>>> The Rollercoaster of Drama
By staff writer Simonne Cullen
May 22, 2005

Well it's the end of the school year and there's always a few couples who get engaged by graduation. The couples that have been dating four years or more. Whether they found each other their freshman year and fell deeply in love or whether they're high school sweethearts, you can't help but wonder how two people can go through with the Big M, committing to each other for a lifetime, when the rest us can't even commit to a particular wall to hang our diploma on.

A wise friend of mine tried explaining this whole marriage right of college thing to me last night. She said, “Monie, some people just reach that road before the rest of us do. That's not to say your friendship is going to change. You're just going one way and your friend is going the other. Although I can't imagine why any woman in her right mind would want to set up her gift registry right when all her friends (and his friends, come to think of it) just deferred all their student loans and are living life at their poorest. So she can't really be that smart, which is why she is taking the stupid road. Or is the guy loaded? Because if he's loaded that's another story. Then it won't matter if five of you chip in and buy them a grill, because groom's daddy is buying them a house. And most importantly, don't compare yourself to her. Just because you're going to be wandering around single 'til you're 35 doesn't mean your life's value is reduced. Because every wedding has an open bar policy—which, let's face it, when you're that poor, is something to look forward too.”

“My roommate's parents married shortly after college and saved for a house; they ate peanut butter jelly or tuna sandwiches for 365 days straight.”

You don't see a lot of marriage proposals up here in the Midwest or even on the West Coast. I'm not entirely sure about East Coast schools, but I know for a fact that everyone down South is trying to get hitched. Us Yankees up here call it Southern Belle Syndrome—y'all in the South (with the exception of Florida) want a rock on your finger by graduation. I reckon that's why most of y'all went to college in the first place: to get an education in how to ask a man to marry you. And there's nothing wrong with that, because I've stayed at several Southern schools before and y'all out there are breeding real quality gentlemen. They open the door for you, send flowers and jewelry, and take you on real fun trips to his family's second home. And I understand it's a different culture, but if I were a man I'd want my woman to be able to hold her liquor not her laxatives.

Remember in Legally Blonde when Reese Witherspoon thought she was going to get engaged and then got dumped instead? Then she went to Harvard and became this really excellent lawyer to win a murder trial. And finally in the sequel, she went to Washington D.C. and single-handedly organized the Million Dog March and forever changed history. And even though the entire movie was completely unrealistic, did you notice that she got married after she had a career on her own? I think that event more than anything made the movie more touching and that hint of realism really got the critics to forget the fact that she won a murder trial based on hair care maintenance.

Maybe I'm just cynical about marriage because divorce rates are so high. I mean if celebrities can't make a marriage work out in three months then really who can? Although if there's any marriage I'd like to mirror it's Sandy and Kristen's from The OC. They're the only couple on the show that's still together and in the season finale Sandy sent Kristen off to an alcoholic spa that's twenty times nicer than my parent's house I'm moving into in three weeks. And I'm not encouraging anyone to become an alcoholic, but if you're marriage sits on a plethora of money, well then you've got something to look forward to. Unlike the rest of the people who don't live in Newport that go to AA in Public School 115, in a kindergarten classroom surrounded by the smell of paste and play dough to overcome their addiction.

That's not to say that the marriages right after college won't last. There are going to be very hard times ahead for all of us. America is at war and sooner or later there's going to be an economic crisis and god knows what else our future history is cooking up for us. It's going to be nice to have someone legally bound to you, because even though you're poor, from humble beginnings come strong marriages. My roommate's parents married shortly after college and saved every cent they made for a year to put a down payment on a house; they ate peanut butter jelly or tuna sandwiches for 365 days straight. So I guess if you and your fiancé are prepared to make that kind of sacrifice together then you've got a solid grip on reality and love. And if you don't know whether or not tuna is chicken or fish, you're screwed.

In the state of Wisconsin if you're married at 18 to someone who is 21 or older then the 18-year-old can legally drink when they're with their spouse. I overheard some high school girls talking in the mall about how that'd be a great idea just to be able to booze it up at 18. To which my wise friend turned around to tell them that fake I.D.'s are a more practical option. Because if you were a parent wouldn't you rather have your child get in trouble for using a fake than getting a divorce at 19? Especially if your kid idolized Britney? I'd be like, “Here's all the Bud Light and strawberry vodka you want just don't drink and drive to a chapel and elope.”

But weddings are a lot of fun. It's like a mini-college reunion. And you all dominate about three or four tables depending on how big the wedding is. So these tables are known as the drunk tables because even though it's almost been a year since graduation it's the one opportunity to relive your glory days. So what if the best man had to excuse himself in the middle of the speech to belch, or that his date is puking in the bathroom because she drank too many champagne drinks during cocktail hour, or that your ex-roommate is hitting on your older cousin and she's actually buying into the, “I'm the young, sensitive, pro-commitment, last of a dying breed” act? It doesn't matter because you've got someone to share the rest of your life with for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, for green card or not. But I'm going to be a wise friend, in telling you that if you don't have an open bar you're getting an Ikea picnic set instead of a grill.