When Tukun met Burulkan.

Posted in blog post on June 15th, 2009 by Merrill Markoe
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e280a0okun-met-barulkanIn honor of June, month of romance and weddings for mainly heterosexuals (except in a few forward thinking states,) I would like to share some words of wisdom about marriage that I have gleaned from my research. (And I share them as the odd member of the heterosexual sector who has never been married even though I am in love and not only permitted to get married, but encouraged and even urged to get married . But unlike gay couples everywhere, who seem to be lusting and praying for marriage, I am  too chicken . I think this makes me the only single heterosexual monogamous female in a happy long term relationship who wishes that when they finally get around to giving gays the right to be legally married, as they surely will, that the same ” they ” would be willing to also agree to transfer the right to legal but unmarried partnership status via civil unions to heterosexuals so I could use it.)

Anyway, I have been doing some research on long term relationship success among my fellow humans, and assorted other species, for use in a new book I am writing. And in so doing I came upon an article I had saved from the New York Times about dating and mating in Kyrgstan. Of all the mating information I have read about all the different species that share our planet, I think human habits have got to be the strangest. Stranger even than the hyena who gives birth through a penis. Because, in addition to the kind of eccentric illogical behavioral patterns that you find everywhere in the animal kingdom, the human is alone in being able to philosophize and rationalize about his habits in an attempt to make them seem a little less insane than Mother Nature’s normal and generally peculiar patterns. Which brings me to Kyrgstan.  The way its done in that romantic paradise (which is located in a lovely triangle between Pakistan, Uzbekhistan and Mongolia) is that roving bands of eager Kyrgstani bachelors, perhaps driven wild by vowel deprivation, kidnap any lucky eligible female who has caught the eye of one of their band members. And once he has abducted and raped  his beloved, she becomes so socially undesirable that she has no choice but to get married to him or be shunned. As if that isn’t enough of a motivation to start on a new life path as well as a dream come true  for any young woman, there is a wise Kyrgstani saying that the happily married couple in the photo above offered to the journalist who wrote the piece.

“Every good marriage begins in tears.”  Talk about a beautiful wedding toast!

It reminded me of the lunch time conversation I had with a long time family friend who was one of the more positive role models I had  growing up. It was on the eve of her 45th wedding anniversary and it  took place in Manhattan, not Kyrgstan. As I complimented her on the length of time that she and her husband had been together , I asked her to what she attributed the success of her long happy marriage. I figured I would get a homily or some  folksy, quaint bit of wisdom like “Never go to bed angry.” At the very least I expected something pithy or pragmatic or slightly Hallmarkian.  Instead she replied, “Well, dear, it wasn’t always happy. Not a day went by that he didn’t make me cry.”  After I picked my jaw back up from where it had landed on my knees,  I replied, “Then why do  you call that a happy marriage if he made you cry every day?” To which she responded, ” I’ll tell you, sweetheart…you learn to take the good with the bad.”

Or, as Burulka (pictured above) said to the N.Y.Times journalist, by way of summing up her life of  Kyrgstani wedded bliss, “He says he had to kidnap me because he heard someone else was trying to kidnap me first. He’s a good man.”

Today I  offer these two romantic anecdotes as words of solace to the gay community as they chafe at the bit for their chance to make their nuptials legal. It also occurs to me that they probably  explain my problem. I’m just afraid to face all that joy.  Having spent my impressionable years watching my parents marriage seem to drain them both of whatever life force they once had, I guess I got confused about what the ultimate goal of it all was meant to be. So  I am secretly hoping that once same sex marriage becomes legal,  the gay community will be able to take marriage and reburish it a bit, the way they do when they move in to run down neighborhoods. Maybe after they spruce it up,  and spackle it and give it a new coat of paint,  I will be able to see it with fresh eyes. Until then, if they wouldn’t mind lending me that Civil Union thing they hate, that they don’t let heterosexuals use, I would be very greatful.

2 Responses to “When Tukun met Burulkan.”

  1. Shira says:

    This makes so much sense to me.

  2. Ashley says:

    I agree.
    I think my parents are pretty funny in their view of marriage. (both only married once, to eachother, didn’t last long) Mom’s take: ban all marriage. Dad’s take: a marriage license should come with an expiration date. After 7 yrs or so if you want to renew, renew. I say, in that case, there should be a test. If my hubby can put the seat down and pick up his dirty clothes, I’ll renew the license.

    As for gay marriage… I was married to my husband in a restaurant by a judge. I’m no less married than anyone who had their ceremony in a church. The state issues the license, not the church. (“by the power vested in me by the state of …” then the announcement of husband and wife) It’s 1st and foremost a civil union. Religion has nothing to do with the act of getting married. I wish people would stop confusing the two. In Oregon people have bumperstickers that say “One man and one woman.” Mom keeps wanting to ask them “Which man and which woman will you allow to get married? Just one you know.” I wish people would mind their own business. Why should they care if two people want to get married to have the same benefits as they do.

    I was able to add my husband (before we were married) to my insurance by signing a form that says we’re not just roommates and we’re not related closer than 1st cousins. I do think that insurance companies and others who offere benefits should have the right to protect themselves from fraud but figure it out and offer the same benefits to all couples.