want their first time to be “special.” Come on, if it feels good or you get your rocks off, that should be special enough for you! What are you waiting for? For myself, having sex with a potential lover right away helps me to determine how I will proceed with this person.  Don’t you like to try on shoes and garments before you buy them?  You may love that car on the lot there, too, but wouldn’t you get inside the thing, see how it feels, maybe drive it around the block first before you put out all that money for it?  So you have vowed to devote the rest of your life to this one person, to which sex is supposed to be a major part of the relationship, and you’re not going to check out the merchandise beforehand? That doesn’t make much practical sense, does it?  The other way you are just accepting and settling for whatever you get.

How many marriages are troubled and have ended because of the partners’ incompatibility in the bedroom?  One or both partners could be tired in bed, they might be too aggressive or rough for the other, one may be too big or not big enough for the other.  What if one partner loves sex and wants it all the time, but the other one just can’t be bothered?  These are things that I think you would want to know before you agree to commit your entire life to this person.  You know that sex is one of the main reasons why people get married in the first place.  Two people meet, are attracted to each other and want to jump in the sack.  But they think they can’t because they are not married.  “So let’s get married, so that we can have sex.  Never mind that we hardly know each other, we have little in common, your parents hate me and I hate yours, I don’t have a job just yet, and I am uneducated.  But we’re hot for each other’s bod, so we have to get married right away so that we can copulate.”  I contend, if you want to have sex, go on and have it!

Why does marriage have to be the prerequisite for sex, instead of the other way around?  Suppose this man enjoys performing cunnilingus, for instance, but his new bride is abhorred by the idea. “Your lips will never touch mine after they’ve been ‘down there.’” Now should he give up something that he loves to do in deference to this woman, his love for her notwithstanding, or commit himself to someone who likes having her vagina licked?  Then, too, married couples who never experienced any kind of sex beforehand can’t help from being curious about what someone else is like in bed.  They are always wondering, “Is this all there is to sex?  Is this what I waited all those years for?  What might I be missing?  What does a blow job feel like, for example, since my wife refuses to give me one?”

As I said before, sex with the same two people tends to become routine and boring.  They do the same thing every time.  They may enjoy what they’re doing, but there are plenty of other acts they might enjoy as well, if not even more.  That is what prompts a lot of adulterous affairs.  They want to see if there is something better, or at least different, out there in the world than what they are getting, or not getting, at home.  Who can blame the poor married sap, who’s never had sex with anybody except his wife, to be curious and turned on when a hot, sexy babe flirts and tries to put the make on him?  You know that he’s going to be tempted.  This longing is what helps keeps prostitutes in business, most of whose clients are married persons. I’ve heard husbands complain, “It’s the same old thing day in and day out, looking at the same person every day.”  Well, duh!  That’s marriage.  What did they think it was going to be like?  Weren’t they paying attention during the wedding vows?

A Crusader’s wife crept from the garrison
And had an affair with a Saracen.
She was not oversexed
Or jealous or vexed;
She just wanted to make a comparison.
–Ogden Nash

Some married men, and women too, reach a “midlife crisis,” when they start worrying about getting older and tend to want to test their sex appeal and attractiveness to other people. They will seek younger lovers, start affairs and even trade in their present model for a new one! It’s that “forever” notion again.  They want to try something new while they can still do it.  When a couple has been together more than fifty years, they probably are then too old to do anything else and will settle for what they already have.  Some women never experience orgasm with their chosen life partner.  Then again, I guess you don’t miss what you never had.  But that doesn’t make for a satisfying and fulfilling sex life either.

A guy I know confided to me that he grew up in a household where his parents seemed to be constantly so unhappy.  He later found out that his mother had never had an orgasm in her life and that she had married his father because she was getting on in years and did not want to die an old maid.  So she married the first guy who showed any interest in her.  But it never was any real love for either of them.  As one would expect, the frustrations of their loveless marriage did certainly rub off on their children.  This knowledge helped me to understand why this guy (and his brother, too) are the way they are.  I knew it must have had something to do with their childhood and parents.  We all are a product of our upbringing, you know.  A lot of married couples stop having sex altogether, and I don’t mean when they are too old to do it.  An old joke: How do you stop your woman from having sex?  Marry her.

Fortunately, sex before marriage is not the big immoral indiscretion that it was years ago.  Hollywood certainly helped to promote the no-sex-before-marriage notion for many years.  Movie characters would impulsively get married for the sole purpose of having sex with each other.  Of course, they never admitted that to each other onscreen.  Doris Day is a good example. She tried to act all innocent and virginal in her romantic comedies in which she played a single woman.  In April in Paris (1952) Doris and Ray Bolger are on a ship bound for Europe when they get the hots for each other enroute.  But in order for them to consummate their mutual lust—it can’t be true love yet; they just met—they get the captain of the ship to marry them right then and there.  They just can’t wait!  But then it’s discovered that the guy who “married” them is an imposter, with no real authority, and another character tries to keep the two lovers apart so that they won’t break the rules of morality by consummating their bogus marriage.  Is that silly, or what?

In Lover Come Back (1961) Rock Hudson finally seduces unmarried “virgin” Doris to go to bed with him.  But first he has to get her stinking drunk, I guess so that she won’t be able to control herself.  When they awake the next morning in bed together in a motel, they come to the realization that they have gotten married the night before but were too drunk to remember anything.  (Right!)  So now, with intercourse accomplished and finding that she didn’t like him as much as she originally thought, Doris has the marriage immediately annulled.  Unfortunately though, Rock has knocked her up, so nine months later (well, she couldn’t have an abortion in those days, now could she?) as she is just about to have her baby, Rock shows up in the hospital and marries her again, as they are wheeling her into the delivery room.  The great urgency is that they can’t have the baby be born out of wedlock.  So the writers managed to cover their tracks at every count. The characters had to be married to have sex and then had to be married to have a child.  Pillow Talk (1959), with the same two stars, has a similar plot.

Another moral issue arose during the Weissmuller-O’Sullivan Tarzan series (1932-1942), when the producers thought it was time for Tarzan and Jane to start a family.  But living together in the jungle meant that they were not legally married, therefore they couldn’t have a child out of wedlock, you see.  So, they thought, “What if they find an abandoned baby and raise it as their own?”  Thus the next installment was entitled, Tarzan Finds a Son (1939)  So the two were not married, in the legal sense, but did they actually think that the viewing audiences never entertained the notion that Tarzan and Jane were having unprotected sex on a regular basis?  Of course, they were!  Why wouldn’t they?  He is an “ape man” after all.  Even if he didn’t know how to relate sexually with a real woman, I’m sure that Jane taught him what he needed to know.  Why she never got pregnant, I guess, must be because she was unable to conceive or that Tarzan was sterile.  But being a non-issue, of course none of that was ever discussed.

And as Hollywood tends to break its own rules, the only times that premarital sex was allowed on film was when a female character is the victim of a rape, like Jane Wyman in Johnny Belinda (1948) or Hope Lange in Peyton Place (1957), when an “illegitimate” child is important to the plot, as Connie Stevens is in Susan Slade and Parrish (both 1961), Diane Varsi in Peyton Place (again) and the kid in Madame X (several versions), or when she is a prostitute. That attitude seems rather hypocritical to me. Movie characters cannot have sex if they are not married to each other or to somebody, unless it is germane to the story, then it’s okay–even adultery.

The type of character was a factor as well.  If it was some innocent, young thing, her virtue needed to be protected, but they didn’t care so much about some ol’ trashy whore, whose moral reputation had already been sullied. One near exception is the character of Agnes Gooch in Auntie Mame (1958), who as a naïve, inexperienced spinster, goes on a date with a man that she has a crush on, and returns home knocked up by him. But they covered their tracks again, however. It was eventually revealed that Agnes and her beau had gotten married the night of their date. She was just too drunk to remember anything, you see.

