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.