If a recent issue of People magazine is any indication, our obsession with brides, weddings and marriage mythology has gone too far.
There it was, in big, yellow block letters on the cover of People magazine: KIM KARDASHIAN AT 30 – I THOUGHT I’D BE MARRIED BY NOW.
I couldn’t resist plunking down the $3.99 to buy the Nov. 22 issue. My singular sensibilities were bristling to think that one of America’s most read and widely available magazines would blast this pathetic message to millions: If you’re not married by age 30, something must be terribly wrong with you!
How much longer are we going to buy into this bogus idea that marriage is the key to success and happiness? I think for about as long as it took humankind to realize the world is round — not flat. For centuries, people thought if a ship sailed in one direction long enough it would fall into the abyss. Just as bogus is the idea that if you stay on your singular course, you’ll fall into a bottomless pit, never to be heard from again.
This issue of People didn’t stop with Kim Kardashian’s woes. I couldn’t believe the full-page ad for a new reality show on the E! network called Bridalplasty with a photo of a Barbie-perfect bride holding a bouquet of plastic surgery instruments. The copy read: “Before the winner walks down the aisle — she’ll go under the knife.” And: “The only competition where the winner gets cut.”
I’m not making this up! We have the promo trailer here, so you can see for yourself. I know that matrimania is rampant in America, as is our fascination with physical perfection. Both carry the fantasy that if you have the perfect face and body — and a husband or wife — you’ll live happily ever after. And now, the E! network has found a way to tie both of these myths together into one “reality” show package.
It didn’t end there. Flipping back through the magazine I found a two-page spread titled “Six Brides, Six Diets.” People put six brides on diets last January and was revealing to the world which ones stuck to their slim-down plans — and which ones didn’t.
Elsewhere in the same issue the magazine mentions that 2009 Bachelorette contestant Julien Hug, 35, had died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after battling depression.
Now, I like a big party with a fancy cake as much as anyone, and I have nothing against marriage, but what I can’t stand is this ridiculous fixation on all things matrimonial to the point that it becomes a social pathology.
I was in Europe in September and had a fascinating conversation with a single woman in Vienna who remarked, “Americans believe everything they’re told.” She’d been in New York City over the summer and said she was bewildered and perplexed by all the hefty bridal magazines on the newsstands. She said in Europe, being single or being married is no big deal — not like it is here in our own country, where it defines so much of who we are and what we do.
It’s almost like racial profiling. We assume a lot about someone based on the color of their skin. We don’t even have to meet them to have certain ideas in place, notions that have nothing to do with who that person really is — other than the impact such prejudicial thinking must have on that individual in the first place.
Preconceived assumptions exist for single people too. Someone’s unmarried? Oh, they must be immature, selfish and odd. But if that person marries those assumptions suddenly change and that same person instantly becomes mature, generous and normal.
Isn’t it time that we, as single people, just said no to all the madness? As we become the majority of the population, which is the global trend, one would think the ridiculous stereotypes would surely crumble — but this will only happen if we stop buying into the insanity ourselves! We need to stop accepting as truth the myth that we are somehow “less than” because we’re single. It simply isn’t true!
Hundreds of years ago, explorers proved the world was round — not flat. It’s time for us, as singulars, to prove to the world that our relationship status does not define who we are. It’s time, well past time, to stand up and just say no to the matrimaniacal madness.
Copyright © Kim Calvert/2010 Singular Communications, LLC.