Monday, March 22, 2010


A young 20-something colleague at work breezed into my office today and ceremoniously handed me a wedding invitation.

"He's marrying me!" she gushed as though this was a great honour being bestowed upon her.

For a fraction of a millisecond I contemplated warning her, but all that came out was a somewhat constipated but still enthusiastic-sounding "Congratulations!" I also gave her a warm hug, the type of loving embrace a vegetarian may give to a lamb destined for slaughter.

Of course I'll make up an excuse not to be there. I'd sooner attend an Indian wife's suttee. At least, this barbarous Hindu tradition is less hypocritical than the rite of matrimony because it is obvious that what we are watching is an Indian wife being sacrificed at the funeral pyre of her husband. But for married people, the sacrifice of the soul is a slow, silent and stinging ordeal.

The term "happily married" is an oxymoron. I guess that I belong to this class of "happily married" oxy-or just plain-morons as my husband and I are pretty supportive of each other when it matters and are generally on the same page. You can even say that in many ways we are blessed. But how can you be truly happy when marriage as an institution deprives you of part of yourself and your freedom? How can you be complete when you are just half of one?

"Hopefully my marriage will be as warm and beautiful as yours," said my innocent starry-eyed colleague, looking up to me as though I were a type of role model. I choked, holding back the truth. "So, any advice?" she asked reverently, evidently misinterpreting my awkwardness as a sign of me being deeply moved. My halo began to drop and tighten as though it were a noose around my neck...

"Maybe you could both go to a marriage counsellor ahead of time to figure out what void it is you are trying to fill by marrying this particular person in the first place. While you're at it, perhaps you should also see a divorce lawyer now so as to be prepared for later. It's always wise to protect your interests regardless of circumstances," I suggested, thinking of all the 50-something divorcees who end up destitute and in despair.

"You are so hilarious," she laughed. But I really was being serious.

Still, I couldn't resist e-mailing her THIS link as a bit of a Freudian joke. CLICK HERE to hear.

* Francoise Boucher's "The Marriage of Cupid and Psyche" is at the Louvre museum. Do you know the story? It is the love affair of a princess, Psyche, and Cupid. After many tribulations they managed to get hitched and live happily forever after...and indeed they could, for they were Immortals. It's paintings like this that mislead people contemplating wedlock.


Sharon said...

Cynics are indeed disappointed romantics. Maybe she'll be one of the few that finds the missing pieces and a perfect fit with her mate... Or not.

Propoquerian said...

So...let me get this straight. This Psyche girl, she married Cupid? A Naked Baby? Well sure isn't that convenient! We all know one of the biggest rift-causers in marriages is the birth of the first child, then suddenly the husband doesn't feel like he's getting enough attention. But that will never be the case for this chick Psyche--her husband IS her baby!
Hilarious post :)

Robin said...

It is indeed a cosmic joke. Most people who are single want to be married. I know, for I have been single, and longed to be married. Once I was married, I only wanted to be divorced. After that, I understood that what I actually wanted was someone who understood me and vice versa. I wanted a partner with whom I could communicate and share. That was much trickier and I was no longer all that healthy and able to pursue my goal. So, there you go. Usually we have to get what we don't want in order to find out what we do. That is fine when you're dealing with food choices on a menu, but really not so great when it comes to life choices, like marriage. I understand your lack of enthusiasm for your co-worker. On the up-side, not everyone gets it wrong on the first go round OR they aren't self-aware enough to know it. Either way, it is enough for them.

Sandy, Sisters of Season said...

This is what I have heard, a good marriage has alot of dents in it . . each dent represents a trial which turned into a victory . . go figure.
Happy Spring Mary!

Purple Cow said...

Sharon - I used to be a romantic but I'm all right now.

Propoquerian - That was just the story in a nutshell... the full tale is even more scandalous and incestuous. Google it if you like.

Robin - Don't you find that people always point out the negatives to those contemplating divorce but are encouraging when someone states they wish to marry?

Sandy - You are right about the dents. I see my parents who have aged together after having seen the worst and best in each other and having been through heaven and hell and - well frankly - it's wonderful the way they are now! Kind of invincible...I guess it needs mulish endurance, patience, integrity and a whole lot of love.

Propoquerian said...

Purple Cow--did I cross the line with my most recent post?! Seriously now.? I gotta try and be tactful if i can!

Purple Cow said...

I, too, wonder sometimes what the line is. After all, my husband doesn't read what I write and sometimes I wonder how he feels about the stuff I reveal. And I haven't even said a fraction of what is there yet! Is this ethical?

Strangely enough, I avoid revealing too much personal stuff about my children on purpose...

What you wrote was funny and it is obvious that you love your mother (did you delete it just because of my comment?) much should we say? We have a right to get it out and express ourselves but where does this right stop? Were my husband to read this blog I'm sure I would not write half the stuff I do. How much would he want me to reveal?

Plus its one thing saying something and quite another writing it down.

I, too, get carried away...and just cause I'm twice your age doesn't mean I'm any wiser on the subject.