Wednesday, May 17, 2006

To have and to hold...

This past Sunday this bitch was participating in my ritual of watching CBS Sunday Morning with Betsey the sorta-beagle. We had just finished our breakfast…a bitch consumed yummy cheesy eggs with toast and Betsey took down a biscuit…when a segment on marriage came on.

Wait, let me back up. The divine Lesley Stahl was hosting and the entire show was dedicated to women.

Okay, so a segment came on about marriage and the social importance of engagement rings in American society. Specifically, the size of the rock. The reporter took to the streets and showed her own wedding ring…a rather nice one…as compared to the author’s wedding ring…a rather massive one.

Time after time, folks were unimpressed with the smaller ring…which flowed over into their being unimpressed with the man who gave that ring.

A bitch is fascinated by this. As the segment covered, folks spend more time planning the wedding and fretting over the social statement the ring is making than they do planning their marriage and fretting over the commitment they are about to make.

It’s May and you can't avoid the advertisements for wedding dresses, jewelry stores and tan spas. Apparently, being tan is a big deal because this bitch has seen three separate wedding specific tan commercials in the past 24 hours! This bitch has never tanned on purpose…and is more than slightly freaked out by the entire skin pealing element of it…but my ass damned sure gets the message that tan lines and that wedding dress don’t go hand in hand.

In my opinion marriage is not threatened by gays or lesbians who believe in it and want to participate fully in it…nor the single folks who don’t believe in it and have no wish to debate why they don’t…and not even by the people who think the whole business should have no legal benefits associated with it.

Marriage in America is threatened by the marketing of it, the married people who turn around and pitch the same fucked up marketing message to their friends, the other married people who should have never gotten married and now trash the whole practice because they are miserable, the state and local governments that hypocritical pontificate about the sanctification of it and yet uphold quick and easy nullification through divorce…and the religious leaders who urge participation in it when, in reality, marriage isn’t for everyone and requires hard work and dedication, not just a set of vague and undefined values spiced up with a few dashes of tradition.

50% of marriages fail, but a bitch suspects that a majority of weddings are successful as a motherfucker.

Just some thoughts…

31 comments:

Pandora said...

I regret all the time I wasted trying to have the perfect wedding. And the money we spent on the ring combined with the cost of the wedding? I could send my kid to college on that shit.

M A F said...

Ah, the importance of material possession when it comes to love and marriage. Man's best friend is a dog, while diamonds are a girls best friend? Is it any wonder the divorce rate isn't higher.

Susan said...

Good post! If you do a little research on the subject of diamond engagement rings, you'll learn that the entire concept was created and marketed by DeBeers in the 1930s. The best marketing ploy in history! They convinced the public that the only acceptable engagement ring was a new diamond. I got engaged this year and decided that I was not falling for the marketing trap. Not to mention all of the horrors associated with diamond mining. But I really like the look of a classic white gold band with a simple diamond, so I ended up getting a moissanite ring. It was much cheaper, still looks good (you really can't tell it isn't a diamond), and I don't have any of the guilt I would of had by spending thousands of dollars on a diamond ring. I'd rather have that money in the bank to save for our future.

Huntington said...

Many thanks for yet more proof of the truth delivered unto us by the sublime and timeless Cyndi Lauper:

"Money changes everything."

Shavita said...

As a recently divorced woman that should have NEVER been married in the first place, your remarks are heartfelt, my friend. I personally think weddings are a joke. I go, I laugh at people, get the free food, and leave. If I ever did it again, it would be a private decision and done in private. I don't need to make a fucking spectacle of myself in order to be committed to someone.

flamingbanjo said...

The size of the rock indicates the depth of one's love, because it indicates the amount of debt one is willing to assume at the beginning of the marriage. Now THAT'S a commitment! I mean, your spouse may agree to a divorce, but the credit card company is never gonna let you off the hook.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad someone else has noticed how the wedding industry undercuts marriage. People are so wrapped up in planning perfect weddings that they don't have a chance to think about their marriages. And these fairy tale weddings are NOT cheap, which brings up another major marriage-killer: money. But divorce is good for the bridal-industrial complex. More divorces means more re-marriages ... which means more weddings!

Now that I'm thinking about it, could the wedding industry be one of the forces behind the gay marriage movement? After all, gays and lesbians are a segment of the population that it has not yet penetrated. There is pent-up demand for wedding dresses (sold by twos), tuxes (ditto), taffeta bridesmaid gowns, dyed-to-match shoes, cakes, ice sculptures, dove releases, musicians, caterers, banquet halls, the works. Equal rights can be good for business.

elizabeth said...

