Right before Valentine’s Day, television writer Tracy McMillan posted an article on The Huffington Post titled, “Why You’re Not Married.” For a piece published at Arianna’s site, and written by a woman, it is remarkably honest and thoughtful. Note that McMillan is chiefly writing to “successful,” “educated” women in their twenties and thirties who live in affluent or gentrifying neighborhoods in large coastal cities. You know—S.W.P.L. gals whose idea of attaining transcendent wisdom is watching Eat Pray Love while eating organic yogurt from Whole Foods, enhanced with fair trade dried fruit and indigenous nuts from some Indian co-op making dólares down in Central America. (Such females indulge themselves on natural this and organic that to counteract the horrifically unnatural things that they do to and with their bodies, from pumping themselves so full of chemicals for so long that they destroy their reproductive health to murdering their unborn children.) Anyway, McMillan’s advice is straight tough love, without the cherry and cream. Among her reasons for why such women remain single, despite wanting marriage on some level, are:
1. You’re a bitch: such women are angry, and men dislike female anger.
2. You’re shallow: such women seek less important traits in men and ignore character.
3. You’re a slut: the rich, good looking, charismatic guy might sleep with such women, but he definitely won’t marry them.
4. You’re a liar: such women deceive themselves and the men they date.
5. You’re selfish: perhaps the defining characteristic of our age. McMillan’s point is worth quoting:
If you’re not married, chances are you think a lot about you. You think about your thighs, your outfits, your naso-labial folds. You think about your career, or if you don’t have one, you think about doing yoga teacher training. Sometimes you think about how marrying a wealthy guy—or at least a guy with a really, really good job—would solve all your problems.
Howevs, a good wife, even a halfway decent one, does not spend most of her day thinking about herself. She has too much s**t to do, especially after having kids. This is why you see a lot of celebrity women getting husbands after they adopt. The kids put the woman on notice: Bitch, hello! It’s not all about you anymore! After a year or two of thinking about someone other than herself, suddenly, Brad Pitt or Harrison Ford comes along and decides to significantly other her. Which is also to say—if what you really want is a baby, go get you one. Your husband will be along shortly. Motherhood has a way of weeding out the lotharios.
I do not think that counseling women to get knocked up in order to make them better people is good marriage finding advice; it is not fair to the child, and it is quite bad for society. However, her point about selfishness stands.
6. You’re not good enough: such women do not see themselves as being worthy of good companionship. This may be McMillan’s nod to Lifetime sisterly affirmation, but there is probably something to it with self destructive women.
McMillan’s closing point is also worth repeating here:
Alright, so that’s the bad news. The good news is that I believe every woman who wants to can find a great partner. You’re just going to need to get rid of the idea that marriage will make you happy. It won’t. Once the initial high wears off, you’ll just be you, except with twice as much laundry.
Because ultimately, marriage is not about getting something—it’s about giving it. Strangely, men understand this more than we do. Probably because for them marriage involves sacrificing their most treasured possession—a free-agent penis—and for us, it’s the culmination of a princess fantasy so universal, it built Disneyland.
The bottom line is that marriage is just a long-term opportunity to practice loving someone even when they don’t deserve it. Because most of the time, your messy, farting, macaroni-and-cheese eating man will not be doing what you want him to. But as you give him love anyway—because you have made up your mind to transform yourself into a person who is practicing being kind, deep, virtuous, truthful, giving, and most of all, accepting of your own dear self—you will find that you will experience the very thing you wanted all along:
Such advice is rare these days in secular America. What do mothers teach their daughters now? Do they teach them at all?