What works for Beyoncé, Jay-Z may not be best for the rest of us

Column by Carrie Bass

By now the news that two of hip-hop’s biggest names have tied the knot is old news, thanks to multiple magazine covers and online media outlets featuring the duo of Beyoncé and Jay-Z as headline news.

I spent Sunday in an airport where the call of the trashy magazines compelled me to read not one, but three tabloids with major stories promising all of the details from the long-awaited marriage.

Not to be outdone by hundreds of other celebrity weddings that cost more money than I have spent collectively in my lifetime, the happy couple “splurged” on imported flowers, designer gowns and a giant cake that probably not one attendee touched, given their diets. And just like after other famous couples’ weddings, I fully expect tabloid magazines to see an increase in sales this week with the Beyoncé and Jay-Z union on the cover.

Marriage sells. Who knew?

Dozens of magazines, catalogues, Web sites, TV shows, movies and books are devoted to the cause of weddings.

For a low, low price (read: expensive), every girl and boy can have their dream wedding, complete with dresses, flowers, invitations, decorations, cake, catering and honeymoon, all thanks to the wonderful world of capitalism.

I don’t know about you, but after writing that last sentence, I’m ready for a nap, not a marriage, thank you very much.

Welcome to the 21st century, folks, where marriage is insanely expensive, outdated and optional.

“Marriage” has become synonymous in our culture with two things: a celebration that puts the extravagance of Marie Antoinette to shame and the pinnacle of adult relationships whereby a couple is gifted a “happily ever after” ending.

While most of us recognize that it isn’t necessary to have the big wedding or to expect the marital union to last happily forever, it seems like our culture still tries to make us think so anyway.

I know that there are some of you out there who have genuine faith in a religion and for you, I’m sure a marriage ceremony is a religious experience.

However, the majority of America has come to view marriage as a pretty secular union: The marriage date now rivals Christmas and Valentine’s Day as a lucrative money-making machine. Most people do not consider themselves married until they have received state recognition. Weddings increasingly take place outside of a church. More weddings than ever give the appearance of being about the event, not the marriage.

I am a fan of the “shacking-up” method of relationships, especially at the age most students are at now.

I am loath to announce to the world that I am going to stay with someone for the rest of my (long) life until I’ve watched them clip their toenails and smelled their morning breath. Marriage holds little appeal for me when couples can simply just live together, knowing that every day they stay together because they want to, not because they feel that they have to.

I, like many other people, am happy in my relationship, which is not headed toward marriage-ville.

Thank goodness that not getting married is now an option for couples. I think I’ll pass on marriage, and it is OK if you want to do the same.

Carrie Bass is an art history senior. E-mail [email protected]