Marrying With Abandon

A Progressive Understanding Of Matrimony

I reckon I'll marry my desk.

I got the idea after reading about how homosexuals wanted to marry each other. The idea didn't seem any sillier than, say, bathing in used motor oil. I don't have anything against homosexuals. On the other hand, I don't see why they should escape the suffering inflicted on the rest of us. After they tried marriage a little, I figured, they would be supporting a law to make it illegal again.

Thing is (I continued figuring), if we're going to reform marriage, we ought to do it up right. No half measures: Reform it until it hollers for mercy. I mean, if marriage isn't going to be tied to reproduction, or to common sense, why should it be restricted to couples?

If Joe Bob can marry Sally, or Willy Bill, why can't he marry both of'em? Call it heterohomogamy. (I'm manfully resisting an impulse to write about a bisexual built for two.) If two homosexuals have a constitutional right to marry, why don't three? Or three heterosexuals? Why not bigamy, trigamy, even fourgamy?

Actually, I can imagine the marriage of vast clusters of people, of whole phone books. You could marry your suburb. I think it's protected by the First Amendment's right to freedom of assembly.

I'm tired of being oppressed by the white male biarchy and its phallocentric anti-heterohomogamous hierarchical prejudices.

Yeah. Hooboy.

Why stop with marrying Scarsdale? The Supreme Court needs to look into the unconstitutional ban against marriage between species. Why can't Jim Bob marry his faithful dog Birdshot? (Actually, because if Birdshot got wind of it, he'd be off like a rocket. Dogs are faithful, but they're not crazy.)

The truth is that guys form bonds of affection with dogs that are almost as strong as those they form with a restored '58 Ford with monster four-barrel carburetors and three coats of hand-rubbed Kandy-Color Red metal-flake enamel. A man will throw a cat into a wood chipper and reckon he's made a contribution to society. He'll love a dog.

Granted, a fellow's relationship with a dog is in some respects unlike marriage. A dog usually likes you. The average pooch stays around until one of you croaks. Still, mutual affection isn't an absolute bar to matrimony.

What I want to know is: What right does the Supreme Court, nine funny-looking judicial nonentities in black nighties, have to tell me with whom I can plight my troth? (I wish I were a little more sure what a troth was. It sounds like something a horse might eat from. I want to marry my horse.)

Yes, I know. Conservatives, ever sloshing around in the rearguard of advanced thought, will object to a liberating conception of marriage. Phallocentric heterohomogamophobic biarchical males (or maybe I mean biphallic heterowhatever-I-said archocentric ones: It's hard to tell) will argue that matrimony with a pooch-dog is absurd. Who says?

In reality, inter-speciesist love has always flourished, especially in sheep country. (Incidentally, my spelling-checker thinks "speciesist" should be "spacesuit." See? Biased software.) Hushed reports circulate in New York of liaisons with chickens and even gerbils.

These affairs of the heart have been the subject of cruel humor. For example, after the Gulf War, American GIs asked, "What do you call an Iraqi with a sheep under each arm? (The answer was "A pimp." Is that insensitive, or what?) They also asked, "What do you call an Iraqi with a sheep under one arm and a goat under the other?" ("A bisexual.") These sick attempts at humor, like the frequent reference to camels as "war brides," underline a deep cultural discomfort with a more accepting view of marriage. At the same time, they show that a reactionary prejudice has begun to be questioned.

Isn't it a question of individual freedom? If a man wants to marry a chicken, society has no business interfering in what at bottom is a matter of private conscience. Of course a trans-phylum marriage cannot be expected to result in children, but the loving couple could adopt. Many children now languish in orphanages, probably eating nothing but cold porridge, because there aren't enough heteropatriarchal couples who want to adopt.

Children today, raised in antiquated conservative beliefs, might laugh at a classmate whose mother clucked, or tried to nest in the supply closet. This intolerance can be remedied through progressive schooling. We have booklets today to counter homophobia, as for example, "Sally Has Two Daddies." How about, "Billy's Mommy Has Feathers"? Teachers could explain that diversity is good.

Sez me, the courts need to give forward--looking thought to one of the last remaining barriers to a truly enlightened view of marriage: Live-ism. By this I mean totally unjustifiable discrimination against the non-living. Why is it that I may not marry, say, an inflatable wife? Or man or sheep, of course.

The idea is not as curious as it may seem. Love between people and the inanimate is well known. Little girls clearly feel genuine affection for their dolls. Naval captains sink loyally, if not very intelligently, with their ships. Fighter pilots love their airplanes almost as much as they love themselves, with women a distant third. Why an unreasoning prejudice against silicone?

Entire silicone women are sold on the Internet for about five grand, not just piecemeal by Dow-Corning. They are less engaging than "real" women (though who are we to decide who is "real"?) On the other hand, they don't cluck, bleat, quack, or complain about the scuba gear in the middle of the floor. I've never heard of silicone men, perhaps because women aren't loony enough, but we could pass a federal law requiring their manufacture.

Again, other children would have to learn to be tolerant of nontraditional families based on plastic. A booklet would help: "Bobby's Mom Softens When it Gets Hot."

This column is getting out of hand. There's such a thing as too much social progress. I'm still going to marry my desk. Nice legs, four of them, but no knees. Y'all come.