Saturday, November 11, 2006
Well, seeing as "Mr significant" (he who pretentiously didn't want to be named online - as if! it's not like the law's after him or anything!) and I keep fighting and it looks like annother "Grr! Hate You" Moment in my Lovelife... and It might explain my explosive tears at work...
Anyway, it's making me think that whole thing about marriage again and how it's fucking stupid and at least if I'm NOT married I can run away!
And this is the article I wrote a while ago for a newspaper (and I use the term loosley). I'm just gonna post it here so when I feel like I have been "burnt on the stove of love" I can read it
Often, my female friends and I toast to becoming spinsters with cats. Unlike women in idealised American sitcoms and dramas, like Sex and the City and Friends (noticeably the Americanised love child from digestible novels like Fielding’s Bridget Jones’ Diary and Arabella Weir’s Does my Bum Look Big in This?) we have become resigned to not finding relationships and opting for singleton life.
Let’s start with these sitcoms themselves. You see, we are led to believe that if you are an immaculately made up, thin, naturally beautiful, goddess of Manhattan who spends all day buying clothes, sipping martinis and smiling sweetly at any man who wonders by, you still have no chance. What kind of message does this tell to us mere mortals? Those of us who reside in damp Britain with the ‘glamour’ of the British suburb, our ‘designer’ clothes from charity shops and pints down the local? It says we are less in the way of competing for male attention and happy ‘princess’ endings, than those air-brushed deities who just scrape into relationships by the end of the series. Well sod that! If we took a step back and actually looked at the guys we are bitchily competing against our fellow sisters for, the men that we pluck, tweeze and cripple ourselves for, they really aren’t worth it. As a song in a Fanta commercial, where a young bride is jilted at the altar, states “they all turn out like their dads”. Think about it, how many guys have you gone out with that you prayed wouldn’t end up looking like their fathers, with a greying mullet, beer bellies, hairy back and dubious opinions.
So spinsters with cats is the other option? I can hear lots of general groans and melancholia. But marriage really can’t be all that its cracked up to be, seeing as one in three ends in divorce (and arguably, many of the rest end in alienated people just co existing rather than sharing the unbridled romance of a mills and Boon novel. It would explain why these fantasy pamphlets sell by the thousand to disillusioned housewives!). Why do women feel the urge to become married? Well that’s easy, go to any toy shop and take a peek down the doll isle; (you know the pink one that every little girl in a five mile radius is tactfully persuading their parents to let them go nuts down.) and the amount of dolls in little white dresses is obscene. If you think about it the whole Western idea of a white wedding, the dress, the flowers, the bridesmaids, even the cake with another doll in a little white dress on the top. It’s all geared towards the female species (or at least the environmental construct of feminity). All men get is a night out getting drunk with an old stripper in a working men’s club. No wonder marriage is not high on their agenda!
Society sets up marriage as one of woman’s ultimate goals. We are led to believe that this is what all the previous dress rehearsals are for, the prettiness, the dieting, and the silicone. It was all about looking and, ultimately, becoming marriage material. So what is marriage material? From just glancing at what the media tells us it’s thin, hairless, innocent and childlike. Its never the vamp in dramas, the dark, seductive woman who is destined to be mistress and ultimately come to a sticky end. Even Shakespeare held this view as he wrote his satirical love sonnets to the prostitute called ‘the dark lady’. But either way, the good Sandra Dee style girl or the dark seductress, they both, deep down would love a white wedding with a meringue dress.
I’m going to be radical and admit that I don’t want that. It’s as controversial as saying that I wouldn’t want to be a millionaire (I would just spend all the money on daft things then be miserable). I don’t want a wedding, or a marriage. I don’t even want a ‘life partner’ or ‘soul mate’. Relationships are always destructive things, even the media acknowledges that. When was the last time you watched a soap that had a happy, long lasting couple who love each other no matter what? Talk shows never feature couples that get on well, and the tabloids are always full of celebrity infidelity. But we must always ask why do relationships end in disaster? Why do we (male and female alike) tend to get with someone who chews you up and spits you out? Well maybe we can get some clues by looking at the mechanics of relationships.
Freud’s oedipal complex (and I don’t care what anyone says, modern psychology comes from Freud and Jung. The ideas may be a bit wacky, but they are still taught in academic circles, and built upon) is mostly centred around the male and his development into heterosexuality, but its views on female heterosexuality are…interesting (ok, ok, their downright hilarious). Instead of the male wanting to replace his father, marry his mother, yada, yada, yada…it deals with, what Freud called, penis envy. Women want to ‘love’ the mother so they get envious of the penis. Eventually, they realize female ‘love’ is impossible and settle for a love of their father instead. There are soooo many things wrong with this argument I could write a whole article on the Misogyny of Freud and psychology. But, arguably, his overall premise, the fact that women tend to go for fellas like their fathers and men go for women like their mothers is kinda sound. It’s just the way he came to the conclusion that’s a little nuts.
The way we learn about relationships is constructed within the family. We look and observe as kids as to how our parents, or parent figures, behave and interact between each other, i.e. if your mum and dad argued a lot, chances are you’ll get in an equally argumentative relationship. History repeats itself. Plath acknowledges this fact in her poem Daddy where she portrays the father as a sinister Nazi figure and the speaker as a persecuted Jew. She details her seven year marriage as another encounter with a Nazi type father figure: ‘a man in black with a Meinkampf look’ and takes uneasy credit for the destruction of both men in her life.
Plath’s attitude to relationships, buried her, literally. After Ted Hughes left her for the umpteenth time she stuck her head in an oven and killed herself. A tragic extreme as to what could come from relationships that hurt more than love, but it’s a lesson to us all. If we deeply consider this fact the story of Sylvia and Ted has happened again and again within the modern media. If Kurt had respected Courtney enough would he have been an addict for so long? If Lennon had really appreciated Yoko would he have embarked on his lost weekend? Would Alanis Morisette have written You Orta Know if some one had not broken her heart? Dammit, if Alfie Moon truly loved Kat Slater wouldn’t he have understood the sacrifice she made for him? No. because parts of the reasons women are hurt by thoughtless, insensitive men is down to the women themselves. The problem doesn’t lie in finding the perfect man it lies in keeping him that way. Again the predicament of being a domestic goddess in the kitchen and a sex kitten in the bedroom (or is it the other way round?) rears its ugly head. Society lays blame on the woman for the reasons why relationships break down. In the old American sitcom Bewitched most of the problems in the Stevens household is down to Samantha’s witchcraft and occult relatives rather than the fact that Darren tries to subdue her natural urges.
Occultism and witchcraft often is associated with the image of a spinster. How many times as a child have you contemplated the lonely old woman at the bottom of the road to be a witch or Satanist? Doesn’t her house stink of cat wee and why doesn’t she have a husband? Maybe she turned him into witches brew? If the modern media cannot provide a happy ending, I want no part, so I raise my glass, “To spinsters with cats!”