April 27, 2009

"Now that we don't march lockstep into marriage anymore and now that women don't require men for economic support, the reasons for marrying..."

"— for a lot of people — are never going to mount up to the point where they justify giving up the status quo of singlehood."

The last sentence of a post of mine from August 2006, which I read today as a consequence of monitoring comments newly added to old posts.

The new comment was a bit of grammar comedy (from Invisible Rope):
Men don't marry because women can't properly use the reflexive tense in their writing.
See the post title to get the joke.

Rereading the old post was an eerie experience, given my recent history. Am I piling up the reasons for marrying and for maintaining "the status quo of singlehood" to see which pile "mounts up" the highest? No, no, it doesn't feel like that at all. That sentence was obviously written by someone who was solidly single and justifying it. Faced with a choice, how rational are we?


Sixty Grit said...

Not very.

rhhardin said...

You yourself are in at least one of the piles you're comparing.

So the figure doesn't quite work like a real comparison.

chickelit said...

Since when is the reflexive verb form a tense?
What does the object of the verb have to do with time?

KCFleming said...

Apparently, some fish do need bicycles.

Maybe it was all just a marketing problem in the first place, rather than a question of need, and fish didn't need bicycles with fat tires or ones with single speeds, but road bikes or mountain bikes or pretty ones with Hello Kitty stickers on them..

traditionalguy said...

When we give up singlehood the thing we miss is being free to make plans for ourselves. That is big, especially if your former spouse used all the usual control techniques over you. The pesky lonely feelings can be swept under the rug. When we later find a mate that does not desire to control us, but to complement us, and we just enjoy sharing each other's company, then we rediscover that our feelings and desires are designed for that cooperative commitment more than for singlehood.

TMink said...

Rationality is a neat tool that a few of us try to apply to our thinking and we generally fail. Most of the world does not believe in the possibility of rationality.

And let's face it, love kicks rationality in the teeth.


Smilin' Jack said...

The new comment was a bit of grammar comedy (from Invisible Rope):

Men don't marry because women can't properly use the reflexive tense in their writing.

See the post title to get the joke.
Since you got the joke maybe you can explain to us what a reflexive tense is.

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, "reflexive tense" is the wrong expression. Reflexive pronouns.

rhhardin said...

``It was understood that getting herself married to an aristocrat was Heniretta's first duty to her family.''

A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, 6.23 note.

I high recommend this book, if you have a summer free to read it cover to cover.

Lots of interesting examples

``Help yourselves!'' works.
``Help themselves!'' doesn't work. The pronoun doesn't refer to the implied subject.

``She prides herself on her academic background.'' The herself is required.

Yet ``Behave yourself'' leaves it optional. Along with adjust to, hide, prepare for, wash, dress, identify with, prove to be, worry.

The Henrietta example sounds like Jane Austin but Google doesn't find it.

Unknown said...

How would I know. It's illegal for me to have this "choice".

Michael Haz said...

We almost always make the rational choice. How we arrive at our own definition of what is rational can be another matter, however.

In my case, I was rationally single until the very moment I wanted to marry a woman I had met only a few hours ago.

We're going on twenty-five years of wonderful happiness, so the decision to change from single to married was not only rational, but smart.

As is your decision, it appears, Althouse.

Michael Haz said...

How would I know. It's illegal for me to have this "choice".

dtl - You are able to exercise your "choice" in CT, VT, IA and MA.

Unknown said...

I don't live in any of those states. And even those marriages are not recognized by the Federal Government, so what is the point.

jimbino said...

It would be edifying to have a discussion on the advantages of marriage. Marrying for tax benefits is questionable, but marrying for immigration and green-card purposes tops my list. Love, sex, companionship, and financial support don't cut it, since those are available, if not better, outside of marriage. Try finding a woman who plays great chess.

Methadras said...

Ann, you changed your mind. So what? It happens. Be happy.

rhhardin said...

A peer of the gods he seems to me, the man who sits over against you face to face, listening to the sweet tones of your voice and the loveliness of your laughing; it is this that sets my heart flutterng in my breast. For if I gaze on you but for a little while, I am no longer master of my voice, and my tongue lies useless, and a delicate flame runs over my skin. No more do I see with my eyes, and my ears are filled with uproar. The sweat pours down me, I am seized with trembling, and I grow paler than the grass. My strength fails me, and I seem little short of dying.

Saphho, cited by Longinus, On the Sublime, X, trans. T.S.Dorsh

Meade said...

Dollars to dumplings Althouse wishes she could give rh a hug.

TMink said...

dtl wrote: "How would I know. It's illegal for me to have this "choice"."

Wrong. You can marry any woman who is willing, same as me.

And since you are proclaiming your ignorance on this issue, may we count on your silence as well?

Trey - who knows he is asking for the moon

NotWhoIUsedtoBe said...

So people justify whatever it is they're doing and the choices they've made.

Sometimes it's because they made the choice themselves and considered the factors beforehand, and sometimes it was made for them and they are making the best of it.

Either way, normal behavior. People are wrong all the time, and smart people change their minds when it's warranted.

Penny said...

Humans adapt.

EXCELLENT news for our species.

Ann? Your only kid I "know" (JAC) seems to be doing just fine. He's asking the questions that we asked back then, and I have a feeling he is one proud kid to have the parents he has. Your 'ex' is "sensitive", at least to others, and in his own mind's eye. You gift him, as his former wife, by not disrupting what may or may not be "an illusion". I feel certain he gifts you in kind.

Love, marriage, kids, divorce? Not the tune we planned, but that is exactly the tune that came in through our individual head phones, loudly and clearly. And we adapted the words and we fussed with the volume. Why?

To survive.

There is not ONE thing wrong with figuring out how to "survive". The sticky stuff happens when we talk about how to "prosper".

The Crack Emcee said...

Ann, I still read you because you have an interesting blog and you're an artist - being a liberal, you're not one like me but, still, an artist. Posting this was exactly what an artist would do: it was brave.

That said:



The Crack Emcee said...

And the rest of you are wrong:

Irrationality is just that: irrational. One you accept that and deal with it maturely - that there's something wrong with you - then things will start working out better for all of us.

I sincerely can't understand why you guys don't get that. You're actually making justifications for Ann making justifications. That's wild. Insane. Crazy.

Don't you guys ever watch The Sopranos, South Park, The Simpsons - any of the shows that pick apart the era of stupidity we're living in - and say "this shit's got to stop"? Do you really think making excuses for your hypocrisy - how utterly lame you are - is a good plan for the future of American society? It's crumbling around you, or haven't you noticed? Ever wonder why? Maybe it's because you guys make so many fucking excuses for your insanity and blatent unwillingness to grow up?

Nobody is rational?

Speak for yourselves, Losers.

Ralph L said...

In the old thread, Meade said...
[snip]Incidentally, why so many gay and lesbian couples want it is beyond me. To create a legally secure environment in which to rear children is the only reason I can imagine and even that is iffy.

Meade has changed his tune, but not by himself.

kentuckyliz said...

dtl, Iowa doesn't require you to be a state resident and there's only a three day waiting period.

So grab your honey and book yourselves a trip to Des Moines!


*crickets chirping*

Yeah I thought so.