• U.S.

Millions Of Women Weep

4 minute read
Joel Stein

I had two major reasons for never wanting to get married. The first was that you can’t have sex with other people. The second was that marriage is really just a legal method for the patriarchy to possess and subjugate women. You would not believe how long it took me to come up with the second reason.

I didn’t want to get married because, basically, I don’t like thinking any further into the future than what I’m going to eat and how I’m going to get sex. Anything else is a hassle. Also, as an optimist, I like the thought of not knowing how the future will work out, the future of course consisting of what I’ll eat and whom I’ll have sex with. Once you know those things, all that’s left is when you’re going to die. And there’s a website that calculates that.

Still, because I’ve been living with my girlfriend Cassandra for some time, everyone was on my case about getting married. When I was interviewing the Wu-Tang Clan, even Inspectah Deck and Cappadonna, who were emptying out a Dutch Masters cigar and refilling it with marijuana, starting laying into me. “You got to marry her,” Cappadonna told me. “You got to step up and be a man. Take some responsibility.” Deck nodded in agreement. I never needed a puff of a Dutch Master quite so much.

But after 3 1/2 years of explaining to Cassandra that I was too young to get married and getting almost enough mileage out of my damaged understanding of commitment to make my parents’ divorce worth it, I started to feel that being married would be nice, a relief from contemplating what to do, a comfort in being able to plan the future. Plus, I realized the odds were slim of finding someone else who would let me write about her.

Now, I’ve never proposed before, but I had some theories. Women, it seemed to me, like to be proposed to. It puts them in a good mood. It’s a can’t miss. So, the way I saw it, you should use it as an opportunity to go somewhere she wouldn’t normally enjoy. Not only will you both have a good time, but she’ll also have positive associations with that place. That’s why so many guys do it at baseball games. I had my eye on Scores, the premier strip club in Manhattan.

But then I thought that I’d rather not do it somewhere that’s all glitzy and forced romantic, like Tahiti or Scores, places that don’t represent our real life together, which is actually full of tedium and drudgery, though a really pleasant tedium and drudgery. So I made her a big tofu dinner in our studio apartment. Then I woke her up at 1:30 a.m. and told her that over the past six months, I’ve been tearing up over Friends episodes about marriage and the ending of What Women Want. I told her that my life was perfect and that I wanted to freeze it. She seemed to want me to get to the point so she could go back to sleep.

I gave her the ring, and she cried, and we consummated our engagement in a way that, because of the late hour and general excitement, didn’t last all that long. Afterward she said, “If this is what it’s going to be like, I’m not sure I want to marry you.” That’s when I knew I had made the right decision.

People keep asking if I’m excited, and I feel bad that I’m not. But I am happy. And calm. And relieved. And so much more sure than I thought a person could be. And I finally realized that I’d happily trade the excitement of the unknown for all that.

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