I Don’t!

This weekend I went to my cousin’s wedding in Buxton. It was a lovely day, and nice to see some of my family I hadn’t seen for a while. The inevitable questions came about whether I would be next and I explained that I’m not getting married, to looks of surprise and confusion. But it got me thinking, is this definitely something I don’t want, and if so, why don’t I want it?

When I was a younger; indoctrinated by Disney movies and Rom Coms, I assumed that eventually I would get married and even planned out my wedding in my head (I wanted it to be in a castle), but as I got older I realised that perhaps all this wedding malarkey wasn’t for me. My boyfriend is even more against marriage, so unless a miracle happens (to both of us), this woman is never walking down that aisle (except to walk to my seat at other people’s weddings).

Reasons why I won’t be getting hitched
N.B this post gives examples from heterosexual weddings, as these are the only ones I have attended so far, and I am in a heterosexual relationship, but I know a lot of the traditions will not apply in same sex relationships and ceremonies.

1. The engagement ring
So a man is supposed to spend (at least) a month’s salary on this thing and then get down on one knee in some clichéd romantic fashion possibly in front of lots of people, then you look overjoyed and scream ‘yes!’ and then go on your Facebook page and tell everyone how he proposed. Umm…

The thing I hate most about this bit is the idea of waiting for a man to propose to you; which I hear talked about often, along with ‘I thought he was never going to do it’. At least I know with certainty that my man is genuinely never going to it.

How I would do it if I was going to get married: Either I would propose to reverse stereotypes, or we would just have a chat one day and decide as a couple that we would get engaged. No extravagant gestures and no expensive engagement ring. If there was going to be a ring, it would be fairly cheap and he would have to wear one too and since he hates wearing rings (so I don’t know what we would even do about the wedding ring in this hypothetical scenario), that’s unlikely.

2. It’s not like I’m a virgin
Historically, and still nowadays in certain religions, marriage is a religious ceremony linking your love to your God, and enabling you to now be able to have sexual intercourse without ‘sin’.

I happen to like sin, and find it incredibly unrealistic that you would marry someone without knowing how sexually compatible you are, so this certainly doesn’t apply to our relationship. Also neither of us follows a specific religion, there’s no need to cement our union in front of the leader or whatever. Also it always seems to be the woman’s virginity that is emphasised. I’ve never seen the man wear white to show his purity.

How I would do it: I’ve already ‘done it’ ha ha ha. But seriously, there’s no way it could be in a church or other religious building, even though some churches are very pretty. A castle would be cool, as I said before or maybe some gardens or a historical building.

3. Money
Apparently weddings cost around 20 grand! I say skip the wedding and just do the honeymoon without the ceremony. Or put down a deposit on a house, or go on a shopping spree, or give it to charity. Hell if you have a spare 20 grand, you are well lucky, so don’t waste it! Either that or you now have a massive bank loan/credit card bill.

How I would do it: Make sure we actually had enough money saved to pay for it, which would probably mean getting married in our 40s, or never.

4. Contractual Obligation
I get that the whole point is that because you are married you are more likely to work through problems, rather than just leave at the first sign of trouble. But I like the independence of being able to leave when I want and not having to pay loads of money to break up with someone. Divorces can be almost as messy and expensive as actual weddings, plus you then have to admit that 20 grand you spent a while back was just a waste of money. You could have numerous honeymoons if you just didn’t bother with the wedding bit.

How I would do it: Probably make an unromantic pre-nup and try to find the cheapest lawyer around if it all went wrong.

5 The Vows
Admittedly they have been updated and you’d be hard pressed to hear anyone saying ‘love, honour and obey’ anymore. However I did notice at the weekend, the groom saying that he will ‘protect’ the bride, which I thought was a bit outdated, and as it was a traditional Christian wedding, there was a lot of God chat and hymns.

