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ESL Story: Do people still get married?

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There are two melodies currently running through my mind and craving my attention. The first is the song: I'm getting married in the morning sung by Alfred Dolittle in the musical My Fair Lady based on the play by George Bernard Shaw. A certain Professor Higgins, a Professor of Linguistics has taken into his mind the idea of turning Eliza Dolittle, an uneducated London Flower Girl into a well spoken young lady.

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In the course of his tuition he discovers that her father, Alfred has not ever got married to Eliza's mother. Hence the rumbustious song quoted above. The other is a line from Cole Porter's musical of 1934 "Anything Goes":

In olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking but now, God knows, anything goes.

Are you still with me? Fine. I'll come to the point. A couple of weeks ago I was on a cruise and one of the places we visited was St Petersburg. On one of the three days there we saw several young couples about to get married. On every street corner, well allow for a bit of exaggeration, smartly dressed young men and beautiful young women in white were hurrying through the streets. White dresses billowed in the wind and rain and white veils flapped everywhere. And I thought well maybe marriage is making a return! And that's the reason for my two musical quotations showing how things change in society and sometimes turn full circle. Of course it could only be in Russia!

Nowadays couples do live together without getting married. In the past this was referred to as living in sin. And if this couple had children they would be referred to as children born out of wedlock. But now Heaven knows, anything goes! Ironically we now have same sex marriages.

Today on forms you have to give the name not of your husband/wife/spouse but your partner. Some men/women tentatively introduce their partner and then if that person is of the same sex, they quickly add business partner. As I say, couples do not get married but go through the elaborate performance of adding their names together. So you have John and Mary Orsmsby-Gore-Hamilton as if they are trying to create an air of respectability. Today we say that John and Mary are happily partnered instead of happily married.

What is the trend in your country? Do people still get married? I make no judgement - I merely describe things as they are. I won't go on any more for fear of sounding like a G.O.M. What do you think those letters stand for? I'll leave that question hanging in the air.

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Next:ESL Story: The soccer world cup and 'Wibledon'

Author: Alan Townend


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