I suppose that by the ’60s, sexual morals in the movies were not as strict as they once were. The Oscar-winning Best Picture of 1960, The Apartment, was all about marital infidelity.  Then there is the plot of Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (1969) in which, while as an unmarried teenager in World War II Italy, Gina Lollobrigida had consensual sex with three soldiers during the same week and became pregnant by one of them, although she doesn‘t know which one it is.  She even made up a fake, dead husband, so as not to be deemed the town slut.  In Doctor, You’ve Got to Be Kidding (1969), Sandra Dee gets knocked up while on a date with her boss, George Hamilton, but part ways directly after. But so that the child won’t be born a bastard, just like our Doris previously, George manages to marry Sandy just as she is being wheeled into the delivery room!

# Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage; This, I tell you, Brother, you can’t have one without the other. #
I can, and do, thank you. Some people like to lump love, marriage and sex all together, believing that you can’t experience either one without the other two. They can’t marry or have sex with someone they are not in love with, and they can’t have sex with anyone they are not married to. That kind of thinking would certainly have put a damper on my sex life, since I have never been married or never really have been in love with anybody.

Sex for me is an experience of pleasure to be shared with another person (or more) and has nothing whatsoever to do with love.  For me, it’s all about physical sensations, not emotional feelings.  I don’t have to know you, I don’t even have to see you, to have sex with you.  Some of the best sex I have had has been in darkened rooms with strangers where the encounter was initiated by groping and relying on tactile sensations without any visual stimuli.  Consider that in the case of all blind persons, their attractions and feelings towards someone cannot be based on what anybody looks like.

I hear people all the time confessing their search for love and to be loved, thinking that is what life is all about.  That is not the case with me, however. Mutual love is not all that important to me.  As I said, I have never been in love truly and deeply, so I don’t care to be loved like that, without feeling the same way.  My boyfriends have told me that they love me, but I always feel somewhat dishonest returning the sentiment.  I do love my friends as friends, but I am not “in love” with anybody.  I am content, rather, merely to be liked and respected by all.

I don’t believe in “love at first sight.”  You have heard of people claiming to fall in love when they first lay eyes on each other.  But is that really love?  I expect the emotion to be lust rather than love.  One can find another person to be desirable and want to have sex with them, but that is not real love. How can you love somebody who you’ve never met and don’t know anything about?  Love cannot be based on appearance alone.  Real mutual love encompasses several aspects, like personality, respect, trust, compatibility, and it’s an interpersonal relationship that develops and grows with time and age.  No one can accomplish all that on first sight. That’s what is wrong with a lot of relationships.  People are so superficial. They go after faces and bodies.  He is in love with her beauty, but he can’t stand her as a person.

When I say that I love a certain movie star or other celebrity, I only mean that I enjoy their work or that I like the way they look.  I don’t really love them, not knowing them personally.  Now there is such a thing as a one-sided love affair, however.  It is possible to love someone that you know and they not have the same feelings for you, and vice versa.  That’s how it was for me in high school.  But now, for me love has to be reciprocated.  I am well past my childish crush phase.  I will pursue a relationship only if I get positive feedback from the other person.  I’m not going to pine and make myself sick over somebody who doesn’t return my feelings.

I don’t understand these confused individuals who stalk and hound and pour their affections on people who don’t feel the same about them.  They don’t seem to want to accept the fact that it takes two to make a relationship.  As I said, I am not going to waste my time with anybody who does not want me.  I wouldn’t want to obtain the affections of someone who has been charmed by a love potion or spell, because it wouldn’t be real.  No one can, or should, make anybody love them if they don’t want to voluntarily.  “Look, I told you that I don’t want to have anything to do with you.  I don’t even like you.  Get out of my life!”  “Oh, Darling, you don’t really mean that.  I love you!”  “Yes, I do mean it.  Get lost!  I am in love with someone else.”  “Well, if I can’t have you, nobody will!”  BAM!  That’s love?  If your love is not reciprocated, then I will not be allowed to continue to live?  I thought that when you love someone, you are concerned with how they feel and want to please them.

I fail to understand how people can abuse, hurt and punish the very ones whom they claim to love and are supposed to protect.  Some people have some very misguided notions about love and relationships.  “I love you more than life itself.”  Stop!  I don’t love anybody more than I do my own life.  “I just cannot live without you.”  Oh, sure, you can.  That is so silly.  You were living fine before you met me.  Get over yourself.  There has never been anyone that I can’t live without.  I do miss people that have gone on before, but I‘m still here.

Some people are under the false impression that, generally, men have a higher sex drive than women do.  They always want it, whereas women don’t.  Of course, more rightly, it is an individual thing from person to person, and this is my observation rather than speaking from personal experience, but I contend that women love sex just as much, if not more, as men do.  Some try to act all demure and innocent and like to play games with men and use their vagina as a bargaining feature.  But when all is said and done, all they really want is to get laid!  They will endure all sorts of disrespect, mistreatment and abuse from a man, as long as he keeps giving her that dick!

It affects their personality and mood, too.  A content woman is one who is enjoying satisfactory sex on a regular basis, and your more unhappy ones tend to be those who are not getting it.  Consider the fact that it’s the females of all living species who bear offspring, and there seems not to be a shortage of human procreation in the world, especially, so somebody is having a lot of sex!  And that’s not counting the ones who practice regular birth control.  Aside from artificial insemination, most conception is caused by actual intercourse.  Then too, if heterosexual men are believed to be in the world’s majority, they must have participating females with which to commingle.  Besides rape and unwanted advances from men, most women are not doing it against their will.

Is marriageability based on age and looks? Phil Donahue, of all people (who I like and who should know better), told a young woman on his TV show one day, “You’re 26-years-old and so pretty. Why aren’t you married?” I was horrified that he would make such a sexist, condescending remark as that. What does a person’s looks, or age, for that matter, have to do with their marital status?  I am too fine and old enough, therefore I should be married?  Old and ugly folks get hitched, too, you know.

At one time people were constantly on Oprah Winfrey’s case for not being married, but she is one person who has apparently given the matter some serious thought.  Why does a woman desire marriage anyway?  She wants financial security (hopefully), companionship, someone to take care of her, she wants a father for her children.  Well, Oprah has said repeatedly that she does not want children, as she does not have the time or inclination to take care of them—another wise consideration on her part.  She has the companionship.  Stedman is her steady boyfriend, who I expect satisfies her sexual needs.  She is gainfully employed and has more money than she will ever need in life.  So what does she need or want to be married for? Marriage will not provide anything that she does not have already.  So, Oprah is an “old maid.”  But she’s a happy and independently wealthy one, isn’t she?  People should leave the woman alone about getting married. Actor Diane Keaton, 73, is another one who has never been married and does not regret it one bit.

Let me alert you to another double standard, as far as men and women are concerned.  Unmarried men aren’t as pitied as unmarried women are.  No matter how old a man is, he is still referred to as an “eligible bachelor” and is often admired for having eluded the marriage trap for as long as he has. There is no stigma or pressure put on him for not wanting to be married.  If it is ever suggested that he must be gay, all he has to do is declare that he isn’t.  It’s just that he hasn’t found the right “girl,” you see.  But if a woman is not married by the time she’s thirty, or even less, there must be something wrong with her.  She’s either so unattractive that nobody wants her, or she’s a sapphist.

Who says that every woman should be married at some time in her life? Don’t pity the old maid.  Spinsterhood is not the most shameful situation in life to be in.  Maybe Aunt Hephzibah never wanted to be married.  The centenarian Delaney Sisters, neither of whom ever married, were often asked what was the secret of their longevity.  Their reply was, “We don’t have a man around worrying us to death!”  The fact is, now that more and more women are independent beings with their own careers, their own money, and single mothers have proven that they can raise their children without a husband, marriage is not the necessity for them that it used to be.

