Since everyone we know is broke, we’ve all decided on no presents this Christmas, and because I don’t have to worry about what to get who, this is actually the least stressful Christmas I’ve had in years. Being my father’s daughter, I have a terminal need to dazzle people who already know what a ballsack I can be. So, I try very hard to impress people. The less I see them, the more I try to impress, and the more I freak out about bullshit that normally wouldn’t matter in the slightest. This can be a great quality, especially for a part time dad, but it’s also exhausting, and sets an unrealistic expectation. For me more than anybody else. As I said, the levels of my ballsackery are already a known quantity here.
So even though we’re not buying Christmas gifts, my brain decided it needed to come up with a way to have a dazzling Christmas without gifts. You’re probably thinking that being pleasant, cooperating in family togetherness time, and appreciating the bounty of my seriously awesome life would be at least one of the top three. But you are wrong. The list of potential ideas went like this
- Spend hours on painstakingly handmade gifts.
Rejected: No time, also not doing gifts
- Okay, Okay, no gifts, but how does everybody feel about gift cards?
Rejected: No money
- I know, I’ll ask Ben to marry me in front of everybody in Christmas morning!
Rejected: By reason of insanity.
What the actual fuck?
Am I really this susceptible to mass marketing? What kind of colossal tool is like “Well babe, I can’t afford to buy you anything, but your mom’s lookin’, so… you wanna marry alla dis or what?”
In my own defense, I wasn’t going to do it like the imaginary trailer park me I just made up. I was going to get a ring box, put a piece of paper in it that said “Will you marry me?” on it, and then put it in his Christmas stocking, the one Christmas gift-giving tradition we are observing. (You can have that, by the way. If your lady, dude, or other is interested in Christmas morning proposals, that’ll be a pretty good one.) I wasn’t going to have a ring because 1. I already said I’m broke, didn’t I? and 2. Ben is terrified of rings. He’s afraid they’ll lead to his fingers getting ripped off.
Obviously I had to tell Ben about my great idea.
First he told me that I ruined the surprise by telling him. Then he talked me off the ledge. And thank God.
Partially to blame for the delusion that marriage could be fun are the last several weddings I’ve attended. Maybe it was my own mindset, but every wedding we went to in the beginning of our relationship seemed like the worst puppet show I’d ever seen. Moms and mothers-in-law financed massive recreations of their own weddings, or at least the weddings they wished they’d had, and our friends, the bride and groom, looked uncomfortable, tired, and scared out of their heads. Creepy is what it was.
Lately, weddings we’ve attended have enough spirit to be at least partially DIY, but enough money that the bridal party didn’t have to stay awake for 20 weeks straight hot gluing cloth flowers onto hand-written place markers. Or whatever it is that makes them all look so crazy and smell so much like an inhuman melding of hot plastic and finger flesh.
I see our friends getting married on their own terms and it doesn’t seem so very terrible. But I’ve said this before in regard to marriage, I’ve been to some nice bar and bat mitzvahs, that doesn’t mean I need one for myself. If someone feels a cultural pull towards the religious or secular institution of marriage, then bully for them, and they should have every right to designate themselves in that way. Whatever their gender, sexual practices, or quantity.
If it weren’t for the unfortunate fact that married people have a more legitimate citizenship than single people in this country, I could live my whole life happily unmarried. But because there’s no other way to designate a non-blood relative legal family, Ben and I probably will have to get married some day, and I already know how the proposal will go.
Years before I had my clownish Christmas idea, we agreed that it would sound exactly like this:
“Well, it looks like we have to get married.”
I can’t say it’s what I’ve always dreamed. In my little girl plans for adulthood I never married, nor did I ever find any situation where I’d need to get married. As a real life adult, though, things like joint taxes, medical power of attorney (which I have filed separately already, but which anyone will tell you isn’t always respected for non-married couples), and simple extras, like the fact that as a single person I can withdraw $10,000 penalty free from my 401k for the down payment on a house, but as a married person I can withdraw $20,000, make marriage a hard thing to stay away from. Not to mention the marketing, which is apparently extremely persuasive around the holidays.