To be fair, this question isn’t entirely my own. I spent last Saturday night watching Aziz Ansari’s 75 minute comedy special, Buried Alive, on Netflix per Emily Weiss’ recommendation and let me just say: HAHA. The routine covered a wide range of topics related to The Plight of Becoming 30 from the perspective of one Mr. Ansari, which I would assume is precisely why it hearkened back, at the end of nearly every joke, to the notion that marriage is one hell of a dated and arguably ridiculous institution.
And as a betrothed woman, I can agree that Ansari makes a few decent points. He asks how confounding the concept of legal, lifelong companionship would be if it weren’t a societal norm. Imagine just showing up to see your significant other with a priest in tow to tell him or her that you’ve loved hanging out and want to do it every single day until one of you should die. “Wear this ring so everybody knows about our arrangement,” your male counterpart might say.
It’s creepy, really.
Furthermore he continues on the topic of young love transcending the boundaries of high school and youth. He asks, “can you imagine if your life had actually turned out the way you wished it would when you were 16?”
I can, and you know what? If it had, I’d probably be living in Israel right now, wearing Birkenstocks completely unironically, listening to the Grateful Dead on repeat, swaying back and forth in a very long black skirt while a shit ton of little children ran around my tiny-ass apartment in the heart of Jerusalem. I’d be serving some version of matzoh ball soup to my ungrateful-much-to-the-dismay-of-our-preferred-music-choice life companion.
Some mornings, I am certain that I would wake up feeling incredibly anxious. Why didn’t I listen to the Pussycat Dolls when they sang, “Be careful what you wish for ‘cuz you just might get it. (You just might get it.)”
Why did I get it, damnit?
Now you must be wondering where the hell I was at 16 years old that I should want such a thing, right? Well, when I was 16, I was in love with a boy I barely knew (we met at summer camp which should immediately muddle the circumstances of our dalliance) from the South Shore of Long Island. He smoked more weed than a field harvests corn, wore cargo pants from Abercrombie & Fitch (one time he gave me a sweatshirt, swoon!), and a velvet yarmulka that had Hebrew scriptures sewn into the seam.
I tried to design my lifestyle, which was profoundly different, to match his, but when he told me that just by virtue of having grown up in New York City, I wasn’t “religious” enough to be taken seriously, I threw out his dumb ass sweatshirt, forewent the jam bands et voila: Birkenstocks are currently welcome only when worn ironically.