A New Tradition

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My best friend is getting married next month and we’ve been talking wedding stuff a lot. Her wedding is non-traditional and I like that. I hate almost everything about traditional weddings but today I want to talk about my favorite tradition broken in her wedding. I don’t even have her to thank for it. No, her fiancé broke it!

He and I don’t really get along, but he’s a good person and he makes her happy so I’ve got no real reason to object to her marrying him. (It’s just a personality mis-match) So when he came to me and told me he was going to propose, and asked for my blessing, I said yes.

Did you catch that? He asked me for my blessing to marry my best friend. Who do men usually ask?

Oh. Right.


Oh look. The Patriarch responds.

I’ll be right back. I have to go punch the giant penis shaped bag in my living room. A lot.

Right. Back. Christ, being a radical feminist is tiring. So:

Why do men ask a woman’s father for permission to marry her? Because, traditionally, marriage was a financial arrangement and the father was the keeper of both the woman and the dowry. A father had to approve of a suitor because it was to this person that he was passing on his property. This is also the reason a father “gives his daughter away” at the wedding.

Nowadays we’ve sentimentalized these traditions as a way to show respect for the family and make an old man happy at the wedding, but I reserve my right to hate them for what they used to represent. A woman is not property. I resent the hell out of any tradition that so much as suggests it.

So when her fiancé came to me and asked for my blessing, I thought “Yeah. Yeah. That makes sense.” I’m her best friend. I don’t own her. I know her very well though. I know what makes her happy. I’d know if she wasn’t happy with the relationship. I’d know if the potential fiancé wasn’t going to make her happy much better than her father. So yeah. Let’s start that tradition. This is a great tradition.

If you want to ask someone for their blessing before you ask your partner to marry you, try their best friend. It makes much more sense, and isn’t rooted in sexist traditions that treat women like property.

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One Response to “A New Tradition”

  1. Onikex

    Prior to proposing to my wife, she and I discussed the ramifications of the whole “asking dad permission” thing. She was leaning toward me asking her father permission, as the belief was that he would be hurt if I didn’t.

    I flat out refused. A big thing in all my personal relationships is equality. My position was simple: “I wouldn’t marry your father. I would marry you.”

    Her father doesn’t get to make the call, nor does/should he have a say in it. A marriage is a partnership between consenting adults, not a hand-off of chattel from one person to another. And I would not buy into the notion that I had to receive “permission” to ask her to marry me.

    FYI, it turned out just fine. I never asked permission, and we are happily married. :-)


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