* Wikipedia def. of bastard – A child whose birth lacks legal legitimacy—that is, one born to a woman and a man who are not legally married to one another
Picture the scene, I’m eight months pregnant, happily shuffling along our local beach and despite now looking like Roseanne Barr, life is pretty good. Until my peaceful solitude and sense of humour is abruptly interrupted: ‘You’re pregnant! But you’re not married to her!?’ exclaimed the Janet Street Porter wannabe to my partner. Excellent, the day I feel vulnerable and look like I’ve eaten the occupants of a small village, now I’m faced with a George Bush esq. diplomat.
My euphoria for this glorious day momentarily shattered, my mind frenetically wandered. How do I respond to her opinion? I hadn’t received the congratulatory statement most dignified people would extend, warranting a well versed, thank you. No siree, her comment had made my blood boil and also a little sad. So how to react? Would I tongue lash her with some of my verbal wizardry or kill her with kindness and smile whilst seething behind my clenched pearly whites? Too late, apparently my open-mouthed look of disbelief did the trick and off she scooted on her (very sturdy) broomstick. Miaow.
So back to my version of the simple life; I am in love with my partner and about to give birth to a beautiful bouncing baby boy but according to Mrs. Gobby from Greenwich, I am living in sin as our union is devoid of legal approval. Her evident belief/judgment is baby equals marriage, or I’m guessing her preference would be the reverse. My belief and preference is twofold: wedding plans were never on my radar with my beloved and my baby will be born from and into love. Baby born then equals crash diet, Spanx pants and flat paediatric approved shoes. Oh what to do? (Note I’m being ironic about the shoes – will never happen. Am channelling MILF thoughts pronto.)
Although this whole symbiotic debate is interesting, it is getting me thinking, is marriage and babies mutually exclusive just like Ebony and Ivory or Simon and Garfunkel?
What if we’re blissfully happy being unmarried and content with our soon-to-be blended family scenario? Does this make our son or us, a lesser being? What would change if we cement our love and commitment to each other via a legally binding ceremony? Well for a starter my son would loose his derogatory title and Mrs. Gobby would feel happier. But is this what life in the 21st century boils down to? A requirement to conform or to become legally ‘branded’ to be accepted by society? My partner and I love each other, we share common values and want the same things from life but does our mutual decision to abstain from the nuptials catapult our son into bastard territory and us into alien playing fields?! Weird protective maternal thoughts are suddenly swirling through my swollen head, imagine if the town folk of Greenwich unite and instruct an Iranian style, semi buried, rotten tomato hurling session at us?! On second thoughts this is ridiculous and unlikely and I need to get a grip of my imagination. Best to focus on reality, the local ladies prefer lipo vs. any physical exertion besides shopping. But they could instruct their help to carry out the deed – STOP!
Phew, my family are safe for the moment, imagination back in check.
But wait just a mini minute, I refer to my partner and unborn child, as my family. But without the State’s legal approval and intervention e.g. a wedding, am I technically permitted to class him and my son, (who will take my partners surname), as ‘my family?’ Was Mrs Gobby onto something?
This chance encounter in the park, coupled with my beliefs have made me realise that the camps are divided when it comes to having babies either within or outside of the realms of matrimony. To wed or not to wed seems to be the question and I’m in the mood for exploring motivations to tying the knot.
So today’s blog is inspired by my following thought: what motivates some of us to marry and some of us to not?
Lets begin with he and me first. Between us we have three t-shirts, I have been married and I extracted myself. My partner chose to do it twice. Let’s do the maths here: I suck, he sucks even more. But this isn’t something I want to discuss with a woman in the park possessing the ambitions of Gisele Buchan in championing her opinions of widespread breast-feeding.
I spent my childhood dreaming of my magical white wedding; falling in love with the tall dark and handsome stranger who would whisk me through a fairytale romance followed by his dreamy proposal, the blingtastic ring, figure hugging couture designer dress and lily white shoes to match, the doves, creamy snow white layers of ganache filled cake and topped off with the honeymoon in the Maldives. Wawawa. I’d envisioned the whole nine yards. Be honest ladies, as young girls haven’t we all shared similar thoughts? Fast-forward a decade of wedding fantasising and with his visa about to expire we rationalised marriage as our best option. Cue the ring, sorry no spare cash. Fancy dress? Try pre- owned. Delicious cake surely? Nope, instead a tier purchased via Costco, Asda and Tesco were all piled high. My father was so adamant I wouldn’t attend my debacle of a wedding he purposely got us lost in the Aylesbury countryside. In a bid to ‘do the right thing’ he then paid an AA roadside delivery van to guide us to the chapel as Dad’s amnesia ensued. Our engagement proposal was hilarious. Despite my ex husband being a great guy (for someone else) we arrived at my family home, announced our news and the last I remember of the evening was my father chasing him out while simultaneously explaining the definition of castration. Obviously, aged twenty way too young, I ignored their advice. So I accepted their contribution of $7,000 to cover the costs, suffered several panic attacks, created a reception in a barn that pigs had been kicked out of the morning before, organised a wedding feast of Dominos pizza and Cornettos, looked like a white blancmange and dressed my bridesmaids in black. This should all have been a sign. Boom.
