Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Married a Teenage Boy and Why You Should Keep Your Opinions About MOM's and Teenage Marriages To Yourself

Disclaimer: I both mean and do not mean this title. Of course, anyone has the right to express their opinion under the constitution. As do I.

After 30 plus years of teenage marriage, I am totally fed up with hearing and reading about how teenage marriages fail. I recently went through this same calculus on a listserve I belong to. My marriage is successful, statistically speaking, because I married a teenage man as a teenage woman. There are many other reasons: we were older teenagers, he had saved quite a bit of money, he already had the equivalent of an associates degree in college credits, I had an entire year of coursework down and was living independently of my family, we were both LDS (he somewhat marginally), I was not pregnant, he was raised Catholic and had an intact family (of nine kids only one has had a breakup of their long term relationships-gay BIL was partnered to his death as well), and my DH's incredible work ethic.

While it is true that teenage brides' marriages fail at a very high rate, the same cannot be said of the marriages that teenage grooms make. In fact, A teenage man's rate of marriage failure (divorce) is considerably less for some time than those men who marry at a later age. If you look carefully at the available statistics, assuming they are reliable (there is somewhat of a debate about this, Time magazine has called them "murky"), you will also find that teenage women married at a rate of 3-5 times the rate of teenage men.

This my friends is the key to the teenage marriage failure rate. It's not the teenager to teenager marriages that are failing, its the teenage woman to adult male marriages that are failing or have failed in the past. Why? I am not a demographer, but I have researched the question of who are the fathers involved in this country's high teenage pregnancy rate. America's dirty little secret is that they are not for the most part teenage fathers. Let me drive that home for you, it is adult men having sex with teenagers.

Who are these men? Well, generally they are men who older women won't have. Men who have a history of incarceration, domestic violence, chronic underemployment, have several children already, and other difficulties. Why do teenage women gravitate to them? The common thought is that these men although damaged do compete very well for the affections of teenage women compared with inexperienced teenage boys. I would submit to you that this same group of men are also a large component of the older men marrying teenage women. And, given their track record it should be little surprise to anyone that these teenage brides experience a higher divorce rate.

There are demographic pockets within all of these statistics that don't follow the generalizations I've made above, but if teenage marriage is so bad overall, you would expect it to be equally bad for teenage men who marry, but it's not. Overall, teenage marriage is very, very rare, and it's even rarer for teenage men. It would be interesting to know more about the asian and white teenage men who marry. Are they in the military? Did their parents arrange their marriages?

Now to transition to the comparison of Teenage Marriages to Mixed Orientaton Marriages. To begin with, I think it is entirely tacky and inappropriate for anyone to talk down to any person who is of age about their desire to marry. Period. It is, frankly, none of your business to start discussing how their marriage will fail. Please tell me the last time you went to a friend who was contemplating their second or third marriage and said, "Joe, I understand your desire to get married, but I have to tell you the statistics are not in your favor . . ."

What are the divorce statistics for second and third marriages? Not Good. For a second marriage it's 60% and for a third marriage it's 73%. Now for a little equal opportunity spiteful hurt, let's just add in a speculation on my part. The rates of domestic violence are the same in the gay community as the hetero community. The rates of relationship problems regarding low libido are the same in the gay community as the hetero community. If things are really more the same than they are different, is it not possible that if you've been married before albeit to the opposite sex, that the mere fact that you have been married at all makes it very likely that even if you marry a same sex partner, if you are so fortunate to find someone even willing and or able to make that commitment to you, that you have an extraordinary high chance of divorce?

Is that really something you want to have thrown up in your face all the time? Or to be compared to the very most dysfunctional and inappropriate (funny how society only gets worked up about FLDS men marrying teenage women) marriages made in society?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Aversion Therapy-Check, Check, Check

How awful, how dreadful, how widespread, how wrong, . . . how in retrospect.

Just a few jolts off the old internet:

In the UK.

In residential schools.

In Britain in the sixties as archived by the NIH.

And Aubrey Levin from South Africa to Calgary.

Can you believe it? It was going on in places other than BYU? It still goes on. And I thought Mormons were the only ones involved in such sordid research and practice?

