Having been married for a full two months, I have compiled several observations on the topic. Chief among them is that marriage requires commitment. For example, I’ve made the commitments to become fatter, hairier and drunker than ever before. Hey, it’s not like I have to impress anyone now.
There are two responses I get when people find out I got
married. Dingbats who live in a fantasy land start gushing with
congratulations. Grownups who live in reality roll their eyes and insert an
expletive into the question, “Why would you do that?”
The answer is basically this: I have been in a committed
relationship for seven years, and after a certain amount of time the word
“girlfriend,” starts to sound silly. The woman I intend to spend the rest of my
life with should have a title that ranks her higher than someone I played kissy
face with in junior high school.
So now I have a wife, and that title also happens to be
useful to me as a humorist. “Take my girlfriend … please,” just didn’t have a
ring to it.
My bride and I found the experience of getting married to be
fantastic, but I would not recommend it to anyone else. If you are looking to
get married, here are two reasons I think you shouldn’t:
1) You are not as in love as I am. You are desperate and
insecure. Someone came along who seems to tolerate you, a few friends and
family members have started teasing you that you should get married and you are
pathetic enough to start considering it. Get your damn head screwed on
2) Although getting married can be fun, planning a wedding
and reception is like planning a space mission. It’s either going to be
expensive or a disaster, and it’s likely to be both. If you choose to spend a lot
of money you are a sucker, but if you don’t you are in for a lot of headaches.
The situation is totally lose-lose.
Try to assign a dollar value to how much fun you can
possibly have in a single day. You lose if you spend more than that amount on
your wedding. But spending money is the only way to make things happen without
dealing with them yourself. Sure, you can get your friends to cook a potluck
for you, for example, but that means making your friends do work for you when
they already hate you for making them sit through your stupid wedding.
Why don’t you skip having a meal? That would make everything
easier, right? Well, you can’t really haul people to a ceremony and then either
make them wait around or tell them to go find dinner on their own while you get
6,000 pictures taken before meeting them at the reception. And you
have to eat before you spend several hours yelling over loud music and soothing
your throat with wine.
I know you have all sorts of objections to the points I’ve
made and still think you can have an inexpensive, fun, easy-to-plan wedding and
reception. Trust me, you are wrong.
Even if you want to have a quick Justice-of-the-Peace
wedding, skip dinner and simply have a straight-up party of a reception,
there’s something you need to think about. You should never put all the people
you know together in one room.
Allowing friends, family and work colleagues to mingle is a
serious mistake. Each of the people in those groups knows approximately
one-third of the humiliating episodes of your life and the range of personality
flaws you reveal in select company. If you put all of them in a room together you
will be completely stripped of whatever false sense of dignity you might have.
Proceed with caution.
Paul Lundgren is a newspaper columnist and a very nice man.
His book, “The Spowl Ribbon,” is available online at paullundgren.com.