Sunday, January 17, 2010
Going to the Chapel
Marriage was on my mind this week. Between Elizabeth Gilbert being on Oprah talking about her new book (I don't know about you, but I couldn't get through "Eat, Pray, Love" so "Committed" will remain far away from my purview), an article in Marie Claire about women needing to be less picky (hallelujah) when selecting mates and a candid conversation over margaritas with my husband I think there's a lot to talk about.
Humans are social beings. It's true. Even the most introverted among us feels better, happier if you will, with some other human energy nearby. And save a few cases (James Franco's love affair with Japanese Sex Pillows and objectum sexuals), we need to be near other humans to get to know intimacy and socialize our way to being attractive to a mate.
This will be the year of pregnancy for many of my friends, barring any complications as getting pregnant is far less elegant than naivete allowed me to believe in childhood. But I still have many single friends too. Marc and I wonder with frequency what the deal is with the women we love not finding love. I think Lori Gottlieb has a point that many women feel "entitled to the cultural ideal. Mr. Right should look a certain way, have a certain kind of job, have a sense of humor, be romantic in these ways and show it with certain gestures. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Why do we always focus on the latter?" Amen. No doubt. So hard to do in practice.
And I do think most of my friends who are not in relationships would prefer to be. Though even those who are married might consider themselves lonely, I'm also no fool to know it's different when you're unattached. Staying positive is challenging and continuing your own personal growth without paying much credence to "the quest" for Mr. Right is impossible sometimes.
But is it possible that marriage, in a traditional sense, might shift again? It really was a group effort if we look back far enough in history. One man, many wives. When women didn't have the rights we do now, to work as a surgeon (god forbid) or start a business, we needed men to have financial "freedom." And those damn 1950's ideals are stuck in our heads now too. Woman near stove or vacuum, anxiously waiting for briefcase to show up to eat pot roast. The truth is, we don't need them anymore, and sperm banks are proof.
So why is it such an ideal? Why do we want it? Again to quote Gottlieb, "We want this soul communion, an almost therapeutic relationship instead of a working partnership. And we think we're perfect because our friends sit around and tell us we are. We're one another's Yes Women. Which does nothing to help us suss out how we might be better partners."
Honesty in friendship is a certain truth. But honesty with yourself is paramount. It's one of the reasons I am such a huge fan of therapy because whether you've been avoiding confrontation or just ignorant to the need for growth, it's impossible to avoid. That challenge is what I'm so intent on for myself and all my gal pals. Head toward the work, not away from it, and evolve.
Because guess what? A whole person is one super sexy individual. And one who will be more open to those who also have work to do. After all, it doesn't get easier when you fall in love. . . though some would argue it's better.