• Fri, Jul 27 2012

I Have Made The Executive Decision To Be Married By The End Of The Calendar Year

I’ve never been married. I’ve never even been close. I’ve never even dated someone who sparked that desire in me. Well, I guess when I had too much to drink I could see myself rotting away in an old age home next to Swede just because, at the time, an existence without Swede seemed impossible. It still seems that way, but as the lovely Alice Walker stated, “the way forward is with a broken heart,” so fuck those former notions.

Recently, a friend of my sister and I got married after knowing a guy for all of three weeks. None of us were invited, it was a spur of the moment situation after having met the fella online. They got married at a city hall in California and will be celebrating “back east” (as us east coast folks call it) with a party in early September. Of course, we all immediately judged, rolled our eyes, as she is one to occasionally act a bit erratically so we all assume the marriage will fail.

But this incident made me recall my friend Meg from college, and her similar behavior. We were both undergrads and she went on a date with the one of the English Ph.D. students who had pining after her; by the end of the second date they were married. That was almost 10 years ago, and surprisingly, to us cynics who laughed in her face, they’re still married. They’ve yet to have children, but they travel the world, he lectures at various colleges and she’s on her third book — sounds like an ideal life to me.

Unlike some of my colleagues, the idea of planning a wedding sounds like hell on earth. Planning anything, for me, is just something I couldn’t care less about and is actually the reason why I put this particular colleague in charge of my next (and last!) birthday extravaganza. While I appreciate the details after the fact, I do not care to do them myself. My ideal wedding would consist of someone else doing the work (Jennifer Wright and my sister, Jennifer would be a perfect match), and me just showing up in my obscenely expense dress so I can party and drink too much champagne. And as a very non-religious person, the actual ceremony could be conducted by a log for all I care. Although the log from Twin Peaks would be my first choice.

My sister has been married since 2007. It was the same summer I moved into my own apartment in New York City. Since then, she and Scot have bought a house, had two li’l men, bought a second and more fancy house and now they both drive around in brand new Volvos. Since I moved into my apartment, I have been laid off from not one, or two, but three jobs. I have fallen in love. I lost him not once, twice, three times or four times, but five times (at least this is where we currently stand on that front.) My writing career, although not where I hoped it would be at my age, has really blossomed. When I say it’s not where I hoped it would be, that just means that HBO hasn’t called because Lena Dunham got there first. I’ve lost friends and made even better ones, and despite the fact that I as I write this I have a patch over my eye from a really horrifically infected sty from mass amounts of stress, I can say that I’m so fucking happy there are no words. I’m doing exactly what I wanted to do my whole life: sitting in my pjs and writing controversial, and sometimes thought-provoking essays from my bed.

However, in case you haven’t realized it yet, my life is lacking because I don’t have a man (as they say.) Sure, I had Tattoo Guy for a hot minute, but really? There’s only so many times you can explain to someone that “mull over” doesn’t mean “forget.” My sister wants cousins for her kids and I’m the only hope! My parents want a goddamn granddaughter! My father would love for me to have a partner in life because “let’s face it, Mandy, you’re doing what you want, but you’re not raking it in David Sedaris style.” Thank you for pointing out the obvious, dad.

So after we heard about our friend getting hitched in California, my sister and I snuggled down on the couch to watch some movies so we could avoid the topic and any further passing judgment. She had never seen Girls, so we watched it in its entirety… and for those of you who have watched it, can you see where this is going?

(Spoiler alert)

JESSA MARRIED THAT CREEPY DUDE PLAYED BY CHRIS O’DOWD.

“You should have married him,” said my sister.

“You do realize that’s a character in a TV series, right?”

“He’s creepy and rich and hot… so your type.”

“When did I date a rich guy?” I asked.

“Well you have fucking creepy, hot and complete asshole under you belt, and since the next one is bound to be that too, he might as well be rich.”

What did we do? We looked on Craigslist for people who might want to get married.

But before we go any further and anyone calls me a gold digger, which I’d never be (I’ll take the poor artist a million times over before a rich prick), I want to get married for the experience of it. I want to cross it off the list. If I fall in love and have an amazing whirlwind romance, then great! If it happens and we get divorced, well great! We just joined the majority. 

