June is practically upon us, which means that the Wedding Industry has been going at it full-tilt for at least three months now: I think the official beginning of the season is the 15th of February, less because it's the day after Valentine's Day than because bridal magazines, which grow to ridiculous sizes in the spring, need at least that much lead time to get all their carefully-embroidered ducks in a row.

I'm not anticipating attending any weddings this summer: my son is long since spoken for, and my daughter has been known to snicker at the very idea. And, of course, I'm not getting married; been there, done that, got the divorce decree. (Ex-wife remarried, and remarried again; #2 is deceased.) There are plenty of good reasons why I should be perfectly content with this situation: for one thing, actual dating, which generally comes first, fits into neither my available time nor my available budget.

For another, I've argued before that I'm too old and too decrepit to take part in mating rituals and such. And while my particular brand of decrepitude does not seem to be increasing at a startling rate, the years are going by with blinding speed. I am becoming persuaded that after X number of months, the emptiness of one's dance card matters less and less, and since I've long believed that I'm not actually entitled to anything more than that — my birthright, so far as I know, is to draw a finite number of breaths, and that's the end of it — there's no legitimate way I can feel cheated or deprived or otherwise ill-treated by the Fates.

On my side of the ledger, there's the absurd fact that there's really no male equivalent for the exclusively-female term "spinster," a word which used to mean a woman of limited but independent means — she might have operated a spinning wheel, for instance — but when spoken now is almost always hermetically sealed inside a thick cocoon of condescension. Poor Elena Kagan, thrust into the spotlight while awaiting confirmation to a Supreme Court seat, is being swatted back and forth between "old maid" and "bats for the other team"; even her body language is suspect. I find this sort of thing unconscionable; on the other hand, I suppose I should be grateful no one is likely to point a finger at me.

After Maureen Dowd's book Are Men Necessary? came out in 2005 — as close as I came to a review is here — I issued what I thought at the time was merely a quick and dirty quip:

I might suggest that what MoDo needs is an all-encompassing, utterly transcendent, and most of all brief affair, just long enough to get the blues out of her system — but then, it's also been suggested that this is exactly what I need. (And never, I hasten to add, has it been suggested by someone actually volunteering for the unpleasant task.)

Nor did anyone subsequently do so, though I have something of a resistance to short-term affairs, the few I've had having ended in generally regrettable fashion, informed by a religious upbringing that (officially, anyway) sternly rebukes regrettable behavior.

This is not to say, of course, that no one has attracted my attention of late; more precisely, no one has sought to attract my attention. But ultimately, I feel compelled to shut down that function the moment I see it starting to go through anything beyond bootup; I don't trust my own emotions enough to allow myself the luxury of fantasy. And there's still that years-with-blinding-speed thing: odds are, someone who would marry me at this point would sooner or later have to bury me. Better I should go alone. Fewer hearts to break, fewer threads to untangle.

The Vent

  24 May 2010

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