FIRST DRAFT STILL/SUBJECT TO CHANGE OF OPINION AT ANY TIME
Responding to news of two
heterosexual Canadian men who plan to marry to take advantage of
Canada's tax benefits, Patrick of Patrick's Place postulated that
marriage is supposed to be for love, devotion, and commitment, not for
Mrs. Linklater disagreed and postulated her first point:
If nobody had money. Nobody would be married.
The debate continues with Mrs. L listing the other reasons she believes that people have chosen marriage.
Once again she argues that the
ideals of love, devotion, and commitment have nothing to do with the
decision to enter the institution of marriage.
Historically, marriage was the only
job available to an adult woman for centuries. All women were trained
to be wives. And this continues in third world countries.
In western tradition, when a woman
married she became her husband's property. Her property became his
property too. He could rape her because sex was his right. He could
beat her -- as long as the stick he used was no bigger than his thumb
-- thus the rule of thumb.
As contracts go, marriage wouldn't
hold up in a court of law. And it hasn't. Basically it has been an
agreement by a woman to be a man's servant for the rest of her life. It
took a few centuries, but women started to say, hey, wait a minute.
However, staying single was not
easy. An unmarried woman must have something wrong with her. She was
unattractive so nobody wanted her. Perhaps she wasn't a virgin and
Becoming a governness, a nurse, or
entering a life of service became her options if there was no family
money to provide for her at home any longer while everyone waited to
see if someone -- please -- anyone would marry her. One wrong move and
she was considered a whore.
Essentially, until recently, women
were for breeding and taking care of men. Women on their own were
an anathema and subject to great criticism.
Marriage by contrast, no matter how restrictive, became a safe refuge. And the most socially acceptable place for a woman to be.
So once again, given the history of
marriage, Mrs. Linklater reiterates her firm belief that the reasons
for getting married have had nothing to do with love, devotion, and
Here are her top ten reasons from the last fifty years in no particular order:
NUMBER ONE: Financial -- He/she's
got a pile of dough, can make a pile of dough, can print a pile of
dough -- I can live with that
NUMBER TWO: Sexual -- Man this virgin thing sucks; I can't get past first base if I don't marry her. Sheesh.
NUMBER THREE: Child on the way -- I wish her dad would get that shotgun out of my ass. Bet this baby isn't mine either.
NUMBER FOUR: Clock ticking -- I have ten more eggs left and and nobody on the horizon except this guy.
NUMBER FIVE: For breeding purposes -- With her height and my speed we could have a whole bunch of linebackers at Notre Dame
NUMBER SIX: For Tax Purposes -- Just think, money for a new boat!
NUMBER SEVEN: Escape -- if my
stepfather comes into my room at night one more time I am leaving --
even though I don't have an education or a job, because my boyfriend
said he'd marry me
NUMBER EIGHT: Arranged -- Darling,
this is Chauncey Fauntleroy the Fourth -- I think he'd make a better
date for the prom than Timmy Jones your boyfriend since first grade.
And while we're at it, I forbid you to ever see Timmy again.
NUMBER NINE: I'm gay -- I can hide my orientation behind a marriage and nobody will ever know. I hope.
NUMBER TEN: Just Freaking Do It --
Well, Mom keeps bugging me about grandkids; I'm not getting any younger
so I might as well ask my secretary if she's not busy. Heck, she keeps
her desk neat.
BONUS!! NUMBER ELEVEN: I don't want to die alone.
POINT TWO: Love is not the reason people get married. It is the reason they stay married.
Marriage as an institution has been compromised for hundreds of years. Its ideals have never meshed with its reality.
As women and men have become more
equal financially, legally and in a host of other ways, the institution
of marriage needs to be re-thunk so people will stop trying to escape
Next time -- Mrs. Linklater's New Rules of Marriage