Tonight, during my usual catching up on current events time, I read the headline, “Single Women Are Now the Most Potent Political Force in America.” And that’s awesome (a word I don’t use lightly). Considering it’s been less than a century since white women won the right to vote in federal election, I’m pretty stoked that single women, who don’t necessarily have a double income backing them, carry so much power to make changes in one of the most influential countries in the world. It’s kind of a big deal. I love that people are arguing over whether I’m going to vote for Bernie or Hillary, even though we all know I have a big huge crush on Elizabeth Warren. People telling you who they want you to vote for is a symptom of relevance—of POWER—and a little holdover from when the men in our lives really did vote “for us,” but OK.
But after that brief moment of reveling in my status as an important demographic, I remember one thing: I’m getting married. No, I don’t mean I’m hoping someday that some guy ~hint~ ~hint~ will ask me to marry him, nor do I write letters to a hypothetical ideal husband, assuming that I will get married at all. I mean, I’m going to marry my partner, who I’m dating right now. We’re getting each other engagement rings and everything, and we’ll do that whole “engagement” thing sometime soon. The thing is, I don’t believe in marriage—which is why I’m doing it.
Why am I not just OK with but actually doing something I don’t believe in? Here’s the deal. I don’t mind a legal contract telling me that I can’t separate from someone without documentation. I kind of like that. My friend Cressa said something to me as we window-shopped in SoHo last year that was a game-changer: Marriage means that we’re making an intentional commitment that we have to be intentional about undoing. So, if it turns out we want to split, we have to really want it, or need it. It would take effort to make this commitment unhappen, which seems right, since it takes effort to keep it healthy in the first place.
What I really hate about marriage is this idea that I will no longer be a “potent political force” once I switch over from Kohleun Adamson (singleton) to Kohleun Adamson (married person). What? Did you think I would change my name? It didn’t take reading a recent headline to know what’s at risk here. When I was in my early twenties (almost ten years ago), an older gentleman patted my face and told me that someday I would find a man to marry who I would “want to submit to.” I hope when I said, “Fuck, no” that it was silently, in my mind, but I’m not sure.
I like to say that of course that will never happen. My partner loves that I’m a cynical firecracker who yells at bros in traffic and writes emails to CEOs. He digs that I have a speech prepared in case I ever meet San Diego’s own homophobic millionaire real estate tycoon at one of his work events. But the fear is still there, right? Just because I have a supportive male partner, doesn’t mean I won’t lose social power when I turn in my “Single Ladies” card. I have power because I pay my own bills and clean my own apartment and hold down a great job. I know that.
But my power also lies in the fact that I have help. Let’s be real here. I gave up on busing my bags around months ago. I have groceries in my fridge because my partner drives me to Trader Joe’s on the weekends in his car while I save up for my own. I am able to send in tax forms and hardcopy cranky letters to CEOs because my partner prints them for me. My IKEA table is a table and not plywood because, you guessed it, my partner assembled it for me. And I’m still only partly OK with the fact that said partner takes care of such basic adult tasks for me, even though I am immensely grateful.
I’m not getting married—we’re not getting married—because of any delusions that it won’t be difficult or that we can double-handedly change an institution. We’re getting married because we love each other and we’re a damn good team and we’re committed, and to hell with anyone who says we can’t make that intentional, long-ass commitment be anything other than what we want it to be.
PS: If you leave a comment saying, “You say this now, but you’ll change,” I will kick you in the face. Just kidding, but my heart will kick your heart in the face…in my imagination.