Why then does a man get married?  In many cases he just wants someone to take the place of his mother.  He’s grown now and out of the house or he wants to leave.  But who is going to cook his meals, do his laundry, clean his house?  He certainly never learned to do any of those things for himself while growing up.  Besides, certain household chores are beneath him anyway.  With Mother gone or not around, who is going to take care of poor Sonny Boy now?  That’s why he needs a wife.  Plus, the extra added bonus is that, by rights, he can get himself a little free nooky whenever he wants it, something that even dear old Mom could not provide (under your normal circumstances).

Like myself, there are people, who because of their disparate lifestyles, should not be married anyway.  One young bride is trying to establish a show business career.  She is often away from home on various tours and out-of-town engagements, leaving her husband for weeks and months at a time.  An Army lifer has a wife and several young children, but he is seldom at home with them because he is always deployed or on assignment somewhere, mostly by his own request.  It’s certainly okay to have ambition and career aspirations, but if that is more important to you than being a stay-at-home spouse and parent, then you should not be married.  You are not doing your partner any favors.

There is a wife who is a compulsive packrat, who will not throw away anything.  It has gotten to the point where her husband wants to leave her because he can’t stand to live among the accumulation of useless junk in his house any longer.  I’m not totally against the wife, because I tend to hoard certain items myself.  The difference is, however, I live alone, so whatever I choose to keep in my apartment is my own business, and I am not imposing my idiosyncrasies on anyone else.  I don’t have to answer to or please anybody.  If I choose to stay up watching television until all hours and keep the radio on while I sleep, who cares?  It would behoove these people with special quirks and unconventional lifestyles to live alone as well, so as not to impose their selfish ways on disagreeable spouses or live-in partners. They want to have it both ways.  They think that they want to be married, which is supposed to be about sharing your lives and common interests, but then they become very selfish, inconsiderate and want everything their own way.

Another common problem in some marriages is the issue of money and the male ego.  I am referring to when the wife is the primary breadwinner of the family, or even if she makes more money than her husband, many men can’t stand that.  They probably were taught that the man should always be the one to take care of his wife and children.  But if the circumstances are such that the woman has more money or has a higher paying job, I don’t see what’s wrong with her supporting the family.  We know that it isn’t, but marriage is supposed to be an equal partnership, so why should it matter which spouse looks after their common interests?  Of course, there are men, referred to as gigolos, who don’t mind at all his woman footing the bills. That is why he is with her in the first place.  Male gold-diggers exist as do female ones.

If more couples were counseled about marriage beforehand, maybe they wouldn’t need it afterwards. You know, that’s not a bad idea. I think that premarital counseling should be a requirement just like a license is. Dr. Phil often recommends that very thing to couples who come on his show. Something so important to people’s lives should not be entered into so lightly.  Make couples fill out extensive forms and questionnaires which ask about their common goals and desires, expectations, compatibility, backgrounds and family histories.  Make sure that they know exactly what they’re getting into, and if they don’t pass the test, then their license is denied.

Just as we have to be qualified to operate an automobile, we should have to be qualified to be married.  In this way, we wouldn’t have a husband complaining, “I am ready to start a family, but my wife doesn’t ever want any children.”  Excuse me, but didn’t you all discuss that little matter before the wedding?  “I just found out that my husband is the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan!  I can’t let him meet my mother now, who is half-Jewish and black.”  Some Catholic parishes actually do offer and require premarital counseling with a priest before the couple take the plunge.

A newlywed wife was quite surprised to see her husband’s picture on “America’s Most Wanted,” as she had no idea that he was a wanted, dangerous criminal and fugitive.  Would a woman, or man, consciously and without any reservations, marry someone whom they knew to be a batterer, a rapist or convicted sexual pervert or child molester?  “I know that my fiancé used the beat the shit out of his five former wives and had sex with his young daughters and sons, but that will never happen to me and my children.  He loves me.”  Yeah, right.  I’m sure that he “loved” all the others, too. 

Even though King Henry VIII killed two of his wives and abandoned two others, he still got some more women to marry him.  Why do these women choose to ignore the blatant warning signs?  Are they that desperate or think so little of themselves?  “I know that I am worthless and unattractive, so I’m going to marry the first man who asks me, no matter who or what he is!  It may be my last and only chance.“  A woman about to be married confides in her friend that although she loves her intended, he works too much and is not at all affectionate, and she requires more attention from him and some romance.  Well, she should take that as a hint.  If anything, he’s probably going to work even more in order to support her and the family, and marriage to her is not going to make him become more romantic.  She’s just setting herself up for disappointment from the start.  I expect you can do better.  Kick him to the curb, Miss Thing!  Next!

I saw a teleplay once that began with a happy newlywed couple arriving at the husband’s homestead, where he conducts zoological research.  When he brings out his pet chimpanzee to meet his new bride, she shrieks and informs her husband, “I am deathly afraid of animals.”  They both seem very surprised.  I thought, How ridiculous!  What were they talking about all during their courtship?  You mean that the guy’s occupation never came up?  Or if it did: “So, what do you do, dear?”  “I work with all kinds of animals.”  “Oh.  I guess I will wait until after we’re married to tell you of my chronic zoophobia.”  Stupid bitch!

In Ira Levin’s novel A Kiss Before Dying, a psychopath murders his fiancée, then when the dead girl’s sister arrives to investigate her death, she subsequently gets involved with and in the 1991 film adaptation, unknowingly even marries the very man who killed her sister! Now wouldn’t a rational person wait until the murder is solved before rushing into marriage with someone she just met, just in case he might be the killer? A woman with amnesia marries only to discover that she was already married with a family before she lost her memory.  I would think that she would deal with her amnesia and cure that before getting on with a new life.  In both of these cases, I say, ‘First things first, y’all!’

One movie has a young, single woman who meets a man by chance and accepts a date with him.  All they do is have dinner together.  There is no sex.  The very next day, this guy proposes marriage to the woman, telling her that he loves her.  Loves her?  You met her just last night!  She doesn’t know a thing about him, but being flattered to be asked, I suppose, she accepts, no inquiries.  She finds out later that all this guy wants from her is for her to bear him a son, so that he can collect a family inheritance.  He has already killed his former wife, because she was pregnant with a girl instead of a boy.  What’s going to happen to this one if she doesn’t have a boy? Again, what is this urgent obsession to be married all the time?!

Aside from fictional accounts, I don’t know how people can just jump into marriage with somebody whom they don’t know anything about.  As far as getting to know your intended, don’t think that they are going to tell you everything about themself.  You have to do a little probing on your own. They may not want you to know about their other romantic affairs, including extraneous spouses, their estranged children or prior criminal convictions or mental illness.  Some will even resist knowing about their spouse’s past history, telling them that what they did before they met does not matter to them.  Let sleeping dogs lie.  But then when their pasts are revealed, they get mad for not being told or for being lied to.  How can you say that the past doesn’t matter when you don’t know what it is?  Maybe it does indeed matter.  “Well, I didn’t know it was that that you were keeping from me.”

Marriage should be built on mutual trust, but the trust has to be established beforehand.  If someone willingly withholds important information about themself before they marry someone, you can be sure that they will still keep things from each other after they’re married.  Husbands and wives regularly keep secrets from each other.  There may be major things from each other’s past that they have not divulged.  She abandoned a child years ago that is out there in the world somewhere, and he once spent time in a hospital for the criminally-insane.  But secrets have a way of coming out and when they do, the other one has the feeling of betrayal.  “Gee, if she would keep something like that from me, what else is she not telling me?” They won’t share their problems and would rather confide in a stranger than discuss important matters with their spouse, the one person who is supposed to offer support, understanding and not be harshly judgmental.

