The Vagenda

20 Things All Women Should Do Before Getting Married

(Yes, that’s ALL women)
When a friend recently shared a link to this article, called ’20 Things All Women Should Do Before Getting Married’ it was with sadness as well as the habitual rage that I shook my fists at the screen and yelled ‘Seriously? Come ON!’ (clue: one of the options isn’t: tell Marissa Brown to fuck the fuck off)
In this insightful piece, writer Maressa Brown treats us lucky ladies to her ‘bucket list’ (really) of stuff to do before heading down the aisle, because, well, why exactly?
You might wonder what changes occur after a woman pops down the local registry office, signs a bit of paper (but only after her husband does first) and then proceeds to neck a couple of gallons of proseccs with her nearest and dearest. The answer, of course, is practically nothing, unless you’re Maressa Brown, in which case the answer is: EVERYTHING.
There are so very many vom-inducing things in Maressa’s list, but here’s my main beef`:
The patronising dating advice
You don’t need to pick a fight with your partner / sleep around / get your heart broken in order to truly understand true love. Nor do you need to know what it feels like to dump someone, as Maressa suggests, or shag someone just to ensure that they don’t end up being ‘the one that got away’. This is not a formulaic Hollywood slush-fest, it’s real life. Buy a Fiona Apple album and have done with it for Chrissakes.
The painfully obvious advice
 ‘Why not try getting an education or starting a career before you get married’? Even P-Middy is rolling her eyes at those little gems.
The tokenistic advice
“Face your fears”. Fuck off. Maybe I don’t want to ‘face my fears’. What does that even mean? You might as well have put ‘watch Breaking Bad’ or ‘get an enema’ in there.
The use of the word ‘splurge’
Only comparable in heinousness to the phrase ‘pamper yourself’.
And finally
The assumption that marriage might be an inevitable or desirable goal for every young lady
This view is dated to the point that my 98 year old Grandma would laugh, pat you on the knee sympathetically and tell you to ignore the fuckers, go out and buy yourself a pair of slacks and get on with changing the world.
The implication that some women out there might be so distracted counting the days until their weddings that they somehow forget to live independent lives actually made me feel really sad. It’s though ‘the ladies’ don’t have enough initiative to get out in the big bad outside and start transforming shit, instead needing a condescending crap of an article written by an asshat to give them permission to go travelling.
We have the power to choose how we define our relationships, why are we still being hit with all this marriage-as-a-milestone guff? And why does it so often come from the mouths of our fellow wimmin? Is marriage really that big a deal in 2013?
’20 things’ feels like the friend who always makes a point of asking you if you’re seeing anyone when they know you’re not, then telling you you’ll meet someone soon, when you don’t care if you do.
It may be well-meaning on some level, but this little exchange can achieve the triple effect of validating said friend’s couply security, reinforcing the idea that this is something you should be working on now, and prompting you to explain or justify why you’re still single, when you don’t need to.
Incidentally, has a man ever asked me this, save for the purposes of screening me as a potential sex associate?
Er, no.
What it comes down to is often a kind of indirect peer pressure. If everyone in your social circle starts getting married, it’s easy to get drawn in and project certain values even if you never gave a toss before. Suddenly, much like a high school hickey, marriage has become a badge of achievement, rather than a genuine desire.
And so, we end up turning back the clock and writing advice for ‘when’ and ‘how’ women should get married rather than ‘if women WANT to get married’ or ‘what to do if you feel pressured to get married’ or ‘it’s OK to think, ‘sod this, I’m going to watch Newsnight instead’’ (FYI, I would read all of those articles.)
Which is why it is our job, as we continue to push for fairer deals at work, in relationships and for our families, to be supportive and not to make assumptions about what other ladyfolk choose to do with their vaginas, and that includes the decision to sign it over to one bloke for the rest of your life.
If you want to get married, ace, if you don’t, equal aces.
I know that’s not as easily sharable as a list that gives you permission to go shopping, but let’s make a point to zip it on the marital platitudes and stick to advice about fixing punctures and how to cover up the aforementioned love bites without having to resort to a massively obvious scarf. Take it away, Pips.
- CO

10 thoughts on “20 Things All Women Should Do Before Getting Married

  1. I got as far as this:

    2. Travel with your future spouse. “Everyone can get along for a weekend, but see if you can stand each other for a whole week, dealing with travel dilemmas, etc.!” my wise fellow newlywed friend noted, and I couldn’t agree more.



