Starting at birth, our heads are filled with images of our wedding day.
Parents dream of seeing their little girl walking down the aisle in a beautiful wedding gown. Even if we do find the cure for cancer, we better be married when we do it! While I'm sure parents equally dream of their sons eventually getting married, it is a bit less exciting to plan for the day they will finally get to wear that rented suit and patent leather shoes.
What naturally comes along with this pressure to get married is the guilt, particularly from our mothers, when we aren't yet wed. As we get older, the level of guilt is ratcheted up exponentially with each year that passes without a set wedding date. With every family gathering we attend without a "fiance", we are forced to endure a sort of Chinese Water Torture that involves hearing about every other relative or friend who is getting married soon.
"When it comes to the thought of going through life as a single woman, a chill shoots through our spines like ice was dropped down our shirts."
We must invent more creative and believable excuses to answer the inevitable, "When are you getting married?" question at parties. Like, "I want to finish my time in the Peace Corp first", or "I have a pact with my best friend that we will not get married before the other and she cannot find the right man." In addition, we are endlessly subjected to the hushed whispers of how we must be lesbians or just do not know how to cook.
Another thing to keep in mind is the constant barrage of images we see our entire lives which place us all on the inevitable path towards marriage. Barbie, the symbol of unattainable wealth, beauty, success, and happiness always looked her most beautiful in her long white wedding gown as she walked down the tissue constructed aisle in our backyard ceremonies to Ken, her handsome groom. Every book, television show, movie, or song that is marketed towards girls always focuses on falling in love, getting married, and living happily ever after.
From Cinderella and Prince Charming, to Luke and Laura, to Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise, we are inundated with the idea that we will never be truly happy until we find that perfect man and walk down the aisle. It is almost like some sort of cultist mind-control that has been ruling our destiny since we were old enough to say the words, "I Do."
While guys do not seem to think that these issues are that big of a deal, for girls the decades of pressure, guilt and marketing have taken their toll and we start to feel as if we are actually going to explode if we do not get married soon. This certainly does not apply to all women but it does apply to most.
Ultimately, we all just want to have that feeling of safety and security. Women today are capable of doing just about everything a man can do. We are doctors and lawyers and builders and athletes, but for some reason when it comes to the thought of going through life as a single woman, a chill shoots through our spines like ice was dropped down our shirts. Our minds drift back to our "old maid" Aunt Mary who everyone else felt sorry for. (Although in retrospect, she did seem happier than all the other aunts).
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So remember, girls are not obsessed with getting married because we want to be. We are obsessed with it because that is what society expects from us. We are merely the victims of a lifetime of mind control and advertising dollars. So, give us a break and just propose already! It will make us all a little less stressed and our mothers happier too.