Friendship should be the basis of any marriage.  There are many married couples who don’t even like each other as friends.  I could not have a lifetime relationship with, let alone marry, someone who was not my best friend.  Think about that.  We all have close friends and acquaintances who pass in and out of our lives.  But shouldn’t the person with whom you make a lifetime commitment of marriage be your best friend—someone with whom you have common interests, whom you enjoy being with, whom you can confide in, who is always there for you, who will love you unconditionally?  One should not have to go outside their marriage to get any of those things.  If everyone would make that their main criterion, they wouldn’t jump into marriage with just anyone who comes along.

Plus, it takes a while to determine if the person you have set your sights on for a potential lifetime commitment is destined to be your best friend. We’ve all heard married persons refer to others outside their marriage as their best friend.  Who is that guy that they’re married to then?  I would hope that he would be their best friend.  Theoretically, best friends are forever.  So if one marries their best friend, the marriage is bound to last, because they will remain besties, no matter what happens to them in life. Couples who come to hate each other at some point must not have been friends in the first place.  I have never heard of anyone who loathes their best friend.  Their love is unconditional and brings with it forgiveness and total acceptance.  If you don’t have this with your spouse, then you should not be married to them.  But that’s only my opinion.

I contend that people rush into marriage too soon and without thinking it through.  By watching the TV talk shows, it lets me know what is going on in the world and what people are doing with their lives.  I find these shows to be very enlightening, but also maddening sometimes.  I am constantly amazed and appalled by people’s behavior and the rampant ignorance and stupidity displayed.  How can those people get on nationwide TV and display their ignorance to millions of viewers every day?  But then, I guess that ignorant people are unaware that they are ignorant, hence their situation.

One show had teenage couples who were so hot to get married, just couldn’t wait!  They were still in school, neither of them had any prospects of a decent job, therefore no money.  But they were so anxious to get married and start a family.  What is the fucking hurry, children?!  And they are so hardheaded, you can’t tell them anything.  Their mothers were there with them to try to talk some sense into them, having married young themselves and not wanting their children to go through the same things they did.  “But Mother, just because your marriage failed, doesn’t mean that mine will.” Are you absolutely sure about that?

One mother offered a compromise to her daughter who was about to graduate from high school and wanted to get married right away.  She allowed her to get her own apartment, which she could share with her boyfriend, and offered to pay her college tuition, if they would wait until she finished college before getting married.  If the girl went on ahead against her wishes, however, the mother would not pay for her college. Now I think that’s a fair deal, but this headstrong girl would not hear of it. She was going to get married anyway, no matter what.  You would think that these kids would learn from others’ past experiences, but they just won’t listen.  What is this widespread yearning to be grown before your time?  Childhood is so short, and depending on how long you live, adulthood can be many decades.  Why not try to enjoy being a kid while it lasts?  They’ll be grown soon enough.

And marriage ain’t no big deal anyway.  Why don’t they take the time to enjoy their adolescence and get to know each other in the meanwhile? These girls (and the boys, too), seem to think that that ring and license will somehow hold everything together and that nothing can ever happen to the relationship if they get hitched.  They are so naïve and inexperienced.  They don’t realize that marriage doesn’t mean shit nowadays, as far as its ability to cement a relationship.  Never mind that the divorce rate statistics for teenagers is more than 80%, they all think that they will be the one couple to beat all the odds.  Let them go ahead.  You can’t tell them anything. They’ll just have to learn from their mistakes.  Then the parents and friends who warned them can say, “I told you so.”

Whenever someone I know tells me of their marriage plans, I always ask them, ‘Why are you getting married?’  I have never gotten a satisfactory answer other than, “Because we want to.”  They will say, “We really love each other.”  Do you have to marry somebody just because you love them, and vice versa?  “Because we want to be together.”  So be together.  You don’t have to be married to be together.  “Because we want to have a family.”  Since when was a marriage contract a prerequisite for procreation?  “We want to give our child a name.”  ‘So give the child a name!  What are you telling me?!’  Do you have to marry your roommate in order for your joint pet turtle to have a name?  I agree that it may be good for a child to have two responsible parents, but they don’t have to be married to raise the child properly.

There are arranged marriages by the parents, whereby the betrothed couple may not even know each other, but it’s good economically for the two families to be united.   “They may learn to love each other in time.“  This occurs often in royal families.  Although the Prince loves another, who perhaps is past her childbearing years, he is forced to marry a younger, fertile, fair maiden.  The good news is, “Once you give us an heir, then you can carry on with whomever you like.”  Sound familiar, Prince Charles?

There are your “shotgun” weddings where a guy is coerced into marrying the girl that’s he’s gotten pregnant, perhaps, even though one or neither of them want to do it.  That was the case with my own parents, in fact.  When my mother got pregnant with my older brother, my grandfather insisted that she and my father get married, although there was no real love between them.  So the marriage was doomed from the start.  They stayed together long enough to have me, a year after my brother, but in only three-years’ time it was over for good.

There are your marriage-for-profit situations, when one person marries the other just for their money.  When it’s a woman wanting to hook up with a wealthy guy, his parents might complain that she’s just a gold-digger.  But so what?  Shouldn’t her parents want their daughter to marry somebody with the financial means to take care of her, especially if they happen to love each other, and she’s quite a looker besides?  They don’t want her to marry some poor slob with no prospects.  The girl’s father should not object either. Doesn’t he expect his son to support his wife financially?  His son, in turn, wants an attractive girl.  Given the choice of available candidates, who would go after the homeliest broad of the lot?

In the case of a man pursuing a woman with the wealth, her family don’t trust him because they think that he is only interested in her for her money. Even if that is the case, so what?  Her money can be used to support them just like his can.  And even if the guy is rich himself, he still may be after her money as well.  You know that those with money never have enough and always want more.

Besides your fortune hunters, there are your “Black Widow[er]s” who even go as far as murdering their spouse in order to get their inheritance or to cash in on their insurance polices. Then there is your “marriage of convenience,” whereas one or both partners, because they are closeted queers, perhaps, are in need of a beard, or one of them needs a Green Card in order to stay in this country.  In all these cases, marriage becomes a matter of politics or appearances and has nothing to do with love and commitment.

There was a short-lived reality series entitled “Married at First Sight,“ on which desperate men and women met for the first time at the altar! They wanted to have a wedding so badly that they agreed to marry whomever the producers picked out for them, sight unseen, no questions asked.  Now I ask you, how crazy is that?  And they agreed to have the whole thing filmed for all the world to see.  Is it their desire to be on television and will do anything to accomplish it?  The series followed the couples after their wedding to see if the union would work out.

I watched one later episode where one of the newlywed couples were arguing and complaining about each other’s personality and their opinions about various aspects of life.  I’m thinking, Do they expect each other to be something they are not?  How could you marry someone that you don’t even know, whom you may not even like once you get to know them?  One of these anxious brides told us, “I’m surprised that after only one week of marriage, we already need a break from each other.“  Why are you surprised, you stupid, impulsive bitch?!  I have met people who I don’t want to have anything to do with after I’ve met them.  I’m glad I didn’t marry them!

There are other hasty marriages where the couple have known each other for only a few weeks or months and learn not too soon after that it’s not going to work, which they would have discovered had they waited.  Even those who have longer courtships or engagements may find that they eventually are not meant to be.  On the other hand, if a longtime relationship is amenable to both, why mess it up by getting married?  I’ve known couples that got along great for years, then they got married and the whole thing soon went to pot.  Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell have been living together for over 30 years, without the marriage license.  They have raised children together and seem to be very happy.  Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez are still good friends although they are no longer married to each other.  The same is true of Jennifer Anniston and Brad Pitt.  I know of many divorced couples who have a better relationship just being friends. They just don’t want to be married.  I find that commendable.

A stupid piece of paper doesn’t accomplish or guarantee anything, including fidelity and permanence.  I say, If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.  While visiting France a few times, I have noticed a certain national trend there.  I have met several heterosexual couples who live together and even have children together, and none of them are officially married.  It seems to be a common occurrence among the citizenry.  The French, for one, apparently have realized that one does not have to obtain a marriage license to have a committed, lasting relationship with somebody.

