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From the time I was a little girl, I, like most others, have been planning my wedding. While my tastes have evolved from hot pink bridesmaids’ dresses and 400 of my nearest and dearest to a neutral palette and small gathering that will feel more like an awesome party, the mental planning has always been a staple of my psyche. But as I’ve attended more and more of my friends’ nuptials without a steady plus-one, a scary question has arisen:
What if I never get married?
There’s a part of me that’s pissed I even worry about the prospect of no one putting a ring on it. I mean, I’ve never been one of those girls that needs a guy to complete her. I own my own home, I make a good living, I travel, and I’m relatively adept at power tools (both of the nightstand and tool box variety). So why is the prospect of never getting married as scary to me as suddenly developing an allergy to cheese?
I could blame society and/or the media, where we call women who have never married “old maids” or “spinsters,” who have 100 cats… except that I’m cool with that because I happen to like cats. I could blame my biological clock, except that I think it’s out of batteries because that thing is not ticking. I could blame my mom, who despite that fact that I have three advanced degrees, will not be satisfied until I put “Mrs.” in front of my name instead of “Dr.” except that I’m amazing at tuning her out. I could write some Beyoncé-esque piece about how independent women don’t need a man, except that it’s not about need, it’s about want.
So maybe that’s the true conflict here. Maybe I’m less concerned about not getting married and more worried about what it says about me that I am scared of never getting married. Am I somehow betraying my fierce independence if I’m concerned about spending my life without a partner?
Marriage used to be the presumed end-game of dating. But then sometime in the late ’90s, The Spice Girls yelled “Girl power!” and flipped the script. Suddenly, it was weak or desperate if a girl admitted she wanted (not needed) a husband. You had to keep everything casual, as if mention of the M-word would send a guy running away faster than Kim Kardashian runs toward a photo op. Fast forward 20 years, and we’re still in the same boat, carefully wording our Bumble profiles to make sure that we look carefree enough to get a right swipe. Admitting out loud (or in writing) that you are looking for marriage at some point in the future (near or far) is perceived as the death-knell of any possible match or blossoming relationship.
You know what? I’m calling bullshit on that. I believe, and assume that Beyoncé would agree, that a true independent women should be upfront about what she wants. So here it is: I want to get married. My life goal is to be one-half of a sixty-five year old couple, who holds hands as they walk through the grocery store on a Wednesday morning. I’m cool with only having sex with one person for the rest of my life (as long as he’s really, really good at it). And I’m not afraid to admit that, as the days, months and years tick by, I’m scared about the prospect of not having someone to share my life with.
So there it is, my friends: my biggest fear, ahead of snakes, heights, and Justin Bieber becoming an American citizen, is never getting married.
I am woman, hear me roar…I want a husband. But I’ll probably be ok if I don’t find one…right, Mr. Whiskers?.