We have reached a point in history where the lines are blurred and the norm can only claim to be so for as short as a period as it remains unchallenged – and the period is often short.
With marriages, the norms have changed even faster in the past few years. People have had to come to terms with monogamy, polygamy, polyandry, civil partnerships, gay marriages and the norm post is about to shift further with the increasing popularity of sologamy.
Did you ask what sologamy is?
Solo + gamy. The real definition of going solo. It is the act of marrying oneself. It has been defined by its supporters as the “commitment to valuing and prioritising self-love and self-care within a culture that has neglected it, left it behind, commercialised and dehumanised it. Self-Marriage is a commitment to being there for yourself, to choosing the livelihood and lifestyle that will help you grow and blossom into the most alive, beautiful and deeply happy person you can be. Self-Marriage is a way to formalise, proclaim, share and sanctify self-love. It can be honoured as a concept in itself, through a physical ceremony and regularly through one-on-one sessions to help grow and build this marriage”.
How does it work?
It doesn’t require a ceremony. A person interested can have ‘self-uniting’ marriage – a marriage without the presence of an official. The commitment can be anything from a quiet private moment in a room to a full-blown wedding complete with dress, cake, reception and vows. There’s almost always a mirror, though. Sometimes, there are guidance sessions before the ceremony.
A woman named Linda Baker reportedly is the first person to have married herself back in 1993 in the United States. During the celebration of her 40th birthday, she pledged to be good to herself and the ceremony was witnessed by seven bridesmaids and 75 family and friends. Linda explained that “it’s about doing things for yourself and not waiting around for someone else to make it happen”.
However, there was not as much fanfare when Jennifer Hoes, a 30-year-old artist, took her own hand in matrimony when she married herself in the Netherlands in 2003.
What does it really mean?
Obviously, this is all shades of confusing – culturally and practically. It does not really change the status of a self-united person. If a Nigerian were to try it, it definitely won’t get his/her mother off their backs to “find someone and settle down”.
It also is not legally recognised – at least not in the UK, U.S.A nor Europe – and so it doesn’t affect anyone in terms of paperwork. Nonetheless, it has caught on as the new trend especially among proponents of self-empowerment.
In 1999, Sasha Cagen was anxious about not having anyone to kiss on New Year’s eve, and so the next year, she wrote her manifesto on quirkyalone, which she defines as “a person who enjoys being single (or spending time alone) and so prefers to wait for the right person to come along as opposed to dating indiscriminately.”
But the trend has grown beyond that and now people in sologamies actually commit to themselves.
Sophie Tanner, an author explained how she made the ultimate commitment to herself in May 2015 after she wrote a book on the subject. Her novel, Happily, tells the story of a young woman who ends up marrying herself and the author found that the more she investigated the concept the more intrigued she was about it and so came to the conclusion to go for it.
Sophie decided to marry herself in a ceremony in Brighton “as a gesture of solidarity” and says it means she can “make myself happy without needing anyone else to make me complete”.
The concept has also been used in TV shows like Sex and the City where Carrie Baradshaw is seen announcing to her friends that she was going to marry herself. Also in Chris Morris’s TV series Jam, a 46-year old man married himself.
Just a few days ago, the British ladies on Loose Women had Frank Lampard officiate a sologamous union for one of them, Janet Street-Porter.
There’s no telling when the trend will catch on in Nigeria but if/when it does, it cannot be surprised now.