Iâ€™ve been married for some years now, but that doesnâ€™t stop me from taking the occasional stroll down the wedding aisle at Wal-Mart. Amid the cake stands, artificial rose petals and guest books is an assortment of hideous, no, excuse me, â€œfunnyâ€ cake toppers. They depict ridiculous scenes of brides clubbing their grooms over the head, or dragging them to the altar. Iâ€™m sure these were made in good fun, meant to provoke a good chuckle, but I doubt the designers realize what they are suggesting.
I donâ€™t blame the designers for making them, or even the store for selling them. They are just going along with the popular notion that men hate to be married and would only do it under duress. I blame the society that okays this thinking. We seem to think itâ€™s funny to see a woman literally dragging her man to get married, forcing him to wear the â€œold ball and chain.â€ These depictions are meant only to make us laugh, but they shed light on the way our society conditions men and women to view marriage.
Women are taught to crave marriage, to long for the permanent commitment of a man who will always love and care for them. Men, on the other hand, are taught to see marriage as an absolute last resort, the one thing you do after youâ€™ve lived your life and have accepted the fact that the fun part is over. It is this polarizing dynamic that causes some women to stay in unhealthy relationships and some men to sabotage them. This idea, that she absolutely needs him while he only tolerates her, attacks and ravages marriage as all the power is concentrated in one pair of hands.
There is nothing wrong with a woman wanting to get married. There is nothing wrong with a man not wanting to get married. There is something wrong, though, when these two people end up marrying each other. No person, male or female, should have to be dragged to the altar. If it pains a man that much to get married, thatâ€™s a sign heâ€™s not ready. If a woman has to go through that much to get him to marry her, thatâ€™s a sign heâ€™s not for her. The right man, the one you can establish a beautiful life with, will walk happily into marriage. The idea of it wonâ€™t scare him, and the actual act of it wonâ€™t feel like punishment. If a man really wants a woman, nothing can stop him from pursuing her. Know this when picking your mate, and know this when buying your cake topper (if youâ€™re into that sort of thing).
–The previous essay can be found in Angailâ€™s book â€œOn All the Things That Make Be Beautiful.â€ Available for only $10 at www.nadirahangail.com