Smug Marrieds. Give me strength.
Years ago, the majority of people would have got married young, whether they liked it or not. And, sometimes, whether they liked their partner or not. Being married was just something you had to do. It was life, it was moving forward, it was growing up and breaking into the adult world.
People didn’t get divorced. Not because they didn’t want to – not because they didn’t resent every fucking breath their waste of space, fat, balding husband took – but because it simply wasn’t done. Married was married, for life, for better for worse.
Then – oh wonder – we changed. No longer was marriage necessary. No longer were girls expected to be housewives and look after children. It took a couple of wars and a lot of suffering, but people started to notice that, actually, women had more potential than just pushing out babies every few years. Women could work, women could thrive and, thanks to Maggie T, women could have a pretty good crack at running the world! It was great.
In the past few decades, it’s become less and less strange if women choose to go to university and get an education, and more common to put off getting married and having babies until the thirties or even later. We could have it all! A high-flying career during the day, returning to slip back into the life of blissful motherhood in the evening.
Heck, times changed so much that we didn’t even need to get married to be able to live with a man. Try before you buy, so to speak. It’s the best of both worlds really; you get to live with someone, and if you like it, you put a ring on it. If you don’t like it, you throw the fish back to the sharks and get the rod back out for another go.
But lately, just lately, there’s been another subtle shift. Thanks to the invention of Facebook (do not get me started on that) we can see what other people are doing and, more to the point, they can see what we’re doing. So we need to compete. We need better grades at school, hotter boyfriends, more fun, more money, and we need to be engaged. We need a huge ring on our finger, and then we need the Best. Wedding. Ever. It seems that we’ve suddenly been thrown back to a time where the twenties are the time to get married rather than to discover yourself, and it’s led to a resurgence of what many thought was in the past: the smug marrieds.
You know the type. You get invited to a girls’ night out, and she brings her bloke, because of course she simply couldn’t go for an entire evening without him by her side. And why should she, because she loves him! And loves telling you about it!
You have every stage of their wedding planning delivered to your newsfeed, with a million photos of the different things they could opt for: invitations, cakes, dresses (aren’t those supposed to be kept private anyway?) and the obligatory “I love you, now kiss me” selfie.
It gets no better once they’re actually married. In fact, I have a strong suspicion that walking down an aisle breeds a new kind of monster – one who thinks it’s perfectly socially acceptable to hound single people and pressure them into getting a ring on their finger themselves, whether they’ve found a suitable partner or not.
So my message to you is this: it’s great that you’re happy. It’s great that you’ve decided to tie yourself down during what should be the most exciting and interesting time of your life (in my opinion, anyway), and it’s great that you’ve met someone who you think you want to spend the rest of your life with. But please, don’t piss me off by shoving it in my face all the time. Nobody likes a show off. And I have my suspicions that if you were all that happy, you wouldn’t feel the need to shove it in other people’s faces anyway. You’d stay and have happy married times, in your happy married bubble.
If you take my advice, and leave me the hell out of it, I promise that if you become a statistic (I’m sure about 99.99999% of marriages end in divorce these days) I will open my arms to welcome you back into singledom. And I promise, there won’t be a smug bone in my body.