The Girl Next Door

I wrote this recently about a man I used to go to high school with:

“He was the kind of man who is going to hang around with his old school friends, going to the pub, playing some sport as an adult, and getting some respectable job in the local area. I had however been on the road as a “wandering scholar” for a number of years, and I put school and school friends behind me pretty quickly.”

On reflection, that ignores my own reality. It is a lot harder to escape one’s background than one realises. I suppose that is a commonplace observation.

Looking at your own life and social surrounds, you tend to see the details and the nuances. You make distinctions that an outside observer will not make. (A good recent example came when I jokingly referred to learning “how Yanks talk”. A commenter on the Internet said, “what about how Southerners talk?” I did not have the heart to tell him the truth – namely, that all Americans are Yanks to outsiders, even Southern folk.)

Stereotypically, a man marries the girl next door. If not next door, then in his neighbourhood at least. (I once read that we only meet a handful of people in our lives that we can feasibly marry.)

Despite my dismissive comment above, I did pretty much what the man I used to go to school with did. And I married “the girl next door”, figuratively speaking. From the same suburb; similar social class; same religion; not the same school, but from the “sister school”; similar ethnicity; and so on.

Is it only the exceptional people who break this mould? Exceptional in a positive or negative way?


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by redrat on July 24, 2015 at 5:52 am

    I am definitely middle class background. Married a girl of upper middle class background (private schooling etc). Met her on return from Vietnam, her Dad had died 18 months before so both damaged goods. Been married 43 years with 5 kids, and years of poverty together


  2. Usually its negative to break this type of mould. And considered positive to pretend otherwise.


    • Yes.

      Also important is our natural tendency to see distinctions in our social situations that outsiders will not. So spouses tend to see their differences while outsiders see their similarities.


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