Not long ago, I read an article about a woman who, not having married by her target age of forty, literally decided that loving yourself was the greatest love of all and married… herself. Only I don’t think that’s why she did it.
Sologamy – the practice of one marrying oneself – is a real thing. It’s practiced by certain African tribes, where they believe that the spirit and body cease to be separate and instead become a wholly new being. It’s kind of a big deal; days of celebration, food, dancing, and some governments on the continent even legally recognize the union. But when a Hutu or a Por’Quatzi does it, it’s a religious ceremony filled with sober symbolism. When Yasmin Eleby did it, it was a way of salvaging her ego because no man wanted her by the time she thought. But my biggest beef isn’t with Ms. Eleby per se; it’s with the people who encouraged this farce.
In a perfect world, your friends and family are supposed to hold a mirror up to you from time to time, to show yourself the way you truly are and appear to others. If the arbitrary age of forty was such a big deal (more on that a little later), you mean to tell me that by age thirty-nine at the latest neither her mother, her pastor sister, nor her ten closest friends – who would all become her bridesmaids – sat her down and suggested she take a long, hard look at herself to find out why all her relationships failed? There’s only so long you can keep telling her “just be patient, the right one will come,” or “these men are triflin’!”
Why did she have to get married by forty? I’m all for setting relationship goals and all, but what was so magical about the big 4-0 that made her say, “If I can’t get a man to marry me by then, I’ll just go on and marry myself?” It’s like me back in high school. I wanted to lose my virginity before I graduated, but no girl would have me. I never said, “If I don’t get laid before graduation, I’ll just go on and f**k myself.” I have an aunt who married in her late forties. I know she dated, and of course she wanted the ring, but for one reason or another, no man seemed right. Then she met her husband; this April, they’ll be celebrating their twentieth anniversary.
For that matter, why was having a man such a big deal? Was it because she truly wanted companionship or was it just to show off? These are the questions this woman’s friends and family should have been telling her to ask herself. Of course, I don’t know her personally, so I can’t speculate about her personality or her character, but allegedly these women did, and I think they failed to tell her about herself. Most people don’t want to admit that there might be something wrong with themselves. The fact that we may have some glaring, outright repellent flaws is an ugly thing to accept, but that’s how we start to improve.
I wish Ms. Eleby well. According to her, she’s dating someone now (despite being a teacher in Saudi Arabia – we might have the first clue there), and I hope she does find a husband. More importantly, I hope she finds more honest friends. The fact that no less than twelve people went along with this vain, empty, meaningless display of self-gratification is depressing. It’s the worst kind of delusion and enablement. Self-love doesn’t require a ceremony. It doesn’t need a clergyman to officiate or a parent to give you away to yourself. It certainly doesn’t need bridesmaids in matching dresses fighting over the bouquet. It just needs the confidence to look at yourself and say, “I’m great. Now how can I be better?”
What do you think, Alarmers? Leave your comments below.