Nathan Macintosh

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Don't marry the first person you sleep with.

It's 2012, but there are people out there who still think it's 1940. What do I mean? That there are still people out there who get married right out of high school, or to the person they were dating in junior high. Wow. Are you guys waiting for the Titanic? Is polio still a constant fear in your home? Do you call movies 'talkies'? Then why would you get married at the same age that people who dealt with these things would? Want to start using typewriters again? Have a black and white TV with one channel? Have to hide under your desk during bomb drills? Then don't get married to the first person you date!

Marrying the first person you are with – having no reference points at all – should not be allowed to happen. We don't let brand new drivers take control of a car until they have driven with someone else for a while. We don't let anyone who has a license for a gun just go out and buy a sniper rifle right away. We'd spend more time talking to someone about the difference between phones than we would talking to them about their marrying choices.
"Hey, man, are you sure you want to marry Lisa? I mean… you've never been with anyone else."
"Yeah, I'm sure."
"...Okay."
"Hey, can you tell me some differences between the iPhone and the Android?"
"Can I?! Oh, man. I hang out in stores I don't even work in, wearing a polo in the hopes that someone will ask me a question like this. Now where do I begin? First off, don't just settle for the first phone you get. New phones come out every few months and just because you love yours, that doesn't mean that there isn't a better one out there. This could also be said for other areas of your life. Not your wife, though. You said you're sure."

Most of the world won't let gay people get married, which is completely ridiculous, but will let people with no experience at all do it? How does that make any sense? If marriage has such sanctity around it, why let people who have no prior experience in that door? You can't even get a job without experience, but you can get married?
"Do you have any prior restaurant experience?"
"Nope, none. I've been really nice to people, though, for pretty much my whole life."
"Okay... I don't know if that qualifies you. I don't believe you'll be a good fit here at Boston Pizza."
"Oh, okay. I really just wanted a job to pay for my wedding to my first girlfriend coming up."
"Oh, wow! Marrying the first one, huh? Congrats! That is really good news. I mean… you still can't work here, but you and your new wife can come in and eat whenever you like. Here are some coupons."

When I was fourteen, I thought I was going to marry my first girlfriend. Why? I was a tiny boy! I had nothing to compare it to. A girl liked me, I liked her, and I thought we were in love and could not think of a life past that point without her. Also, she was the first person to touch me. It just made sense to me that she was the person I was destined to be with.
"None of these other fourteen year old girls are touching it. She has to be the one for me! That's how this works, right? Someone play 'Country Grammar' again. I've found my wife!"
Then conversely, when we broke up, I thought I'd never find another human again! Why? I was a tiny boy! I had nothing to compare it to, which led me to think it was all over for me.
"Well, I found the one at fourteen and she left me at fourteen. I peaked early, but at least I know she's out there. Now, to bag groceries in a grocery store and head back to my bachelor apartment alone for the rest of my life. 'Fourteen was the peak year,' I'll tell my cat."

If you're going to marry the first person you're with, why not keep the first job you ever have? Why not? I'm sure you can fall in love with that job if you have had no other jobs.
"Well, things are working out pretty well for me. I've had the same girlfriend since I got my paper route, and I've had that same paper route since before I met her. I thought I would hate this paper route at thirty-five, but man, it just gets easier! As a kid, it was hard to carry all of these papers on my shoulder. Now I have a car and I just drive them everywhere! Also, since I've been doing it so long, most of my customers pay me on time because, as they put it, they 'feel sorry for me'. Don't feel sorry for me. Feel sorry for those suckers who didn't keep their first job. Soon I'll be head paper man!"

A lot of people don't even stay with the same school they started in. They move, transfer, decide that school isn't for them or travel abroad.
"You know, I just don't like living in Tapeka, Kansas anymore. I want to study for a year in Italy. That's what I'll do! I'll go to a different school in a different part of the world. I will tell my boyfriend that I've been with for five years that I will wait for him on this journey of mine. I wouldn't want to have the FULL school and life experience while I'm over there. No, no. I'd much rather be in a foreign place with adventures to be had, and leave them to talk to my boyfriend on Skype. I'll probably spend so much time talking to him that I won't learn Italian, and that's the way I want it."

Some people get married young or date the first person forever (who they met when they were seventeen) because they believe that person to be their soul mate.
"I had to get married at twenty. I had to do it because I met my soul mate when I was seventeen. And I can't just let my soul mate get away. I had to fold up my little soul mate wings and put them in my soul mate pocket. It's my soul mate!"
If you really believe there's only one person on this planet for you, I'm happy for you. But do you really think you're lucky enough that that person sits beside you in geography class? You think you're that lucky? Other people have to search the globe, and you just walk into a homeroom?
"Look at this! This is working out. I got a teacher, best friend, and a soul mate. It's all right here in this class. And this town has a Wal-Mart. I never have to leave!"

