Let me start out this post by saying 1) I am a total romantic, and
2) I don’t judge anyone for making the choices he or she feels is best for them, including choices they believe will make them happy for the rest of their lives.
And let me also add 3), which is that I am not an angry woman. When women say the things I’m about to say, I think angry people—often people who don’t know they’re angry—think I’m speaking from a place of anger, or that I was “burned” and now I want to take it out on other people. That could not be farther from the truth. I love people and I have moved through my anger, which a lot of people don’t know how to do. (And if I get angry anew, I’ll just work through that shit again. I don’t hold onto anger or act from it.) I was angry for a long time. I judged people a lot. I especially judged people who did or thought anything different than what I did or thought, because I could not bring myself to fathom that I may be wrong in any area of life. If I allowed myself to be wrong, or humble, or admitted I did not know things I thought I should know, or if I believed I couldn’t figure everything out, I thought my whole world would crumble. So I lived in the midst of many grand illusions.
With that said, let me get to my point.
Is an engagement ring any different from a lasso?
Really. I want to know.
In one of my favorite plays of all time, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare uses two mythological figures, Theseus and Hippolyta, as the backdrop for young Athenians’ travails in love. Hippolyta is Queen of the Amazons, a race of strong warrior women. Theseus is this guy looking for a wife. He comes across Hipoolyta in his travels and uses all this manipulation to essentially kidnap her and prepare a grand wedding celebration without her fully knowing what he has done. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the supposition that he actually convinces her to marry him, and she willingly becomes his wife, fully tamed. But that’s not the way it really goes down in Greek mythology. In Greek mythology, Hippolyta’s women forge together and outwit this king-guy and get their queen back and become a lot more wary about letting a man come in and start spreading his charm and his smiles around. They fear they were too trusting, and they don’t let that happen again.
And one of my favorite online stores of all time is called Amazon, and the guy who runs that is really smart and rich (I just can’t resist his wiles), but he did some stupid things with his penis and it led to his wife wanting a divorce, so he had to end up paying her a lot of money to make that official. And then his ex-wife, an Amazon in her own rite, committed to giving away half of that money because she lived in Amazonia long enough to know that level of wealth is disgusting, and is meant to give away to other people.
I’m not sure how these stories relate, but I think they do.
Let me get back to my question, although I’ll phrase it in a different way:
If you’re completely happy and fulfilled with meaningful relationships in your life, and you make enough of your own money, what does a husband add, other than being someone to have sex and cuddle with, which most married women with kids are too tired to do?
I cringe at even the word “husband.” Eeeoew. Just eeeeow.
I asked my lovely friend this question over breakfast and her first thought was, “He picks up the kids from school.”
Of course we moved on from there. He’s the rock to her water. He’s steady amidst the storms. She leans on him. This is beautiful. This is all very beautiful. Love, companionship, a commitment to seeing it through to the end. Watching kids grow up together, to facing life together, holding hands.
My concern is, I don’t want to be owned. I don’t want to be lassoed. And I really can’t imagine I’ll ever get married again in some sort of legal, institutional way. (Even Jesus was like, when random guys asked him about divorce, Eeek! If you get divorced just don’t get married again, it’s not worth it. Next question?)
The thing a romantic partner adds that my friends do not is physical intimacy, pure and simple. And that is a very nice thing, when it works. I certainly don’t need another pair of shoes around the house to pick up. I am content eating cheese and crackers and apples for dinner, or I go out, so I don’t need someone to cook. I am busy, so it’s not like I have a ton of time to watch TV next to someone on the couch. I don’t even watch TV. I like my freedom, my independence. I like not having to check in with someone about things I’m doing, or if my plans get changed. Oh boy, do I like that. And I don’t want to have to negotiate what I buy at the store, or discuss my calendar, or where I want to travel this year. I just want to go where I want to go, do what I want to do. Why are more women not into this? Other than me and Lizzo, I mean?
I think it’s just that women don’t realize we’re these Amazons and we totally don’t need a man to make us happy. We just want sex sometimes, with men who know what they’re doing. And we want it when we want it.
So can we make this new arrangement happen? Men seem to be all ears when they hear it in theory, but they don’t like it in practice. Because they don’t think a woman can really feel these things and still be a kind person. They’ve been convinced that women are the ones who need care-taking, that marriage is a form of protection and benefit for women, that women are the ones who desire to “settle down.” They think women are the ones whose emotions get out of control when it comes to sex, and that men are the sane, rational ones.
This stuff is all just so bogus and backward I don’t even know where to begin.
Can we pause for a few moments to consider that our culture’s treatment of nature—to tame it, control it, abuse it, own it, dominate it—might be a little similar to our treatment of women? That anything wild and natural and free gets a fucking lasso and a stake in the ground, claiming who it “supposedly” belongs to?
I hope this doesn’t sound like I hate men. I really don’t, I’m serious. I love men. I think they’re awesome.
I just don’t know that I love marriage.
(And I also don’t love dating apps. Dear God.)
So to recap: monogamy may be backward, we should all just live in communities (let’s take care of the earth!), men are welcome to come join the physical fun when we queens have designated an appropriate time, and everybody spends time each week washing their own socks.
Except me. I go barefoot as much as possible.
Call me wild.