Vadodra-based Kshama Bindu is India’s first instance of sologamy. However, the 24-year-old, who identifies herself as “bi-gender,” is not the path-breaker. Kshama is from a family of professionals, her father being an engineer working in South Africa and her mother is employed in Ahmedabad. She is a sociology graduate and works as a recruitment officer at a private company in Vadodara.
Kshama was quoted in the media as saying that she is so fond of herself that she doesn’t wish to marry anyone else.
Sologamy, or the act of marrying oneself, might emerge as a popular answer in times to come. Not only does it do away with the shackles of commitment in a relationship, but it also allows people with sexual diversity to lead a “regular” life. In absence of any clear law to deal with sologamy, in India, there is no legal bar prohibiting the same.
The subject has been touched upon in popular flicks like “Sex In The City” and “Glee.” However, with relationships and the expectation around bonds undergoing a sea-change, failed marriages are on a sharp rise. Sociologists opine that the trend could become a vastly popular choice in times to come.
Here’s a quick look at the nascent history of sologamy:
Janel Downes of Nebraska is credited with being the first woman to have married herself. The wedding was solemnized in Nebraska on June 27, 1998, in front of a mirror. “We can always find something wrong with ourselves when we look in the mirror. One day I woke up and decided, I was happy with who I was, just the way I was. So that led me to marry myself,” she is quoted as having said.
Laura Messi, a 40-year-old fitness trainer, married herself in the summer of 2000. She spent £8,700 on her solo affair. The grand celebration saw her all dolled up in a white dress. She cut the traditional three-tier cake with 70 guests in attendance. Laura became the first Italian woman to marry herself in the strongly Roman Catholic bastion.
When asked what led her to the decision, she reportedly quipped: “You can have a fairy-tale even without the prince. Loving oneself should be the priority. The idea came up when a 12-year-old relationship ended rather painfully.”
Similar is the story of Gabrielle Penabaz. Nursing a broken heart, she realized that the only true bond is with oneself. A venue was booked, the cake was cut and a blue gown was donned!! “That’s all you need to get it going,” the happy newly-wed had stated. Shortly after, Gabrielle, a New-York based vocal artiste, began to officiate other people’s solo marriages to themselves. Since her wedding in 2000, she has officiated more than 1,500 people’s sologamy nuptials. She also charges for the services she caters to as a professional artist.
“The ceremonies are usually very cathartic and all about self-love. Nearly 80 percent of the people whom I married themselves shed a tear reading their vows. They usually say things like ‘I forgive myself and ‘I will no longer call myself ugly’,” media reports credit her as saying.
Additionally, sologamy can serve as a way to cleanse yourself after being stuck in a violent or abusive relationship. “I have witnessed people leave abusive relationships, step more fully into their life’s work or meet their beloved after marrying themselves,” adds Dominique Youkhehpaz, who also officiates sologamy ceremonies.
Among all the women, Nello Ruggiero stands out as the first man who opted for sologamy. “The society marginalizes me. And I do not love anyone more than I love myself.” Nello has four brothers, and all have found their soulmates in their other halves. His decision was quite spontaneous, and he wanted his brothers to see him marry.
Nello’s wedding was aired on a TV show. The ceremony was replete with all the extravagance of a regular do. Nello arrived on a white horse all suited. Guests were called in to celebrate his 40th birthday but in the end, the party turned out the “best one ever,” many attendees are reported as having said.
In 2015, Sophie Tanner arranged a solo wedding in Brighton. She and her 20 Bridesmaids were full of joy on the wedding day, running last-minute errands and dancing their way through it.
Her close friend, James, officiated the wedding while the crowd surrounded them with curiosity as they heard about the single wedding. As the ceremony ended, she thought, “This is you that you are marrying remember. She knows you better than anyone, she has always got your back.”