The 'Daddy' of the Metrosexual, the Retrosexual, & spawner of the Spornosexual

Tag: marriage (page 1 of 1)

Channeling Our Inner Princess

I resolved some time ago to avoid mentioning The Royal You Know What on this blog.

However, now it’s over – but is on some kind of endless media loop tape – I feel impelled to say that the main problem with weddings in the tarty 21st Century isn’t the empty promises and meaningless gestures. Everyone loves those. No, it’s the fact that the groom can’t be a bride too.

On the Big Day he has to channel his inner princess through his Wife-To-Be. Which is very traditional of course, but a bit unfair and not really what today’s narcissistic, pampered young men have been led to expect by advertising and Men’s Health magazine. Or, for that matter, feminism and ‘equal opps’.

On the one day in his life the average man gets to be treated like a celeb or royalty and travel by limo and be endlessly photographed and videotaped he has to wear a very boring standard issue hired Victorian frock coat that hides his gym body – or if he’s lucky enough to be a member of the Royal Family a pillar box red ‘dress uniform’ apparently made out of felt, horsehair, chicken wire and Gilbert & Sullivan props. His wife on the other hand gets to choose something modern, designer, sensuous and very expensive. That everyone will look at and talk about.

This makes for a rather ‘over-determined’ bride, poor dear. Who has to try to live out not only her own inner princess fantasies but those of her fiancée as well. You can imagine the arguments that go on in today’s bridal shops: ‘Look, Nigel, I TOLD you it would be better if you just went for another work-out or haircut and left me and my girlfriends to choose the bloody frock!’

Maybe it’s because the groom is still forced to channel his inner princess through the bride that Kate and her Tudor eyebrows looked a little like a post-op TS version of Wills.

For the sake of some kind of balance, I should also add that one of the reasons why gay (male) weddings can seem so redundant to me is because there is no bride at all – just two grooms. All the fuss and bother – and twice the suit hire – of a straight wedding but without the frocking point.

The Tories’ New Section 28

by Mark Simpson (Guardian CIF, 25 March 2010)

Whatever happened to the Tory party of the 1980s that refused to use taxpayers’ money to prop up failing industries making things people didn’t want? That told us sternly, usually in a helmet of hair-lacquer, “the market must decide”?

It turns out the Tories aren’t so laissez-faire if the market makes a decision they don’t approve of – particularly when punters turn their backs on one of their most cherished institutions. With fewer people getting married now than at any time since records began in 1862, the Tories – who despite what they say about free markets, always seem to know best how people should live their lives – have decided to effectively take this failed enterprise into public ownership.

This weekend a former Tory MP from the 1980s, who considers himself culturally progressive, came out in support of David Cameron’s promised tax breaks for married couples. “From this day forward, reward married couples” announced Matthew Parris in the Times. He failed, however, to explain why married couples should be “rewarded” – as well as given wedding presents. But then DavidCameron hasn’t explained that one either.

But the article’s standfirst succinctly summarised both Parris’ and the Tory position, and made it clear why an explanation isn’t necessary: “Everyone except a sour minority knows that marriage is good for society”. Marriage is good for society because it is a “good thing” in and of itself – as such it doesn’t need to be demonstrated, even at a time when marriage is less popular than ever. Marriage is, for most Tories, an article of faith. And anyone who disagrees with this position or even questions it is obviously sour or leftwing, which amounts to much the same thing.

What made Parris’ support of this tax on unmarried people (for that is of course what it translates into) novel was his interesting claim to speak on behalf of the vast majority of gay people: “an astonishingly conservative section of society”, commending their “traditionalism”, warning the (presumed heterosexual and conservative) reader who begs to differ they’ve been paying too much attention to a “sour slim minority”, and asserting gays’ overwhelming endorsement of the proposed subsidy for married couples. Parris even went a step further than Cameron and called for civil partnerships to be excluded from the “reward” – perhaps because being famously gay himself, Parris can’t be easily accused of homophobia.

Now, maybe I’m just a sour lefty minority homo of exactly the kind that Parris warns you against, but at least I know better than to presume to speak on gay men’s behalf – especially when it comes to counting yourself out of tax breaks. But since Parris has raised the matter of sexuality, I feel obliged, like the bad fairy at the wedding, to point out where this policy is coming from: essentially the same bit of the Nasty Party that brought you Section 28 in the 1980s, with its jihad on “pretended family relationships”, though it is now much more closeted.

Section 28, you may remember, is the same anti-gay law that the main champion of the Tory marriage subsidy, the Catholic convert Iain Duncan Smith, wanted to reinstate in 2002 when he was Tory leader. This piece of legislation grew directly out of Tory and tabloid fears that marriage was being undermined by acceptance of homosexuality. Section 28 was essentially a nannyish backlash against the scandalous notion that schools might tell young people they have choices about who and how they were going to love.

