A few weeks ago, the blog feministing highlighted an advice column from the New York Times, in which a woman who had spent lots of money over the years buying things from the wedding and baby registries of friends wondered it if would be seen as greedy or tacky to open a registry because she - a single woman - was buying her first house. The columnist told this woman that it would indeed be greedy and tacky to do such a thing, and she should basically suck it up, make do with second hand kitchen ware, and be as humble a friend as possible. The blogger writing about this exchange made the following observation: "Why is it that marriage and reproduction are the only things worthy of gifts to help loved ones settle into their adult lives?"
Why, indeed? I know that y'all are probably tired of my confused rants on marriage and my largely underdeveloped reasons for holding off on that particular institution, so I won't rehash here. I will say, however, that this whole hierarchy of status can be symbolized by one thing: The Kitchen Aid Mixer.
Looks innocent, doesn't it? Shiny and colorful. Hip yet useful. And ridiculously expensive. The Kitchen Aid Mixer is decadent, and something that no single guy or gal could easily purchase. Think about it. How many of you have bought one of these beauties for yourself, with your own hard earned money? A few, maybe, but I would wager to say that most people - myself included - resign themselves to wooden spoons and mismatched bowls for now, writing off the Kitchen Aid Mixer as "something to put on my registry... one day."
As far as symbols go, it's pretty powerful. I've been in the homes of many a married couple and eyed the Kitchen Aid Mixer displayed on their counters with jealousy and lust. Sometimes I bemoan the fact that most my friends have nicer things than me simply because they got married, and were able to replace just about everything in their homes at once. Not to imply that people get married simply for the stuff - I realize the stuff is just a perk. But it's a perk that I don't get, not now and maybe not ever. And so it comes full circle, this vicious little cycle, this conspiracy that won't stop parading it's shiny mixers and attachments in front of my face. Because if I'm already in a stable and loving relationship, why not just suck it up and get married? We would have stuff! We would have nice things! WE WOULD HAVE A KITCHEN AID MIXER!
Marriage begets perks. Perks beget marriage. And on and on we go, until I can't remember what came first - love, or the Kitchen Aid Mixer. Does it matter? Yes. Maybe. I don't know. I'm too distracted by the shiny appliances to think straight.
Also, I like the green mixer best. Just in case, you know?