The questions I seem to be asked most these days are what have you done this week or what have you done today? Maybe my memory is faulty but I don't remember being asked these questions when I was working. Was it perhaps because people knew what I was doing? But whatever the reason I find the questions mildly irritating, perhaps not least, because I feel as if I have to come up with something interesting.
I don't know about you but I don't feel the minutiae of my life is all that riveting? I mean as lives go I have plenty of opportunity to engage in the things I enjoy. This week I've been to the cinema a couple of times. I've been to the theatre. I've read various things, listened to music, watched television, done a little writing and attended a book club meeting but is anyone really interested?
I know that most people don't want to spend their time discussing big issues but really that's what I want to talk about. I want to engage with stimulating ideas. If I am to fess up, I have never felt that I conquered the art of chit chat nor have I wanted to. So if that's you're cup of char you probably won't want to include me. Perhaps after this nugget of information it will come as no surprise to hear that the thing I enjoyed most this week was the book club. This month's choice was The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins which I guess you could describe as a 19th century page turner.
Most of us enjoyed the read but thought it too wordy for modern tastes and a little predictable but it generated great conversations about middle-class women of the period. How they were so easily controlled and consigned to asylums for 'hysteria' or any behaviour considered aberrational or against the societal norm. This could and did, include not conforming to a spouse's wishes. How women without money were not considered marriageable. This led onto a discussion about the pros and cons of modern marriage versus cohabitation and how the marriageable age has fluctuated through the ages.
This started me thinking about what other people would think. I married in 1962 at the age of eighteen and I married because it was still the respectable option. I also think I married on the cusp of change. Before that most people married for life. I am not tabling this as a positive just that divorce wasn't a choice for numerous reasons. In the working classes mainly because of economic reasons and societal opprobrium. It simply didn't form part of the thinking and it didn't form part of my thinking. My Mother's generation lived by 'you've made your bed you must lie on it'. I didn't quite feel that but I did expect to work through any difficulties we had. I made two bottom line assertions when I married. Two things I made clear were unacceptable. One was violence and the other was infidelity. I was always clear about that. I had seen enough violence to last a lifetime and I knew myself well enough to know I would never have been able to let infidelity drop.
Would I marry again if I was in the same position today? I honestly don't know. I have talked about it with my OH. We both agree it was right for us at the time and we have no regrets. But if you do not have a religious faith I'm not sure what marriage provides over cohabitation. I guess there are still some advantages under the law but in my opinion the law should be changed to eradicate any unfair advantage. So I would like to ask you if all things were equal what would your choice be?