I enjoyed going to Caitlin Moran’s recent talk immensely, which took place in a tiered Hackney theatre full of sweating bodies on the hottest day of the year so far.
Not surprisingly, it was about feminism, shame and insecurity, as well as her new book How to build a girl. Standing up and proclaiming the power of my womb with a room of a thousand other women and a few dozen men was a highlight of the evening.
Perhaps it revived the feminist in me, who went to sleep when I left the intellectual battleground of university and started working in my most recent job in Holborn, which is the least misogynistic place ever (apart from perhaps the Feminist Society).
Every single director in my office is female, and every one of them is currently off on maternity leave, having all recently had babies.
At work, every time someone gets engaged, married or has a baby, we celebrate. I’m not an idiot; I can appreciate people getting exciting by these rites of passage, but I usually find it hard to muster the same enthusiasm.
Give me a gorgeous piece of poetry, a truly heart-wrenching story, or a thrilling new personality typing system, and then I’ll start waxing lyrical.
I’m happy if other people are happy, but the idea of wanting to get married so much amazes me. I’m wondering if this notion will fade over time, when the real possibility of dying alone filters properly down to my subconscious.
Right now, though, while the jury’s still out for me, wedding fever seems to have gripped my small team of nine. There have been two engagements in the past couple of weeks and another looms imminent.
I hope I don’t sound bitter but I’ve never *truly* appreciated how keen girls are to get married until now – though I’ve dimly noticed it through the diatribes of feminist rhetoric.
A classic game
It’s almost like a set of dominoes. Obviously, once one is knocked over, the rest soon follow in an unstoppable chain reaction. Perhaps it’s conditioning, and perhaps I have an unadmirable need just to be different from the herd.
Despite personal doubts about the authenticity of my opinion, I still have an unshaken conviction that I don’t want to find a boyfriend and get hitched – but a negation is not the same as a desire.
So what I really desire is to be independent and free, free to choose exactly where I move to, how to spend my days and exactly when and how to follow my countless passions.
I suppose one would say that if you find the perfect partner, they could do those things with you, but then they wouldn’t be your passions anymore, would they? Further, why is a romantic union the highest ideal we can aspire to? Certainly they are incredibly fun, at least for a while (in my experience).
Following your passion
This could be the bitterness of a recent dumping talking, or my youthful age of 25, but I feel that even though as a society we prize getting married and settling down as an ideal, when really there are many more worthy things you could be spending your time doing.
You could find a complete cure for all disease. This idea is terrifying, because we all need something to fight against, and surely eradicating disease would result in a new problem for humanity. We’d probably implode in nuclear fashion, instantly.
But truly, the idea of having a ring and buying a house and a wedding doesn’t fill me with any particular longing, though maybe I’m in denial.
What I can say is that publishing a book that changes someone’s life and touches their heart does. Living in Brighton and owning a teashop does, as does the prospect of spending days by the sea with the wind in my hair.
Hoping your sister ends up alone, too
Perhaps romance does fit into that. I certainly would like to think I won’t end up totally wizened and alone, but I don’t envision a typical path to getting there. Wedding fever really has baffled me; I am both intrigued and a little terrified.
Maybe all girls are secretly waiting for their handsome prince to come and rescue them from fading, slowly, on the shelf. Fuck changing the world; it’s doomed anyway…! Or perhaps not as important as self-gratification.
In terms of my work, I wonder what will happen next? Will someone soon announce their pregnancy and group conception will follow like wildfire, in some kind of fertility osmosis? The possibilities are endless, surely.
Read this incredible article from my favourite website Brain Pickings about how love and sex don’t always go together.