  2. Nice.

    Before reading the full article, I checked out the bucket list. I have to admit, I thought ‘oh, these aren’t too bad’ and considered that while it was all a bit patronizing, that some of the advice was actually relatively fair.

    Then POW! Vagenda neatly point out the blatant truth and realisation dawns. I am so used to the doctrine that marriage is an implicit part of the journey of lady life, that the peer pressure hadn’t even registered – and it’s hardly subtle. How did it pass me by – I am on the look out for this shit.

    It proves it’s just everywhere isn’t it? And then sometimes to stop the veins in your head rupturing – you just filter it out, smile and move on.

    Thank you Vagenda team – for keepingmy eyes open, and for the daily encouragement just to be myself.

    Keep it up. We all have off days!

  3. “You may want to spend pre-martial time on getting one — or several! — degrees”.

    Yes, I’m just sitting around in my pre-marital fug desperately trying to fill my time before I get hitched.

  4. I saw the headline, and foolish me, I thought it was going to be “20 things that women who are getting married should do beforehand”, like:

    - Make sure getting married is what you want
    - Talk to your partner about expectations and what you each think married life is going to look like
    - Discuss any financial changes such as joint accounts or sharing insurance
    - Check your local laws to make sure you have everything you need to be able to get the license

    and so on. That would be useful, rather than assuming we need to be told how to ‘live our lives to the fullest’ and the implication that getting married ends your opportunities. (As someone in a long-term non-married couple, I kind of know what it’s like and kind of don’t, but one thing I do know is I don’t need to be told that I need to shag a bunch of people so I don’t miss out. I’ll either do it or I won’t, thanks.)

    But I suppose an article like that wouldn’t have gotten as many hits for them. Jerks.

  5. ^ exactly! It’s equally as insulting to assume that once you’re married your life is over. Married people can still go get a degree. Married people can still go crazy naked backwards-skiing in the alps. Married people can still have crazy sex with multiple people and freak out about life and learn a language and be happy. Articles like these assume firstly that we’re all just preparing, making ourselves interesting enough to snag a man and happy enough to submit, awaiting the inevitable stage where all we can do is make sandwiches and fill out tax-returns.
    Having said that, I’m not married (yet!!11!)

  6. WOW also how do you plan these things?? 3.Suffer major heartbreak, 9.Have a summer fling, 11.Have one last big blowout fight with your future spouse, 13.Date around, 14.Try having a friend with benefits.
    Now I know I’ve got a free weekend next month, so we should have a fight then (check), maybe I’ll feel so bad we’ll break up feel all heart-broken (check) and I can do all this dating around (check) and friends with benefits stuff (check) before Christmas. Sorted. Too bad it’s not summer.

  7. Soon as a piece starts with “We all do this or that”, you just know you’re about to read a truly great piece of journalism…
    No, I never dreamed about my wedding day, I never wanted to be a princesse, I never fretted over the “big 3-0″ (if you just come out and say “turned 30″, wrinkles will appear AND the 3rd world war will break out, you must never ever say 30!), you continue the list, I have a pillow to go fluff and a ring to dream up, or maybe more like an actual job to do!

  8. Gaaah. I feel that all these kinds of articles about what women should do, can just go and fuck their wanna-be-benevoloent-dicator selves. I spent too much of my teens reading crappy magazines making me feel like i should be a certain way and do certain things, and it’s all bullshit. Ya know?!

    Vagenda, you are great. Thank you.

  9. It’s summer in the southern hemisphere. Maybe you could travel there with your future spouse (#2), have a summer fling (#9), then have a big blowout fight about it (#11)? It just takes a bit of careful planning…

  10. Good grief. I agree almost to every bit of this contra. The original is made for people who cant think for themselves and have no sense of emotional intelligence hence theyre just plain, stupid consumers. Though this, I think, Should have been a standalone instead of commenting on someone elses article. Alot of spite right there. Just saying not throwing anything at ya :)