Why Don’t You Just Get Married?
Why don’t you just get married? That is a question I have been asked on numerous occasions, even when I did not have a boyfriend. The traditional thing, of course, would be to find the boyfriend first and then think about getting married. But, those people who have asked me this question knew that I was single. What they really wanted to ask me is why I do not try myself a man with money, get married and be financially ‘sorted’ for the rest of my life.
I will never forget one night in particular when I was a student. I was really nervous before an exam and I was studying hard with a friend. At that time, I felt that my future depended entirely upon my achieving good exam results. I worried about how I was ever going to remember so much information when it really mattered. After seeing what a state I was getting myself into, my friend tried to calm me down with a piece of advice that I would never have expected from her. She told me not to obsess about the end result of my exams too much. ’We were women after all,’ she said. ’Even if we fail, it won’t matter because we can still just get married’. We laughed about it at the time. It seemed to be the most absurd solution in the world to me. I was studying feminism, so the idea of marriage as a career move was completely against my principles. Now, with the passage of time, it seems as though my friend was not joking at all. She met a rich guy, got married and ‘retired’ before reaching her 30th birthday.
There was another occasion when it was suggested that matrimony might be the solution to my financial and domestic problems. It was a truly terrible time for me personally and I have described it at length in my book, The Mask of Venus. I had gruelling cash-flow problems when I worked in luxury real estate. I lived on a commission-only basis and, for a considerable time, I had not been able to sell anything. Several unforeseen expenses had forced me to use my savings as a last resort. Fortunately, I managed to haul myself out of that nosedive by being frugal and with hard work. My circumstances did not improve because I found a rich man to make my difficulties go away. I explained how hard things had got to a relative. All she did was wonder why I had not just married my way out of my woes.
The most recent example of this recurrent suggestion arose during a dinner with a married friend. She has 4 children and I was telling her that I had just had my bikini line lasered. She looked at me with an expression of horror.
‘Why on earth would you put yourself through that?’ she asked.
‘I do it for me,’ I tried to explain to her ‘I really can’t abide having hair between my butt cheeks, fluff on my belly or downy hairs on my thighs.’
My friend did not seem to comprehend my argument but thought of another question.
‘Does it hurt?’
I nodded and she looked even more bewildered than before. It was no good. The more I tried to explain, the less convinced she was.
‘Why don’t you just get married? Then you wouldn’t have to bother because it wouldn’t matter what you looked like.’
We agreed to differ on the value of aesthetic depilation and said our goodbyes. But, deep down, I knew that she was not joking. Neither was my friend from college. I realise that marriage does not mean just chilling out and not having to take care of your appearance ever again. I raised this very point with the woman who did the lasering of my bikini line. She found it highly amusing and she is someone who is married herself. As the session went on, the pain around my bikini line became almost unbearable. ‘Hold on,’ she said as I squirmed around on the bed. ‘Getting married hurts a lot more, believe me.’
I think that the idea of seeking out a guy with money, just so that you can be a kept woman is fundamentally wrong. Everything that is given to you, has to be paid for eventually and in ways that are not easy to predict. If you decide to separate eventually, it will not be easy for you. This is especially true if you are dependent on your partner for living expenses such as rent, clothes, and food. According to a survey, 59% of married women admitted they would split up with her husband if they could afford to do so.
Despite all this, I did not want you to think that I am against marriage in principle or that I am anti-couples in practice. Because that is simply not the case at all. Deep down, I am a great romantic. I prefer to be with someone out of pure desire and not economic dependence. Being able to fully trust and depend on someone is one of the most beautiful things that there is and let us not forget that many couples get married for love.
I doubt very much that I will get married but, as they say, never say never. Still, whatever happens in my emotional and romantic life, I will always work hard to be an independent woman.