It is much more difficult to dissolve a marriage, and it is quite costly besides, even before the breakup.  First of all, there is the expense of the wedding itself, if the couple chooses to go that route.  People spend many thousands of dollars for a one-day event, and except for the pictures taken, there is little else to show for it.  There is the matter of whom to invite.  I see these shows and films where the characters are planning a wedding and begin the task of the guest list.  They will put down everybody that they know, even people that they don’t know, because if they invite this person and not that one then the other one will feel slighted.  It usually ends up with hundreds of names on the list.  And these masses expect to be wined and dined and feted.

In The Catered Affair (1956) Debbie Reynolds and Rod Taylor want to get married simply and without much ceremony, but her mother, Bette Davis, having never had a proper wedding herself, vicariously wants to throw her daughter an extravagant affair, which she and her husband, Ernest Borgnine, cannot possibly afford.  Why go to the great expense of paying for a bunch of people to witness a commitment to somebody?  Why not just post an announcement on Facebook or Twitter?  It’s free!  People can acknowledge the union anyway they choose.  “Announcement, Facebook friends!  John and I are getting married tomorrow!  Gifts are certainly welcome but not at all compulsory or necessary.  Wish us luck.”  Then if the couple change their minds or it doesn’t work out, no harm is done and no expense is incurred.  “Change of plans.  The wedding’s off.  Thank you for your comments.”

Check this out.  Compare these two dresses.  Here is a white frilly dress for $50.  Now here is a similar, white frilly “wedding” dress…for $5,000!  Which one is the more practical to purchase?  It’s just a dress to be worn only one time.  Now what about the rings?  An engagement and wedding ring are merely symbols of the couple’s union and betrothal.  So these guys will spend thousands of dollars (which they don’t even have sometimes) on a stupid ring, when they could get one for a few dollars that would serve the same purpose as one that cost $40,000.  They think that the more the man spends on his bride is an indication of how much he loves her, you see, when they should be using that money to live on.  In fact, some newlyweds don’t even have their own place in which to live, but he’s just spent all that money on a damned ring!

Oh! And get this. Some betrothed women are now taking “selfies” of their ringed hands and posting them on the social networks.  But some complain that they don’t like the way their hand looks in the picture.  So there is now a procedure that a plastic surgeon can do to make the hand more attractive in some way.  Now my question is this.  Who is so vain or so financially-irresponsible to spend $1200 to make their hand look good enough to show off their ring to perfect strangers?!  How frivolous is that?  I have heard of people spending as much as that on just the cake. For those who like to sew and bake, why don’t they make their own dress and cake? (Hey, I rhymed!)

An acquaintance of mine once hired me to sing a couple of songs for his female friend’s wedding reception.  This was his gift to her.  Hal covered my travel expenses–the wedding was out on Long Island–and paid me well besides.  It was a big catered affair with hundreds of guests in attendance. When I saw Hal about a year later, I asked him about his friend and how she and her husband were doing.  He told me, “Oh, that’s already over with. They didn’t even last a year.”  My goodness, they didn’t even give it a chance, did they?  So, all that money that was spent for a one day event, for nothing.  This sort of thing happens all the time.

Then when a couple do decide to split up, which is more often than not, there is a whole bunch of shit they have to contend with.  They both have to hire expensive lawyers to protect their individual interests, and depending on how long they were together, there is community property to divide up and fight over, child custody disagreements with which to deal, and there is a time limit to endure before they can be completely free of each other.  And then are they really free when, usually the man, has to pay his ex-wife sometimes endless alimony?  Marriage has become a lucrative business venture, and those who benefit most from it are the commercial capitalists—the wedding apparel designers and manufacturers and the bridal shops and jewelers which sell their creations, the wedding planners and party caterers, among others.  Then later the divorce lawyers come in to get their big slice of the post-connubial pie.

When an unmarried couple breaks up, all he has to do is pack up his stuff and leave, or if they are living in his place, he can just put her ass out!  It didn’t cost them anything to move in together, outside their normal living expenses, and it shouldn’t cost much to go their separate ways.  If there are minor children in the picture, they can live with whichever parent they choose.  They don’t have to go to court to have a judge decide what is best for the child.  I only hope that the fathers honor their obligation to pay child support without the courts demanding it, but of course there are those who won’t pay it anyway, even though they have been ordered to.

Look at how much money I have saved by remaining single all my life!  And I expect that the money that is and has been spent on unnecessary commodities as weddings, the accompanying accoutrements and divorces, during one year’s time alone is enough to feed and house all the hungry and homeless people in the country…possibly, the world, even!

But let’s face it, people just love weddings, don’t they?  If not their own, they love attending other people’s.  That’s another one of the reasons people get married.  For the woman’s part, she wants to be a bride.  And that’s where a wedding’s emphasis is, after all, on the bride.  She gets to make a special escorted entrance with her own special music.  The groom merely stands and waits on the sidelines.  Brides and their entourage even have their own industry.  There are bridal shops all over the world that specialize in the bride’s wedding apparel.  The groom doesn’t have his own store or special attire.  A tuxedo or any old suit will do, but a wedding dress is created and worn specifically for a wedding.

Dr. Phil once did a show on which one of his guests, a young woman of 23, was obsessed with having a wedding.  She already had selected her bridesmaids and what they would wear, the church, the reception hall, she even had her wedding dress.  Everything was planned down to the letter. The only thing missing was the groom!  In fact, this gung-ho bride wannabe didn’t even have a boyfriend!  So it would seem as if she hasn’t thought as much about long-term marriage as she has about the one-short-moment-in-time wedding.  Now, how crazy is that?  I would suggest that this girl just be a wedding planner for others, since she seems to like doing that.  Just live vicariously through others, I say.

(# I love to cry at weddings, how I love to cry at weddings; I walk into a chapel and get happily hysterical. #)
Why is that? What are you crying about?  It’s their wedding, not yours!  Why is everybody so happy?  Even when they first hear about someone’s upcoming nuptials, they get all giddy and congratulatory, applauding and celebrating.  In the entire scheme of things, I don’t know how a minor event as a wedding ceremony got to be the representative of the culmination of one’s life’s aspirations.  Young girls dream about their prospective wedding and their wedding day as being “the happiest day of [their] life,”  I would think that the many days and years of so-called married bliss that follow would be as happy or more so than a few hours of only one day.

Whereas a wedding is a planned event at which you can invite friends and family to celebrate a couple’s commitment to each other, to me, those hasty, spur-of-the-moment, impromptu marriages seem pointless and elitist besides. 

“By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife.“ What does that even mean?  The legal definition of vested is “not contingent upon anything.“  So the whole legitimacy of marriage is accomplished by one person’s utterance of a few words.  But what gives anybody that power or authority?  Anyone can make that claim.  We are now legally married, on this person’s say-so?  Who the fuck are they?!  Why can’t two people, of opposite or even the same gender, merely make a personal commitment to each other and thus define their own relationship?  A third determining party or the law should not be involved at all.  You can invite people to witness it, but it still should be all your own doing.  Marriage, in the sense of personal commitment, is nobody’s business except the individuals involved. Animals mate with whomever and whenever they want and don’t ask for or need anybody’s permission. That was my whole point about those movie characters, and people in real life as well, who could not have sex until some stranger gave them oral permission to do so. How ridiculous is that?

By the way, I think that most congratulations are premature when they are conveyed for engagements and even weddings.  So, you proposed to somebody.  Big deal!  Anybody can get engaged or married, legal restrictions notwithstanding.  They don’t require any special skills.  The real achievement is staying together.  Wait to start congratulating the happy couple at their 10-year anniversary and beyond.  That’s the real test, and that is what I do.  “Wow, 25 years together, huh?  Congratulations!  And they said that it wouldn’t last!”  I don’t know where people get this idea about wedded bliss.  One would think that they would be clued into the marriage game by watching movies and seeing how other people in real life get along.  It’s hardly ever what they expect it to be.