It was really sad to see on Craigslist how many people who were either really desperate to get married or do it for a financial gain so someone could get their permanent residencancy. I wanted none of that, so I posted a ridiculous ad stating that I was looking to get hitched.

And… although I didn’t ask for any financial gain, it was flagged less than two hours later so I didn’t get any responses. PFFT.

Next step: online dating. I have always been adamantly against this because I believe in meeting someone organically, and always have, but for the sake of marriage, I’m all over it.

On a side note, I trashed the original post of this that included my silly ad, because someone suggested I was racist due to the fact that I’m attracted to white men. I would like to point out that I have dated men of all ethnicities, but by and large I am mostly attracted to white guys. This isn’t racism, this is personal preference. So if you’re wondering where your comment went, it wasn’t deleted, I just put up a new post because WordPress wouldn’t let me edit the first one without leaving a wonky empty box in the middle of it.

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  • Brianna

    I went out with my soon to be husband for the first time last August, we were engaged by February, and we will be married in October. I always thought people who were engaged that quickly were fools and I also thought marriage was stupid. I obviously don’t feel that way anymore :) As far as your marriage plan… The biggest problem I see with this is you will probably have to put in many months, maybe even a year+, before you get someone to want to marry you. Most guys aren’t known to run off and get married, no matter how romantic and into you they are. I was with my last guy for 5 years and neither one of us ever felt the need to legally bind ourselves to each other.

    • Amanda Chatel

      See?!? Whirlwind! I like it!

    • Brianna

      Yes, but you’ve got to find someone to whirlwind with! And then you have to live with them after. Or before. But if you can manage to make that happen, I say do it. And go with letting your sister and Jennifer plan your wedding, I wish I had that option.

  • alexandra

    I would like to reiterate that I don’t think this is a great idea.

    Also, semi-apologetically dubbing your race-specificity as “personal preference” doesn’t actually make up for basically anything. Saying you like tall guys, sure. Saying you generally like pale guys, maybe. In any case, I can’t decide whether you’re being more disrespectful to non-whites or married people in this post, so I give up.

    • Amanda Chatel

      As I stated before, I have dated men of all ethnicities… so I’m not going to try to defend myself yet again, just because I’m mostly attracted to white guys.

      So it’s OK to prefer tall guys? That’s not disrespectful to short guys? What if I say I prefer blue eyes, which I do, does that mean I’m being disrespectful to people with brown eyes. I have a friend who only dates black guys, is she being disrespectful to white guys because she won’t give them the time of day?

      I really think this overly PC thing has gone too far when someone can’t express their preference in a future parter, without being labeled “disrespectful” or even worse “racist,” because that’s exactly what you’re insinuating.

      As for being disrespectful to married people, I’m not sure what you mean. I’ve talked about this idea for weeks now to my married friends and no one was offended.

      I long for the day when people can express an honest opinion without it being suggested that there is some underlying hatred going on… which is exactly what you’re doing, and honestly, it sucks.

    • kjon

      I’m not trying to take away from your feelings but I think everyone is allowed to have a preference even white women for white men. I agree with you in that she may be missing out on a great love this way.

      I know you didn’t go into this (so don’t consider this a rebuttal) but I want to say that there are really deep, deep issues that can arise with marrying and starting a family interracially, like my parents. It’s not just about good genes and beautiful mixed children. Sometimes, not always, there are crippling emotional issues: feelings of rejection, looking different, drawing negative (but sometimes positive) attention and generally not “fitting in”.

    • alex

      It’s more an issue of priorities. The fact that you’ve listed you will pretty much date anyone with all his limbs — as long as he is white — proves that this fact is very important to you. It makes it seem as though you would prefer to date someone with very little going for him (who is white) over someone who could have all sorts of great personality traits (but happens to be Black or Asian) kind of proves that you’re priorities are not in order. But, nothing new there probably.

    • Amanda Chatel

      The last guy I dated was black… but thanks for trying to teach me a lesson.

