Say It Loud: “I’m Single, And I’m Proud!”

My parents started dating during their senior year of high school. I learned from my father’s Downey High School yearbook that they had actually broken up about three months in to the relationship, and, like most high school couples, soon realized the error of their ways and got back together. (When I think about how my existence on this earth depended on my mother forgiving my father for some adolescent infraction, I feel a bit spiritual.) They got married in July of 1978 after they had been dating for six years; my mother was 23, my father 24. I’ve been told that the wedding was a fucking blast. They couldn’t afford to have an open bar, but the bartenders said that they’d never seen so many people willing to pay for booze at a wedding. According to legend, one of my father’s uncles ended up passing out drunk by himself in the middle of a tennis court. I’ve also been told by my father that several of his friends were high during the Greek Orthodox wedding ceremony, a ritual that involves head wreaths, candles, and walking around a table a certain number of times. There’s also, ya know, a buncha stuff said in Greek. I guess good ol’ cannabis sativa has the power to make that ceremony a religious experience even for all those unfortunate Aryans of the congregation.
It has now been 32 years since the big fat debauched wedding, and, somehow, my parents are still together. When I tell people that they were high school sweethearts, they always seem amazed that their marriage worked. I understand their surprise, but personally, I’m not at all baffled that they never separated. I don’t want to undermine their achievement, but honestly, I can’t imagine anyone else putting up with my father the way my mother does, and vice versa. I guess that’s truly what determines if a couple is Meant To Be.
Now, as a person who was lucky enough to grow up in a household that was never plagued by divorce, let me say right now that I do believe in marriage and family. However, I do not believe that getting married and starting a family is the only damn way to live. Unfortunately, we are living in dark times. We’re at war, the economy sucks, and discrimination is still rampant. Regardless of how progressive our country had a chance to be, these shitty circumstances have set us way back, and that includes society’s expectations for the modern American woman. Our leading ladies no longer travel the world raising Hell; no Gloria Steinem, Angela Davis, or Jane fuckin’ Fonda to be found. Instead, millions of Americans worship the ever heinous Sarah Palin, and even more use The “C” Word to describe Hillary Clinton. Sure, it’s important to consider that both of these women have been alloted rationed amounts of political power by a government that previously prohibited them from even voting, but If the women with power are being criticized and exploited and ripped to pieces (and I’m not a Palin supporter, but come the fuck on, how is it all right that Nailin’ Palin was actually made?), where does that leave the rest of us?
The ice caps are melting. No one has any money. Thousands of gallons of oil have leaked in to the ocean every single damn day for the last three months. The guy responsible for Easy Rider is dead, and Sandra Bullock has an Oscar. Saddam Hussein has been out of the picture for years, and we still don’t know where the fuck the actual 9/11 perpetrators are. More and more troops are going to be sent overseas to fight a war that hasn’t made much sense since I got my driver’s license. People are freaked out, man. It’s true. And when you’re freaked out, you revert back to a former way of life, and fuck, the country’s values have regressed in the weirdest ways. Now that young men are being shipped off, it’s once again time for young women to shack up with soldiers and say prayers for them in church every Sunday.
Did we learn nothing from The Deer Hunter?
John Savage scenarios aside, the pressure is on again for young women to think about marriage to any man, soldier or not, simply for security purposes. If you snag yourself a smart man with money, your days of job hunting in this pitiful market are over. All you’ll have to worry about is keeping your house clean, your weight down, and your sex life exciting. (I hear Vajazzling is the new Landing Strip.) Don’t worry about getting bored with the day-to-day routine — you’ll have your work cut out for you after you stop taking your Yaz.
I realize that my depiction of life as a wife is a bit cynical, but, like I’ve been saying, I don’t believe that young women should go along with this sudden change in values just because the men who run the country have fucked us over. Like I said before, I do believe in marriage. I believe that if two people are in love and they want to spend the rest of their lives together while enjoying certain insurance benefits, they should do just that. But let’s be even more frank here, the Conservative Christian Right doesn’t exactly encourage young people to live their damn lives before exchanging vows. Combine that bullshit with this nouveau depression era paranoia, and where does that leave us? “Sanctity of marriage” my ass.
Ladies everywhere, don’t settle down just because you think that’s what you’re supposed to do. On the other hand, don’t get a Ph.D. just because it’s the only way you’ll qualify for a job at Starbucks. Our former leading ladies didn’t bust their asses back in the day so us youngins would blindly do as society dictates. Everyone’s a little bit confused, scared, etc. Let’s take comfort in that, shall we?

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4 thoughts on “Say It Loud: “I’m Single, And I’m Proud!”

  1. Sophie says:

    >right on… feminism at its finest Steph. Thank you. Have you thought of sending any of this in to Salon or anything?

  2. SteffiC says:

    >…How does one do that? Just…just submit it?

  3. GetA says:

    >I'm not sure, but they have a lot of guest submissions. Or send in letters to The Acorn… which are hilarious, by the way, read them if you haven't yet. Random people will send in letters complaining about Republicans or global warming or that Obama is a socialist.-Sophie

  4. Danielle says:

    >Well said! I love you Steff! You express things I think but can't put to words! I wish I had read this before you visited since we kind of touched on a few of these points …

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