A truly blissful marriage is again certainly more the exception than the rule.  It appears that everyone who “ties the knot” must think that their own marriage will be different from everybody else’s that has failed.  Love isn’t always enough to keep everything copacetic.  Couples long to have children, and many mothers go through serious postpartum depression, or what they call “the baby blues.”  Those who stay at home to keep house and tend to the kids have the feeling of unfulfillment, thinking that they would prefer to have a career outside the house.  Then they will often direct their frustration and resentment to their husbands and children who, in turn, may feel neglected and unappreciated.

“You know, since we got married, he’s really changed.”  He hasn’t changed. Maybe you are just getting to know him better.  People don’t change all that drastically.  It’s just that you don’t really know somebody until you’ve lived with them, learned their sleep habits, their eating habits, their bathroom habits.  Then some use marriage as a means to change their mate.  “Yeah, he’s a diamond-in-the-rough right now, but I’ll whip him into shape after we’re married.”  That is the cause of a lot of problems in marriages—partners’ trying to change each other into someone they’re not.  There is a comedy play with a title that sums it up–I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change!

Sexual incompatibility is not the only reason for marital rifts.  Certain personality quirks and behavior tend to be intolerant with spouses.  One woman on TV complained that her husband is such a slob around the house.  But as he’s been that way all his life, why would he change now that he’s married?  Remember, his mother always cooked for him and picked up after him, and now that’s his wife’s job.  Doesn’t she know that?  Why does she think he married her?  Don’t be all surprised and disgusted with him now.

People get together because they love the way each other are, but then they break up for some of those very same reasons, because of the way each other are.  “What a cute and delightful laugh you have!”  But a year later, it’s “Gawd, I really hate that silly, annoying laugh you have!”  “I love it that my wife and I are so much alike, we even finish each other’s sentences.”  But later on, it’s “Will you let me talk and stop interrupting me all the time?!”

A common complaint of wives is that her inconsiderate husband keeps neglecting to leave the toilet seat down for her.  Some have even broken up over it.  Now how stupid is that?  I don’t see what the problem is.  A toilet seat is designed to operate up and down.  I usually want the seat up to pee, or not, and I put it down when I need to take a dump.  It’s a simple procedure.  I understand that females always sit for whichever they have to do.  So if the seat is up when you go in there and you want it down, just put it down, you lazy things!  The guy may have better things on his mind than remembering if he put the toilet seat down or not.  He may get back in there before she does, and if the seat is down, he has to put it back up.  So, what difference does it make?  I can’t believe how some people can make so much out of nothing.

Marriage somehow instills possessiveness.  That piece of paper becomes a deed of ownership.  “I’ve got you now, so you had better tow the line.” Nobody owns anybody.  Slavery (at least in this country) was outlawed years ago.  We’ve heard women say, “You’re mine now.  I forbid you to look at another woman!”  How could anyone make such a ludicrous demand? Are they that insecure?  How does she expect her husband to go through life seeing and interacting with many people on a daily basis, some of them undoubtedly women, without ever looking at any of them?  It’s grossly unfair, if not impossible.  She seems afraid that the man has no restraint whatsoever.  “I know you can‘t contain yourself, and so that you won‘t be tempted, just don‘t look at any woman.“  How stupid is that?

“Take your hands off of my man!”  Many of the talk shows are always doing shows about “cheating” spouses.  What is cheating?  I can’t relate to that either, being an unattached bachelor.  I know that married people like to use that term for adultery, but unmarried people, especially, shouldn’t have a claim on monogamy.  I would think that one of the main reasons for remaining single is for the privilege of playing the field.  So when I hear those disgruntled young ladies complain that “I caught my boyfriend cheating on me,” I can’t be too agreeable.  He wasn’t “cheating,” he was just with another person other than you.

These people want to equate a “commitment” with having exclusive rights to someone.  I have seen situations where a man and woman go on a date together.  It was only dinner.  There was no sex afterward.  The very next day she sees him talking to another woman and gets all bent out of shape. “How dare he hook up with her when he was out with me last night!“  What does last night have to do with today…or you, for that matter?!  They are not “hooking up” anyway.  They are only talking…in public.  Or even if he is trying to get with her, maybe he’s comparison shopping!  You don’t expect him to settle for the first thing that comes along, do you?  He should confine himself only to you when there may be somebody else better?  If the guy ends up with you ultimately, you should be flattered by the fact that after checking out the rest, he found you to be the best.

There are quite a few family sitcoms on network TV now, and I have been noticing a plot trend in some of them that I consider quite disagreeable. Some TV parents are instilling their own feelings about monogamy and commitment to their adolescent youngsters who at the moment should be free of such notions.  A high-school teenage girl gets asked out on a date by a boy that she likes.  When her parents discover that the boy has been seeing another girl when he asked their daughter out, they are all dismayed because the boy is “cheating” on her.  They’re just kids, they’re not married to anybody.  How do they know whom they like if they confine themselves to only one person in the entire school?  It turns out that the girl, too, was involved with another boy when this other one asked her out.  The parents decide to mind their business and leave the kids alone.

On another show two male friends like the same girl and expect her to choose which one she wants to be with.  Why does she have to choose? They’re all friends.  Why can’t they just all hang out together?  All through my school years I always had more than one girl friend and more than one boy friend as well.  Since there was no romance or sex involved, at least not with any of the girls, what did it matter?  We all partied and went to movies together.  There was no “she’s mine” or “he’s mine.”  We all shared each other’s company.  I would prefer these shows to take the free and innocent approach to adolescent dating, whether than insisting on possessiveness and fidelity, as if they were married.  It is obvious, at least to me, that the writers of these shows are adult parents and are writing from their own biased viewpoint rather than how kids themselves think about such matters.

All this petty jealousy needs to stop, too.  I realize that most instances of jealousy are a result of insecurity and lack of trust.  The delusive person thinks that they are not good enough for their mate or not as attractive or not young enough or that the other person is going to dump them as soon as someone better comes along or that everyone that they come in contact with is a potential cuckold.  Come on, chill out!  But even if any of these fears actually are based on fact and reality, it’s not anybody’s fault.  No one can control someone else’s feelings, only one’s own.

And when someone catches their lover or spouse in the act of making it with someone else, they will often vent their anger and disapproval at the other person, as if it’s entirely their fault.  Well, it takes two to tango, so they both are guilty.  In fact, the married or betrothed party is more at fault. When I make it with a married guy, for instance, he’s the one who is committing the adultery.  There is no one at home that I have to answer to.  I may not even know that he’s married.  ‘Don’t be mad at me, Wifie.  He came on to me!’  “You stay away from my boyfriend!” ‘Why don’t you ask him to stay away from me?’ 

Of course, there are some individuals in relationships who welcome the feelings of jealousy in their partners.  They test each other, doing things to make the other jealous.  That’s supposed to convince them that they are loved.  But that still is an indication of insecurity.  They must not be sure how their partner feels about them, or they wouldn’t have the need to test their love.

The way people carry on about philandering partners, they act as if that is the most heinous crime known to Human.  People in relationships need to re-evaluate their thinking about monogamy and just be willing to share their partners with other people in the world, if the situation arises.  In the case of women who go after married men or men who are involved with someone else and then later marry these same guys themselves, usually act surprised or feel betrayed when their man runs around on them as well. They seem to want to forget that that’s how they got him.

My stepmother Emma, for instance (now deceased), tried to be outraged and all upset with my dad when it came out at his funeral that he had two other sons by two different women.  I am pretty sure that she already knew about them, but she was in her usual denial phase and tried to act like she didn’t know.  So she feigned anger when publicly she had to acknowledge that my dad was unfaithful to her.  Why should she be mad or even surprised?  I reminded her of the fact that she herself was having a blatant affair with my dad while he was still married to my mother!  So once she got him, did she think that he would never stray ever again?  Come on!  Once a philanderer, always a philanderer, I say.  And what goes around, comes around, too. Some other women only did to Emma what she once did herself.  Emma and I were friends, so I wasn’t trying to be mean, I just don’t like hypocrisy.

