I’m reading two books for an upcoming taping for Just Read It, a book review program fellow writer, Susan Stoner and I air on YouTube. One book is a dystopian novel about life in a space ship after humans have destroyed planet earth, The Book Of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch. The second is The Girl Before, by J. P. Delaney, a mystery, but a dystopian novel, of sorts, as it deals with the impact technology and architecture have upon the human mind. In sum, both of books are about the cubicles we build for ourselves.
Cubicles, or safe havens where we withdraw from the hurly burly, is an idea that makes sense, given the state of the world. “My home is my castle,” a saying centuries old, is another way to express the human longing for a separate space. I chose never to marry because I desire to be alone, even though there have been men I’ve loved.
That modern women choose to defer marriage or escape it altogether doesn’t surprise me, though in the past, remaining single carried a stigma. Today, the notion of single personhood is catching on — though what it will mean for humankind, I can’t imagine. Perhaps, one day women will be forced to bear children to replenish the species as they are required to do Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. Until then, however, a number of women are deciding to remain single. The most recent US Census Fertility Report notes for the first time in recorded history more than half (54 percent) of American Women ages 25 to 29 are childless…and a record 31 percent of women ages 30 to 34 also haven’t given birth.” (“Talking points,” The Week, May 26, 2017, pg. 18.)
Despite these facts, I wasn’t prepared for Sologamy. Sologamy is the ceremonial name for marrying oneself. (“Good Week For…,” The Week, May 26, 2017, pg. 8.) I admit, I’m sympathetic to the idea. I miss never having worn a white satin gown, enjoyed a slice of my wedding cake or smiled at the people who arrived for my celebration bearing blenders and toasters. Certainly, I feel entitled to these acknowledgements, having paid my dues. Only an algorithm could track the number of shower gifts, wedding gifts, and baby gifts I’ve paid for — and not always in that order. I suspect I could put 6 Sudanese children through Harvard with the sum and think it a better use of my money.
Hurrah for the woman who invented Sologamy. I’d be printing my wedding invitations now, except for a single impediment. If I’m to be honest, there are days when I can’t stand myself. I wish I were taller, slimmer, richer or, more importantly, endowed with a kindlier nature. But wishing has never made it so. If I propose to myself and agree to marry, what happens when I want a divorce?
(Originally published 6/5/17)