December 9, 2009

Show Her the Money


Not surprisingly, this shirt is listed as the merchant’s best-seller on Zazzle.com.
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A few days ago I came across a story about Tiger Woods entitled “Alleged Mistress: Tiger Said Marriage a Sham.” Even though I really don’t care about Tiger Woods whatsoever, my immediate thought was: What marriage isn’t a sham nowadays?

My next thought was: Oh wow. How damn cynical have I become?

The truth of the matter is that my current level of cynicism is rooted in things that I’ve experienced, seen, and heard firsthand over the last few years. For me to view marriage as some kind of beautiful bond between people who love and cherish each other would require me to ignore everything around me.

Working with women on a daily basis, mostly from their mid-twenties to mid-forties, I’ve been afforded the opportunity to hear viewpoints and stories that I hadn’t had a chance to hear before. The two things that I hear repeatedly, with respect to marriage, are: (1.) marriage is something to do because everyone else is doing it, and (2.) marriage is how you earn money.

I’ll discuss my experiences with the former first because they’re—unfortunately—fewer than the latter.

A few weeks ago I learned that a teacher in another building in my district is divorcing after two years of marriage because she’s bored with it and now it’s time to move on to the next guy. I’m guessing that she’ll be paying the legal fees on her own because her parents are still paying off the thousands of dollars that her wedding cost them.

Another woman, who is my best friend’s friend, has just hit 30 and wants to get married because “everyone else her age is married.” This woman usually only gets involved with married men, so I’m not sure if she’s going to try to snag a married man for marriage or not. She’s also known for enjoying random hook-ups with strangers, so I’m not sure how that’ll play out with any potential hubby. Maybe he’ll be into random hook-ups with strangers, too, so it’ll be a match made in heaven.

The latter issue—that of money—is the one that I’ve seen and heard much more than the former. It’s also the one that makes my blood boil because it incorporates an entitlement mentality that seems to be spreading like wildfire throughout our culture.

A year ago my aforementioned best friend sent me a link to a blog post written by a woman who justified female infidelity if, as she said, a woman isn’t treated like “a princess” at all times. The blog post received over a thousand responses, many of which were from other women who commented on how much they liked the author’s viewpoints.

While you might think that it could be viewed as one person’s opinion, at the same time last year I was also working with women on a regular basis. After people become comfortable being around other people, they begin to open up and talk about things that they might not otherwise talk about with strangers. Some of my female coworkers were telling me about their views on men and my cynicism was solidified.

One coworker wanted to set me up on a date with her niece, which at first sounded like a good idea. Then a few things entered the story that hadn’t been mentioned before. You see, it turned out that not only did the niece already have a boyfriend, but my role was supposed to be that of sugar daddy. The aunt explained that I would be boyfriend #2 and my job would be to pay off all of said niece’s debts, since said niece was a shopaholic. Boyfriend #1 was essentially a loser and had no money, but since I had a full-time job, it would be my responsib to alleviate all said niece’s bills.

The aunt would later ask me if I intended on ever getting married. When I explained that my philosophy on marriage is that of “if it happens, it happens,” she quickly asked (and I’m quoting here): “If you don’t get married, who’s going to get your money?”

At first I thought she meant children that I might have to name in my will, but that’s not what she meant. I asked her to clarify the question and she asked, “If you don’t get married, which woman are you going to give your money to?” I explained that I don’t just give away money to women because they’re women. She gave me a dirty look.

I’m not sure where this philosophy originated and how widespread it is, but I’m experiencing it much more than I have before. This idea that God has placed men on the face of the Earth to supply money to anyone and everyone who has breasts and a vagina is one that, in my opinion, is not only ridiculous, but it’s irresponsible and quite selfish. (However, there is a little irony in the fact that the same people view others as being selfish if those other people don’t give them what they want.)

One of the things that I worry about now is that I’m finding myself having less respect for anyone as a human being. I don’t mean that I’m referring to basic human rights; I mean that I’m much less interested in even caring about people as individuals. This has me particularly worried because even though I’ve looked upon human beings as a whole with disdain over the years, I still cared about the ones I knew personally. I’m finding that very difficult to do now, too.

It’s also difficult to have much of a desire to be in a relationship with anyone because the odds—odds which I’ve seen firsthand—are that the relationship will be based upon greed and entitlements. These entitlements are, apparently, being encouraged from generation to generation as was evidenced in the you-owe-my-niece-money-because-you-have-a-penis situation mentioned earlier.

If this is what marriage, if not relationships in general, really are, then why should we fool ourselves and pretend that they’re something else? Why should we play a game and pretend that they’re something more? Why should we lie to ourselves and tell ourselves that they’re based on emotional or intellectual bonds when they’re really based on financial gain? If we know what they are up-front, there’s no reason to attempt to disguise them.

Basic relationships aside, if the institution of marriage is nothing more than a business transaction in which sex is exchanged for money, why not call it what it is? When one is traded for the other, the term isn’t “marriage”—it’s “prostitution.”

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1 comment:

One Day From... said...

Where do you live??? I am a woman, and unless my friends are all lying to me or hiding something, we have never discussed marriage in this way, and I'm 28 years old, so I have about 10 years of real girl talk under my belt. Do you live in California perhaps? I guess those of us from the South actually believe in love and having children to raise a family and continue our family name and all that jazz (except the old, old South debutante blue-blood aristocracy, but we won't go there. But seriously, my husband and I share finances, and by that I mean I make my $$ and he makes his. We share a joint account from which we pay the bills. I don't "ask" him for money to shop or whatever, but then again, I don't waste my hard-earned money shopping for frivolous crap anyway. Likewise, he doesn't "ask" for money to go golfing or something like that...we do inform each other of financial spending just to keep tabs on the account, but there is no sense of either one of us "owing" the other or one having more financial control than the other.

Enjoyed your post other than the fact that it led me to believe you work in a porn studio, a tanning salon, a day spa, or somewhere else that employs vapid females that disgrace our gender.