Thank you. I sent this post to my boyfriend, who is still paying off his wedding from last summer (it lasted maybe 3 months).

Until recently, I saw weddings as a microcosm of a lot of other American institutions (churches, corporations, etc)... sure, they seem fine, but there's a ton of scary stuff inside that you don't even want to know about. As long as you're keeping up appearances, the rest doesn't matter.

Anyway, great post.

It's Me, Maven... said...

See, the way I view it, the wedding is all about the fantasy, the illusion... just one more reason to have an over the top big party.

Also, I think the biggest threat to marriage isn't whether gays and lesbians get the right to marry. I feel the biggest threat to marriage today are homewreckers. Male. Female. Gay. Lesbian. Homewreckers come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and sexual orientations.

nongirlfriend said...

Most excellent commentary! I agree with you wholeheartedly.

Ron Bramlett said...

AMEN. I am getting married next Saturday and this was right on time.

The entire wedding "industry" thrives on those things you just mentioned.

My fiance and I have spent so much money on the wedding that I am seriously considering getting into the business of weddings myself (selling favors or reception accessories, etc). Everything involved is ridiculously overpriced!

Nice post, ABB and take care.

Vera said...

It's very sad that weddings often mean more than the marriage. My parents had a miserable marriage, and I have a happy one.

However, it certainly not all roses, and it's not for everyone.

Shark-fu said...

Tisk, task MAF...

My Dawg is also one of my best friends and this bitch only wears faux diamonds and only because my ass likes shit that sparkles and has an affection for cheap silver shit...

Materialism is genderless, my friend.

The Red Queen said...

I don't want the wedding but I do like shiny baubles and travel. So I'm down with jewelry and vacations but it doesn't have to be an engagement ring and a schmaltzy honeymoon.

Uccellina said...

I completely agree with the gist of your post, but I don't think that most weddings are successful at all. An informal poll of my friends and relatives has determined that those who spent a lot of money (say $10,000 and up) on their weddings were the least pleased with the event in the end. Those of us in the lower bracket (including myself and Husband) had better weddings. Less expenditure = less stress, for one thing.

Though I suppose if one has buckets of money to throw at a party . . .

Anonymous said...

Man, it's just a total conformist pissing contest. Who has the bigger diamond. Then who has an engagement ring with three diamonds. Now, which woman has the biggest three diamonds on the engagement ring, which is worn with the wedding band which is circled in diamonds as well. All of which either makes your hand break off at the wrist or makes you a primo mugging target!

RT

Regina said...

You know, I always thought the purpose of the expensive engagement ring was as insurance for in case a woman's ass gets left. I've always heard the ring should cost at least 2 months' salary, and I thought that was so if the marriage dissolved (or, I suppose, if a woman was widowed) she could sell the ring for enough cash to float herself until she got it together.

L said...

delurking to say "great post"!

I have never understood the whole phenomenon of the engagement ring/wedding extravaganza. If I ever get married, which seems unlikely at this point, I would skip both.

Paula D. said...

You are so on point with this! I swear people are divorcing every friggin' week!

Dragon Lady said...

As someone about to be in a wedding for someone else, let me just say, AMEN!

The first thing my friend does now is show everyone her ring. Its nauseating.

Weddings are a total joke. Thousands and thousands for one day. I think they have thought much more about her perfect wedding than the actual marriage.

The wedding has completely taken over her life. Seriously.

From my standpoint, it seems alot of people get married because that is what you are SUPPOSED to do, but people talk more about their wedding than their relationship.

I could go on and on, but I'l end it there or it'll never end.

spiral said...

Weddings scare me. Scare me--bad outfits, bad music, unnecessary expense and anxiety and pomp and primping . . . Yesh. Thanks for the post; I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who doesn't care for the ring comparisons.

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Bex said...

My husband and I don't have wedding rings, and people always ask me if I really want to be married because I don't wear one. As if! I just smile and say, yes, we're on the fence, then try not to laugh when they look shocked or disgusted. People you don't need a ring to be married!

Renee said...

Amen, sista! I'm thankful my wedding was uber-simple: Me, my husband, a minister, my son and two witnesses. We were married on a bridge in Peace Park. No diamond, no rings, not even a new dress. Later on we got some silver wedding bands. It's the only jewelry I wear besides a nose ring.

