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June 14, 1999 e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Without a Hitch

Total number of weddings attended: 34

Invitations declined (due to conflict with another wedding): 1

Weddings to be attended between last week's and next Breakup Girl LIVE: 1 (with spiffy date! find out what happens!)

Bridesmaid: 1

Featured reader: 1

"Good sport:" 2

Bouquets caught: 1

In another country: 3

Bride/groom heretofore considered much younger than self: 3

Dog in wedding party: 2

Dog as ring-bearer: 1

People dated having met at wedding: 1

People dated having met at wedding now planning own wedding: 1

"Viennese" dessert table with sparklers: 1 (last night, as a matter of fact)

...But who's counting? Just me, apparently. According to reports out just this month, due to cutbacks, the US government is no longer keeping detailed statistics on marriage and divorce. Next year, the short form of the Census will not ask marital status. The National Center for Health Statistics now collects only yearly, state-by-state numbers of marriages and divorces -- without variables about age, number of children, number of previous marriages, dimensions of ice sculptures, etc.

The good news for singletons: hey, no pressure.

The bad news: now we'll have only the New York Times wedding pages to tell us whether we're "normal."

Also, I do find it odd that these figures were considered dispensable. Far be it from BG to get all Family Values on you, but, as social scientist David Blankenhorn has pointed out, we wouldn't make economic policy without knowing the unemployment rate. "How can you make family policy based on ignorance about marriage?" Yes, of course, "marriage" as an institution is not the only prerequisite for "family." My point is: these are not soft stats. These are the hard support beams for conclusions about how divorce affects children. How marriage contributes to longevity (married men -- and superheroes who provide supergrandchildren -- are actually likely to live longer). That kind of thing. The stuff that reminds us that it's safe to say-- even without getting all Dan Quayle -- that the state of unions is directly correlated to the state of the union.

So I guess we'll just continue to track our own over here on the Breakup Girl Supercomputer. (Perhaps someday the second stat will be -- and remain -- "Own: 1." )



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