How I would do it: Write our own vows, have as short a service as possible (guests get bored and hungry), in and out in less than half an hour. Also when the registrar asks if any person knows of any lawful reason why we shouldn’t get married, I would totally get someone to heckle something as a joke (and then probably due to the red tape of having to investigate the claim, the wedding would be delayed and we could all go to the pub for a bit).

6. The Dress
Why is it always so long? I’m surprised more women don’t trip over that thing; incredibly impractical.

How I would do it: Wear a short dress like the slutty non-virgin I am, who says you can’t get out legs and cleavage on your wedding day? Not me. Of course it wouldn’t be white either, (obvs) but mainly because white gets dirty easily and if there’s going to be wine, food and the classic chocolate fondue fountain, it’s probably not the best colour for me. Any other colour will do. Maybe even black.

6. Being given away
Another outdated tradition of transferring ownership of you from your dad to your husband, perpetuating the idea that women are property/objects etc.

How I would do it: Well as my father is deceased, he couldn’t give me away anyway. I would probably want to walk down the aisle with my partner and thus destroy that soppy ‘watching the groom’s face as he first sees her walk towards him’ moment.

7. The speeches
Ah the speeches, where important members of the wedding ensemble get to stand up and talk. Wait, except it’s almost always the father of the bride, the groom, and the best man – all men. It makes me so frustrated when you don’t hear any of the women speak. It’s all praising the bride for looking beautiful (though in this recent wedding, a lot of comments were made about her amazing non-looks based qualities too) and ridiculing the groom. What if I want to be ridiculed too? Why can’t people talk about my ill-judged life decisions and insinuate how naughty I was on the hen do?! I sat there at this wedding thinking ‘I’m a better public speaker than these guys who can’t project or articulate even with a microphone’ (genuinely missed a lot of what they said due to this problem).

How I would do it: I would give a speech, as would the groom, best man and my best woman, so that way it would be equal and I would also get to tell my husband how beautiful he looked. (Aww).

8. The bouquet (and all the other hundreds of flowers)
I’m not really a flowers kind of gal; I had a mini freak out when my boyfriend bought me flowers on our third date (though it was really sweet), so I find the flowers at weddings overwhelming. The bouquet thing is weird too – all the unmarried women scrambling for the symbol that proves they will be next! OMG! It must be true. Luckily I didn’t accidentally catch the bouquet at the weekend otherwise my family’s comments about me getting married would have been even worse. One of them said afterwards, while showing me a photo of the bouquet bit ‘you didn’t even try to catch it’. Shocker.

How I would do it: Minimal flowers. My bouquet would consist of black roses, to go with my possible black dress, and to symbolise the death of my anti-wedding crusade. Oh and if I’m going to throw it, then the unmarried men can try and catch it too. Plus I’d hide a water balloon inside just for jokes. Weddings are supposed to be fun, right?!

9. The first dance and wedding music
At the weekend wedding, the couple took a relaxed wander in each other’s arms around the dance area to a recent slow famous love song I can’t remember the name of. Less dancing, more talking to each other and trying not to feel too self-conscious that all eyes were on them. Some couples take dance lessons and come up with full blown routines, such as the routine from Dirty Dancing. Then everyone else joins them on the dance floor to dance to lame pop songs.

How I would do it: The Dirty Dancing idea sounds amazing, we would have to do the lift at the end though, like this couple, not like this couple who didn’t bother. I would have a DJ that didn’t play cheesy music all night and maybe even make our own playlist of our favourite songs.

10. The name change
I’ve noticed sometimes the bride’s friends and family will start calling her the future Mrs so and so on social media before she has even got married and most of the women I know who have got married have changed their names, so that the name from the man’s side of the family can get passed down when the couple has children. Some women even keep their own name but give their children the husband’s name.

Even worse than that is when people address you using only your husband’s names. So my partner and I would be called Mr and Mrs Jake Pickford. No identity for the woman at all. Weird. Even when you don’t change your name some people still assume that you have, as this has happened to a friend I know who didn’t take her husband’s name. There’s also this outdated practice of being asked for your mother’s maiden name as a security password, which has happened to me. What if your mother’s maiden name is the same as your last name? That’s not very secure is it?

