There’s a woman at my work who’s been married three times. She’s only about eight years older than me, too, which means that if I want to catch up, in the time it would take me to graduate high school twice, I need to marry (and divorce!) two different men, which is a lot harder than it sounds, because even if Graham was one of them, that means I’d have to meet the other one from scratch and then, after I divorced him, somehow meet another guy with whom I was talking about marrying, as this woman is doing now with her current boyfriend.
And this woman doesn’t exactly look like the serial marrying type. She’s not a total beast, but as stereotypes go, she’s more of a multiple cats/Cathy comics/old lady crafter kind of person. And all of that’s basically true, except replace “multiple cats” with “multiple guinea pigs” and “Cathy comics” with “those cartoon fuckers from Despicable Me, as her attraction to them sort of disturbs me.” And…she’s not even nice. She’s an impatient, condescending former dork who’s discovered how fun it is (apparently) to be the bully in her middle age. I truly don’t know how she’s been able to do keep fooling people into marrying her and to be fair, I haven’t met her current boyfriend but I hear he’s not a total beast, either, although at one point when I suggested that maybe getting married just isn’t her strong suit, she replied “No, the mistake I made with the ones before was that I married them before they could give me children.”
Um. Or maybe the mistake was getting married, nevermind your plans to steal their sperm?
Speaking of stealing, I recently learned that her last name belonged to her most recent husband. He stipulated in the divorce papers that he wanted her to change her last name back to…whatever she was born with, I guess, and she refused because she liked his name better. Now, I’ve never met this guy, but I’d like to agree that it’s a little weird to steal someone’s last name if they’re offering to take it off your hands for free (which is more than I was offered when I got divorced), although her stealing his name is still way preferable to stealing his DNA. So, maybe you dodged a bigger bullet than you realize, sir.
I guess that if I wanted to get married, this woman’s history would grate on me. I mean, I’m basically married right now. Just without all of the legal paperwork hanging over my head, making me sick to my stomach at the cost of divorce. We are functionally married, I guess, which is the only level of married I’m comfortable with, although I imagine that if I was single and wanting to be in the kind of relationship where someone was willing to marry me, I’d look at this woman at my work and just froth with uncomprehending frustration.
I’m pretty uncomprehending right now, and my inability to comprehend runs the scale from “perhaps you’re not very good at being married?” to “you know you can have children without being married, right?” to “for the love of god, why would you voluntarily get married over and over again?”
Because if nothing else, we as a species have that one great survival tactic at our disposal, and that is to learn from our mistakes. Stove hot? Right, never touching that again. Cars go boom when smashed together? Better be careful, then. Serial marriage is expensive and emotionally taxing and no one has put anything in my womb so far? Meh, maybe there’s another solution?
One marriage, fine. Everyone makes mistakes. Two marriages, ehhhh, I get it, it’s possible to fall in love with more than one person and there’s nothing wrong with having a sense of optimism. But by the time your third marriage rolls around – your third marriage in less than ten years, mind you – I wonder less about your willingness to love and commit to another person and start suspecting that something sinister is at work. Start speculating about a fourth marriage and you’ve made the transition from a romantic to a psychopath. Because while I’m not interested in marriage for myself, I do understand its purpose, and I find it troublesome when people treat is as less of a partnership and more of an endgame.
But of course, what she does with her money and the file clerks’ time is her business, and I can just keep rolling my eyes when she tells random people on the phone about how when she lived with her parents while going through her second divorce blah blah blah, and I can mentally refuse to participate in yet another bridal shower, which I’m fine with once, but as a concept, I’m pretty opposed to it for anything after the first marriage. I mean, if you’re 40 and have been married three times and you still don’t have the shit you need to build a life? You need more help than a bunch of friends sitting around and sipping drinks from penis straws.