Catherine Deveny, the girl that never grown up, at least intellectually, as it seems she has a pretty good handle on some grown-up things like sex, has another indulgent op-ed in The Age. This one is about marriage.
It really boils down to this: broadly speaking human are mammals and have sexual desires that can’t be completely satisfied within a monogamous relationship, therefore monogamy is unnatural. Ipso facto – relationships that fail are natural, while long lasting monogamous relationships are freakish accident, or as Catherine puts it: a lucky equation of genetics, environment and airbrushing. Airbrushing? How is that exactly?
Daveny pretty much rehashes the crude “humans are monkeys, and what’s good for monkeys is good for human” line of argument. This argument are often used to justify deviant sexual behaviours that fall outside societal norms, or to make oneself feel more normal about a marriage breakdown. “You see, my marriage didn’t work out but I am a normal functioning primate, while you are unsophisticated “airbrushed” freak” or so it goes.
There are however some points raised by Deveny that should be addressed. For example she writes:
I’m never surprised that people split up. I’m surprised they stay together. Being in a relationship is not simple. Or easy.
Bugger me, Cathy! Plenty of things in life are not simple or easy. Like getting an education, starting a business, building a house, preforming surgery and so on. Should we just give up on them too with the same haste we are encouraged to give up on marriage?
Forty years without one flush of attraction for another. I don’t buy it.
You don’t need to buy it, Love. Marriage is not about never having attraction for anyone but your husband or wife, it is about dealing with such temptations. Marriage lasts as long as you know that what you stand to lose is far greater than what you could ever gain.
Apparently, arranged marriages last longer than the romantic type. But are they as happy? Or happier?
Probably not. But neither are arranged marriages practised in societies where critical examination of marriage is common or welcomed. Such societies commonly treat women as inferior and don’t take favourably to divorce in general often ostracising divorcees and even widows. To put it bluntly, I doubt that a doe-eyed multiculturalist Deveny would be writing self-indulgent articles in any society practising arranged marriages. Most likely she would be busy popping out kiddies, cooking meals for the hubby selected by her parents, and counting her lucky stars if he wasn’t a violent type.
I don’t see the end of a 20-year relationship that has run its course as a failure. Nor do I see a 40-year relationship full of passive aggression, sulking and discontent as a success.
Wow, such deep insight into our society! Apparently only two types of marriage exist on planet Deveny: happy ones that fail and miserable ones that last…
An open relationship is one thing, but what about a secret connection on the side that is filling the desire for something more breathless, more glittery, more slippery, more illusive. Something you just don’t get in a long-term relationship.
More slippery…. Well probably not. But there are many things you don’t get in any relationships like instant sexual gratification on tap and on queue. Like what you can get from a large stash of porn mags and wanking. And what can be more slippery than a large tub of lube? It is incredible that Deveny should be so shallow to castigate marriage for nothing more than lacking instant gratification of a short fling.
Oddly for a mother, Deveny leaves children out of the equation completely. To her marriage is between two independent primates who should be happy to terminate their relationship on a whim of a sexual urge. How convenient! Life however, is not so convenient. Marriage with children is not just about two individuals and their sex organs. It is about respect, nurturing, setting good example and so on. Nor is marriage a relationship of equals in a true sense.
I know, I know it is fashionable to say that we are all equal and so forth, but it is factually bollocks. Sorry… Men tend to do better on most counts: no giving birth, no breastfeeding, no giving up career and no boredom of being a stay at home parent. When marriages end, it is mostly women that end up saddled with children being a single mum often struggling to find enough hours in the day to think about sex and other primate indulgences so high on Deveny’s agenda. Men meanwhile mostly waltz off into the sunset with a newer prettier mate.
I forgot to mention how choosy the primatists like Deveny are about the aspects of mammalian behaviour they find worthy of copying. You see, last time I visited a Zoo, I saw a male chimpanzee (the animal species genetically closest to humans) finger painting the enclosure window with his own excrement. He than proceeded throwing feces at the public. Why not emulate this type of behaviour?
We also know that male chimps are very dominant over females. Should this mean we ditch the female equality malarkey? Hey, if it works for Deveny, it works for me! Who am I to question my animal instincts? And now if you excuse me, I am off shit painting!