On the superfluity of marriage.


The other day I watched my Mum's birthday present, a 1950 Spencer Tracy classic called 'Father of the Bride', the story of a middle-class father who finds that the budget for his daughter's wedding is spiralling out of control as more and more trimmings are added to what was originally supposed to be a simple ceremony. It turned out to be one of those wisp-light American comedies, with a humour so gentle you barely notice it brushing past you, but which can still tickle full-throated laughter out of viewers, sixty years on.
Not least, because, sixty years on, many people are still behaving like Spencer Tracy's ridiculous daughter: although marriage is now effectively little more than an optional caprice in a Europe that doesn't blink once at common-law couples, people of all ages have not yet managed to ditch the habit of spending wheelbarrowfuls of money to put a seal of spurious public legitimacy on relationships which by definition are purely private matters.
Like most people over forty, I have been subjected to more than my fair share of these senseless ceremonies, watching, bemused, as godless couples that have been fornicating together for years, step out of the church door beaming in anticipation of the First Night. What is this mental virus that lies dormant for years before jumping up and obliging people to go through their parents' motions? At this rate, the same couples - when their marriages run onto the inevitable rocks - will start refusing to get divorced 'for the sake of the children', a traditional excuse at least as old as marriage itself. I, for one, hope things don't get to that stage. For the sake of the children.

- Textos i contingut: Matthew Tree - Disseny i programació: Nac -