How I would do it: Make an announcement to everyone I know not to presume that I will be taking my husband’s last name, because I would keep my own name, or at the most I would double barrel (but probably not). As I won’t be having children either, I wouldn’t need to worry about what name they would get. Yes I know, not having kids as well as not getting married! Before you say it, if I had a pound for every time someone said I will change my mind, I could probably afford to bring up a child.

So there you have it; 10 reasons why I’m not getting married. If you’re still not convinced, that’s fine, because Jake and I did decide on one loophole, which is we would do it if we got to go on ‘Don’t tell the Bride’, however given that none of us will be inclined to apply for this show in the first place, the loophole is pretty insignificant. Although he now has an easy-to-refer-to list for if we do.

If you want to get married, I understand, because not getting married is not for everyone. So keep inviting me to your ‘special days’ and I will happily write nice encouraging shit in your wedding book, eat your wedding cake and dance to the Macarena. Just don’t ask me when my wedding is.

Nipple Alert

Last night was the VMAs and various news stories are circulating, including Nicki Minaj opening the show with Taylor Swift to reconcile their feud, Kanye West’s 12 minute long speech, and Justin Bieber crying. But Miley Cyrus’s left nipple has also attracted an areola of attention, as during an outfit change, there was a short flash of it on camera.

I’m reminded of the Amanda Palmer incident in 2013 where the Daily Mail wouldn’t report on her music, but made sure they wrote about her wardrobe malfunction with the classy headline Making a Boob of Herself! She had the last laugh though, delivering the best ever response to the article and highlighting the hypocrisy that no one makes a fuss whenever men expose their chests.

Miley’s nipple escapade has been reported a bit differently, with several sites such as Bustle mentioning that she is a supporter of #FreeTheNipple and it could have been intentional, with encouraging words at the end of the article.

However, The Mirror did use the word embarassing to describe her ‘nip slip’, which does bring her down unnecessarily.

As a past lover of controversy, it seems plausible that Miley was giving everyone a cheeky show.

So was it a free the nipple? Hard to tell, and does it really matter?

If Miley was freeing the nipple, surely the whole point is that it should be insignificant, that female nipples aren’t such a big deal and we should be allowed to get them out without making the news? Although conversely, publicity for the campaign can be positive. If it was on purpose, then it’s a shame it had to be censored out on some of the news reports. Nipples are even censored out of the trailer for the film about #FreeTheNipple.

So why are men’s nipples not looked at in the same way? Women’s breasts, and therefore nipples are widely considered way more sexual than men’s nipples. Women’s breasts are first and foremost for breastfeeding, but society is obsessed with them. Despite the fact that I do find men’s nipples incredibly sexy, they just don’t generally seem to provoke the same reaction.

I also find it strange how you’re not actually considered topless unless the nipples are out. You could wear the lowest cut top possible, but if the nips are hid then you’re not topless. I’ve seen Burlesque dancers who are happy to show their tits, but freak out when a tassel falls off. Some women don’t have nipples though due to medical reasons, so what makes them topless; is it simply when the furthest-out point of the breast is on show? The pinnacle of naughtiness?

The worst thing about the Miley coverage (or lack of) is some of the negative comments I’ve seen on Facebook such as ‘gross’, ‘hoe’, ‘flat chested’, ‘built like a 14 year old boy’. You may not like her, you may disagree with some of the things she has said e.g. about Nicki Minaj (which Nicki addressed live at the VMAs and Miley replied about how words get twisted in interviews), but if that’s the case, then write critically about it, insulting her body is way more embarrassing and disgusting than flashing a nipple.

Along with Miley’s nipple, it was also great to see Amber Rose’s anti slut shaming outfit, reclaiming the negative words used against her and other women. Yet Hollywood life completely missed the point – including it in their worst dressed list. I guess we still have some way to go.

In the meantime I’m going to dance round my room listening to Nicki, Miley, Taylor and Amber – possibly with my nipples out…