The I dos (and don’ts) of college marriage
Honey, does my self esteem look big in this?
The date is the 14th April 1912, (or Freshers' Week 2k17), the Titanic has just sunk, i.e your parents have just dropped you off at Cambridge, and you are drowning in a freezing cold ocean (a pool of crippling social anxiety). However appealing/vital it appears, don’t grab the nearest life-boat, here meaning a shotgun college marriage in Week 1. It will be infinitely more prudent to bear the icy waters ahead, even in the face of a potential shark attack.
Getting engaged in early Michaelmas is like the Sainsbury’s ‘Reduced to Clear’ section – it stinks of desperation. One wants to cultivate an image of relationship laissez-faire. You’re obviously way too busy being chased by numerous suitors that you haven’t had the time to choose just one.
My dear, naive cherubs, you don’t know what your fellow freshers will be like months from now. They could start off sharing your values of a love of Marxist historiography and a cheeky Monday Nanna Mex, and the next thing you know, they are the President of the Cambridge Railway Society, own a pair of platform Crocs (yes these terrors do exist) and/or have a genuine passion for Cindies 1am playlist of Cotton-Eyed Joe/Steps/ Circle of Life.
A quick and shoddy marriage, without this kind of savvy critical thinking, could lead to you having snagged a Gold-Digger. And when I say Gold-Digger, I mean not just a financial leech, but a leech on your friendship circle, and a parasite on your daily Sainsbury’s purchases.
Naturally, the advice is to pause, browse and window shop (classique student advice, anyway).
As we all know, great things come to those who wait, except when they don’t. Just hold out a few more months than the rest of your desperate contemporaries and you could land yourself a Cambridge Blue, a thriving thesp or be lumbered with the library hermit or gyp-thief.
So one needs to straddle that line of waiting and being chaste, and make tactical decisions: think Chess, and continue to check-out-your-mates all day long.
The way I achieved #MarriageGoals was just like the plot of most decent romcoms, I ended up marrying the girl-next-door; and not just to fulfil this cliché, but because we learned to co-habitate first, before we sealed the deal. By bursting into each other's rooms and lives utterly unannounced, we managed to see each other at the absolute nadir and peak, but mostly nadir, of human interaction.
Also, don’t let good-old Tresemmé, our wholesome PM, make you afraid of unconventional family structures. Be open to a threeway, be open to polygamy, or be open to going it alone because you’re a strong and independent Tripos student who don’t need no partner to bring you a sense of external validation.
So if you haven’t heeded my erudite and utterly priceless advice and you are stuck in a loveless marriage, keep sipping on your Merlot out of your Tesco mug, as you endlessly whine to your mother, and ‘Listen to the song here in my heart // A melody I start but CAN complete!’
As a sage second year, I can promise you young freshers, that families come in all shapes and sizes; some perfect symbiotic circles of love, and some are fucked up rhombuses. Yes, family take-away night can be cringe when you are estranged, but just keep telling yourself that you are doing it for the kids.
And enter your next year as a sexy divorcée, called Brenda, or possibly something sexier – but still wise and experienced and ready for an experience in the shark tank. And if your proposal pic on Insta doesn’t garner enough likes and support, (we’re talking at least over the 60 mark), end it now. Society clearly does not accept this union, and neither should you.