Over the past month I have decided that weddings are ordeals which should be avoided at all costs. As I have only ever been to two weddings (two out of three of my mother’s weddings, both of which I was in. Let that sink in for a bit.), I am a total rube when it comes to the customs, procedures, and hideousness of weddings. Recently, a very dear friend of mine was proposed to and the wedding planning began. I was honored that she wants me in the wedding party and, despite all my complaining, I remain honored. I love her to death, and even though I have only known her for about five years, I feel like it has been a lifetime. I cannot picture my life without her in it. Would I tell her these things? Probably not; compliments make me feel dirty and used. But she knows.
However, having never been in a wedding as an adult, the bevy of customs and nuances make me feel like I am attending an Aborigine ceremony about which I know nothing. Should I pierce my nose and thread it with an asp? Need I sleep on my head for a week of Saturdays before? Is self-flagellation really necessary? Will there be strippers? Can I ride in on one? Maybe I can ride in on a bear instead? A pig? A manbearpig, perhaps?
The planning, the preparation, the expense, the constant drain on my first-hand study of hermit life, the ghastly suit I have to wear (She’s getting married on the beach, and all of the bride’s men are wearing linen suits. What the fuck? It’s like a deleted scene from the Robert Redford version of The Great Gatsby), and the fact that we will be outside in suits in the summer, all combine to give me angina. My aforementioned lack of driving has been a constant barrier, my ignorance of what is expected of me has been another, and my lack of a charitable nature has been the final obstacle.
The whole thing has seemed haphazard and strained from the beginning. The bride hates the heat about as much as I do—why she chose anything the way she did, I will never know. What she did not choose was the bachelorette weekend—a trip to a desert resort in late June during a heat wave. It was 105 degrees, people. Our very good friend planned everything and it was supposed to be a surprise (boy, was it!). The first thing I thought when the idea was sent around was, “Are you serious? You wanna go there in the SUMMER? Um, drugs are bad, mmmmmkay? You might want to get off them and rethink this.” But, I told myself that it was not about me and it never was, and that I needed to suck it up and keep my mouth shut. I figured that the planner knew what he was doing; I remembered that he is one of the smartest people I have ever known, and I stayed silent. He later asked me why I hadn’t said anything. I told him why and he just said he wished I would have, anyway.
The weekend was actually great, but there was much horror and irritation throughout, including bitter exes within the wedding party, ghastly un-tucked drag queens, a sleeping situation rife with pornographic potential (all unrealized, thank the gods), walking in the heat which made an unhappy bride-to-be, a terrifying jaunt in the wrong direction on a one-way street, and a great deal of expense. However, there was laughter, drinking, conversation, swimming, love (of the platonic kind), lots of eating, two cuddly dogs (who were part Great Dane, part buffalo, I think), and a whole lot of fun for everyone. I thought I would hate it, but my fears were totally unfounded.
Then there is the ceremony itself. One of my fellow bride’s men is so narcissistic, I honestly think he can’t stand to have a whole day celebrating someone other than himself (no, not my roommate. He’s not invited. But there are similarities—both do what they do out of extreme insecurity). He wanted to saunter into the ceremony with a twist, a spin, a flutter, and a shimmy, all to Xtina’s “My Girls” and have the remaining four of us (only one of whom is female) follow in his ‘mo-tastic wake. I pray to all the gods that have ever been that that shit has been vetoed on the grounds that it is lame, that nobody wants it but him, and that his entrance on the glittery Wings of Stereotypes should not upstage the bride. That’s a custom even I of the Aborigine confusion can understand.
The wedding is this weekend. The remaining suffering includes the following: the final fitting, the pickup of the suit, the dress rehearsal, the vetoing of the song, the dinner, the ceremony, the pictures (the absolute worst part for me. Every picture I take makes me look like I have an irrepressible urge to bite my ear and roll my eyes back in my head), the showering after the sweating, and the reception.
Being so unattached and so new to this whole experience of weddings, I can’t help but wonder what all the fuss… (damn it. No, that “I can’t help but wonder” was NOT inspired by Sex and the City. *going to wash*) …anyway, it makes me wonder what the fuss is all about. And all this, all my minor suffering, is absolutely nothing compared to what my friend is feeling and experiencing.
Regardless of your views on marriage, the core of it is supposed to be a commitment to the other person, to the life you want to live together, and to the love which brought you to that place. I understand that a ceremony is so entrenched in cultures all over the world that it’s practically indispensable, but why is it necessary? What’s the point? It’s a day to show all your friends and family that you love this person and want to make a commitment to him or her. It’s a milestone. It’s a symbol of new beginnings, a new beginning with that person, and a new phase in life. But, does all that have to be so public, so draining financially, so imposing on your friends, so important to display?
However, I understand that I don’t understand. I understand that this is incredibly important to two very close and very dear friends of mine. I understand that it’s in no way about me. So, I suck it up, complain to myself, chastise myself for being so cantankerous, and hope that it’s one of the happiest days of my friends’ lives.
All that being said, if I ever get married, gods forbid, it will be like the final wedding in Spaceballs:
“Good! You’re married. Kiss her!”