Friday, December 16, 2005


Jessica, Nick officially not legal anymore

This is what happens when marriage is your be-all, end-all of human existence. I remember interviews from Jessica's earliest days of fame (before she was even out of her teens) where she expressed a serious desire to get married; this despite the fact that (as far as I know) she was unattached at the time. That reflects the attitude of a lot of women I have known. It's one thing to say you can't wait to get married when you've been with a guy for years; it's another altogether to be 19 and saying it when you don't even have someone in mind!

For too many women (and even some men), marriage is seen an absolute necessity in life. And for all the wrong reasons, too: the pomp, the dress, the bridesmaids, the showers, and of course the rings (oh, the rings)! Way too many people get married to marriage itself rather than the person.

And though it's generally unspoken, I suspect that a lot of young wannabe newlyweds have been raised thinking that they need to be married to make love. Jessica definitely espoused that view throughout many early interviews. While I can understand the desire to remain pure, marrying for sex is a bad idea no matter how much it makes Jesus smile. When you marry young with the intention of having sex, you aren't being prudent; you're being immature. First off, you should already know how sexually compatible you are with your future spouse. Nothing will breed resentment in your marriage quite like not being able to consummate it properly. Try before you buy. Who knows, maybe you'll regain some rationality in the afterglow! Marriage is a big deal--even bigger than selecting the perfect clutch from Old Navy.

But before you make any moves, get some education. Learn about sex and protection, preferably from someone whose interests aren't vested in casting you in Hell for asking. Then ask yourself why you want to get married. Is it because you really love the person you're with? Because your mom wants you to start a family before you reach 23 and hit menopause? Because you can't stand not having sex? Or even because you simply want to move out the house? Unless it's the first question, you're an idiot.

The way I see it, marriage is one of those things in life that happens far more than it should. Instead of being a rare bonus in life, it's something that everyone does, and consciously so. Which is why I never say "congratulations" when someone gets engaged or married, even if I fully endorse the tying of a particular knot. Because it's a conscious decision!

I'm not saying that to be cynical (well, maybe a little), because this occurred to me years ago, at about the same time that most of my friends were graduating from high school. Why should I have congratulated them? Most of them were honor students at the very least, and they didn't have obstacles to overcome. When you add compulsory attendance to that, getting through isn't that hard. I myself thought very little of it when I graduated. But even so, completing school at any level requires more accomplishment than matrimony. You know what deserves congratulations? Overcoming a disability or extreme poverty. Graduating from college. Landing a dream job. Things you EARN.

What early, sex-based marriage leads to is usually divorce at around 25 which, according to Jessica, is almost your mid-twenties. And, more often than not, the young divorcees who believe so hard in marriage suffer severe disillusionment and self-loathing when it doesn't work out. And that's just in the cases when they aren't in deep denial that their marriage sucks.

On the other hand, some young marriages work. More power to them. But then, they're not generally the ones who are Jessicated about the institution. They found someone they loved and continue to love, and didn't adhere to rigid notions of what commitment entails.

So if I seem a bit crass about the Jessica-Nick split-up, it's because I knew it wasn't meant to be. And I don't mean I guessed that from watching Newlyweds (I never did); I knew it the first time I heard that she wanted to get hitched. I knew she wouldn't rest until she cast her Mr. Right, and that's always a bad idea. Don't shop when you're hungry, so to speak. Good things come to those who don't look for them.


Neil Shakespeare said...

Like that word 'newlyseps'. Never heard that one before. Yours? Are there 'newlydivs' then, too?

Flamingo Jones said...

I dunno...I wish they would have stayed married. In my family, we have this phrase my grandmother used all the time when two idiots, losers, assholes, etc. got married to each other: "Good...why ruin two houses?" People like that can't be alone, it's better if they're together with each other rather that destroying the lives some other poor suckers.

Screw marriage. Why bother? I can be miserable all by myself, I don't need a middleman to do it for me.

Jester said...

Have you ever been married, Ian?

Ian McGibboney said...

No, Jester, I have never been married. I'm also in zero hurry to do so, despite the social pressures of living in the south.

I have, however, seen every kind of marriage under the sun; great ones, misguided ones, short ones, long ones and abusive ones. My personal experience with marriage comes from what I know about the people I know and love who enter into it.

Does any of that change my point that marriage should be taken more seriously than it is by some young people, that it isn't a prize out of a cereal box? I don't think you have to have been married to concede that point.

What do you think?

Jester said...

Basically, I don't think you have much of a platform to stand on having never been there yourself. I think it would be better if you stuck to writing gigantic posts about things you have actually experienced in your own life.

Ian McGibboney said...

Jester, does this mean you're not going to write about me anymore, since you're not me and have never been in my shoes?

Just asking.

Jester said...

Wishful thinking I see on your part : ) But wait a second -- you're missing my point. I never asked for your silence, and never will. What I asked is that you not submit a gigantic 9-paragraph article on marriage or any other subject that you have no personal experience with. That's why I don't write pages and pages about you (even if I wanted to).

Something short and sweet is not only more sincere, but more intelligent. When it comes to writing, less is more.

Ian McGibboney said...

Jester, I have lots of experience with marriage. My parents were married (and divorced), my grandparents were married and most of my friends are too now. Each respective marriage has shaped my opinion of the institution. Anyway, I'm arguing that marriage should be taken seriously. Do I have to be married to say that? By your logic, priests and abstinence groups should never talk about sex because they avoid it...well, okay, bad example.

I take matrimony VERY seriously, which is why I'm not married, because I feel like I'm being smarter and pickier about it than the wedding-chasers of the world. And frankly, I think I need to offer a counterpoint to the bridal shows, wedding planners, family pressures and everything else that glorifies weddings more than the actual result thereof. And because I have no vested interest whatsoever in any of it, I think I have a pretty good view to offer.

As for my writing length: I'm a trained journalist and columnist. I write as long as I think it'll take to make various points. It seems to be working, because you certainly seem to be interested in it. Whereas, I still don't know anything about your take on marriage other than your brief and blanket criticism of my points. Less isn't always more.

Jester said...

You're completely missing my point again. "McFly! Hello McFly!!" (knocks on Ian's head). Writing a large piece (like you did yet again) on something you have no firsthand experience with doesn't make you look intelligent to anyone other than yourself. Claiming to know something by spewing paragraph after paragraph after paragraph on it just makes you look ignorant. True skill with words is achieved through restraint.

Ian McGibboney said...

Biff, if I put together everything that you have so far presumed about me, someone whom you don't know, I'd have reams of material. Paragraph after paragraph that makes you look ignorant, in fact. So maybe you have a point.

I have no firsthand experience with national politics or rapists either, but it's easy enough to come to conlusions about both of those.

But I am interested in the point you purport to be making. Perhaps by sharing some of your own writings, I can learn what I need to be doing. Where can I find some of your published material?

Jester said...

Why would I publish lengthy writings for you to read in order to prove to you what I know when my whole point is that an intelligent writer doesn't have to publish lengthy writings to prove what he knows? Sheesh!!

Ian McGibboney said...

Because, jester, I don't know what you know. Your brief and mostly empty comments tend to run along the lines of, "Ian, you're an idiot who writes too much." Hell, if I'm so terrible about word length, why don't you offer a stinging one-sentence rebuttal to the topic? Quality, not quantity? Sure. I have both. You have neither.