Wednesday, February 29, 2012

One Giant Leap Back for Womankind

Today is February 29. It is a significant day for three reasons.

First, selfishly enough, it is important because it marks the last day of my month of abstinence. I'll reflect on that after my weekend which will involve drinking, I think, but I feel this month really has been different from previous years' efforts. Second, it's the birthday of various people whose birthdays only come every four years. Yay to you, Joss Ackland!

Third, more significantly, it's the traditional flip of tradition, given that someone years ago decided that today would be the day that women ask men to marry them. It's led to an astonishingly depressing set of conversations on FB about how only men should ask women and lots of expressions of horror at the thought of a woman asking a man. It's hard to start expressing my unhappiness at the tone and positions behind it. Needless to say, I disagree, but I also dislike the whole you-have-to-wait-for-someone because obviously you as a woman are desperate to get married. Ugh. Also: gay proposals. Men get asked; women do the asking. It's not sex-specific and it won't kill you or your relationship.

I keep thinking that my views are fairly common, that it's normal to decide together because you're both so in love and you're planning together to share your lives and all the legal obligations and benefits that come from that. Instead it's about him deciding, but enough people have written about that, and it's not just bad from that perspective. Recently I've been talking to people whose friends have planned increasingly ridiculously elaborate proposals. So now there's a shedload of pressure on him to come up with something special, something to tell the kids, something to post on bloody facebook. It's like weddings - the pressure to create something special, to basically be the star in your own movie or fairytale, seems ludicrous, expensive, and overwhelming. I wonder what it is that's making us feel we all need that, that the normal/everyday can't be special. Weddings are fun - I love them, absolutely - but there's so much pressure on them and given that divorce rates are so high, why not just concentrate on how wonderful is to hang out with the person you love, and to choose to spend the rest of your life with them - whether or not you legalise it?

Bah humbug. I probably just need a drink.

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