5 Reasons Everyone Getting Married Can Suck It
At some point in your late 20s, everyone you have ever met will get married over the course of a single week. I wrote that sentence assuming you were younger than I am, so if you're older, let me rephrase: Hey, remember that one week in your late 20s when everyone you knew got married? What the hell? Did they plan this out during secret meetings? Were you invited to the meetings but forgot about them, because of how crushingly disorganized you are?
Now, I know what you're thinking, were thinking, or will eventually think*: "The fact that I'm the only one in my social circle not getting married surely means that I am a broken, fundamentally unlovable sorrow-goblin, and I will spend the rest of my life drinking sadness-beers in the corner of a dive bar, staring lustfully at the unattainably young and fit people living romantically fulfilling lives around me." But that's not true: There are a lot of good things about being the only single person you ever interact with. For example ...
*I hope this doesn't freak you out.
You Are The Most Interesting Person At Every Party
So you find yourself at a party (see? You still go to parties. There are plenty of reasons to live) at your married friends' house, waiting for everyone else to arrive because you showed up early because you have nothing going on. Your friend Sandy is feeding her baby, while her husband Randy is excited to explain cars to you. When guests start to trickle in, they do so in pairs: Bill and Jill, Barney and Arnie, Chris and Kris, and SaraCraig, old co-workers of yours whose bodies were fused together when you messed with some forces you didn't understand and should really have left alone at the Fitzsimmons Plant. When they start chatting, it's clear they all have shared, married couple experiences:
"We have so many stresses associated with being homeowners," Jill says to Chris.
"We created a human life and are now responsible for its fate," Randy says to Arnie.
"Just between you and me, our relationship hasn't been as strong since our torsos were melted into one torso and our daily lives came under a cruel shroud of constant, unfathomable agony. We share a nervous system and now have twice as many pain receptors as a normal human being, and each one screams for death," the lower half of SaraCraig says to Barney.
"I wish you wouldn't talk about our personal stuff at parties," the upper half says, in what is surely intended to be a whisper but actually comes out as a strained howl.
"We share a mind. I have lost the ability to distinguish my own consciousness from yours. Only now have I learned that the the most valuable possession is a secret, for that is something I can never again enjoy," the lower half replies.
"Don't I know it, brother," Arnie says, clinking his beer against SaraCraig's.
"We exist outside the confines of space and time. We remember all before it happens. We remember our own death." This time, both halves speak with one voice.
Boring, right? But, luckily, you have an interesting story to share:
"Last night, I watched A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors in my underwear," you say fondly. "Had a couple beers too. But not so many that it's a sign of a substance-abuse problem."
Everyone stares. Barney puts his hand on your shoulder.
"Your life is fascinating," he says.
Boom. Party: saved.
There's Plenty Of Room In Your Empty Apartment
So one night you have a party, inviting all your married friends over, and they all show up because they love you. Truly, your friends are a great reason to stop thinking about that loaded .22 pistol you keep wrapped in a sock above your coats in the hall closet. After you all watch A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, because no one has been able to stop thinking about it since you brought it up that one time, your friends leave, two by two, and you're left alone again.
"Bye, everybody," you say, but your voice echoes through your empty apartment, because they've been gone for 40 minutes and you've just been standing there, staring at your closed front door. You gather up the empty beer bottles and put them in the recycling bin. You mop up the thick, red and brown fluids left by SaraCraig. You pick up the empty chip bowl from your coffee table and set it in the sink. You turn on the water and watch the bowl fill up. The crumbs float to the edge of the bowl, spilling over and vanishing down the drain. You grab a sponge and gently wipe away the residual oils. You set the bowl on a dishrag, leaning it against a glass so that it dries by morning. Then you return to your couch. You notice an empty beer bottle by the television that you didn't notice at first. You stare at it, forgetting to sit back down. There's a quarter-inch of warm beer still in the bottom of the bottle. You can't recall who was drinking that beer, but there's a faint memory of a lipstick stain across the bottle's mouth.
Your butt remains perched above your furniture, any hope of sinking into the soft foam long forgotten.
In the distance, a dog barks.
If Loneliness Is Your Lover, Let Madness Be Your Mistress
Even though it's the middle of the week, you find yourself walking to this dive bar you know, intentionally dragging your sneakers across the pavement so that they don't look so frustratingly new and clean. Chicks hate that.
You buy a beer and lean into the bar, hoping to project an "I'm too cool to talk to anyone" vibe that women will find irresistible. It doesn't work, so instead you lean over and say hi to a girl sitting near you, and that works crazy well. Like, she smiles and responds immediately and it's the easiest thing ever and you find yourself wondering why you've never tried it before.
