This one is for all you negative nellies out there. And you youngsters too. (I know, I’m not that old myself, but bear with me, please.)
Don’t dismiss an entire concept outright just because someone else has trouble with elements of it.
What on earth did I just say? Let me simplify: When someone is having trouble related to their significant other; don’t immediately say, ‘This is why I’m never getting married.’ First of all, you don’t know that, no matter how old you are. If you’re divorced, I can understand that you’re a little scorned on the subject, but if you’ve never been married, you can’t possibly know enough about it to just dismiss it like that. This goes double if you’re young, because young people – myself included – have a tendency to generalize and simplify most things. Never getting married, never having kids, never doing this or that. Yes, you are, my dear. Not because it’s the grown-up thing to do, but because someday you might actually want to.
Since I just had a kid, my colleagues keep mocking me about a minivan or a station wagon, because that’s the next logical step in my ‘domestication’. Sure, my colleagues are assholes, but that’s beside the point: I can’t tell them that I’ll never, ever buy one, because one day it might be the most practical thing for me. (That said, it ain’t that fucking hard to have kids without a damn minivan, so chill out, please!)
I’ll use the kid as an example for a little while longer. Lately, of course, there’s been a lot of talk about children and their impact on our lives. Since I’m a very recent father, everyone feels the need to share their tales of woe with me. (Did I mention my colleagues are assholes?) And I can understand that. It’s sort of an initiation process for new parents, newlyweds and new homeowners. ‘Welcome to the club, it ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.’ But I’ve noticed that the people laughing hardest when someone offer their condolences on my marriage or wish me luck on my new sleepless life (because kids, amirite?), are the younger ones. The ones with actual scorn in their eyes are the ones my age, who aren’t married yet, or who doesn’t have kids. And then come the star comments: ‘I’m SO glad I’m not married. I’m never having kids.’ Bitch, you’re 25 and single, you have no idea what you’ll want in another five years. And what about me, huh? Do you really think I got married and had kids against my will?! No! I did it because I love my wife and wanted to honor that in a totally awesome way. (I don’t regret it for a second!)
I’m not thrilled by it, but the people who are in the same boat as me can get away with this, because they never express regret. When someone says ‘Marriage, huh?’ That’s just a (silly) way of making conversation. We have that in common; we’re married, and it ain’t always rainbows and sunshine. The same goes triple with kids. They’re adorable (yes they are!), but they’re also tiny pricks who cry, shit and puke every which way. And people who have kids know this; they know both the good parts and the bad. And they’re not telling me all this because they regret ever having children, but because sharing is caring . . . or something. This is infinitely more positive than saying, ‘Yuck! I’m never having kids.’ Or ‘why did you get married anyway? I’d rather just be free and control my own life.’ The same goes with home-ownership. If I mention a tiny dispute with my neighbors, some young buck who rents a piece of shit flat in the center of town will immediately comment that he’s never ever going to buy a house, because that’s just too much work. Even though my dispute is solved, and I love my adorable little house, with my wife and my kid inside.
In short, stop being so god damn negative and never say never. Wives are cool, children are adorable and my house is fucking awesome! Fight me!
– Robert ‘married with children’ Bishop