I insulate myself in the guise of “independence,” “autonomy,” “power”, but if I’m being honest, the ship of I-Wanna-Man set sail right around the time I discovered how lovely Barbie looks with Ken (and how sad she looks without him). I mean, I don’t think I would DIE if I couldn’t fool one into marrying me (I hope you are wearing your earmuffs, James Dean). No, no. Certainly, I would continue to breathe and laugh and play and love. Yes. ‘Tis true. But I would laugh less, I think. I would love smaller. I would play empty.
I should just say it: Pssst. I want a husband.
And how do I want said husband? In a lovely marriage bundle. The traditional kind—where Dad gives his permission and walks me down the aisle. Where we blubber through our carefully crafted wedding vows, celebrate with a huge stinkin’ cake, and bubbly and FIND OURSELVES MAGICALLY BELIEVING IN THE POWER OF WE.
“Traditional marriage,” that dirty phrase, has become simply unmentionable for the educated, upwardly mobile woman. So what do we do? We collage together different bits of “relationships” with their various, (fucking) confusing rules, and norms, and correctnesses we think we have created something truly unique and therefore more valuable. And in so doing, we refuse to “settle”—because that (of course) would mean eternal damnation. We refuse to “give in” to gender norms. Oh and we curse those (weak) women who give into the social pressure of White Wedding.
Logically speaking, however, it is impossible to step out from the socially imposed constructs from which we are born into and raised. Therefore, all values, wants, dreams, and visions are (at least in part) socially imposed. My desire or rejection of “marriage” in part or in whole is as co-created as the fact that I have “chosen to” shave my armpits, am drawn to literature over mathematics, and add conjunctions to every (sorta) definite sentence.
I have wavered back and forth on this point over the years—ever loyal, (boo-fucking-yah) to the feminist movement and the social paths and professional possibilities she blazed in cement in my honor. But conversely, I now know (as my recent upchuck of JEALOUSY clearly illustrates) I am intimately and irrevocably interwoven with instinctual/personal/culturally-imposed desires for security, stability, commitment, love-ridden, fairytale.
So I confess that perhaps I have been pretending a little. Pretending to side with the “independent” (Rah!), self-made (Rah-Rah!) Jodi. Ignoring the part that has already made up her mind at the life I want to lead. At some basic needs of I. And those needs… yes, needs… include a marriage, and a husband, and some kiddos. Who? What? When? Where? Je ne sais pas. But I’m working on it—starting with the honest declaration of “personal” desire for ‘Til Death Do Us Part.