      Also, the limbs bit was sarcasm.

    • alexandra

      Amanda- I really don’t think you’re racist; I was careful not to call you that because it’s simple and dismissive. What I meant was something similar to what “alex” (who isn’t me, btw) said below– the fact that you list specifically that the person *must* be white makes it sound like that’s of paramount importance. I think it’d be tactful to not mention that in your ad, though you may end up finding that any Asian, Hispanic, Native American, African, or Arab respondents aren’t attractive to you. I’m not saying “you should date ethnic guys!” because that’s weird and ridiculous.

      Part of the reason I take issue with the wording but not with the similar statement “I like tall guys” is because I see over and over again that a lifetime of fielding racist comments makes men (and women) sensitive and reading an ad like that provokes a knee-jerk reaction of “oh great, another fucking racist white girl.” People do catch all kinds of crap for being short/tall/brown-haired/whatever, but there is not a centuries-long history of people being enslaved, raped, and lynched without consequence becasue of their height. Sorry, but it’s not there. So I think it’s worth it to take the time to emphasize that one isn’t racist.

      I just wanted to clarify my original comment because you are– fairly– clearly feeling attacked, and I REALLY don’t want to contribute to that, because it’s mean.

    • Amanda Chatel

      Thank you so much for your comment, alexandra. It really means a lot. Honestly, it didn’t cross my mind when I wrote the stupid ad (yes, I’m well aware that it’s stupid and that was sort of the point), that specifying a color preference would upset anyone, because I know in my heart I’m not a racist person.

      As someone who doesn’t have a racist bone in her body, it’s hurtful for someone to insinuate that I am. Just like if someone called me homophobic or some other label that would suggest that I’m a hateful ignorant prick — which I’m not.

      But you make a very valid point, and I respect that. Just please know my intention was not to offend, if anything it was simply a careless move on my part. Although I’m now starting to wonder if I should take down the italicized bit at the bottom and just move on, because I really don’t have the head or heart to be called a racist today — especially today.

  • kjon

    I think a lot of women have moments of crisis like this. Almost no one would admit it! With that said, I think these feelings (wanting to be married in a whirlwind fashion) will pass. On a slightly different note, one of my friends is having a baby and I admit that I had a few days of the “baby fever” before I came back to down to earth. I was envious at first. Now not so much.

    Did you get my email, hun? Exciting news pertaining to this topic! :)

    • Amanda Chatel

      I saw it in my inbox, but haven’t read it yet! Am going to in a few minutes!

  • NotThumper

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with having a preference. My preference was tall men and yet my husband is only 5’6″ (I am 5’4″). You can have a preference, it might not be what you fall in love with though.

    • Brianna

      That is so true! My preference is tan skin/black hair/brown eyes. My fiance is fair skin/fair hair/green eyes and even more attractive than my normal preference.

    • Amanda Chatel

      Exactly. Tattoo Guy was the complete opposite of everything I’d ever expect to go for: black, covered in tattoos (even all over his neck), not particularly bright, and definitely shorter than most guys I’ve dated, too.

      Like you said, there’s nothing wrong with having a preference, but yes, sometimes you end up with someone opposite.

      If one more person insinuates I’m somehow a fucking bitch because I prefer skinny white dudes, I’m gonna throw something.

    • NotThumper

      I think the people giving you shit just don’t have the balls to admit they have a preference too. Too scared they might offend someone…oh noes!!

  • Cecile

    oh my gosh Amanda, I sympathize with you in a lot of ways. Both of my sisters were married in the past 2 or 3 years and they both just popped out babies this year. Both have incredibly financially rewarding careers and a stable grounded life. Me: dropped my 8 year job as creative director to move to sweden for the better part of a year for my boyfriend, who’s a swede, and well… turned out to be an utter a**hole. Now that I’ve been back stateside for a year now, i feel like i’m in the same place as you. I’m incredibly happy and content. My career had to start fresh again and it’s not where i want it to be but it’s so rewarding and challenging in so many ways. But there’s always this egging feeling that i’m not where i should be. I should be more accomplished. I should have laid stronger roots. I should have more in my 401k. rar! :) I hope both of us find what we desire.