"Do you know how to get the jukebox to work? My name's Louella. Call me Lou."
You tell her your name, and she smiles. You smile back. Then Lou and you start talking and discover that you share all the same weird, stupid interests, like playing Monopoly with extra money and scuffing up your brand-new sneakers at the beach. She's fascinated by your job. She's even into target-shooting, which is sexy as hell.
"I have a gun," you say. "A Walther P22."
"Really? You carry it around with you?"
"No, it generally stays wrapped in a sock at the top of my hall closet."
"That's pretty weird," but she doesn't say it like she's freaked out. Instead, she smiles and leans in close.
"You wanna get out of here?" she asks.
"Yeah," you say. "I have an idea for somewhere fun to go."
You take her outside, get in your car, and drive toward the Fitzsimmons Plant.
The Fools Don't Guard This Place Anymore
The parking lot is 15 miles outside town. You lock your Geo and lead Lou toward your secret entrance.
"This way!" you say, gesturing her toward a hole in the chain-link fence. Lou adjusts her purse around her shoulder.
"Virtually nothing about this seems like a good idea," she says. "There's no one around for miles, right?"
"Not since the accident!"
Lou rocks back and forth on the balls of her feet. Then she shrugs.
"All right, fuck it. You only live once, right?" she says.
Once through the fence, you lead her across the grounds, through another hole in the concrete wall, and toward the reactor's center.
"It's really romantic in here," Lou says, looking around the interior of the reactor's core. "This is definitely weirder than I expected this night to go."
"Just wait until I finish turning everything on!" you say. You have your back to her, and you're flipping a series of switches along the control panel. The door closes silently behind Lou, and she doesn't seem to notice. Then the reactor begins to hum. In a few short seconds, you'll never be alone again.
"Nnnoooo, this is about where we stop," Lou says. "I'm gonna need your wallet and cellphone. And your car keys."
You turn around. Lou is smiling and pointing a largish pistol at you. You'd be able to identify it if you knew anything at all about pistols. You frown.
"Oh, come on, dude. No woman is going to follow some guy she just met into an abandoned building unless she has her own plan," Lou says to you. "I don't think you were planning anything weird; I think you're just kind of a dumbass, so I'm not even gonna hurt you. I'll just take your shoes. That should give me enough of a head start."
"Wait a minute -- does this mean you lied about liking Monopoly and scuffed-up sneakers?"
"You're kinda dumb, huh? Well, yeah, I don't much like Monopoly and I don't care about sneakers, because nobody actually likes scuffing up sneakers. You're lying to yourself if you think that's a real hobby. My name isn't even really Lou."
This is no good. This is the last kind of person you want to be fused to. But the emergency stop button is behind her, and you have only seconds.
"Listen: Do you hear that hum? We only have a couple seconds, and I need to hit the button on the wall behind you, or this is going to go badly."
"Oh, come on, man, you think I was born yesterday? Just give me your shit."
"Seriously, Lou, listen: There isn't time. You can hit the button, I don't care, but somebody has to." You take a step forward. The hum has turned into a high-pitched whine.
"Back up, fuck-o. This is loaded, and I do know how to shoot it."
The room begins to shake and glow. There's no time left. You lunge for the button. Lou shoots you in the face. The reactor overloads and floods the room with white light.
We All Find Happiness Eventually
The worst part of sharing a physical presence and consciousness with Lou is that you're both fused to the rotting corpse that used to be your body. But you find a way to make it work. Maybe you're not so into late-night cons, and maybe she doesn't share your love of demented 1980s horror/special effects masterpieces, and maybe the constant agony of living in a twisted abomination of flesh and that exists simultaneously in the physical world and a hell dimension that is itself the source of human suffering is sorta inconvenient, but what relationship doesn't have its problems?
The point is, the companionship is nice. Even the unfathomable limits of pain and sorrow that course through your existence are somehow bearable just because you have someone to share it with. And even though you're dead, you do get to live on in her heart, both literally and figuratively. And sharing your every secret thought, every memory, and every dream with another person is wonderfully fulfilling, even if you are forced to do so because your brain occupies the same physical space.
And because you can see all of eternity at once, a sensation that the human consciousness could never hope to endure, and yet, impossibly, yours is forced to, you know that you're going to grow old together. And you know the precise date that you will both die. It is a long fucking time from now.
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For more reasons our ancestors did it better, check out 5 Lifehacks For Living With A Terrible Attention Span and The Mundane Background Story Of Every James Bond Adventure.