It seems really cute, right? It seems really cute to be with the same person you've been with since 'Pony' came out... to women, not all but some. I don't think I have met a man who thinks it's cute.
"Ah, look at that. That's the only woman who has ever touched him. That seems healthy."
"Yeah, man. I know what you mean. Just adorable. It's like watching 'All Dogs Go To Heaven' live. Wow. Moving."
"Moving... great choice of words. I'm gonna call up my first girlfriend and try to rekindle. Who am I kidding? She's clearly the best. I mean… we used to play pog together."
"You let a girl go who played pog? What were you thinking?"
"I was thinking about unhappiness for the rest of life, obviously. Don't rub it in, man."

Some people marry the first person due to religious beliefs. Really religious people think it's a good idea to only have sex with one person.
"Save yourself until marriage. That's what you should do. Save yourself!"
If you save yourself until marriage, that consummation will be awful. You are supposed to get the first one out of the way when you are in school.
"Okay, we have to be quick. The school bus is coming and I still have to pack my lunch. Are you ready?"
"...I'm already finished."
"...Oh, so THAT'S what it is? Do we smoke a cigarette now?"
Do people who decide to play basketball just start in the NBA? No. There are years of training before you see someone who makes it look easy. These two people haven't even practiced once and are going to go full tilt on a wedding night? Two people who have no idea what they are doing, charged up on 'saving themselves' energy that has been building for twenty something years, are going to figure this out on the biggest day of their lives?
"Does everyone have the directions to the chapel?"
"Yes."
"The cake, catering and band are all ready for the reception?"
"Yes, yes. Everything is good."
"That's great. Um... are WE ready to engage in intercourse when this whole thing is done?"
"Damn right! I have pamphlets and my favorite stuffed animal 'King Fluffy'. It can't be any harder than waiting hours for Harry Potter tickets. We'll figure it out."

For people who have only had one partner for their entire life, it seems completely great and normal.
"You've had MORE than one partner? Are you insane? Why have more than one in your life? Penguins only have one. My great, great grandparents only had one. God only had one! You think you're better than penguins, my great, great grandparents and God!"
Of course it seems great to these people because a mind will adjust. That is what the mind does. It adapts to situations. Ever hear those stories of people who have been kidnapped by family members and locked in a crawl space for fifteen years? And then they get out? Their mind helped them deal with that! In some magic way, they were able to realize that that was what their life was for the time being.
"How did I live inside a furnace for all these years? It wasn't really that hard. The first year was rough, then I just got used to it. I realized that I was able to sleep all summer because who uses heat in the summer? But the winter? Whoa. Pretty hot in there. And once you polish off the first years worth of fish heads – they don't get any better, but it's all you have."

I will never let my kids marry the first person they date.
"Dad, I want to marry Sarah."
"...You're eighteen?"
"Yes."
"And she is your first girlfriend?"
"Yes. You know this, dad. We've been dating since I was sixteen."
"And that's why you can't do it. When I was fourteen..."
"Dad, you've told me this story millions of times. You met a girl, she touched you, you thought you were going to be together forever, but that's not what happened. You told me every night for eight years!"
"I'm still upset by it, okay?! I'm still upset! ...Do you think she misses me?"
"...God, dad."

Everyone should have to date at least five people before they get married. That's it. Not thousands, not hundreds. Just date five. You could even still get married to the first person you were with, but just look around a little before you do so. It should be a rule.
"We are gathered here today to join these two in holy matrimony and if... wait. I forgot to ask one very important question. You guys have dated other people, right?"
"No, sir. We met on a playground at five and we’ve never looked back."
"Ah... this part of my job is so hard. Can't marry you, guys. Wish I could, but rules are rules. Have to have dated at least five people to be sure of this one."
"Really?"
"Hey, I don't come up with these. A decently run society does. Show's over, folks! Make sure you grab your wedding gift on the way out and take it back! These two people, who have never dated anyone else, think they're in love."
"Never dated anyone else? And you sent out invitations to this farce? I thought I loved my Betamax until the VCR came out! God, just ridiculous. By the way, 'love birds', hope you guys weren't looking forward to a Betamax. The priest told me to take back my gift."

Twitter@nathanmacintosh
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