Tag Archives: Social Criticism

First Comes Love, Then Comes…The Rental Agreement

25 Aug

Anthony and I

My boyfriend, Anthony, and I have been dating for six love-filled years. There have been countless hugs, I-love-you-s, tears, shared failures, and triumphs. I have dated him through the end of my teens to our current mid-twenties. And, that is why we feel we are ready for the next step, the proclamation of our love, putting our commitment to each other in writing, making it official.

That’s right, we are signing a rental agreement and moving in together.

Sixty years ago, the next step would have been marriage and for some, it still is. But, after many conversations about tying the knot, it seems, marriage is not for us. And we’re not alone.

Here are some facts:

The Washington Post reported the present as a record low for prevalence of married couples and the “proportion of adults who are married”.

Only 51% of adults 18 or older are married, which is a 6% decrease from 2000 and a sharp decline from 72% in 1960.

There has been an increase in the median age when people first marry. It’s at an all-time high of 26 for women and almost 29 for men.

40% of Americans under 30 think marriage is passé.

And, lastly 7.5 million couples in the U.S. are living together without being married.

Some attribute these drastic changes to the rising divorce rates in the 70’s and 80’s. Perhaps, many are thinking more carefully about marriage, before entering into it. That would explain the fall in the divorce rate in recent decades. Maybe those that would have married and divorced are waiting.

Really none of that has anything to do with my reasons or my significant other’s reasons for abstaining from marriage. We are not religious. We are not in a hurry to start a family. But, really the largest factor is: we are happy. If it ain’t broke, why marry it?

Studies like those reported by Rachael Rettner of MSNBC in 2012 found those living together to be happier than comparable married couples. Why mess with something that works for us? I have known many, many happy couples who married only to be suffocated by their commitment. No more fun. No more spontaneity. No more sex. All that kept them together was the piece of paper declaring them man and wife, until…not even that kept them together. When have you ever had a married couple tell you that the fun really began after marriage? No, no, no. The marrieds I know always tell nostalgic stories from when they were dating, almost longingly. I never want to look back at the best time of my life. I want to live in that time forever.

Anthony and I are committed to each other in our own unconventional way. We don’t want to be with anyone else and have vowed to each other over and over to love and support one another for the rest of our lives. Isn’t that enough? Isn’t it enough that I choose to wake up everyday and be with him rather than be bound together by a legal document? I guess, it all comes down to what marriage means to the individual. For some, it has religious significance or traditional meaning and I wouldn’t dream of devaluing that. But, for Anthony and I, I think we’re fine just being us, sans the white dress and copious amounts of floral arrangements.

No certificates, no ceremonies, just us, and our lovely little rental agreement.

© Copyright 2012 hairsprayandhemingway

Why are men so disgusting…and other gender-related musings.

9 Aug

A little gem found in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

I found this helmet in a parking lot on the last day visiting my grandmother. In addition to the quaint little maxims pictured above, the other sides of the helmet were adorned with sayings like “Free Mustache Rides” and “Save a Horse, Ride a Biker”. While attempting to take a picture without offending a bearded biker, I wondered, why are men so disgusting?

In addition to that little treasure, events at the store where I work would suggest that there is not a single place where a woman is free from clever perversions from random men.

Even at the beauty shop, a virtual Mecca for women, men wander in to stare at my supervisor’s chest inquire about skin care.

After a recent occurrence, I have identified the three types of men that enter a beauty store. Type A. They drag their girlfriend or wife inside, spend one hundred dollars on varying hair gels and body washes, and leave with their partner rolling their eyes.

Type B. They have bought the same ten dollar bar soap for the past 30 years. Maybe they check you out, maybe they don’t. But at least they’re subtle about it. In fact, Type A and B are very rarely guilty of any counts of douche baggery. It is the third, infamous Type C, that pull the weight for the whole lot. Type C’s are social creatures and generally wander inside with the security of their herd and are completely unaware of the type of store they have walked into, nor do they care. It’s a store full of women that are paid to talk to them and be kind, regardless of inappropriate advances.

Just this week my co-worker offered a complimentary treatment, as per our current promotion. The man responded, “I’ll give you a treatment” in a very specific tone of voice.

Really?

What do men imagine will happen next? That his offer would stir her into a lustful frenzy?

Likely not.

It’s the same with cat calls as I leave the store. Do they think I will turn around and return their appreciation of my backside? Well, last time it happened, I spun around to shame them with eye contact and I discovered three men whose boyish grins quickly dissipated as my gaze burned in their direction. I embarrassed them! Hadn’t they wanted me to turn around? It was then that it hit me: these shows of virility are more for their male friends than for the women.

I imagine that these advances have a very low rate of return. It’s the show of masculinity that these Type C’s are after. The high fives from their buddies, the chorus of laughter, and the camaraderie  built through the shared experience of hitting on chicks. It’s similar to pack behavior and animalistic displays of dominance.

The biker from the Wal-Mart parking lot is not wearing that helmet as a sartorial sex invite as I originally thought, it’s for his biker buddies! It’s still disgusting, but at least it makes sense.

What are your thoughts and stories? 

© Copyright 2012 hairsprayandhemingway

Are We Still Arguing About This?

25 Jul

Via Bilgrimage

When has it ever worked out for Americans to limit the rights of others? I’m sure it was a bummer to have to acknowledge the horrific treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II. And, it didn’t really work out with racial segregation in the 50’s and 60’s. I really don’t think we’re going to get a whole lot out of denying an estimated 9 million gay Americans full access to their civil rights, in an attempt to…ahem…protect the sanctity of marriage.

With Chik-fil-A entering into the same sex marriage dialogue this month, it seems popular media is once again a-buzz with controversy. The New York Times reported that the President and Chief operating officer of Chik-fil-A, Dan T. Cathy, whose family was described in the publication as “deeply religious” was quoted saying he supported “the biblical definition of the family unit”. That’s fine to support the bible. I get it. It’s when biblical supporters begin to confuse the religious document with the constitution; the two are not one in the same. In fact, the constitution makes no mention of God whatsoever. That’s right. Zip. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that “under God” was even introduced to the Pledge of Allegiance; the founding fathers were not even religious, let alone Christians (Allen). The Constitution was not created to uphold religious values, just the opposite.

What The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) lacks in historical accuracy, they make up for in their organization and consistency. Their simplistic slogan “marriage between a man and a woman” and their fascination with “tradition” are strategic; overall NOM is a veritable marketing PRO duping many individuals much the same as McDonalds sells their delicious boxed sandwiches, or should I say Chik-fil-A… They have sold many Americans a smooth cocktail of false nostalgia and fear, using fear monger tactics to persuade individuals to preserve a set of beliefs that are neither universally shared, nor accurate.

And, it’s not a cheap campaign either. The Huffington Post reported that the Mormon Church has contributed $22 million to the obstruction of same sex marriage. At what point will Americans grow tired of arguing over something so obviously wrong? The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, and Argentina have all legalized same sex marriage.  Many others offer some rights and protections like Denmark, the UK and Brazil (Huffington Post). While other countries pass legislation and as Calfornia Governor Jerry Brown says “get sh*t done”, when it comes to controversy over marriage equality, all we do is bicker amongst ourselves. It’s embarrassing.

What is there left to argue about?

© Copyright 2012 hairsprayandhemingway

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