Honestly, he was a superb guy but I had been indoctrinated with the belief that marriage and babies needed to happen asap e.g. post puberty. Cue the nuptials. Sadly our long term goals and common values were glossed over to the eventual inevitable demise of our relationship. 5-4-3-2-1 and cue the divorce.
So I made a decision I could never guarantee forever again, as I’m only confident of now. Marriage became of lesser and lesser importance to me the older I became. I committed myself to only being part of a partnership with a man who was as committed to making us work, on a daily basis, as I am. He needed to make me laugh, to be able to laugh at himself, to have a strong work ethic and to be powerful in his decision making process and in the way he handled me. (You know I have an opinion or three!) I wanted kind, loyal, faithful and someone who loved family. And finally someone who loved me for me and wouldn’t try to change or mould me and vice versa. Just for each of us to support each other in being the best we can be. Can you believe it, I got all this, minus my request he be 6ft 3’’ to accommodate my shoe fetish.
I once included cash on my relationship wish list. Some of my suitors were incredibly wealthy and would fly me via their private jets to dine in exotic locations all around the world. Woohoo. But when the monies gone, as we all are familiar with in our current economic climate, what are the nuts and the bolts of this man really like? Is he positive and proactive? Does he have a strong and healthy work ethic that will see him survive against the elements or would I come home to find his ego in hand and him focusing on licking his kitty cat wounds and talking about the past? Is cash on your would be suitors wish list? Then let’s all get honest with each other, right out there in the open and get a pre-nup. organised so everyone’s on the same page.
And what about security? Don’t marriage and security go together like ying and yang? The minute you say I do, your partner will financially, emotionally and spiritually look after you till death do you part? Right? Phew, what a relief, no more money worries or wandering eyes post marriage and they will be supportive of all your good or not so great decisions/moods/actions until D-day – hoorah! Oy vey. Is interesting how the number of divorces, amidst our present recession, have reached record levels. I wonder how these couples vows read: for richer or (replace poorer with even richer), in sickness (scratch that – I only do colds, forget the flu) and A1 tip top condition health. Hhmmmm.
Now let’s consider looks and physical attributes. Tall, dark, handsome: cue George Clooney, but the poor handsome devil obviously comes with his fair share of commitment issues. Next! Ok, Mel Gibson, yikes he’s a pathological narcist. Purlease. I once fell in amore with a Daniel Craig look a like. Delicious, but sadly possessing the emotional intelligence Robocop would have been proud of. Next! Prontamento!
So I’ll finish with something that made me laugh out loud in hysterics featured on a show I adore called Bridezillas. The soon to be bride had alienated her future hubby by categorically banning him from providing any input into her wedding plans, (fair) demanded her bridesmaids refrain from eating (ever) and caused the wedding planner to consider alternative career opportunities (reasonable). This delusional, soon to be bride had become completely oblivious to her original reasons for marrying her partner and was focusing only on the wedding day. Or had she? For some, a wedding’s focus is all about the day and the ceremony. How many of us loose sight of our pure original reason we decided to commit ourselves to another for the rest of our lives and until deaths do us part?
So let the following choice words from a bride to her bridesmaids resonate in our minds as we commit in whatever way we choose, to our future partners, lest we ever dare to loose the plot and forget why we are actually making this choice in our life.
‘..Now, I’d imagined you looking all sexy like the grape soda bottle shapes in your purple bridesmaid dresses.’ And then she grows horns and froth starts trickling from her mouth, ‘but instead you all look like swollen, wrinkled fat purple prunes!..’ She then begins to cry.
Keeping it real.
I did learn one thing from this car crash TV show, that a party is always fun and my partner and I will one day celebrate our blessed union with our beautiful baby boy surrounded by all those we love, with the loudest, most fun party ever.
And I have a message for Mrs Gobby: You’re NFI!*
*Worldwide def. of NFI – not f***ing invited