Farewell, My (Sonic) Youth: Requiem for a Rock Marriage

Thurston and Kim were my beacon of hope. Now what do I do?
Publish date:
October 17, 2011
music, marriage, divorce, sonic youth

The 90s are definitely over now.

After 30 years of being in a band together, and 27 years of being married, Kim Gordon (no relation to me, though I used to tell people otherwise) and Thurston Moore have decided to call it quits on their marriage.

So what? you might think.

For a lot of us ladies that are in our late 20s/early 30s, old enough to have worn childish hair barrettes and combat boots in the weird early 90s, Thurston and Kim's relationship was a beacon of hope. It was like seeing a symphony covering Black Flag -- their marriage showed me that you can be rock n' roll while being respectful of an institution, something I desperately needed to see back when I was contemplating what love meant.

For people raised on the idea that marriage is not something a feminist woman has to do (and guess what, we kinda inadvertently were), it was lovely to see Kim Gordon not disappearing into her marriage, but making it part of who she was, and making herself more badass because of her relationship, not in spite of it.

I don't know why the concept of marriage rides on the people partaking in it, but it does, and Thurston and Kim were quite a feather in the marriage cap. They'd worked together, loved each other and raised an amazing daughter, all while making some of the best music of the last 30 years, and I wanted to believe that if it was possible for them, it was possible for any of us. It's not that they had to stay together for the sake of cynical us, but now that they've split, who is our shining example? Who is our beacon of hope now?

I'm also married to a man I work with -- a man that I adore with all my everything, and a man for whom I've learned to reconcile being punk rock with being married. I always felt like I had Kim and Thurston as my guides. Without them, it's just me and my man, trying to be our own examples.

Sad? Yeah. Of course. But Today I'm going to listen to Dirty, finish editing a podcast with my husband, and maybe make some dinner. I'll consider the fact that like Dorothy's glittery shoes, I had the power all along to make my marriage the way I want it.

Kim and Thurston made marriage cool, but we can keep it that way.