Moreover, some of these “other women” have the audacity to be jealous of their lover’s wife or any other woman (or man) that he might become involved with.  “I hate that you spend all that time with your wife and children when you should be here with me!”  What?!  Then get an unattached man, one who you don’t have to share!

Two high school teenagers are in a non-sexual relationship.  The boy is all hot-to-trot and wants to have sex, understandably, but the girl wants to save herself for marriage.  The thing is, though, she’s not ready for marriage yet. She wants to finish her education and get her career going first, which is commendable.  She tells her boyfriend, “If you love me, you’ll wait.“  “We’re talking about ten years or more?  I don’t think so!  I don’t love you that much!“  So this boy gets it on with another girl at school who is only too willing to have sex with him.  When the first girl finds out about it, she’s all indignant.  “How could you cheat on me like that?“  Cheat on you?  If you expect a horny teenager to wait ten more years to have sex, you are delusional, honey!  If you are not ready to put out, then be gracious enough to allow him to get it somewhere else.  He might still be around when you’re ready some day.  Or she even might change her mind about him in ten years, and he would have wasted all that time for nothing, waiting for her. No one has exclusive rights on a bachelor.  If your boyfriend or girlfriend has other paramours in their life, then you must not be “The One,” are you? So get over yourself!

One conservative survey says that over 2 million American homosexuals are married or at some time in their life have been married.  Actually, I suspect that the number is much higher and even if it isn’t, that is still a lot of people leading dishonest, double lives.  Most have admitted knowing or at least suspected that they might be gay when they got married, and the rest were in major denial about it, so why did they go through with it? Because they have been brainwashed to reject their true sexuality for the socially- and morally-accepted one.  They try to convince themselves that being married will “straighten” them out.  Never mind that eventually they create frustration, resentment and betrayal for their spouses, their families and even themselves.

All this can be avoided if children are taught to recognize, acknowledge and accept their homosexual tendencies when they first become aware of them, and then encouraged to go with these feelings rather than doing what is socially-expected of them.  But then some marry with the full knowledge that they are gay, with the hope that their marriage will absolve them of any public suspicion of their homosexuality, and some people are gullible enough to buy into it.  If they’re married, they just couldn’t be gay.  I have encountered so many gay married people in my life, especially men, that I am not impressed or deterred by anyone’s marital status.  The proclamation, “But he’s married!” does not influence me in the least.  ‘So? Your point being…?’

Much controversy has arisen of late about same-sex couples desiring the sanction of marriage, just like “regular folks.”  Since I am for equal rights for everybody, I think that everyone who wants to should be allowed to marry, regardless of who it is they are marrying.  They should at least have the option, and I don’t think that their gender should have anything to do with it.  The Powers-That-Be still wants to have control of everybody’s lives. Our Declaration of Independence theoretically grants us all the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

But it seems that personal happiness can only be pursued according to someone else’s arbitrary guidelines, especially in matters of matrimony.  You can’t marry just anybody you want to.  There has to be certain social restrictions.  Otherwise, we would have adults marrying adolescents, including parents marrying their own children.  We’d have cousins, even sisters and brothers marrying each other.  We’d have people marrying outside their race, miscegenation between whites, Asians, blacks and other People-of-Color.  Then you would want to take it another step further.  We would have people of the same sex getting married to each other!  If we start letting homosexuals get married, what is the world coming to?  Where will it end?  Next, people will start wanting to marry their pets or some stray animal on the street or the store mannequin or that handsome corpse. I mean, come on, we have to draw the line somewhere!

During his administration, President Bush (Jr.) proposed a new amendment to the Constitution which would outlaw civil unions between same-sex couples, as if that is any of his business.  He thought that allowing gay people to marry legally would destroy the sanctity of the sacred institution of marriage, you see.  Well, that’s all homophobic bullshit, because if Bush was so concerned about the so-called sanctity of marriage, he would consider doing something about our current heterosexual matrimonial mores.  It’s the hets who frivolously jump into marriage for all the wrong reasons and then soon break up without any regard to their promised lifetime commitment.  Unabashed adultery runs rampant among het unions.  Many gays endure long-lasting, monogamous relationships.  In fact, when gays do decide that they want to be married, they are already in a committed relationship and have given the matter serious thought.  The majority of your hets cannot make such a claim.  They will marry just anybody, often on a whim.

To show the unfairness of marital rights, be aware that people who don’t even want to be married can get married.  Those who don’t ever intend to have children can.  Prison lifers, child molesters, rapists, abusers, addicts and any other questionable lowlifes, if they are straight, can all get married. But two people who are none of the aforementioned, who are upstanding, morally-righteous and deeply in love each other, but the fact that they are of the same gender, they are not allowed to be married.  What is up with that?  It’s not the gays who are ruining the sanctity of marriage.  We may be the very ones who regain its sanctity and respectability.  Of course, my comments reflect how it was in the recent past, before the law was changed in our favor.

I had a close friend who impetuously married a woman who he was not particularly fond of, nor she him.  For one thing, he was gay.  But they bought a house together in the Bronx and very shortly grew apart, even to the point where they couldn’t stand each other.  Instead of divorcing, however, they found it to be less of a financial burden, because of the joint property holdings, if they stayed married.  And although they lived under the same roof, they stayed to themselves and had nothing to do with one another.  They didn’t even speak unless they had to. The wife finally moved out and got her own place, and although the marriage that should never have been in the first place is definitely over, they never filed for divorce.  My point in telling you this story is that anybody, as long as they are male and female, can legally get married for whatever reason, but still in some states, a committed, loving couple, who just happen to be of the same sex, cannot.  Is that fair?

If “Dubya” and all the other protesters are so hell-bent on trying to prevent certain people from marrying, they should be just as adamant about married couples divorcing.  Why don’t they propose an amendment enforcing the marriage vows, that would require married people to remain together monogamously for life and doing away with divorce entirely.  Let’s see how far they would get with that suggestion.  You should be aware that past Constitutional amendments all have involved granting certain rights to American citizens who have previously been denied those rights. 

This hateful proposal of Bush’s was the first one that would have taken away a cherished human right (the right to marry) from arbitrarily designated citizens.  Other countries have okayed same-sex unions, like Canada, the Scandinavian countries, Spain and the United Kingdom.  If the United States wants to be the leader of the Free World and set the example for everybody else, then it’s good that we have finally gotten on the ball and got with the times.  Queers are not going anywhere, and this is going to be a major issue from now on, so they might as well accept it.

So why would same-sex couples want to get married anyway?  Haven’t we suffered enough?  They are only playing into heterosexual conventions.  I think that one of the privileges of being queer is the fact that we can cohabit with our partner without the societal pressures and obligation of a legal marriage and all that goes with it.  Why do they want to mess up a good thing?  Why bother with getting married if you don’t have to?  But gays, too, I guess, get brainwashed about the institution of marriage by their families and Society.  Everyone should be married at some point in their life.  It’s what we all aspire to.  So people go through with it because they are told that that is what they are supposed to do, and it is expected of them.

But many of us don’t ever find a person of the opposite sex with which to take that big step.  So we either remain lifelong bachelors, never to experience the blissful joy of matrimony, a fabulous wedding or honeymoon, or if we are homosexual, we may make the decision to marry our same-sex lover.  But we were once told that we cannot do that.  But why not? I ask.  Both partners are required to repeat the same standard vows to each other, regardless of gender, so what does it matter if they are both of the same sex?  For whatever reasons heterosexual couples choose to get married, same-sex couples can cite the very same reasons.  Society’s disapproval, denial and refusal are simply a matter of homophobic discrimination.  It’s our life and our business, and if what we do does not concern these meddlers, why should they even care about who marries whom?

