In a school I once taught at, an enterprising Young Enterprise group (I guess that was the point) started selling “Last Rolos” for Valentine’s Day.
I bought one for myself.
Mainly, I wanted to support the students in their entrepreneurial ventures, and it wasn’t as though I was going to try wooing someone else in the staffroom via the medium of a student’s A level Business Studies project. However, when I told someone that I had purchased one for myself, they thought I was utterly insane and may as well be wearing a great big badge entitled “Mad Woman in the Attic.”
I guess lots of people probably had a similar response to this story about an Italian woman marrying herself, which popped up in my newsfeed recently.
I got to thinking, to paraphrase the great Carrie Bradshaw, about Sex and the City, about the claim that us singles, poor us, never have anything to celebrate apart from our own birthdays, Christmas, Easter (if one finds it appropriate to celebrate the death of Christ, but then SALVATION. And chocolate), any other religious holidays that are completely uninterested in one’s marital status (all of them), New Year, Chinese New Year (thank you China, for all you have done. Philosophy, culture, fabulous pottery and now the opportunity to celebrate New Year again, a month after our own), Glastonbury, any other festival one might attend, and every other celebration apart from weddings. But then, surely all every woman really wants is a day when she can wear a great white meringue and be the centre of attention for twenty four solid hours and be told repeatedly how wonderful she looks as though from this point on for the rest of her life she will never again be as perfect, as radiant, as fabulous as she now is. Which is probably true, unless you spend every day of your life wearing a dress that costs several months’ salary, having been in the professional make up artist’s chair for three hours straight, being the belle of a ball at which no one else is even allowed to wear the same colour as you, let alone outshine you on your “Big Day.”
I thought of myself, of my own wedding plans, the ones that were in my head seemingly from birth. Of the pink castle in Aberdeen that I found on the internet in 2005 (why was I even looking?) and inexplicably thought would be a great wedding venue despite costing an eye-watering amount for about thirty guests (I had imagined ten times that rocking up; at the very least everyone on Facebook, right?) and being in a part of Scotland that I neither had any known familial ties with, nor remote interest in. Of my plan to get married in Vegas which I told actual family members about, just in case they needed to start saving for the ticket; and of my plans for a Jane Austen-in-the-90s-TV-version-of-Pride and Prejudice-themed wedding, complete with floaty empire-line dresses, chaps in dashing uniforms from the Napoleonic Wars (which I’m sure were far more romantic in the imagination than in real life, what with people actually getting killed and stuff) and Mr Darcy fresh from the Pemberley lake.
I thought about the fact that all my life I wanted The Fairytale, and it never happened, and I thought, would I do it?
Would I get married to myself?
And I very quickly decided, no.
If one of my friends announced that she (or he, but I’m assuming it wouldn’t work this way round, because PATRIARCHY) was marrying herself I would be there in a flash. I would be there, bearing gifts, wearing a fabulous designer-slash-vintage dress and taking full advantage of the food and drinks to get reliably trashed in her honour. It’s what any good friend would do, and no more or less than I have done for my married friends over the years (which they may or may not have appreciated), but it’s not what I would do for myself.
I love weddings, I have longed for my own for as long as I can remember, but surely as single women we deserve more than to think we need to play the marrieds at their own game for a bit of recognition? I’m happy for the Italian lady who decided to marry herself, because why not, if that’s what makes her happy, and I’m sure it was a great party with a massive dose of humour involved as well, but to me it would just feel a bit like trying to fight sexism by being sexist to men; in other words, two wrongs don’t make a right. Not that marriage is in any way wrong, but to me making a point to married people that single people also deserve a bit of a party by getting into a white dress and posing for photos with an overpriced cake feels a bit like admitting marriage is the superior option, single life has nothing to offer and life as a woman is incomplete without the opportunity to wear a meringue and spend a year’s salary on a party where all the men in your life get to give heroic speeches and the women sit around feeling uncomfortable all day because their best friend made them and five other Chosen Ones wear the same dress even though one’s a size six and another a 22.
Surely we’re better than that?
Women don’t need to get married to be happy and complete. Friends don’t need to contribute things of actual monetary value to other friends to be valued, and getting married is the celebration of a lifetime commitment, not just an excuse to wear a pretty dress and get your hair and make up done for ten times the amount it should really cost.
So no, I will not be marrying myself.
I bought a dress though, £22 in a vintage shop. Everyone needs a wedding dress as part of their repertoire, even if just for fancy dress as Madonna: the Like A Virgin Years.