Where have I heard this before? Ever since word came out that former Washingtonienne and author Jessica Cutler became engaged, there have been a lot of people — mostly those who know nothing more than she had a bunch of sex with people and wrote about it — who have openly shit on her happiness. Interestingly, many of those people are female. Apparently, when a woman like Cutler, who is openly, unabashedly sexual, up and decides to get married to someone she, presumably, loves a great deal, the odds-makers come out start speculating about the inevitable divorce. What's up with that?
Cutler's fiancé, Charles Rubio, is a 28-year-old New York lawyer that Cutler told Gawker she met in a bar last March. I think we can all assume that Rubio has basic reading and Google skills and — having known Cutler for the last 9 months or so — a pretty good idea of what she's done, who she is and why he wants to spend his life with her. Why is is so improbable that a woman who enjoys sex, has had multiple partners, has written about it and who has had heaped upon her humiliation, public opprobrium and a lawsuit by an ex-lover, could fall in love? Is it so improbable that a woman such as Cutler could have found love, could be ready to build a life with someone that loves her, or could manage to beat the (statistical) odds of divorce that confound every couple willing to take the plunge?
But, let us be honest here. It's not because people think Cutler has "issues" — plenty of people with issues get married every day, and some of them stay that way. It's not because people know enough about Cutler to assess her ability to have and maintain long-term relationships — although, to point out, the blog that catapulted her into the public spotlight was meant for several long-term friends of hers, so she can apparently maintain relationships with people over the course of a few years. It's not because anyone commenting snidely on her chances of being happy knows anything about how she comports herself in a relationship, feels about Rubio, how Rubio feels about her or what they both want out of a marriage (and whether they've discussed that). It's because they think that, having allowed a number of different men into her bed, she's not the "kind" of girl who can settle down.
Let's try thinking about what Cutler and Rubio have going for them. Rubio can hardly have any illusions about the woman he's marrying — but he loves her and wants to spend his life with her. And, honestly, that's kind of sweet, and cool, and what you want in a life partner — someone willing to shoulder your burdens with you and take on the world with you. And Cutler, sure, she's slept with a bunch of guys and maybe drank too much, but there was something about this guy that made her want something more. He bought her a bracelet she liked because he thought it would be harder to lose than a ring, and she didn't whine about not having a ring just because it's what society demands. She likes that he asked her father first, and, when e-mailed for comment, he deferred to her for comment. It actually sounds like they know each other pretty well and have their shit together. So why is it that people seemingly think they are so much more likely to end up screaming at one another in divorce court?
Which is not to say they won't. Marriage is tough. Maybe it will all blow up and the people who like to point and tsk-tsk about women who aren't ashamed to have lots of sex will have another reason to say that women like Cutler don't get to be happy. But there is at least one person hoping that, despite the obstacles that will get thrown before them and the shitstorms that will rain down on them no matter what they do, that it does work out for them both... if only because seeing other people happy doesn't inspire disgust or envy as much as it helps keep alive the small flicker of hope that anyone can be.