why he won’t marry her

It is hard to let go of judgment—I can rarely, barely do it, and only in bits and pieces. Americans judge a woman by her marital status too, never mind that single women are happier and healthier than their married sisters. It’s otherwise for men. Odd, as we’re meant to believe it’s the about face.

A magazine cover in a subway kiosk caught my eye today. It slammed: “Why he won’t marry her” over the foreheads of two happy people I recognized only as famous types—glossy, pearly, faintly wax. Well of course she wants to marry the chap and of course he won’t marry her because she isn’t 100% virginal or motherly, not perfectly poured into one of the two molds acceptable for women in 2004, though she’s tried her damnedest. She slipped up somewhere and is not woman enough for him to quit screwing about and settle down. We will read about her imperfections and her punishment: HE WON’T MARRY HER. Such a shame.

It’s just conjecture. I didn’t read the article. I’m just pointing out that we aren’t so much farther along, as some of you thoughtfully suggested.

Yesterday someone I’d just met commented (consoled?) that it’s good I’m single now and can explore myself, because I won’t always have that space, won’t always be single. Can you imagine the reaction if I said to someone, “It’s good you are married now and can explore intimacy, because you won’t always have that.” Good word, it does sound like something I might say. Gracious. Anyway, you get my point, I hope.

Yet Central Asian women need men in a way Americans do not. They need men for status, a poignant status required for survival. An unprotected woman is prey of sorts. An American woman’s status is raised by marriage, but it’s a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses status, something we can intelligently recognize as inauthentic and disposable, and in doing so, marry out of love, respect and friendship instead of insecurity and fear.

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