    • Amanda Chatel

      Yeah!

      PS. Swedish men usually end up being assholes… why is that?

    • Cecile

      btw…i too loved blue eyed guys of medium height.. usually about 5’10- 6′ but honestly after that last experience i actually don’t think i can date someone with blue eyes anymore. It’s not discrimination it’s just everyone’s own unique personal preference and frame of reference.

    • Cecile

      after living there, the only conclusion i could come up with is … it’s a weird society. Sweden is actually very very feminist. Almost to the point where, I would say, most men i met were very meek and timid and the women were the power houses. Yet, underneath that girl power facade lies a crap ton of misogyny. Mostly from the older generation but… i dont know. I wonder if it’s backlash from so my feminism. It’s a society that’s taught not to value the shining stars or the unique. Everyone is the same. So if you’re american and taught that you’re special, i think that mentality eventually grates on their swedish equality. So many different things. I honestly don’t even know. Still confused myself really. ha! I also did meet many very very nice guys there but… who knows what being in a relationship would be like. But man, if you love blue eyes, that’s your go to country!

    • Amanda Chatel

      Well be careful, Cecile, because someone is bound to label you an “eye-ist” for such a statement!

  • katiechasm

    “Recently, a friend of my sister and I, got married after knowing a guy for all of three weeks.”

    Confusing sentence.

    Also your ‘personal preference’ is also racist.

    • Pearl

      Agreed, katiechasm, re: the grammar. I was intrigued by this article when it came across my facebook news feed, but I couldn’t make it past the fourth paragraph because there were so many grammar errors. Interesting idea, fun voice, needs a good copy editor. In today’s world many people don’t care and wouldn’t even notice, but why not aim for a higher standard when you are a writer in the public eye? If writers aren’t setting the standard for correct grammar, who will?

    • Tia

      Saturday afternoon trolling, I see.

      And if “personal preference” means someone is racist, then we’re all racist — even you katiechasm.

    • katiechasm

      A personal preference that aligns with centuries of stereotyping and debasement of black people should probably lead the author to some soul-searching about why she prefers dating white people.

      Not the kneejerk reaction of “I’m not racist I once dated a black guy”/”I prefer green eyes so I guess I’m eyeist too”/”I’m not racist because I’m not racist” that she is writing in the comments here. Read a book.

    • NotThumper

      Wow, how dense are you katiechasm? Do you not read? Who you prefer and who you date can be 2 very different things. This does not make you racist.
      I’m not convinced you even know the definition of the word.

    • Sam

      I tried to respond a minute ago but alas, it didn’t work. Basically, I’m half Peruvian and I’m rarely attracted to hispanic guys because the only Latinos I knew growing up were people in my family, so it gives me the heebie jeebies to kiss hispanic fellahs. Does that make me racist? No. Or else I’d be racist of myself and my family. Preference =/= racism, sorry bud.

    • Tia

      Agreed! I’m only attracted to Asian men, so I guess I’m racist, too.

      And exactly where is all this so called “stereotyping and debasement of black people” in her post? Could you give me examples, because I’m just not seeing it AT ALL.

      I agree with NotThumper, you have no idea what racism means and you probably should get a dictionary. You sound like a complete idiot.

  • Lastango

    Finally we’ve reached post-postmodern saturation, where any preference sends us into spasms of introspection. Now that someone has objected to Amanda preferring WHITE men, it’s time to protest her interest in white MEN. Oooo this is cheap fun… let me help! How dare she exclude women?! In an era when gay marriage has finally arrived, Amanda is being downright genderist. Not to mention monogamist. Today we know marriage is whatever we say it is, and by announcing she’s looking for just one partner she’s delegitimizing people who by their own, more inclusive marriages are bravely helping denounce the whole couple thing for the obsolete patriarchal construct it is. And what about her blatent choiceism? Who is she to prefer one human being over another?

    Wow — is there enough sackcloth & ashes on this sacred Earth for (fill in the blank)-ist Amanda to ever make amends?