I don’t know many unmarried women–unmarried women, as opposed to single women, are out of their twenties and would like to be married–but there was a column today on Huffington Post called “Why You’re Not Married’‘ that was funny and seemed kind of useful. (I know, I feel less credible giving relationship advice to women than I would recommending a douche.) Still, this piece, by a writer named Tracy McMillan who has written for Mad Men and The United States of Tara and has published a memoir called I Love You and I’m Leaving You Anyway. In the post, she identifies six reasons why a woman who wants to be married is not (“because the fact is — if whatever you’re doing right now was going to get you married, you’d already have a ring on it.”) Here are her reasons:
1. You’re a Bitch. Here’s what I mean by bitch. I mean you’re angry. You probably don’t think you’re angry. You think you’re super smart, or if you’ve been to a lot of therapy, that you’re setting boundaries. But the truth is you’re pissed. At your mom. At the military-industrial complex. At Sarah Palin. And it’s scaring men off. The deal is: most men just want to marry someone who is nice to them. . . .
2. You’re Shallow. When it comes to choosing a husband, only one thing really, truly matters: character. So it stands to reason that a man’s character should be at the top of the list of things you are looking for, right? But if you’re not married, I already know it isn’t. Because if you were looking for a man of character, you would have found one by now. . . . Instead, you are looking for someone tall. Or rich. Or someone who knows what an Eames chair is. Unfortunately, this is not the thinking of a wife. This is the thinking of a teenaged girl. . . .
3. You’re a Slut. Hooking up with some guy in a hot tub on a rooftop is fine for the ladies of Jersey Shore — but they’re not trying to get married. You are. Which means, unfortunately, that if you’re having sex outside committed relationships, you will have to stop. Why? Because past a certain age, casual sex is like recreational heroin — it doesn’t stay recreational for long. . . .
4. You’re a Liar. It usually goes something like this: you meet a guy who is cute and likes you, but he’s not really available for a relationship. . . .So you just tell him how perfect this is because you only want to have sex for fun. . . .[and] hang around, having sex with him, waiting for him to figure out that he can’t live without you. I have news: he will never “figure” this out. He already knows he can live without you just fine. And so do you.
5. You’re Selfish. A good wife, even a halfway decent one, does not spend most of her day thinking about herself. She has too much shit 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!
6. You’re Not Good Enough. I can tell [you think that] because you’re not looking for a partner who is your equal. No, you want someone better than you are: better looking, better family, better job. Here is what you need to know: You are enough right this minute. Period.
McMillan ends with a very wise observation: The idea that marriage will make you happy is false. “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: Love.”