Call it a representation of a coming of age story on popular media or vouch for it as a cult classic, but Sex and the City touched down on a range of modern day life issues we never envisioned would come to rule our existence in the 21st century. And yet it has, undeniably and despite the many criticisms it had been subjected to, the popular drama series did indeed set the bells ringing on such elements that are revolutionary, though in different capacities. Cut to a particular scene in the 2003 churning by HBO where one of the show’s protagonists Carrie Bradshaw declared her intention to marry herself and we have yet another point of focal attraction that would come to penetrate real life choices and decisions in years to come.
Sologamy or the practice of marrying oneself is a rather indescriptible mode of tying the knot, even when it is also as self explanatory in name. Without any definite knowledge of its history or beginnings, and lacking even the valedictory worth attached to marriages, traditionally or otherwise, this emerging to be ‘more common than rare’ ‘trend’ of committing to oneself is also therefore not so recognised an aspect even in the societal culture of today, that has evolved to be largely unorthodox. But this does not mean that sologamy does not exist or that it does not harbour any significance in its prevalence thereof. Particularly the later part of the last decade being the times when this choice by individuals to marry themselves has been indulged upon for varying reasons based however on similar premises, sologamy has emerged to be as definite an encompassment of the divine relation that the bond of wedding is supposed to foster.
And yet, sologamy not being recognised legally means that this very conscious decision of self marriage would likely fail to achieve the serving of interests. But concrete considerations has never been what had driven this desire to keep commitment confined to one’s own self. The notions associated with this particular system of marriage unsurprisingly has everything to do with the perception of self worth, with supporters vying for just how effective it can be in helping one live a happier life. Opponents vary obviously, deriving however from this same basis of the self worth thing, as they tend to view it as something very narcissistic in essence and therefore suggestive of, quite ironically, a low self esteem. Also striking is the fact the most practitioners of this not anything traditional practice of marriage happen to be women, though a handful of men have been party to sologamy as well, alluding it therefore to be a different wave of feminism in itself, not exclusively however but no less poignant and assertive. Another interesting thing to note here is that while Sex and the City might have brought this whole self marrying thing to mass focus, the first publicised solo marriage still dates back to a decade before Carrie Bradshaw propagated this roundabout way to taking the leap of faith. An American woman Linda Baker had the first ever publicly recognized sologamous marriage in 1993 while the first celebrity adherer to this ‘faith’ happened to be NBA star Dennis Rodman, albeit strangely, who went the extra mile by dressing in a custom made gown and sporting a Kevyn Aucoin runway makeup look, with a throng of tuxedo-clad women escorting him from a horse-drawn carriage into a Barnes & Noble on Fifth Avenue, in his commitment to himself in 1996 which however would be more appropriately viewed as a publicity stunt prior to the release of his autobiography Bad As I Wanna Be. In the years since then, and particularly in the new millennium, sologamy has proven to be a matter not much disruptive of the human inclination to find their better half, resorting instead to being that half themselves as well, bring to fore a dimension of relationships that caters to the self more than pursuing the interests of society.
But what is the need to go the length and end up marrying one’s own self, complete with all the celebrations, all that dressing up and cutting into the wedding cake and hosting guests for a reception, much like what ordinary wedding between two individuals surmise a picture of? When viewed as an assertion of self love, sologamy should be more about self acceptance or a realisation of the belief that single people can indeed be as happy as any other in the world, and does not therefore require any physical assertion of that commitment by means of rituals and societal norms and such. But come to think of it and marriages in general as well would be as futile an exercise in their publicity if love and trust between couples is what ultimately matters, making therefore sologamy as a form of marriage an idea that is not particularly pointless. In its symbolic essence therefore, sologamy is more concrete a form of self love that people can practice, in full world view, accepting themselves with all their flaws and imperfections and such, fostering therefore a bond with themselves that goes deeper than what merely preaching notions of it entails one to.
This marrying of the self however can also be a practice that seems essential owing to the societal validation that marriages bring upon one as an individual and a certain view of responsibility that the world begins seeing us in. Also at play might be the ingrained view that most individuals purportedly hold, of a wedding being almost synonymous with a ‘dream wedding’, lending the idea therefore an element of beauty so magical that they absolutely want to make it a part of their life experience. Particularly with women, for whom being a bride has very emotional sensibilities attached to it, not just of a desire to marry for togetherness but also one that sees them assume a sense of self importance not generally ‘allowed’ by the world, this idea of a marriage, even when it has to happen with their own self, is worth every bit the hype of it. More essentially though, this linking of marriage to a perceived ideal state of life, specially for women, translates also in greater contexts of it to reversal of the traditional roles assigned in accordance with gender. In rebutting the notion of a relationship nurtured with others and embracing more completely the relationship with herself, sologamy can also be an assertion of the female identity, traditionally constrained from full expression of her person. With such strongly personal awareness that might stem from it, it is no wonder that the traditionally bound existence of the womenfolk has come to decipher the most meaning within this solo practice.
The idea of marrying oneself sounds very much like a pledge that you have taken to stay committed to yourself, no matter what. But this isn’t in any way a ‘marriage’ that is so exclusive that absolutely does away with consideration of the other relationships you might be pursuing. You can be in a romantic relationship with someone and still be a sologamist. On the other hand, you might have been single all your life and still not give the idea of marrying yourself a shot. Sologamy does not mean shutting yourself off to all potential romantic relationships in the future as well. It instead is a rather wholesome way of not letting others affect your personal life because the true power rests within you to make yourself truly happy and fulfilled and most importantly, feel loved.
That said however, sologamy might ironically be seen as, or at times even indeed be, a submission to the outsider factor as well, as embarking on the journey of a ‘married life’ with oneself might signal an attempt at proving to the world just how much you care about what they say, to be taking all the pains to shut them out. But the real intent of sologamy perhaps, for what we want it to be, might be more ritualistic than anything else. A deep honouring of the self being the driving force is perhaps what would make sologamy the ultimate standard for self love, a liberation of the self brought about by a conscious decision to stick to oneself. And that’s perhaps what Emma Watson meant when she said about being self- partnered. With the world focussing more and more on the realisation of the importance of self love and how it is the first step in living a life everyone would desire, strings attached or not, sologamy might not be as much the farce as you would think it to be in its first impression. Like romance that takes time to blossom, the idea of sologamy might also slowly grow onto you, not anything like love at first sight but more like love that feels oh-so-right!