When I was a kid, I had a strict plan: Fall in love at 24, get married at 26, have my first kid at 28, continue having children every two years until I was ready to stop. And while I'm a bit behind schedule, I am partnered with an amazing man, with whom I'd be thrilled to spend the rest of my life.
After almost a decade together, we've lived on both coasts, supported each other through chronic illness, weathered what seemed like insurmountable family issues, and kept our love going. But when I think about my old timeline, I realize that kids aren't for me, and that actually, I don't want to get married at all.
But I might. And you're going to hate the reason why.
Jordan and I moved in together in college, mashing together our collections of house wares, scavenged from yard sales, clearance bins and sometimes, the streets. We made our own little home, mismatched as it was, with items falling apart around us. As the years passed, we did one version of an upgrade — replacing the most egregiously broken items, like the toaster that sparked when we plugged it in.
In the years since that first apartment, we've slowly upgraded here and there as we transitioned into adult life. The first big purchase was a refurbished Vitamix to replace the blender that didn't blend so much as stir. Then, my cooking-obsessed partner scooped up a mixer on Black Friday. Because decorating and design are two of our shared hobbies, our wish list for the apartment is long. We have a little budget each month to contribute, and we're on track to have an apartment filled with things we bought, not scavenged, in about forty seven years.
But something dawned on me when we went to our friends' new home. As I walked through, wide eyed over how amazing their house looked, my friend whispered to me: "Get married. They just give you stuff. For free."
Of course I knew that gift registries exist — hell, I got them the special beer glasses — but I'd never seen one in action. My parents didn't use a registry when they got married and ended up with a garage full of flamingo lawn statues and six fondue sets. Most of my friends aren't heading down the aisle any time soon, and their houses look like mine — collections of hand-me-downs with the occasional upgrade. It didn't occur to me that people have lovely, full homes because of other people.
I find this entire system laughably old fashioned to being with. The idea of filling your home with items from friends and family is lovely: It's a reminder of the community that supports you and your relationship. But why is this limited to married couples? Shouldn't my relationship be equally celebrated, with or without a piece of paper? It all seems completely arbitrary.
So…about that whole not wanting to get married thing. I know it's crass to admit that you want presents. Every wedding invitation I've ever designed (did I mention I design wedding invitations?) has some version of "Just seeing you is more than enough. Please for the love of all that is holy do not feel like you have to buy us a present. Seriously. But if you really insist, we registered here. But really, no pressure. We mean it."). I get that we are all supposed to go through this pretense. But here I am, being the possibly rude, unlikable person my friends know and love. I want the presents. So we might just get married, for a slow cooker and some nice place mats. People have gotten married for worse reasons, I'm sure.
If we go through with it, I'll probably keep calling Jordan "my partner" afterwards and just pretend the whole thing never happened. We'll keep on living happily together, with some nicer things.
And look, I'm not a monster. I promise I won't have a kid for the same reason. Pinky swear.
Margo Thierry is a writer and editor based in New York City. She is working on a collection of short stories.