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What is sologamy? It is marrying yourself, in a trend of self-love that is catching on in some places. So what does it mean in an Indian society obsessed with getting young people ‘marrying off’?
Are your parents pressurizing you to get married? Do you run to your room or pretend to get a phone call each time they utter the word ‘marriage’? Well, for whatever reason you’re trying to dodge the subject, we’re sure you’ll soon run out of excuses. But here’s a novel one – let them know that there’s a new kind of wedding that may very well trump monogamy one day, and that you’re all in favour of sologamy!
As the term implies, it is the act of marrying yourself, a solo marriage if you will. People who marry themselves are called sologamists, and news stories show that women are doing it more than men. According to records, the first person in the US to wed herself was 40-year-old Linda Baker. That was back in 1993. Since then it has been sporadically seen since the early 2000s and is only increasing in popularity.
With reactions to sologamy ranging from ridiculous to desperate to narcissistic, it is anything but. The idea behind it is beautiful, something all of us must practice: self-love.
Self-love is something women particularly struggle with, and sologamy can help them achieve it, more so if they are single even after they have reached or crossed their “marriageable age”. In fact, that is exactly what motivated Erika. She says, “When you’re single, society tells you that you are a woman who has not been chosen by someone else. I decided to choose myself. It was an act of defiance.”
Owing to our patriarchal society, this trend is increasingly attracting the attention of single metropolitan women here in India as well.
29-year-old Neelam is one of them. “Just because you haven’t found a partner doesn’t mean you can’t get married. And the perks are undeniable! You get to have your big day and get a ton of amazing gifts. Then, you don’t go home to someone who you simply settled for, or in another extreme, simply sucks – but you probably don’t know how much just yet. Think about it; no cheating, no heartbreak, no divorce; just self-love. It’s a win-win situation all around.”
Lubna, a 27-year-old software engineer believes that actually executing it (marrying oneself) is taking it too far, but that the concept is interesting. She says, “The modern and independent woman of today marries because she wants to, not as a rite of passage. However, suitable partners are getting more and more difficult to find – more so if you are a woman who has standards. Such a woman knows what she is worth so she won’t settle for anything less than what she deserves.
I don’t really think one needs to marry themselves to love themselves better, but if it helps them, what’s the harm? After all, it is just a ceremony, and it is not even legally binding. Plus, it’s better to marry yourself than going with the wrong person. I don’t get why women are getting so much flak for it. Especially when I don’t see anyone making a big deal of Shinder.”
However, the idea doesn’t sit well with some women.
28-year-old HR professional Priti thinks it’s a farce. She opines, “Is marriage so important that you have to marry someone, even if that someone happens to be you yourself? If the basic idea is to promote self-love, does this mean that there is love only after marriage? If you truly love yourself, there is no need to prove it in this manner. I neither like nor agree with this concept.”
Stories of men saying yes to themselves have been significantly fewer, but they do exist. Here’s what Indian men think of it.
27-year-old author Alchem thinks it is an act of self-obsession. “I respect (those men’s) decisions, but I think it is going too far. When you love your singlehood, celebrate it. Spend time with yourself, read books, travel the world, climb mountains. Marrying yourself is just self-obsession. It does not add anything to life. It is like you are trying to prove that you are happy being single, which you are probably not. That’s why you felt the need to prove it in the first place! I mean, look at the people who celebrated their singlehood and were proud of it, like Abdul Kalam, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, etc. The whole nation is proud of them. Imagine if instead of dedicating themselves to their goals, to the nation, they had married themselves.”
All of 19, Siddhartha, a student who is still figuring out life, has a rather wise and radical view on this trend. “I don’t know much about sologamy or our generation’s concept about any ‘gamies’ in general… we seem to be a slightly confused bunch. Working with what we think is best for each of us. I know that both Lennon and Cobain didn’t have successful marriages because they realized being confused alone is tragic, but it’s better than dragging down another. I prefer to think we’re all trying to find our footing in a world racing by bottom lines and profit margins and startup ideas and busts and every odd thing our millennium has so stupendously exceeded itself with.”
This trend is only going to get more popular over time, and that’s a good thing. It doesn’t mean you can’t love or wed anyone else. It only means you will always love yourself first – and never forget your self-worth. Besides, let’s not forget that many people think monogamy is a stupid idea as well. But that isn’t stopping anyone from going ahead and doing it. So why all the hate on sologamy? Live and let live, people.
What is your take? Would you ever consider putting a ring on yourself?
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: a still from the movie Queen
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Mahevash Shaikh is a millennial blogger, author, and poet who writes about mental health, culture,
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