Any of you scientifically inclined souls care to have a run explaining the scientific community's one time fascination and embrace of Eugenics while we are at it?

Or care to at least tell the whole story in the context of the times?

I'm still waiting for the documentary evidence that BYU's "studies" occurred without informed consent.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

This Is My Church, Too

I think I've mentioned this comment before. "This is My Church, Too." It was made by a friend as an explanation as to why he became active again. It is a statement which has come to guide my navigation of a difficult time.

Not only is it my church, but it is also my gay, bi or questioning child's church, my doubting family members' church and my faithful but struggling family member's church. When we have the courage to say I or WE are different but we still belong in word and action, our actions speak more eloquently than nearly anything we could say.

Yesterday was a happy day, the Bishop handed me the Kid's seminary graduation diploma. I was expecting a fourth year certificate and was pleased that they had put it in a nice presentation folder. When I opened it, I was stunned. I asked "how?"

The Bishop explained that he didn't know why, that he had forwarded the information about the Kid's attendance, the Kid's refusal to do an exit interview and the other key information regarding the Kid and the leaders decided to award him the diploma anyway. I know there are naysayers out there who will say that this was merely the hierarchy attempting to pad their numbers, but I do not perceive it that way. I see it as priesthood leaders beyond the ward level making an effort to acknowledge the good choices and the real accomplishment of the Kid.

The Kid was also pleased that he was allowed to graduate from Seminary. I assured him that although he may never need that piece of paper, that I still occassionally liked to look at mine. I asked him not to throw it away and if he doesn't want it, I will put it in my family history documents. I think this was a small victory for one family in claiming their place in the Church.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Are You My Mother?

It occurs to me that now that my Drama Mama is dead and she did such a wonderful and profound act of severing our relationship (NOT FAIR, I KNOW SINCE I STOPPED TALKING TO HER), that I could go out seek the kind of parents I'd like to have. In my little fantasy world I thought that maybe I could find a nice older LDS couple wanting to adopt a nice fityish daughter with the possibility of a sealing to follow. Some people are seeking intimate fulfilment with a partner, I'm just looking for real parents. How am I going to find these people? I posted the equivalent of a personal ad.

I rather doubt that I would share my somewhat non standard something more than straight sexuality with them though, and that sends up a red flag. Truth be told, do I really want to take the risk on yet another potential failure as a parent? What if they look good on the outside but they are icky on the inside? What if they are more than I can handle? How do you rid the relationship of possible exploitation issues one way or another? And, how does one ever explain such a thing to their children and now grandchildren? My mother was a loser and now that she's dead and cannot do anything about it, I'm going to fire her, permanently, and eternally.

I think not, but it still makes for good fantasy.

I'm Back

More details to come later.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Un-graduate

Today is graduation week in my town. The Kid opted not to do a graduation ceremony. As part of parentally imposed course correction, he did not finish his last year in the local high school and instead took college classes and online school. He thought he would be sadder at not participating when he went to his friends' graduation, but he wasn't. In his heart of hearts, he enjoyed being in his pajamas when they were rushing through classes.

I also insisted that he continue going to Seminary although I knew he wouldn't graduate. Graduation from Seminary requires both a testimony and worthiness. Theoretically, we don't send our kids to Seminary for he certificate anyway. Although, I know that from number one song's mission, graduation from Seminary is a pretty big deal for serving in at least one overseas country.

Very soon he will be leaving to taste the freedom he has so desired. Thanks to Mom and Dad dropping the hammer on him he's got solid work experience, his high school degree, several other certificates and licenses, and his acceptance to a very highly regarded vocational educational institute. Unless you had been here and could have walked through the last half of the Junior year of high school with us you would not have believed this was the same kid.

He has matured somewhat in the last few months and I think he's minimally ready to be a productive citizen. We still worry for him, but the ball is squarely in his court now. May he play the game well, with respect for himself and others, and with grace.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Illegitmate Fathers

So, if you have been reading, you will know that I'm not thrilled with all the parental units behavior. I hold them all responsible for the havoc they have wreaked through their various and sundry self-actualizations. Drama Mama, wicked stepfather and bio dad.

