I Love You But What Am I?

Ottawa XPress, Shotgun, May 25, 2006

Most couples are fearful that infidelity, finances or jogging pants will dissolve a marriage, but there’s a more terrifying monster lurking in the shadows.

It’s giving up who you are and what you want in order to become one. More plainly put, it’s identity loss.

“Marriage has the potential to erode the very fibre of your identity,” says Kristin Armstrong, the ex-wife of uni-testicled champion cyclist Lance Armstrong, in Glamour magazine this month. (www.glamour.com/)

Relationships are supposed to enhance your well-being, not deteriorate it, and this is why “marriage is a conspiracy,” according to Armstrong, who says in the article that she believes in marriage, but warns women to be prepared for a shocker.

“I think a conspiracy is anything that’s shrouded in silence,” she says. “[And] I think women are awesome communicators. So why don’t women talk to women about what it’s going to take to not just make [marriage] work, but make it great?”

It’s flattering to leave it to us girls to discuss how to make a marriage great, but I’m not sure if women are up to the task.

A friend of mine, who recently suffered a blow by some dipshit with the maturity and grace of a fart, searched the library for a copy of He’s Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo.

She told me there were about five people on the waiting list for her copy. Presumably many other copies were already out on loan.

That’s a lot of copies of a self-help guide for girls getting over guys that never call back. When women can’t see that just as certain men reject us, we reject some of them, we lack common sense.

Given this preoccupation with rejection, is marriage the real threat to self-actualization or are we our own worst enemy from the dating stage?

We’re plagued by what Mom always said: “If a guy really likes a girl, he will climb mountains.” So if a girl has never met her mountaineer, she feels alone and unexplored.

So she may pine for a worthless prick. Or, she’ll marry the first guy who shows a bit of interest. Is that desperation or opportunistic?

I say some women are at a disadvantage when it comes to male-female relationships.

First there’s childhood, with its Cinderella, kitchenette sets, sewing machines and make-up kits. Then comes the fantasy world of wedding cakes and bridal parties.

As Armstrong explains in the article, “The problem is that when a young woman announces her engagement, everyone is quick to roll out the matrimonial red carpet by throwing showers and obsessing over wedding day plans.”

But women who go along with it are also to blame.

All this, she says sarcastically, helps a bride prepare for the reality of marriage “about as much as nine months of baby showers and nursery decorating prepare a gestating woman for the awesome task of raising a child.”

For Armstrong, her once stimulating life and go-getter public relations career vanished when she became a wife and mother. What made her happy was now something outside of herself: Lance’s career or the kids.

If it all comes down to biology, and women naturally must give up a large portion of themselves for their parasitic embryos and, by extension, the hearth, the trick then is to find a man who will help out so she can take a time out. These guys exist: They’re my very own male friends!

And that’s why I think Oprah Winfrey’s an idiot.

In a recent television interview with Armstrong (www.oprah.com/tows/slide/200605/20060509/slide_20060509_284_103.jhtml), Oprah says she never walked down the aisle because she didn’t want to sacrifice herself for her feelings for a man. “I just wanted to always be myself!” Oprah cried.

I know I’m not the only one telling Oprah to blow it out her billion-dollar ass for painting a pitiful portrait of men as vampires waiting to sacrifice a woman’s identity on the marriage altar.

Sure, some of them suck as early as the dating phase, but that’s because certain women are so wounded that fuck-ups attract fuck-ups. I was, and did.

I had a boyfriend who said: “Your place is uncomfortable. You have too many books.”

So I did what any loving girlfriend would do – I packed them away in a storage closet, next to my balls.

Many people are desperate to become a couple. But if love is about finding your “other half,” why rush it? You may think marriage will take away your loneliness, but by compromising a lot of your “wholeness” just to fill a hole, or three, you’re only adding to it.

– Sylvie Hill