Skip to main content

check box mate

i am an unmarried woman who currently has a boyfriend.

i'd like you to take a few minutes to think about that because a lot of people, including the government of canada, seem to struggle to figure out what it means.

recently, i filled out the canadian census and was miffed to discover that there is no check box available for living with one's boyfriend. you are either married or you are "common law", meaning that if you're old enough to be living together it is generally assumed that you must have lapsed into a matrimonial state, because after the age of twenty, no one is comfortable with the idea that the relationship patterns you establish early on are more or less the same ones you have for the rest of your life. there is assumed to be something shameful about not being in a formally committed relationship.

my boss, for instance, struggles with what to call my boyfriend. he knows we're not married, so husband is incorrect, but he can't bring himself to use the correct term. so he calls him my fiance. when i point out that we are not ever getting married, he reverts to the endearing tag "your whatever you call him". b-o-y-f-r-i-e-n-d. it's not difficult, people.

i have nothing against the married. some of my best friends are married. i happen not to have followed that path. when i'm feeling confident, i believe that this is because i value my independence and i don't feel it necessary to make a formal commitment to anybody. when i'm wallowing in insecurity, i believe it is because i am unlikely to find someone who'd feel comfortable making that sort of formal commitment to me. (a keen observer would note that these are not mutually exclusive, but there's no need to engage in psychoanalysis here.)

whatever the reason, there is an almost tangible stigma to being single. in fact, people are so uncomfortable with those who choose to be single that they have difficulty referring to your relationship as anything but a marriage. apparently even the government gets edgy about it, because they won't let you choose the term that everyone has used since they were teenagers to refer to their significant other. if you're old enough to be filling out the census, you're too old for a boyfriend or girlfriend, apparently.

listen to me steve harper: no troops are going to die in afghanistan because you need more definition on my relationship. so quit giving me a set of little boxes with the words that make you comfortable. as a single person, no one is going to throw me a big party for not marrying the wrong guy. no one is going to remember to send me flowers on the anniversary of the date that i kicked a manipulative ex to the curb. the one advantage being unmarried affords you in today's society is that you are pretty much free to define or not define your relationships however you please. so next time you're writing up the census, i would like to suggest that you add another check box to your list of relationship definitions: none of your business.

Comments

Why dont they add two: "other" and "none of the above"?
Then again, I really like the "none of your damn business, narc". it just has a nice ring to it.
I got lucky and got to pick "single". I would have prefered "single, and looking"... or "Quagmire"...
DJ Tobias said…
Exactly - the census guy came to our door, and I encountered the same issue. Michelle and I are not married, and don't have plans to get married. Explaining that to the guy, and noting there wasn't a appropriate box on the form made him laugh, and he then mentioned that it wasn't the first time it had been pointed out.

... and by the way, you need to get yer arse onto slsk more often, ja?

as long as you're here, why not read more?

imperfect ten

whatever you've heard about the democratic contenders' debate that happened thursday, i would hereby like to tell you to ignore it and, if you have the time, go and watch as much of it as you can [stand]. the biggest story coming out of the debate should really be the appalling talking points that the mainstream media have latched onto, especially the ten-second battle between julian castro and joe biden over healthcare. that literally might have been the least consequential thing that happened all night and i'm including the ad breaks.

ten candidates is still too many a lot but this is the first time that we've had the heaviest hitters all hitting each other. at the same time, they also took somewhat stronger shots at donald trump than they had before [some more than others]. the debate was a full three hours but, unlike the cnn debates where i spent the last half hour or so throwing money at my television in a desperate bid to bribe the moderators to wrap it up quic…

dj kali & mr. dna @ casa del popolo post-punk night

last night was a blast! a big thank you to dj tyg for letting us guest star on her monthly night, because we had a great time. my set was a little more reminiscent of the sets that i used to do at katacombes [i.e., less prone to strange meanderings than what you normally hear at the caustic lounge]. i actually invited someone to the night with the promise "don't worry, it'll be normal". which also gives you an idea of what to expect at the caustic lounge. behold my marketing genius.

mr. dna started off putting the "punk" into the night [which i think technically means i was responsible for the post, which doesn't sound quite so exciting]. i'd say that he definitely had the edge in the bouncy energy department.

many thanks to those who stopped in throughout the night to share in the tunes, the booze and the remarkably tasty nachos and a special thank you to the ska boss who stuck it out until the end of the night and gave our weary bones a ride home…

worldwide wednesdays :: peace and prosperity through... socialism?

every year an organization called the institute for economics and peace produce a highly regarded report that rates 163 countries on their relative level of peacefulness: the global peace index. i happened across an online post about this year's report that made me do a double-take. although i'm a frequent critic of the united states, i am aware that they are one of the most developed countries in the world; nearly all americans of all are functionally literate, most have access to healthcare, most have access to potable water, freedom of speech is enshrined in the constitution, etc. many, many countries can't boast these things. so imagine my shock when i saw in the summary of the report that the united states ranked 118th of 163 countries. i couldn't imagine how that was true and, indeed, it was wrong.

they rank 128th.

how the hell is it possible that the united states is less peaceful than countries like honduras [consistently one of the most violent places in the …