Holiday engagements, prying questions from uncles, spring wedding planning… love is up in the air and, like clockwork, so are my feelings about the institution of marriage.
On the one hand, I’d like to marry my boyfriend.
On the other hand, that sounds kind of stupid.
On the one hand, it seems sweet to declare my love for someone publicly—to give my relationship a sense of permanence my friends and family will cherish and respect!
On the other hand, that sounds like something a middle-aged dude came up with in a Hallmark pitch meeting to sell wedding invitations.
On the one hand, it sounds fun to throw a party for everyone I love, and to do it in honor of finding someone I want to be with forever.
On the other hand, forever is a myth, a savings account is arguably more fun, and why should monogamy be the milestone we celebrate more than any other? ISN’T THAT KIND OF EMBARRASSING?
On the one hand, tax breaks.
On the other hand: wedding hashtags, Mason jars, the phrase “I married my best friend.”
On the one hand, my boyfriend and I cry at almost every wedding we attend, then spend the next day talking about planning our own. Also, I feel like the vows and speeches would kill?
On the other hand, we cry at bad movies and talk about getting a dog; everyone I know who has planned a wedding has pled temporary insanity; and recent statistics show most married people become less happy in their relationships over time (this happens sooner for women) and one third of people do indeed part before death. Maybe my loved ones can give speeches about me for a different reason? Mom? Dad??
On the one hand, maybe it’s nice to participate in a tradition; not all organizing principles are necessarily evil. Can’t they serve as a kind of connective tissue among communities, which are dwindling every year?
On the other hand, most of the “traditions” surrounding the wedding industry—proposals, rings, gowns, planning, name changes, aisle-walking, wedding parties—were either concocted by marketing teams to sell us shit or a direct result of oppressive, patriarchal structures. Won’t be putting *that* in my gratitude journal.
On the one hand, the near-psychopathic, college-like “getting ready” energy prior to a wedding appeals to me on a freaky, nostalgic level.
On the other hand, I’m not sure even the most casually “alt” outfit and ring and beauty look could untangle the weird logic of needing to look the hottest (and most feminine?) I’ve ever looked on the day someone pronounces me worthy of love.
On the one hand, our parents would be so happy if we got married.
On the other hand, questioning old traditions would probably make the next generation happy.
On the other hand, I’d remember it forever.
On the other, I’d rather marriage not be the apotheosis of my whole dumb life.
On the one hand, ugh.
On the other hand, fuckkk.
Graphics by Coco Lashar