I told my husband (then boyfriend) that if he ever blew wads of cash on a silly diamond then I would dump him. I'm compulsively frugal, which comes from being a poor single mom for years.

Screw the diamond and the fanfare, if I had that kind of cash I'd put a down payment on a nice house!

Anonymous said...

Great Post!

Along with all your wonderful points about the marriage industry lets not also forget all the turmoil our love for diamonds is causing...

from amnesty international
(http://www.amnestyusa.org/diamonds/index.do)

"In many African countries, including Angola, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) diamonds have been, and continue to be linked to terrible human rights abuses either by insurgent groups to fuel conflict and carry out atrocities against innocent civilians or by unscrupulous government who are equally brutal."

I am fond of shiny things as well but there are great alternatives out there like greenkarat (http://www.greenkarat.com/about/about.asp) which actually re-cycles gold and diamonds.

Who knew being eco-friendly could come with bling ;)

-Nazzy

Dizzy Dezzi said...

Right On, ABB!

My husband and I got "married" in the center of our livingroom with only my two neighbors (one of them my best friend to this day...) as witnesses, about 7 1/2 years ago (in CO all you gotta do is marry yourself and sign the certificate...no preacher or JOP necessary).

Got a couple of cheap matching bands at a Celtic store (replace them with new matching rings when his breaks...he's a soldier who works with tank-sized machines)...it's sort of a tradition now (I have my "copy" of every ring we have ever exchanged). They cost us less than $20 bucks every pop, but they look unique and are great conversation starters for nosy folks.

Last Mother's Day he got me a nice blingy ring with three nice sized CZ stones set in stainless steel (or some such). He got it as a belated "engagement" ring (something I never had before we got married). That sucker cost less than $50 (I am totally money conscious...although he would totally break the bank if I let him). But, on my finger it looks fabulous...People always ooh and aww over it, but they don't know how much it actually costs...

since my husband is in Iraq, it keeps the suckers at bay...no way they can say they didn't notice the ring when trying to hit on me...

...but of course, all the ladies want my husband cuz he's (seems like) such a big spender...I just smile like an imp...(If they only knew...)

So, we look affluent just by the "rock" on my hand, but money is not a big issue in our marriage (cuz I pinch pennies like they are going out of style...which, apparently, they are) and we don't have awful memories of wedding disasters.

Sure, we have our problems, but our wedding still included lots of tears and was probably more romantic and meaningful than any big wedding I've ever been to.

nuttylibrarian said...

In response to Regina's comment about engagement rings acting as a kind of insurance to protect the wife if the husband takes off . . . I don't think that's true. I was foolish enough to let my first fiance buy me a diamond ring. He blew three grand on it, and after our divorce I tried to sell it to several jewelry stores in different cities. Despite the fact that the ring came with papers proving its value is $3,000, no store would offer me more than $300 for it. They all explained that the retail value of a diamond is about TEN TIMES the wholesale value.

So a diamond is *not* a good insurance policy.

M A F said...

I think you misunerestimated what I was saying Sharkfu. I wasn't implying that materialism was confined to the female sex. I was commenting upon the stereotypical best friends of both sexes. My comments obviously failed to convey the sarcasm intended.

Regina said...

Hey, I didn't say it was a *good* policy. But in some cultures jewelry is basically money that you don't put in the bank. It's small/portable, and if you're really sensible about how you buy it and what you buy, it can have high resale value. But in many cases what determines the resale value isn't the stone itself (diamond value is notoriously artificially inflated), but the setting it's in. So going to Call's jewelers and buying an overpriced stone in a crap setting is a bad investment, but getting judiciously valued jewelry isn't necessarily a bad investment-- or didn't used to be, anyway.


By the way, I'm not defending the obsession with the engagement rock,-- I agree that it's foolish and there are other concerns in marriage that definitely get short shrift.

Shark-fu said...

MAF...

Got it...task and tisk removed!

Lawd, a bitch needs to slow down...

Weasel said...

THANK YOU! I have been saying this shit for a while now.

Screw the ring, screw the uber-fancy wedding. Just give me a quiet ceremony with my SO and a JOP and I'll be fine.

Truth be told, my heart and soul did get me a diamond ring. (I didn't ask; he honestly wanted to get me a rock.) It's not big (it's a half-carat at most), but to me, it's more beautiful than the Hope Diamond. It ain't the size of the rock, it's the size of the heart of the man who bought ya the rock that really counts.

--Weasel, looking into simple silver wedding bands for her quiet little ceremony...