As I’ve mentioned numerous times while blogging, I read the wedding announcements in the Sunday Times each week, and often send certain snippets from these announcements via Facebook messenger to a friend of mine. (This friend – a divorced heterosexual who seems quite uninterested in ever remarrying – is probably really tired of my commenting on them. But she is the kind of friend who is too nice to say, “Stop. Just stop. Please.”)
Last Sunday, I posited to my friend (who is, by her own cryptic admission, “nothing if not patient”) that there appeared to be a trend in the Times wedding announcements of people reconnecting (to the point of marriage!) decades after their first acquaintance, usually while adolescents. I also conjectured, somewhat cynically, that because those people had married in July they might have jumped the shark, as July is, according to some old wives tales, an unlucky month to get married. (Though July doesn’t seem to be quite as unlucky as May, according to other old wives tales. [But if they’re old and still wives, they may not really know what they’re talking about, right? Because. I mean.])
ANYway. This Sunday there was a whole new slew of announcements of weddings between reconnecting couples:
- Ye Dam Lee, Julio Alicea: Not in his wildest dreams did he ever imagine he would be marrying his “high school sweetheart.”
- Regan Marin, Huan Nguyen: The couple met in high school, in 2006, and began dating in their senior year, in 2009.
- Amanee Markos, John Ablan: The couple have known each other since childhood. The bride’s family attended the same church as the groom’s grandmother, where they met in the 90s.
- And: Mr. Hodge, 33, met Ms. Hamlin, 31, when he was 9 and she was 8, in the summer of 1994.
For some reason, thinking about this week’s announcements laid against last week’s made me recall a spate of articles not long after 9/11 (no, I have never forgotten 9/11) about an upswing in two phenomena: the resurgence of folks having casual sexual encounters, and an epidemic of people reconnecting with old flames. What it all came down to was, of course, that the cataclysm of the terrorist attacks had thrown a grenade at and made contact with certain paradigms in people’s brains: it was the end of the world as we knew it, and we did not all feel fine.
Which really moves me closer to my theory, believe it or not. If I were not so lazy, I would look up and link to a bunch of articles I’ve read since Trump was elected in 2016 about the malaise that’s settled over the country. Then there are the articles about how he’s gas-lighting an entire nation. And so on.
In short, we are all being traumatized by the so-called presidency of Donald Trump. Like the trauma of 9/11, it’s making us step back and squint at what used to be a pretty predictable future. But the future right now is neither pretty nor predictable.
This is why I think we are seeing many people reconnecting so long after their childhood romances or infatuations or acquaintances began: they are all craving the familiar, the comfortable, something whole and pure and untainted by the ultimate fall from innocence we’ve endured at the hands of Trump and his Kool-Aid swilling supporters and the complicity of the free press and the spineless congress that won’t rein him in and on and on and on, forever and ever, amen.
And if some of these couples met even before Trump thought of running for office, I have a feeling they’re beating a path to the altar faster than speeding bullets because, to quote Diana Roderick, a woman in one those aforementioned articles after 9/11: “I feel like there could be a third world war or something. I feel like I should get married before it gets worse.”
Like evolution and/or any current explanations regarding the continued, inexplicable popularity of Ed Sheeran or the Dave Matthews Band, this is just a theory.