By the time you read this, the Marriage (Same Sex) Couples Act may have passed it’s second reading in the House of Commons. This act will allow same-sex couples the same civil marriage rights as heterosexual couples. Well, in theory. Barring the Church of England, (the national church) and any priest or clergyman who gets their knickers in a twist about Adam and Steve. Certainly this is a massive step towards full equality for gay people and for that must be applauded. But it does leave me wondering if our society is too hung up on pairing up.
Ever since we were told the tale of Noah’s Ark, our society reinforces the notion that humans, like Noah’s llamas, should come in two-by-two. Every nursery rhyme and fairy tale tells us that boys should be strong and fight dragons to win the hearts of fair princesses in gilded towers with pumpkin slippers. OK, I’m getting my tales in a tangle but you get the idea.
As we grow up, the pressure get’s even worse. Who hasn’t been at a friend’s for dinner, or on a night out, and felt that terrible third-wheel sensation rolling in when you realise that everyone else has hooked up (either with Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now) and you are left all alone in the world. Unfortunately, the longer people are in a relationship, it seems the worse the sense of smug superiority gets.
For example, I was recently told by a straight-and-married friend how wonderful it was that I’d found someone at last. Nine months into any relationship, that seems a bit presumptuous to be honest. Secondly, I’m twenty-five and don’t think having another human being who is willing to share my life (Doctor Who obsession included) and sex life (Doctor Who obsession not included) with me makes me any more complete or happy as an individual.
There will doubtless be people reading this who believe I must be some sort of bitter, twisted incomplete human being without-a-soul, but hear me out. Certainly, I am not for a moment saying I dislike sharing my life with my boyfriend. What I am saying is that barring random quirks of fate and other serious accidents, I believe everyone has the capacity to be genuinely happy with and as themselves.
It simply does not enter my head that just not having a partner/significant other makes you somehow incomplete as a human being. To my mind, this view misses the massive diversity of emotional and sexual lifestyles that we, as human beings, have come up with. It also fundamentally limits your own aspirations and happiness if you are constantly convinced that you can only be happy when Monsieur or Madame Right waltzes into your life with an armful of roses and one of Cupid’s arrows between their teeth, ready to take you away to mythical place known only as True Love.
So, this Valentine’s Day, whether you are with good lovers or good friends or neither, remember this: at the end of the day, the person who has the most control over how happy you are is you.