Consumed by Marriage
Before any chick lit fans start rolling their eyes, relax, this is not a bashing post. I'll be the first to concede that I probably haven't read widely enough in the genre to form a fair and accurate opinion. So any chick lit related comments that follow are based solely on what I have read to date.
My main problem with chick lit is that it seems to paint women with very narrow brush strokes. And this is what I stated at yesterday's lunch. I explained that in my limited chick lit experience, the female protagonist's desperation to get married always seems so disturbingly extreme. You know how they say men think about sex every seven seconds? Well, the books I've read would have us believe single women think about marriage at an equal frequency, with expensive footwear and/or losing weight dominating the intermittent seconds.
Anyhow, around the table came varying responses. One friend professed to having never heard of chick lit. A few said that they enjoyed the genre (but as a somewhat fluffy, guilty pleasure). Then, a lady who I'd only met that day smiled at me and asked, "Are you married?" I said yes, and her smile widened knowingly as she assured me that that was why I couldn't possibly understand the appeal of chick lit. She then added that she and her fellow single sisters were indeed thoroughly consumed with thoughts of finding that special man and could readily relate to chick lit characters.
Is this truly how the majority of women feel? If so, why? Because of the security marriage brings? But a husband could die tomorrow. Or meet a woman and think, "Oops, actually I think maybe this one's the love of my life." Sometimes I wonder if human beings were meant to pass such an extended amount of time in the exclusive company of one person, or even a handful of specific people. For example, if we're forced to spend more than two weeks together under the same roof, my family begins plotting ways of killing each other.
Then why did I get married? Before I met my husband, I'd been dead-set against it--mostly as a result of long-term observations, and thanks in part to my dad's enthusiastic accounts of his own friends' marriages in all their gory detail: infidelity, resentment, abuse, loss, and not a happily wed pair in the lot. If I found a nice guy, wonderful; but marriage was to be avoided if I had any sense of self preservation. Unfortunately, I never foresaw the obstacle called Japanese immigration. But that's another story.
On the other hand, at one time or other, many of my single friends have admitted concern that they might never get married. And I sympathize. I do remember what it feels like to be single. But while my views on marriage may be a bit extreme (and outright hypocritical now, given my marital status), I'd like to think that the woman at yesterday's lunch wasn't entirely correct, that not all women are wholly consumed with the Quest for Man, and that most realize that finding a guy is only one of life's many satisfactions. And maybe I don't want to believe that real women can actually relate to the chick lit characters I've encountered.
Am I being an insufferable, arrogant married lady again?