Although I am sure that he is not the only one, there is a baker somewhere who made the national news and whose case even went before the Supreme Court, because he refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, because he does not condone same-sex marriage, so he was sued on charges of discrimination.  I think that they are making too much of the situation.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and they shouldn’t be forced to do something that they don’t want to do.  The way I would deal with it is, So, you don’t want my money?  I will gladly take my business elsewhere.  One monkey don’t stop the show!  I am sure that there are plenty other bakeries that will welcome my patronage.  I don’t know how people can turn down good-paying work (that’s hundreds of dollars) for some stupid principle.  You don’t have to agree with it.  Just take the money and run!

A case in point.  A Chinese gentleman and a Jewish man are talking on the street one day when an Irishman walks up and says to the two, “I will give you $100 cash if you can tell me who is the greatest man that ever lived.”  The Chinese man immediately answers, “Chiang Kai-shek.”  “No, sorry.  You’re wrong.”  The Jewish man thinks a moment and then says, “St. Patrick.” “That’s right!”  He then takes a one-hundred dollar bill out of his wallet, gives it to the other man and walks away.  The Jewish man then admits to his friend, “You know, I did have Moses in mind, but business is business!”

But pardon my digression.  Why should marriage even be a legal issue?  We all have the God-given right to love whom we want, so we should be allowed to marry whomever we want.  The Government and general society itself need not be involved at all.  Even gay celebrity couples, some who actually marry each other, commonly break up, just like their straight colleagues.  So why do they bother to get married in the first place?  I suppose it’s because they can now.  But just because I am against marriage for myself, how dare I try to prevent somebody else from doing it?  I do express my opinion to friends and try to talk them out of it, but ultimately it’s their decision and their life.  If they go through with it anyway and the relationship later fails, I can have the satisfaction of saying, ‘I told you so.‘

As life frequently imitates art, I am waiting for this TV show plot scenario to play out in real life.  I love writer David Kelley for his always controversial, thought-provoking issues dealt with on all his shows.  During the last season of “Boston Legal,” the characters of lawyer associates Denny Crane and Alan Shore (portrayed by William Shatner and James Spader, respectively) decide to get married, to each other.  The controversy of the situation, however, is that the two men are not gay, just best friends who love each other and want to protect each other’s interests, in the event of illness and death.  The required hearing with a judge present some interesting arguments.  For one, the issue of homophobia is addressed, by the fact that the term “same-sex union” automatically implies that the parties in question are homosexual, which some seem to have a problem with.  But suppose they aren’t?  If two straight men or two straight women want legally to be married, would people have the same objection to them as they do to gay couples?

The judge wanted to know, if physical sex between them is not involved and they don’t plan on raising any children, why do they need to be married? And this is where the hypocrisy of traditional marriage is revealed.  The lawyers point out that men and women get married all the time for any number of reasons, many of which having nothing to do with love, intercourse or child-rearing.  There are married couples who never have sex and no children, don’t live together, don’t like each other, some don’t even know each other!  But if they are male and female, then it’s okay and allowed.  If there is no physical contact between them, then they are not doing anything immoral, which some of these protesters use as an argument for their objection.

So these two men who love each other, though only platonically, want to share their lives in a committed relationship, with all the legal ramifications that go along with it–which is why a lot of people get married in the first place–should be denied because they are not gay or of different sexes? Although somewhat confused, the judge could not find any real objection to their sane logic and granted the men permission to marry.  So that’s what I’m wondering now.  Does “same-sex marriage” apply only to gays?  Why can’t straight, same sex couples also be married, if they desire it?  I am curious for someone to test that theory.

A similar situation occurred on the final season of “Two and a Half Men,” whereas the characters played by Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutchner, heterosexual housemates, decide to get married, but as a gay couple.  You see, Ashton wants to adopt a child and learns that it is easier for a gay couple to adopt than for a single, straight man to do so.  The boy who plays Cryer’s son (the “half” of the title) is now all grown up and has left home, so they needed another young boy to continue to justify the show’s title. 

Also, the two lead characters on “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and Wanda Sykes, got married.  They are best friends and business associates and straight, but Wanda, a Caribbean Islander, needed a Green Card to remain in the country, so Julia agreed to marry her. I have not seen the episode in which they actually get married, however, so I don’t know if there was the usual protest and resistance from the other characters.

The institution of marriage carries with it certain societal privileges, and as a bachelor, I am aware of the imposed biases and find them to be unfair to us unmarried persons.  If we are all supposed to have equal rights under the law, why do married people get special corporate concessions and considerations that I don’t get?  Many things are set up with married people in mind.  For example, they get certain tax breaks and special medical and insurance plans. 

I saw a large billboard sign on the highway one day that was an advertisement for Holiday Inn.  In big print at the bottom of the ad was the promise that “Kids stay for free and kids eat for free!”  At one time that particular hype would not have bothered me as anything out of the ordinary.  But this last time I got to thinking, So people with families (that is, children) get special perks.  If I stayed at one of these establishments with friends or even with my lover, I would be charged their full price, but in order to get their special deal, I have to bring my children along, which I don’t have.

So I have come to the realization that people who are married, with children, are actually being rewarded for being in that situation.  “They” don’t give a shit about you if you are not married, which may be another reason why gay couples seek marital rights.  They want to be able to make settlement and property claims legally in the event of death or divorce.  The way things are now in some states, a person’s lover dies, and their spouse of 40 years wouldn’t get anything if their lover’s family contested it, or they are not able to make decisions about needed medical procedures or even corpse disposal, because they are not really the “next-of-kin.”  So gays have even told me that they want the right to marry so that they, too, can have the same protection under the law and also to take advantage of the special privileges and benefits afforded married people.

My argument is, why play into the System by readily accepting its biased attitudes?  Why should I have to be married to receive the things I should be entitled to anyway?  Don’t make me drastically change my life to comply with a biased law.  Change the laws instead to accommodate everybody, regardless of their marital status.  Remember, liberty and justice for all. And what makes them think that their being married will guarantee fairness and compliance?  Laws never influence or guarantee people’s personal attitudes about anything.  Anyone who has a problem with homosexuals, for example, their being married is not going to change that person’s opinion of them.  Marriage does not assure universal respectability.  So why even bother?

In conclusion, let me say a word about redefining the family.  Although the traditional family has evolved erratically in modern times, when the term family is used, especially by the media, in many instances it still refers to some kind of adult living arrangement where children are involved.  Just to be married is not enough.  One does not become a “family man” until he has children.  When a father says that he has to work so that he will be able to provide for his family, he means his children primarily.  His wife, unless she is just a dependent homemaker and does not work outside the home, will usually be able to take care of herself financially.  The media reports on “family viewing” and “family entertainment,” which refers to programming that they deem to be suitable for children.

But what is a family, really, domestically speaking?  My dictionary defines it as “a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head of household.”  That’s simple and straightforward enough.  I like that definition in one way because it is non-specific and non-sexist.  A man and woman married to each other with one or more children is not the only kind of family there is, however.  There exists every conceivable combination and situation.  Individuals don’t have to be related to one another genetically to be family, and they don’t need to involve children or even have to be human.  People consider their pets as part of their family, for example.  Live-in servants and close friends can be family.

The previous definition is also erroneous, due to the fact that family members all don’t have to live together.  I have lived alone for most of my life.  So don’t I have any family anywhere?  Sure, I do.  I just don’t live with them.  There are the biological families that we are born into and also the ones that we choose for ourselves.  The term “family values,” therefore, is vague and has no real meaning, since we don’t know which family they are referring to, and the fact that any given family has its own set of values, which undoubtedly differs from one to the other.

[Follow-up article: Parenting 101]

109 thoughts on “Marry, Marry, Quite Contrary”

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