A California judge said it best:

"There are no illegitimate children - only illegitimate parents" Judge Léon R. Yankwich

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Girls Gone Gay

Five active Mia Maids-as adults three are gay, two have sown their wild oats . . . what on earth happened there? Statistically possible yes, probably no. File this under things that don't compute.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Deborah's Story

As it happened the English actually arrived before the Dutch, so many English people and Europeans were contracted by the Dutch West India Company as well as Dutch from the Homeland. Our Deborah's father was a sea captain. I rather think he captained a small sloop that plied the inland rivers. He was born in England.

When he came to America he went to the Massachuesetts Bay Colony. At one time he was probably a company man, but the ability of the Dutch to manage their foreign territory was something less than Stellar. And, so we have Kit Davids embarking on his career of trading, rum and gun running, real estate investment and general rabble rousing. Having lost his first wife, who did appear to be actually Dutch, as well as subsequently mismanaging the first few of his children's inheritance after her death, he remarried. Of that marriage, more Davids children were produced including our Deborah.

As a side note, there are recorded instances of both Indian leaders and Dutch leaders begging Kit not to provide the Indians with liquor. One unfortunate incident resulted in the Indians murdering some of Kit's inlaws. There are also court records dealing with Kit beating and being beat by his servants. Kit was also known to pay fines and the like in beavers. Beavers were beaver skins. Because of his unique relationship with the Indians and his knowledge of the waterways, he was sent down river by the Dutch to request reinforcements. Curiously, he travels safely but the party of Dutch that escorts him to the river after talking to Stuyvesant are murdered on their way back but Kit escapes unscathed.

It is said that the Munsee Indians were the first Native Americans to partake of Alchol and I have no doubt that my ancestor was involved in making that first contact. The record demonstrates that they found him an ongoing source of firewater. This was the charming environment that Ms. Deborah was born into. Stuyvesant made it his business to try to clean things up, but I'm sure that great grandpa was out stirring things up as much as possible.

Deborah was married at the age of 14 to a 27 year old. The story goes that he wrote her a letter imploring her to come back and live with him but she would not, responding back by saying she was not in love with him, had never loved him and would not live with him. At 20 she had a child, but it was not with the man she was married to, although that child bore his name.

It would seem that the father of Deborah's son was the hard drinking Derek Wooden Legg who had lost his leg a year earlier when he shot himself in the leg while celebrating New Year's Eve in a tavern. Apparently, Derek had promised to marry Deborah, but then turned around and married someone else. Wooden Legg appears to be the community's nickname for him and family geneaologists believe they have identified his proper last name.

The Dutch permitted separation and there were only three known formal divorces during the years the colony was in existence. Deborah's was not one of them. There are other recorded instances of what would be considered bigamy and adultery. Some were accidental but most were just the locals coping with what was a next to non-functional government on the matters. Add to that that a recruiting trip to get a pastor from the old country is well recorded. One of the most notable illegitimacy paternity case involves a preacher's daughter who has a child with a married man.

Women were in demand in the colony and it wasn't long before Deborah "married" another man and promptly got down to reproducing like rabbits with him. Her first husband also "married" and had many children as well. She and her new husband, Derek, and her first husband all went to the same church. Their grandchildren and great-grandchildren all intermarried. So no hard feelings it seems one way or another except the bitterness that husband #1 still harbored at being rejected by Deborah and left Derek's child bearing his name a single schilling in his will.

What's the moral of the story? The more things change the more they stay the same?

Thursday, June 3, 2010


In curiosity I sought out more information on a film that was on the festival circuit in 2005 called "Three's a Heart." It was a documentary about 2 gay men who invite a woman into their committed relationship to build a family with. As far as I can tell, no two of the three are still together now. This did bring me to the concept of trigonamy which is three committed individuals in an exclusive relationship. And reading more posts on both the logistics and the loneliness of polyamory (apparently for some and not for others). I'll let you do the search.

And let us not forget the 2009 Newsweek article on Polyamory.

My next blog post will be titled "Deborah's Story." This is a true story from the Song family archives dating back 400 years to New Amsterdan and involves a wooden leg, copious quantities of Native Americans and firewater, teenage marriage, adultery, lies, bigamy and a rascally sea captain. You gotta love the Dutch.