News from the Tennessee Valley Current

Stephanie Gilliam

Movies omit mundane aspects of marriage

Somewhere, in a city bigger than ours, in houses more decorated than ours, beautiful people are leading glamorous lives.

If we were just that beautiful and rich, we too, could be living that life.

It's a consciousness shaped by Hollywood's consistent production of fairytale romances.

I learned this in college, not from a professor, but from the movies weakly linked to the course material. I watched "Austin Powers" in Greek Mythology and "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" in almost every subject, so discussing Meg Ryan's contribution to America's abysmal divorce rate in my History of the Middle Ages class didn't seem too outlandish.

One student theorized the actor's roles in those magical love story movies — the ones where two beautiful people marry and live happily ever after — are largely responsible for an ideal that doesn't exist in the everyday world.

While that unmarried undergraduate wasn't exactly an authority on the reality of marriages, his opinion may have some merit.

I, for one, have always wanted my life to be like a modern-day Jane Austen novel, the kind of life where I get to be Elizabeth Bennett or Emma Woodhouse. Jane Austen really seemed to understand love, the give-and-take necessary to a good relationship, the mystery of love, the element of chance. And, perhaps not coincidentally, she never married.

But the ideal is nevertheless etched in my mind, so that I cannot understand why some find their soul mate at age 18 or 20, while the rest of us stock them with gifts, organize their wedding showers and go to them — by ourselves.

It seems like everyone else has found that special someone, while I'm left wondering why I haven't. Come on, even serial killers get married, even after they've been sentenced to execution!

Maybe marriage isn't all that it's cracked up to be, or maybe that's just something single people say to make themselves feel better. I'll just have to wait and see.

Stephanie Gilliam, 24, is a Decatur resident who works at Hospice of the Valley.

Stephanie Gilliam Stephanie Gilliam

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