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October 2, 2000 e-mail e-mail to a friend in need

Putting the "Age" in "Marriage"

We've been told we're too picky; we've been told it's too late. But when I asked how long you waited to get married, you* said, almost uniformly, "Not long enough!"

"I was delusional to think that by the age of 22 I was done dating." -- Nicki

• "I seriously thought, at 20, that I'd blow the curve, that I was different from all those way-too-young kids getting married. Hah!" -- Cas

• "I was 19 when I married the first time...dumb move. But like a typical teenager who thinks they know everything, I couldn't be told." -- Patti

• "I was 17 when I got married. I think that I was way too young to take on the responsibility of being a wife and a mother." -- Katie

• "I have been married for two and a half years -- since I was 18 -- and I feel like I'm 40." -- Heather

• "I got married at 25 and divorced after five years. I wish I could say I woke up one day and realized I could do better for myself on my own. But it took the courage of an old friend who confessed to having a crush on me for years and years to give me the courage to take control of my life and take responsibility for my own happiness. Anyway, I do wish I had waited until I was at least 30 to get married. I tell all my younger friends that they should spend their 20s getting to know themselves." -- Jenna

Ah, but then there's Eliza: "My parents met in London when my mom was 22 and my dad was 21. He played guitar and had long hair and a Scottish accent, and she wore sweaters and pleated skirts and spoke with a Virginia twang. They had known each other only three months when they decided to get married. Then my mother freaked out, called it off, and came back to America. Afer a few weeks and a lot of letters from my dad, she shook it off and went back to England. They finally got married at Town Hall on Bastille Day and went out for sandwiches afterwards. They had known each other for six months -- last Friday was their 35th anniversary."

Delightful story...but from another time, another place (and one that makes Eliza and her sister really freak out at the three-month mark).

I know, of course, that there are kazillions of young (and married-young couples) who still adore each other so giddily they couldn't even un-hug long enough to write to me. But still. Add the above testimonies to a recent news flash, and my women readers will get what I consider a vastly cautionary tale. According to a recent CBS News/New York Times poll, married women prefer George W. Bush 45% to 37%, while unmarried women strongly prefer Mr. Gore to Mr. Bush, 57% to 22%. So if it's all the same to you, would you mind waiting at least 'til after November 8?

* only women responded, interestingly

Predicament of the week: Imaginary Boyfriends!


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