Will I marry me?

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I think you can have a field day with this one, my Kentucky friend wrote when he sent me the link to an article that called attention to “The Rise of Marriage for One.” An increasingly popular practice in which a woman marries herself, these brides call themselves “Sologamists.”
Reading it reminded me of a slogan I saw splashed across a T-shirt worn by a young lady who might well be one — “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”
Does this mean that the wedding industry is in trouble?
Not hardly. In Europe, and especially in Japan, a woman can have a “solo wedding” catered to her whims and desires.
She can go shopping and “say yes to the dress.” She can pick out bridesmaids’ dresses that are so ugly that they would not detract from the beauty of the one who is the center of attention that special day.
The bride can have a sit down meal or a reception with a cake, finger food, a bar and dancing – or some combination thereof.  She can have flowers and toss the bouquet.The only thing missing is the groom.
Not that you would miss him, for even in a traditional ceremony the groom is the most useless member of the wedding party. But I digress. Now why is this happening? What is behind the rise of the Sologamist?
Although there are more women than men in America today the difference in number is not so great as to cause women to give up the husband hunt.  Yet, there are more single women in the country than married ones.
While studies show that marriage has become less popular in recent years.  Today women between the ages of 25 and 44 are five-times more likely to be single than they were in 1973. Nor are they cohabitating as an alternative to, or in preparation for, marriage.
So why are so many women content, even happy, to remain unmarried?
Now single guys, here is where it gets, well, personal. I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but though there are enough of you to go around, a lot of you just ain’t what the single ladies call “husband material.”
Given the option of you or living alone, they strike out on their own. This is particularly true of women in the middle and lower income groups.
As manufacturing jobs went overseas, men in these categories saw their incomes decline.  With that decline the prospect of a man becoming the traditional “bread winner” declined as well.  Meanwhile more opportunities opening for women, which resulted in a situation where marring one of these men might be “marrying down.”  Fewer and fewer men in this category hold out the promise of financial security for home and family.
Where in the past women might have been under pressure to marry for economic reasons, today fewer are.  Women in their twenties earn more than their male counterparts, so why take on the extra baggage of a husband with a beer gut sacked out in his recliner.
Besides, with so many other single women out there, they have a broad support group – co-workers and friends – with whom to share life experiences.
So they plight their troth to the one person they can count on to love, honor, and cherish them forever – themselves. So what about you guys?
Though the article (written by a single woman) made no mention of men going the sologamistic way; for some time men have been marrying later, and some not at all.  The idea of a union with a woman more accomplished than themselves surely has dampened matrimonial enthusiasm in some men. But machismo can only take you so far, for there are more than a few men who have no problem with the wife bringing home the bigger pay check.
Personally, I think the reason men are not going the sologamistic route is the whole wedding thing.
When was the last time you heard a guy go on-and-on about selecting the tux, outfitting the groomsmen, choosing the music and the flowers, and all those things that sends brides-to-be into spasms of joy. Like, never. So here is my male sologamistic ceremony.
The groom-to-be and his friends would gather at a local barbeque joint, in the back room where Kiwanis meets.  Members of the wedding party would be instructed not to wear anything that shows stains. The ceremony would be preformed by the groom’s brother-in-law who wishes he had done it this way, and when it was over there would be ribs and beer for all.
The honeymoon would be a trip to the Gulf Coast where the single groom would try to pick up a single bride at the FloraBama. They would live happily ever after.
Harvey H. (“Hardy”) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at hjackson@cableone.net.     

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