Back in the day, many young graduating senior women used to subscribe to a particular motto. It wasn’t “Burn your bra!” or “We’re going streaking across the quad, bring your green hat!” Unfortunate, because these two mottos seem like they would be a lot more fun.
No, the motto of the 1950s woman dictated the ladies should “get the ring by Spring,” meaning, of course, that college men needed to be roped and committed before graduation day so everyone could live out their Betty Crocker fantasy of 2.5 kids, a white picket fence and quite possibly a drinking problem.
I’m not against weddings – in fact, I probably like them more than the average person. I would even go to weddings of people I didn’t know if it weren’t really creepy because that is how much I love weddings.
I’m also not against the whole notion of love, whatever that means. When I see two people holding hands at a movie or making out as they walk through campus, the urge to throw something usually passes before I can find something heavy enough.
But when two people are young, in love and making out all over campus, should they immediately think about getting married? The answer here, clearly, is no. And yet! The number of couples who are either still in college or just graduating and getting married is surging.
Mathematically, this marriage trend doesn’t add up. According to a Jan. 16, 2007, New York Times census analysis, 51 percent of women reported living without a spouse, as opposed to 35 percent of women in 1950.
Oh wait, yes it does: Divorce statistics are up, too. In the state of Colorado in 2004, 20,200 people sought divorce, which is an increase from 18,400 people in 1994. Additionally, the census bureau projected in 1992 that couples marrying younger than 25 have a 40 percent chance of divorce. That’s almost a 50/50 chance (if you round up, which I always do, because why not?) at failure. Not exactly the best bet to make on a lifetime commitment.
So where do all the Betty Crocker marriages go? I suspect they’ve gone the way of Betty’s Jell-O salad. That is to say, it’s not fun anymore once the color fades, the fruit gets soggy and it doesn’t wiggle like it used to.
Let me put it another way. As we approach graduation day, we seniors experience a nice blend of emotions not unlike the blend of beverages we’ll drink following the ceremony. We feel joy at a feat accomplished, the excitement of new things to come, the bliss of no more homework! And also, that sneaky little emotion your advisers never tell you about: the sheer terror of whatthehellamIgoingtodowithmylife (said really fast because you are hyperventilating.) And so, in the face of the beast of uncertainty, many couples choose to get married for the security a partner can bring.
What I think many couples don’t realize is how much a person changes once college is over. It’s all ponies and cupcakes to be engaged when you don’t have the adult responsibility of a house or a full-time job. But I suspect life will be very different for me come May, and I wouldn’t want to add even more turmoil to my life by being attached. If I want security, I’ll hire it to stand outside my door, I won’t marry it.
Of course there are other reasons for getting married: she’s really hot, he’s really hot, or you subscribe to that other cute motto “no ding-ding without a ring,” therefore you must get married ASAP.
Just remember, hotness fades and so does the Jell-O salad. It’s not a race. Churches won’t close, and if your partner loves you, he/she will still be there for the long haul, married or not. And hopefully, you will reach the ultimate finish line together instead of alone.
Hilary Davis is a senior technical journalism major. Her column appears every Friday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.