Today while walking through Warren Hall I came across the famous Balfour ladies who sell your JMU class ring after the Ring Premiere. They usually sit in Warren for two weeks after the big premiere. When I was a sophomore back in 2008 I was on the ring premiere committee so I have treasured my experience and my ring.
This was a great opportunity to ask about my lifetime guarantee on my ring and how I really need to get it re-sized We chat for a minute and then she asks me to give her my finger so she could measure the size. I hand over my hand and she looks at me surprised.
Our conversation goes like this
Balfour Lady #1: "you want your ring to go on your LEFT hand?"
Me: "yeah, why does that matter?"
Balfour Lady #1: "well, your left hand is meant for your wedding ring..."
Me: "[being laughing a little too loudly] Oh gosh, I don't care about that, like at all."
Balfour Lady #1: "but you should! What about when you get married!"
Me: "Uh yah, that's never happening."
Balfour Lady #2: "you never know!"
Me: "[under my breath] uhh, yah I do."
Then we all proceed to awkwardly giggle and try not to make eye contact. Oh no, here comes the horribly anti-traditional blacktina, just ruining little old ladies' days! That's what I do best, y'all. To make it more interesting, two of my sisters happened to be sitting behind the Balfour table and were overhearing my horribly awkward conversation.
So here's where I am after this conversation:
1. The left hand is your wedding ring finger hand? I honestly had no clue.
2. Before you "get married," are you supposed to just completely neglect your left ring finger from any rings? Why does it matter if the finger is preoccupied if I'm not committed?
3. .........who cares though? Apparently many people.
I've kind of made this obvious in the past, but in case you didn't know, I am not exactly a traditional girl. I don't believe a man I'm dating needs to buy my food every single time we get dinner. I don't believe in time frames of when you should be married. I don't believe in "traditional marriage" by any means, like only men and women can marry for example - yeah, not for me. I do have a lot of friends who are more traditional about certain things like the men pay for dinner and the men ask for a lady's hand in marriage, and only men and women can marry idealism, etc. but everyone's entitled to their opinions just like I am entitled to mine. I guess I was just really surprised at how surprised those ladies were.
This brings me to the real reason this incident has me thinking: why is it that I'm so against marriage? It's possible that growing up watching failed marriages over and over again has completely tainted my image of what it looks like. Plus I think that I have trouble finding ways to support my feminist ideologies and think about being married. I know that "feminists can get married" but I feel like it's much more than being a feminist not wanting to settle down. It's more like I want my independence and I want the freedom to make my own choices. I want to raise adopted children on my own. I realize I am 24 years old and the world is my oyster, but I am just completely turned off by the thought of marriage. Not to mention, I don't feel comfortable getting married in our current time where not everyone is afforded that same luxury, so for the sake of being a gay rights advocate I don't feel right using my privilege. I'm just in a phase of my life right now where all of those things really do mean so much to me, and I recognize that part of this is just being young and in grad school and "hip" if you will, but I don't think it's a phase that will necessarily go away. I'm pretty committed to this idea and this movement and the inspiration of women around me to make my choices. Marriage just sounds like a horrible idea but maybe I'll find someone who will help me think differently.
I know that negative self talk is absolutely a deterrent to future actions, but I also feel like I am doing it on purpose to guarantee that I never get married. The self talk that has convinced me to believe that marriage is not for me is like confirming that it won't ever happen for me, so it's like I don't have to worry about it! I know I am just a walking defense mechanism, but ain't nobody got time for all that money on therapy! Anyway, I don't want to really convince myself that I am not good enough to be married or that if I become married I'll become soft and lose all my values, but hey, I'm 24, that's my excuse for now.
So the update is no, I'm not in the market, I'm unavailable, I'm off the shelf, I am focusing on bigger and better things right now. One day that might change, and little old ladies won't be so terrified by my feminism, but for now, take a big wiff of it, it's not going anywhere.