Perched on the precipice of the Blue Mountains, Leura is both quiet and wild, a place of misty romance, sylvan charm, and middle-class entitlement. I am here because some friends have offered me their house as a writing retreat for ten days so that I can pen a chapter on the history of marriage (1788 to marriage equality) for The Cambridge Companion to Australian Legal History. The house is an arcadia of silence: perfect for a task that I accepted with appropriate academic reverence. There are three hundred pages of typed notes arranged in neurotic chronological order on my desk, and a hillock of books at my feet. The problem is that it’s now day seven and I’ve hardly written a thing. The problem, I’ve realised, is MAFS.
Before I left Sydney, a friend suggested that I watch an episode of Married at First Sight (MAFS). I agreed that it would be good to see where marriage was at these days. Has marriage equality queered the institution? Does a show like this demonstrate how trivial marriage has become? Has it shed its historical privileges and status? Now, on day seven, it is MAFS and not my scholarship that I am thinking about. MAFS has sabotaged my chapter.