College Marriage Update: 6 months on…
ELOISE DAVIES discovers divorce, incest and general marital chaos.
“Marriage is a wonderful institution, but I’m not ready for an institution.”
These, allegedly, were once the words of Mae West. Or was it Groucho Marx. Could have been Elizabeth I for all I know. Some pugnacious singleton anyway.
Marriage is famously difficult in the real world. Politicians love to bemoan the breakdown of family values. Rising divorce rates cause more panic in middle England than attempts to shut the local post office, reduce the frequency of the farmers’ market or give Antonia a D in her Textiles coursework after she worked so, so hard.
Divorce giveth to Rupert Murdoch in the form of tabloid headlines, and taketh away in the form of a settlement with Wendi Deng. No book/film/high tragedy/soap opera is complete without a smattering of adultery or incest….
How does college marriage compare? Surely this quaint university tradition cannot be so complex, messy and disputed?
Think again. Our 6 month on updates reveal a very different story:
“Two guys who live in my corridor got engaged during Fresher’s Week. One guy got down on one knee, opened a ring box and within 10 seconds the other guy had grabbed the ring and thrown it out of the window behind him. No particular reason. He just panicked. Good start. It did, I think, get better.”
“My best friend proposed to me, and our marriage is actually great. I wasn’t sure for a bit though – he proposed when he was enormously drunk after a swap, whilst simultaneously apologising for getting with my best friend from school who had been there.”
“I was proposed to with and onion ring in McDonalds during the Freshers’ Week pub crawl. Not as big a mistake as it sounds – it’s actually worked really well.”
The Katie Price Paradigm
“I’m a multiple divorcee – my first husband degraded, then the next person I proposed to then got a different, and apparently better, offer. Now at last I’m in a fully committed, homosexual marriage and very happy. So I’m basically some kind of ideal poster girl for the benefits of a liberal, tolerant society. Maybe I should run to be JCR LGBT rep.”
“My first husband failed all his exams when we were freshers and lost his scholarship, but didn’t say anything to anyone until 3 weeks before Michaelmas when he suddenly said he wasn’t coming back. So I literally had to find myself a college husband during freshers week this year.”
“I ended up doing a wife swap, because both couples went out for a bit then had massive fallings out. Luckily nobody from Channel 4 was filming the whole messy process.”
“My husband bought me a real ring. It was really beautiful and my friends were jealous. Then I lost it. Oops. I’m having to pretend I left it at home for safe-keeping.”
“I’m slightly worried that my husband thinks our nuptials are legally binding. He keeps referring me to our vows and took me for afternoon tea on a ‘just married’ couples deal.”
“I was asked by two people to marry them and didn’t know how to say no… So I guess I was a polygamist for a bit until I plucked up the courage to explain to one of them my problem.”
“My college wife thought she was pregnant earlier this year. I’m almost disappointed she wasn’t – I could have laid claim to an actual child.”
“Turns out my college husband has a real wife too. She was very confused when he put our wedding photos on Facebook.”
“My girlfriend is coming to my college next year and is going to be my daughter. I feel like Freud is looking on and laughing.”
“Unlike most of my friends, I didn’t get with my husband. Unfortunately, I got with his real brother. Not sure if that still counts as incest.”
“I ended up marrying my brother, so I’m waiting for the children to turn up with one leg and four ears. Or to turn out to be some kind of homicidal maniac à la Joffrey from Game of Thrones. Suppose it was probably to be expected – I am from Norfolk.”
So, dear freshers of next year, looking to join a stable, caring family: best of luck. You may well need it.