What’s a girl to do if she is in love with the idea of a fairy tale wedding and there’s no likely partner in the picture whom she wants to get hitched with? Well, she can just go ahead and marry herself.
Women in the West have been doing it for years, and it’s a hot trend in Japan as well. Indian women have so far been immune to the wondrous charms of solo weddings.
But that could change, with 24-year-old Kshama Bindu from Vadodara in Gujarat declaring this week that she is planning to get married to herself in a full-on great Indian wedding ceremony, complete with haldi, phera et al.
The only set-piece missing from the elaborate proceedings will be a groom and his entourage. But that’s the whole point of a solo wedding or sologamy, as it is also called. The sologamist gets to cut out the extraneous stuff and focus on the real star of the occasion — her own self.
“Self-marriage is a commitment to be there for yourself and unconditional love for oneself. It’s also an act of self-acceptance. People marry someone they love. I love myself and hence, this wedding,” Bindu told reporters as she announced her decision to have the first ever solo wedding in the country.
Her words are pretty much the standard rationale for most acts of sologamy. And they do seem grand and empowering and all that. If you love yourself, a self-marriage is an affirmation of that fulfilling self-love. It’s also the ultimate expression of self-reliance, or atmanirbharta, as our powers-that-be would call it.
You want to find love, get married — heck, don’t endlessly swipe right and wait for someone to come along and make it happen. Turn to self help. Your best match is, of course, YOU, so simply marry yourself. After all, if auto eroticism is a thing, why not auto matrimony?
Perks Of Marrying One Self
Besides, let’s not forget the manifold advantages of a sologamous relationship. When you are married to yourself, you don’t have to put up with the annoying habits of another person, such as his snoring, or his single-minded determination to never, ever, fully close drawers. Cheating is another area where sologamy scores over the overrated joys of monogamy.
Since your significant other is you, if you stray, that is, have a relationship with another person, you can quickly forgive yourself sans hysterics and over-the-top emotional drama.
Likewise with divorce. In case you want to end this marriage — beautiful and uplifting though it was — you can do it painlessly. No recriminations, no trauma, no court battle for alimony… Just a decorous adieu to yourself, perhaps while you sing I did it my way.
Last year, 33-year-old Brazilian model Cris Galera got a divorce from herself three months after her very Instagram-worthy solo wedding. The unfortunate split happened when Galera met a man whom she probably liked better than she did the part of herself she was married to.
The Idea Isn't New
All this may sound a bit surreal. But wait, there is method in the, er, madness. In a 2003 episode of the hit television series Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw, the lead character who epitomised a generation of modern western woman’s emotional, sexual and relationship anxieties, enacted what was probably the first solo wedding in the universe.
Since then, life has imitated art, and a lot of single women have followed Carrie's trail-blazing act and opted for sologamy, because they want to experience the romance of a wedding, and tired of waiting for love, they feel they'd rather marry the one they love best and the one who is always at hand — their own selves.
The self-sufficiency logic is undoubtedly a powerful one. It’s almost as if solo weddings were a feminist act, an extension of the feminist slogan “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle”.
The messaging seems to be that you don’t need a man to have a gorgeous wedding party, or, indeed, a marriage.
But Why the Need for Sologamy?
An excellent thought. But here’s the thing. Why does a woman who abjures a partner, want a wedding at all? Why this ardent desire to get married, so much so that even a mock marriage with yourself will do? And does this not buy into the starkly anti-feminist notion that a woman is not complete until she has managed to get into holy wedlock?
Is sologamy not, in fact, a single woman’s obsession with the idea that a woman needs “marriage” — an invention of patriarchy that’s served it well for centuries — to be happy and to validate her self-worth?
Of course, a solo wedding can look gorgeous on Insta. And a rocking party where everyone has a blast has multiple social benefits. So what if the party centres around the slightly sad, slightly crazy act of the woman dressed as a bride exchanging vows with herself?
(Shuma Raha is a journalist and author. She tweets @ShumaRaha. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)