Who can forget the iconic scene from F.R.I.E.N.D.S in which Rachel, Monica and Phoebe dress up as brides! However, did you notice that there was one thing missing from their make-believe wedding? That’s right! A groom! And now that is definitely becoming a trend these days with a growing number of people tying the knot to themselves. Can you believe it?
This marriage to the self has been termed ‘Sologamy‘, just like we have polygamy and bigamy. It is also called ‘self-marriage’ or ‘self-uniting marriage’, and statistics show that sologamy is more common among women than among men.
But what exactly is Sologamy? And how does this seemingly ridiculous idea of marriage work?
Sologamy is the act of uniting in matrimony to oneself, and it has emerged as a relationship trend among people, mostly women in the U.S., Australia, Japan, U.K. and Taiwan. It is believed to all have started with Linda Baker, the first person to wed herself in 1993. This was followed by the famous NBA player Dennis Rodman marrying himself in 1996. Today, we have many more to add to the list as the practice is gaining currency. While most people mistake sologamy as a commitment to celibacy, it is not. People still continue having relationships, and some even get married to a person who is not themselves down the road when they eventually find true love.
Is it even legal to get married to yourself?
No, not yet! It hasn’t been legalized yet to get married to yourself. There is no law in the books that accept self-marriages. But there’s also no law preventing it. And most self-married people have committed to themselves in a ceremony that celebrates self-love. No signing of papers, no registration, no hassles at all. No wedding jitters or cold feet. No need to even fear the groom or bride not showing up! You can pick the day, the time, the venue and the people you want at the wedding. All you need is to get up and walk yourself down the aisle. Sounds too good, right?
But self-marriage campaigns started by self-united people strive to make it legalized. So, the chances are that we’ll be seeing a lot of self-married people in the future. In a world that is still slow in accepting same-sex marriages, self marriages have joined the lot.
Name of spouse – Myself! And have fun watching the eyes pop out!
So how exactly does one get married to oneself?
Do I just wear a garland, look at myself prettily in the eye (in a mirror, how else) and say ‘I do’?
The ceremonies of self-marriage are just like any other marriage and include a cake, the thousand and one guests and a grand reception. Self-marriages are also conducted in the presence of an officiant, just as in a traditional marriage setup. But there have been instances where people just married themselves without the presence of an officiant or other humans at all, online in front of a screen.
The wedding industry that never runs out of business thrives all the more with sologamy on the rise. With enticing and tempting packages that offer amazing deals to wed yourself, even people who would have stayed unmarried in the past will go ahead and vow a lifetime of matrimonial bliss to themselves. There are self-marriage packages offered in Japan to married women who were dissatisfied with their original wedding.
Unlike traditional marriages, self-marriage doesn’t require as much preparation and planning. Of course, like any other relation, you need to be dedicated to making a statement to love yourself. But the hassle of finding a venue and a groom and all that can be avoided. There are sites like IMarriedMe.com where self-wedding kits, including a single wedding band, daily affirmation cards and vows, can be ordered online to make things easier. Marriage at the click of a button!
What is the significance behind this trend? Why is it catching on like fire?
In contemporary society, where marriage as an institution is regarded as of utmost importance, sologamy defies the norm set by conventional marriages. It comes as a relief to those who are ostracized and ridiculed just because they voluntarily choose to stay unmarried, especially in a country like India, where men are expected to be married by their mid-30’s and women by their mid-20’s. Where marriage is considered to be the ultimate goal in life. And to step away from this norm and to own and claim your own space in the niche of a society is to invite shame and taunt. Now you can tell those people that you are indeed married. To yourself!
We are taught and conditioned from a young age that we all are to get married in a heterosexual and monogamous ceremony for a lifetime of happiness. Boys meets girl= marriage. Even the marriage act states that ‘marriage is the union of a man and a woman, to the exclusion of “all others”‘. And when this order deemed by the patriarchal society is disturbed, it results in a lifetime of prejudice to the anomalies of this equation. And if you’re not involved with anyone romantically, then by God, there’s something inherently wrong with you.
Some see Sologamy challenge these conventions of traditional marriages and make it all the more clearer that love, no matter what sort of love it is, deserves to be celebrated. Who decided that only married people deserve to have a celebration, while unmarried people should be deprived of a celebration? Married/Unmarried has become another category in the myriad of binaries that the world is rid of. Sologamy comes as a solution to shatter this norm as people can step forward to celebrate their independence and growth. Most supporters of sologamy have stated that it leads to a more fulfilled way of living and appraises one’s self-worth. It is a commitment to love yourself more, to cherish each day with yourself, to spend more time taking care of yourself, to cut off the toxic negativity from your life.
However, in a country like India that goes crazy for weddings, sologamy will probably take at least another five or ten years to reach.
So now let’s come to serious matters, why is it becoming a trend nowadays?
Bad breakups and infidelity have been some of the major reasons behind sologamy. But sologamy is practised by individuals for different reasons. For some, it is to poke fun at the rituals and the whole ridiculous concept of marriage. For some, it is a means of fulfilling the ideal wedding they had imagined initially, which didn’t go as planned. However, most people have described it as cathartic and therapeutic, being able to heal from the scars left by previous relationships that pick up the pieces of their heart that have been broken one too many times.
Marriage is celebrated by everyone as a great turning point in life. When you’re married, it’s suddenly like you got a promotion or transformed into a new species. What about unmarried people? Nothing to mark their milestones, no grand ceremonies to celebrate their growth? Just because they dint find the one? That’s where sologamy comes in!
The idea of the ‘one’, our other half existing in some part of the world, has been imprinted inside our heads. Like we are all half-empty souls at the moment, walking around unfulfilled, only complete when we meet the ‘one’. Talk about clichés. Sologamy is about being enough for yourself, not waiting tirelessly for somebody to complete you. Buying flowers and chocolates to gift to yourself, vowing to respect yourself no matter what or how you look like. Taking responsibility for your own happiness and feeling a sense of tranquillity and solace. It has actually proved to make people better in relationships as it makes them more aware of their self-worth.
Why is it that sologamists are women more than men?
Because women are more pressured to get married! The idea of a single woman is still not accepted, no matter how modern our society can get. But bachelors are cool; they are acceptable, eligible even at the age of 40. We have forever had the cool chronic bachelor stereotype pitied against the spinster, shame of the family, lonely cat-lady stereotypes for unmarried women. Women cannot be happy on their own because society believes that and sologamy helps break these illogical stereotypes. Marriage is an idea sold to women more than to men. And more women give in to marriages and unhappy relationships out of pressure than out of love.
All that said, it doesn’t mean that men are not ridiculed for being single or that men do not practice sologamy.
If you are still thinking to yourself, this is unbelievable! Who does that?! Well, you’re not alone. Many people find the idea of sologamy to be quite narcissistic, and it is perceived to stem from people with low-esteem. But then again, those are just opinions, and opinions need not be 100 per cent correct. After all, it’s a free world, right? What’s to stop you from showing a little extra love to yourself!
So, think about it. Would you ever marry yourself?