Now that “pretended family relationships” – straight and gay and everything in between – are probably in the majority and Section 28 is a discredited, embarrassing memory, Holy Family Tories such as IDS have to adopt a different, “nicer” approach – one that seems more carrot than stick, more utilitarian and less homophobic. But don’t doubt for a minute that one of the biggest attractions of what we should probably call “Section 29” for the IDS tendency is that tax breaks for married/decent people is a satisfying way of sticking it to unmarried/indecent people.

Tories, particular the older ones who make up the majority of the party’s aging membership and who give IDS his power base, have never really reconciled themselves to the massive cultural changes that happened post-1960s – and which were much accelerated by their market and consumer reforms in the 1980s. For all her “Victorian values”, Broken Britain was broken in large part by Thatcher. I doubt that Cameron believes for a minute that his Terry and June subsidy will turn back the clock and make marriage or Austin Allegros fashionable again, and he probably doesn’t really want to anyway, but it’s nice that he’s figured out a way to buy off the IDS tendency that so distrusts him and what they see as his cultural liberalism – with taxpayers’ money.

I can’t help but feel a little sorry for Parris though. It can’t have been easy being a gay Tory MP in the 1980s – at least if you had, as I’m sure he has, a conscience. But it seems that all his futile attempts to convince his Cro-Magnon colleagues back then that most gays are natural Tories and worshippers of the Holy Family despite their penchant for buggery has taken its toll. He now believes his own rhetoric.

Marriage: David Cameron’s Lame Duck Industry

From The London Times

David Cameron has propelled marriage to the centre of the election campaign after surprising the Tory party faithful with a promise to spell out his flagship policy before polling day.

Rallying the troops after a narrowing of the poll lead, the Conservative leader said that he would announce details of tax breaks for married couples in the manifesto.

Whatever happened to the days when the Tories were the party that refused to use taxpayer’s money to prop up failing, outdated industries making things that people didn’t want?  That told us sternly that ‘the market must decide’.  Well, it turns out the Tories aren’t happy with what the market has decided in this instance, and instead want to effectiviely nationalise marriage – to take it into public ownership.  British Layland.

Obviously this isn’t going to do marriage much good.  Aside from celeb photo opps and immigration fiddles it was already hideously out of fashion.  But the Tories want to turn it into an Austin Allegro.

It’s nice that Dave has figured out a way to buy off the Ian Duncan Smith/Terry & June tendency of his party – with your tax money – but I wonder if he’s thought it through.  Will he be handing out tax breaks to civil partnerships as well?  If he does the IDS tendency won’t be very happy about subsidised sodomy.  If he doesn’t then, well, his enthusiastic support for Section 28 will come back to haunt him.

Of course, he could save everyone a lot of time and trouble if he just gave the tax bonus money directly to the divorce lawyers.

Gay Civil Unions Replacing Straight Marriage in France

According to the Daily Telegraph, ninety per cent of French “solidarity pacts” a year, some 135,000 of them, are now being made between people of the opposite sex, ‘despite them being designed for homosexuals, who are not formally allowed to marry in France’.  Unlike in the UK, the Civil Solidarity Pacts, or PACS, are open to everyone, not just same sexers. The Telegraph lists some of the attractions of PACS over marriage.  They

…take just 15 minutes and can be performed by a court clerk.

Just as significantly, they can be ended with a single letter from either partner, without any claims on the other’s money or property.

With divorce costs spiralling such a legal arrangement is particularly attractive to those potentially facing massive payouts if marriages fail.

The PACS provide near-identical financial and administrative protection as formal marriages, including the possibility of providing joint tax returns and enjoying deductions.

French councils also treat PACSed couples like married couples when assigning benefits or accommodation.

The PACS also allow couple to bypass social and Church conventions, many of which are viewed as outdated by younger generations.

This latter consideration should probably be placed rather further up in the list.

Either way this news is yet another indication that the gay American obsession with (politically impossible) marriage rather than (politically achievable) fully-recognised civil unions – ‘riding at the back of the bus!’ – is not just a giant tactical mistake but also culturally retrogressive, rather than the ‘giant leap for progress’ and ‘equality’ it is trumpeted as being by gay marriage zealots.  Marriage seems to be a very dull historical cul de sac that even straight people don’t want to live on any more.

The French trend towards rejecting marriage for civil partnerships/unions also illustrates how unfair it is that British civil partnerships are not open to everyone – just same sex couples.  The reason heterosexuals are denied that option is because when the legislation was being drawn up fears were expressed in Parliament that allowing heteros the choice would ‘undermine marriage’. (Which is rather revealing – even the champions of marriage obviously believe that marriage isn’t very appealing.)

But of course, marriage has undermined itself. Recently released figures in the UK show marriage is the most unpopular it’s ever been and suggest that the unwed will outnumber the wed within a year.