Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Married Friends

Some of my best friends are married.

They must have their reasons.  Or perhaps, for some people, marriage isn't a matter of "choice."  Perhaps their marriage-orientation was simply inborn, a genetically-inherited trait which no amount of expensive rehab or deprogramming could cure.

So I try to be open-minded, tolerant, liberal, non-judgmental.

Still, in the privacy of my celibate state, I at times cannot help feeling, well, superior--more advanced, more evolved.  Because somehow--and actually without any great struggle--I have managed to keep myself free from the oppressive (and primitive, it seems to me) legal and ethical bonds that so enthrall my matrimonially inclined friends.

Consequently, I am under absolutely no obligation to love, honor, cherish, or remain sexually faithful to anyone.  I have neither sired a child nor committed myself to nurture, support or motivate any wee mini-me's.  My life is blissfully mine to plan and organize--free from any responsibility toward others and independent of any whiny or needy "dependents."

Surely this solitary, autonomous, self-sufficient state is the ideal toward which civilization has been striving for millennia:  complete freedom for the individual to pursue his/her own happiness along any path of his/her choosing.

Here's how I see it:  in our long struggle for freedom, human beings have fought against and eventually overcome many forms of psychological, emotional, and physical enslavement.  We have fought against slavery itself--and in most places, we have triumphed.  We have fought against poverty, hunger, disease--and in much of the world, we have prevailed.  We have fought against religious intolerance--and we have made at least "some" progress--in places like Denmark and Vermont, anyway.  Finally, in 21st Century America, we are fighting against the most insidiously oppressive of ancient institutions--marriage and family--the final frontier in our quest to evolve into a freer, happier species.

Surely I need not remind my readers of the immeasurable pain and suffering caused by marriage and family throughout the ages.  The evidence is there--on the pages of all the Great Books, especially the Bible. Gratefully, then, I mutter every night, as I climb into my unshared bed, "God, I'm lucky to be alone!" (Honest, that is what I mutter.)

Of course, I understand that, even today, our society remains committed (albeit reluctantly) to producing and rearing children.  I suppose, therefore, that a breeding program of some kind will continue to be a cultural necessity, at least until medical advances can guarantee eternal life to all individuals already in existence.

But why not replace the archaic and dysfunctional marriage/family with a more efficient  and more rational breeding/rearing system?  I'm not advocating Brave New World decanting, mind you, but it does seem to me that a truly "evolved" society should immediately remove all newborn children from parents (who from time immemorial have proven themselves utterly incompetent at raising children) and placed in the care of trained experts--to be brought up in schools or asylums, where they can be properly socialized and taught both good hygiene and proper spelling.

Indeed, as my own example as a trained "rearer" suggests, our society seems to be moving in this positive and progressive direction.

Nonetheless, loyalty to old ways dies hard.  Many people--indeed, almost half the adults of the United States--according to recent statistics--cling, at least intermittently and sometimes even hysterically, to some form of traditionally dysfunctional marriage (with or without children)

Well, that is regrettable.  But, as I said before, we must nonetheless endeavor to be tolerant of these seemingly backward individuals--for in fact, the marriage orientation may be innate, something my married friends could simply not exorcise, hard as they might strain.

In short, it behooves those of us who are more evolved and liberated to, as the saying goes, "hate the sin, but love the sinner."

I, for instance, play cards with married people; I go to restaurants with married people; I even send Christmas cards to married people.

And, when I was still working at Diamond Bar High School, I uncomplainingly taught the children of married people--treating them exactly as I treated the children of more enlightened people who were shacking up without shackles.  Furthermore, if some disgruntled student hazarded a derogatory remark about married people or family life, I was quick to silence the offending child.  I would point out that marriage and family, though rejected by an increasing majority of forward-looking Americans, were nonetheless cherished by a significant minority--including many gays and lesbians who were seeking new experiences in BDSM.  I accordingly demanded respect for differing viewpoints and lifestyles.

Then, just to make the lesson stick, I generally confessed that "some of my best friends" were married.

That always got 'em.


  1. When I read, "-including many gays and lesbians who were seeking new experiences in BDSM." I just lost it laughing. Brilliant.

  2. Thanks, Kenneth. Guess I just got carried away.

  3. Mr. Kirkeby! I really meant to comment on this post sooner, since I've been sharing it with some friends and family (namely mom and sister) the past few days. It has definitely sparked some debate, particularly concern chez ma mère. She's increasingly concerned that my agreement with what you've written correlates directly with the likelihood of my becoming a middle aged spinster! Can't wait!

    I wasn't completely sure what I wanted to write as my comment when I read this initially, since it's hard to sum up my views on this in a few sentences. So I refrained. But I did stumble upon an article in The New Yorker today that is incredibly relevant and brought me back again to your post:

    It's about people choosing to live alone, as opposed to being relegated to living alone. I don't think it's so much analytical or informative as it is a piece that raises the question of American values shifting (aren't they always?).

    In any case, I'm still not quite sure what my "comment" on your blog post is... But here it is.

  4. Good article. You know, Martha, I'm not too sure what I think about this blog post, either. I know that when I started to write, I was just pissed off because of some patronizing and platitudinous comments made by Republicans about how essential marriage and family are to civilization and the future of humanity, blah, blah. It's pretty clear to me that marriage is no longer the social necessity that it once was. But at the same time, I was only half serious about how "happy" I was in my celibate, solitary state. I have often been very lonely, and I often wish, sort of atavistically, that I could have had children to nurture and, probably, screw up. My final motivation, I guess, was simply to punk the assholes who spout nonsense about homosexuality being a "lifestyle choice" etc. Marriage may not be necessary for the survival of the human race and/or admission into Born Again Heaven, but it MIGHT be something quite affirming and positive for two partners (of whatever sex) who care to make a love commitment and who would like social approval of their contract. Er, so you see, my blog isn't entirely coherent. Neither am I. So it goes. Hope you're doing well, kiddo. KK.