If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to call in question the sanctity of marriage, it would be divorce.
It can’t have escaped anybody’s attention that everyone seems to be heading to the lawyers these days.
Gone are the happy memories of the wedding and honeymoon, the fluffy white gown and the yum-sings, the early exodus of wedding dinner guests eager to avoid the jam in the hotel car-park, and the lovely stacks of red packet.
In their place are instructions to lawyers to go over the pre-nups with a fine toothcomb, the custody battles of the children, the division of property and the embarrassing disclosures to friends and family that the marriage is at an end.
“But you two looked so happy together!” people will tell the distraught spouse. “What happened?”
The other day, Saffy was scrolling through her Facebook page on her phone when she suddenly gasped.
“Oh. My. God. Wendi Deng is divorcing Rupert Murdoch?” Her eyes bulged.
Amanda sniffed. “That’s been going on for months now!”
“But how did I miss that?” Saffy asked, her impressive bosom trembling. She paused as a thought occurred to her and added, “Although, I’m not sure what shocks me more, the divorce or the fact that Rupert Murdoch is still alive! What is he, like, a hundred and ten?”
“There must be something in the air,” Amanda told Saffy. “Everyone’s getting divorced or splitting up this year. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas. Allan Wu and Wong Li-Lin. Khloe Kardashian and Lamar. Joanne Peh and Bobby. Faye Wong and…and whatshisface.”
All of which made us wonder if these people had their lives all over again, whether they would do any of it differently. Perhaps lived their lives less publicly.
“If I ever got married,” Saffy announced, “no one would ever know.”
Amanda arched an eyebrow. “And the point would be…?”
“So that when I got divorced, no one would ever know either!”
“But people like Catherine Zeta-Jones and Khloe Kardashian are public figures,” Amanda said. A frown formed on her pretty, otherwise smooth, forehead. “You can’t keep a marriage secret especially now when you’re on Oprah. That woman will drag it out of you before the first commercial break!”
And all this before we even get to the burning question of why get married in the first place if you’re just going to get divorced eventually?
Sure, not every marriage will end in divorce, but really, you can’t pick up an issue of US Weekly or Vanity Fair these days without reading about some horrible split up by a couple you’d been led all along to believe were living the dream life.
“It says here,” Saffy said, as she read the Facebook article on her phone, “that Wendi Deng was having an affair with Tony Blair who is the godfather to her children. Oh my God, the mother was sleeping with the godfather? What kind of a sick world are we living in?”
“Well, it’s not like they’re really related,” Amanda pointed out reasonably.
“Yes, but still. What must the children think?”
“There’s no point getting so worked up about it, Saf,” Amanda said. “It’s all just gossip.”
“There’s no smoke without fire,” said Saffy, veteran gossip.
“And anyway,” Amanda went on, “why do you care so much? It’s not as if you knew either of them.”
“That’s not it. It’s just…well, it’s just the fact that she was living my dream. I would love to marry a billionaire! I don’t even know how much a billion is, but I sure want to be married to it!”
And that was the point, I guess. These public marriages represent the fantasy of singletons everywhere, the unspoken promise that it’s actually possible to marry a dream, and turn it into a reality. Because whatever else they may say in public, when people like Saffy flip a magazine page and see some Hollywood celebrity walk down the red carpet with his wife, secretly, they’re mentally inserting their face into the picture and imagining a life of great adventure and luxury and, more importantly, waking up not alone.
Which is why the idea that it could all end in divorce is doubly cruel. I mean, if Michael Douglas and Allan Wu and Lamar and all the other divorcees of 2013 – with all their charm, fame, good looks and fortunes – can’t make it work, what hope is there for the rest of us?
Saffy, who’s just looked it up on Google, says that a billion is one followed by twelve zeroes. “My God,” she says, awestruck. “What is that Wendi Deng thinking?”