Peggy Seeger – Talking Matrimony Blues Lyrics

girls don’t hanker for bouquets and veils
they soon turn to cabbage and nappies in pails
the joys and the sorrows of conjugal life
all these could be yours without being a wife
yes a good life can come to fruition
you don’t need a license to give your permission
you don’t have to marry
You never get completely free choice anyhow
too many people you can’t marry for start –
like Paul Newman
a man decides to live in sin
no one’s gonna go blaming him
he’s the boy got his need
he won’t be a man ‘til he’s done the deed
a good girl ought to live alone
until she’s wed and in her home
not supposed to cut no capers
til she’s got her bit of paper – uh huh
now there are places in this world
where they tell the young men and young girls
before you hit your marriage bed
indulge yourselves go ahead
eliminate the cruder forms of sexy impulse
from your matrimonial selection
but civilized folks despite our climb mates
fancy we’re above those primates
scorning prenuptial intercourse we favor marriage –
then divorce
the single mother and her children are a legally incomplete unit
unclaimed assets
marry for safety marry for gain
marry to give the little bugger a name
marry by custom or marry by chance
but don’t kid yourself what we call romance
ends at the altar
marriage is a legal contract yeah
that’s what I said a legal con trick
two equals getting married and then hey presto
they’re unequal
a married man goes out each day
he’s the one who earns the pay
his life may just be work and bed
but in the family he’s the head
a wife remains at home all day
never a word of earning pay
kids and housework all her life
every family needs a wife – uh huh
now marriage don’t have to be one to one
the alternative system since time begun
like polygamy polyandry or marriage in groups
weren’t invented by nincompoops
but by economic necessity
infant patrol – child brides – wife stealing –
just different methods of transferring property
cause a wife has a place in the eyes of the law
she’s as much a possession as a house or a car
you’re a dependent now, you once was a bride
and he’s your voice to the world outside
meet the wife
say something to the folks dear
a husbands rights are his by law
whether it’s Rome or Arkansas
the system ain’t no parvenue

which uses him to manage you
a wife has rights her husband gives her
food to eat and a place to live
after that what he bestows is up to him
and no one knows – uh huh
now even if you get on great
he’ll collect your rent rebates
even if you get on fine
your legal papers are his to sign
and even if he’s your bosom friend
you may have to beg for money to spend
and even if your love is true
he can open anything addressed to you
after all it’s got his name written right there
on the envelope
what’s yours is his what’s his is yours
and you’re his
if you don’t like marriage you can of course
throw in the towel and go for divorce
but that little ‘ol knot – so easy to tie
just won’t unravel or lay down and die
think of the cost think of the shame
think of the kids think of the blame
think of the men who will call you fair game
think of Princess Margaret
marriage implies a most difficult and delicate adjustment
of a passionate emotional relationship
with domestic and economic cooperation
so does divorce
a man goes off and starts again
he may be sad and hurt but then
he’s got his job got his skill
the weekly check will pay the bill
a woman’s left with kids to mind
a life to mend and a job to find
got no training got no skills
got no way to pay the bills – uh huh
so love him live with him make your own vows
it don’t matter where or when or how
cause just being a woman’s a challenge for life
why complicate things by becoming a wife
I suppose you think I’m being cynical
but social surgery’s got to be clinical
marriage is really to safeguard the kids
cause without a mother they’d be on the skids
who better to feed em wipe their little bums
then good old dependable stay-at-home mom
and marriage is really to safeguard the man
send him off to work well-fed spick-and-span
it’s not only his labor he’s going to sell but
that of his wife and his kids as well
two can earn cheaper than one
so in the end it’s really to safeguard the boss
cause without a workforce he’d make a loss
and how could he rob ‘em screw ‘em and twist ‘em
unless he had marriage to uphold a system that
supports the class that exploits the man
who exploits the wife who bears the kids
who live in the house that Jack built
and Jill cleans