Today, I'm going to write about a touchy subject. You may feel offended, and if you do, please remember that no matter what you think, I'm right and you're wrong. Now that we've cleared that up, let's move on.
I'm at that stage when everyone I know, from my best friend since kindergarten to the toothless man in overalls standing outside the drive-thru at Wendy's, is finding true love and getting married. Wedding bells are everywhere, followed by poofy white dresses, disgruntled bridesmaids and clueless husbands-to-be who hold the hands of their stressed fiancées and say, "Yes, honey, I have a very strong opinion on china patterns. I like the one with the roses. Oh, you don't like the roses? Me either. Are we done yet?"
I have been dating my boyfriend for three years but have no plans to get married any time soon. This is partly because I don't want to rush into a lifetime commitment without total confidence, but mostly it's because I want an engagement ring with a great big diamond, and face it, people just out of college are poor.
Marriage is about true love, about finding the one person with whom you can spend your life. And that's your entire lifeeven the part where you eat some bad Chinese food and spend four hours making strange noises in the bathroom. For some reason, everyone seems to find the love of their life at exactly the same time. Prime soulmate-attraction time occurs between the ages of 18 and 25, with people hooking up like magnets and going on to live their little bipolar lives together, collecting paperclips and metal shavings along the way.
And this is a beautiful thing. I'm truly happy that Britney Spears found her soulmate for 48 hours in Las Vegas, then found another one later in her backup dancer. Elizabeth Taylor has found eight soulmates, including a construction worker she met at rehab and married on Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. If rehab and Michael Jackson don't spell marital bliss, I don't know what does.
For whatever reasonlove, money, lack of anything better to dopeople my age are getting married left and right. And, for the most part, I approve. I'm even fine with being a bridesmaid in one of my best friends' weddings. I've known Logan and her fiancé, Andy, for years; it's the least I can do to buy an expensive dress and shoes that I'll only wear once, drive to Atlanta, pay for a hotel room and wear the dress, which may or may not look good on me, in front of hundreds of people. I'll even visit their wedding website, if they have one, and pretend to think it's cute and romantic. "I like your font choice," I'll say, "Times New Roman really says a lot about the power of true love."
But what I really don't like, what makes me roll my eyes and groan in discomfort, is when I have to attend a wedding for people I don't particularly know or like. Sooner or later, it happens to everyone. You know a couple, or maybe even just half of the couple, but not very well. Maybe you had a class together in college, or you worked at the same Starbucks one summer. They seem like perfectly nice people, but then the wedding invitation comes in the mail and suddenly, you have to go to the wedding and act like you care about them. You can decline, but you still have to buy them a gift. My policy is that if you give a gift, you're entitled to show up and eat food at the reception. It's a simple monetary transaction. Food for matching china. Totally fair.
So you get the frilly, off-white (sorry, "eggshell") invitation and you show up at the wedding for people you barely know, your gift-wrapped cow-shaped creamer in hand, only to discover that you don't know anyone on the guest list. You see two girls smoking in the corner and decide to stick with them. One looks as if she's been crying, probably because her 18-25-year-old soulmate just demagnetized and left, and the other one is gushing about how beautiful the wedding is. Yeah, real beautiful. The bright pink bridesmaid dresses and mountain of taffeta that encased the bride were really touching. And that's the weird thing about weddings. Your friends' weddings are usually pretty nice. After all, you've known them for years and have become familiar with their taste in clothes, food and home décor, even if you don't fully agree with their decision to go with strapless bridesmaid dresses in an outdoor December wedding.
But the people you don't know just throw their bad taste in your face and expect you to take it. Look, they say, we're getting married to a Michael Bolton song! Or, hey, isn't fuchsia a lovely color? And you can't do anything except smile and nod and fill your plate with another helping of tiny cocktail shrimp, looking around for the bar. There's only one way to make the image of fuchsia go away, and that's with a lot of heavy drinking.
Everything at a wedding can be tolerated if the food is good and the alcohol is cheap. But sometimes people have weddings without any alcohol. Usually these people are very religious, but Jesus drank wine so I don't see the problem. Yet a few months ago I had the unfortunate displeasure to attend such a wedding. Not only was it a dry event, but the couple had also hired a DJ who expected us to dance. Who over the age of 14 does the electric slide sober?
That wedding reception was the most awkward dance I've ever attended. It even beat out the time in 7th grade when Blair Freeman jumped up and down to the Kriss Kross song "Jump Jump" and a wad of Kleenex fell out of her bra and landed on Eric Russ's foot. I felt sorry for Blair at the time (though not enough to stop myself from running to the girls' bathroom to giggle), but I felt even sorrier for this wedding DJ whose painful job it was to make us dance. We just wouldn't do it. At least he didn't play the Chicken Dance, or we would have shoved cocktail shrimp down his throat.
I don't plan on getting married for a while. Brad Pitt needs some time to get over his recent break-up. But when I do get married, I'm going to pick out a decent bridesmaid's dress and serve more alcohol than food at the reception. The meal will be steak and French fries because you can never go wrong with those. If I have a buffet, there will be no cocktail shrimp, no pigs-in-a-blanket or ladyfinger sandwiches, nothing with a cutesy name. My china pattern will not have flowers on it and I will never ask for anything involving the terms "soup tureen," "fish platter" or "gravy boat." Gravy should never come in anything resembling a boat. That's just sick and wrong. Well, unless you like them. Then it's perfectly fine with me. Are we done yet?