Recently I tried to let a couple friends off the hook for my upcoming June 4th wedding. I figured I was doing them a favor. They live 3,000 miles away, work full-time jobs, are struggling writers, and I was trying to be considerate when I told them I was going to leave them off the invite. They acted offended. They're good friends, not the marginal sort you normally try to trim. I do try to leave off the poor (they eat your food and give you shit for presents), but that wasn't the case this time. I was honestly thinking of others (a rare occasion, I know). But they want to come. I don't get it.
It's not just that this is my third wedding, the two priors crashing and burning spectacular, which everyone knows about. I mean, if it's once shame on me, twice on you, what's it say that people actually want to sign up for round #3? I don't care. I'll take their gifts (preferably in the form of cash), even if it means I am now on the hook to go to their fucking weddings. What gets me is why anyone would want to do that? Who gets a wedding invite and goes, "Oh, boy, this'll be fun!" Wedding Crashers was a funny movie, but in real life Rachel McAdams ain't picking Owen Wilson's big crooked schnoz over Bradley Cooper's fabulous abs. Why the fuck would anyone want to shell out for a ticket, fly six hours, get dressed up, sit at a table with old people who smell like cheese at at table talking about their herb gardens, eat mediocre food, listen to cheesy DJs, and partake in the spectacle that the American wedding? Beats fuck all out of me. (As a friend of mine once said, "Weddings are a huge inconvenience for everyone who's not getting married." Actually, this friend was the girlfriend of one of the guys who didn't take me up on my invite not to be invited. Go figure.)
Maybe it's because I've been married twice before that I've soured on the pomp and circumstance of it all. It's hard to wash the taste out of your mouth of your wife standing on the sand of her rich parents' gated lakeside community beachfront, pledging to stick with you through sickness, health, and grad school, when less than six months later she's blowing one (or both) of your friends in Houston. (Or maybe that's a taste that's tough to wash out of her mouth.) I guess that makes me bitter. Still, I've never been a big fan of the things. If I didn't like them before, to quote Rob in High Fidelity, I fucking hate them now.
It just seems so egotistical. And coming from me that's saying something. Here's a whole day in honor of me. Come watch me and my beloved act out flowery Jane Austen prose with grand declarations of never-ending love amidst swelling orchestral scores, and now let's cut cake that cost a $1.50 to make that's been marked up 1,245% while the adorning masses take turns telling the videographer what they love best about me.
Every girl deserves her day. I am not begrudging Justine this, and though, as her friend, I am not sure she's made the wisest choice in terms of a lifetime mate, the guy does have his good qualities. At least he tries real hard. And he's ridiculously attractive. And he will fight hard for her. I will make sure she haves her day. We won't scrimp, won't go all Grocery Outlet floral and .99 Store decor. But it's for her. Because I love her and want to make her happy. It's not like I won't have a good time. It's a day in which I (or more accurately Justine, who's a little softer on the eyes) will be the center of attention. What's not to like? You come to honor me. You watch me perform. You give me money. Pretty fucking awesome day to be Joe. I know; I've done it twice before. The last wedding, I cleared some serious black leather furniture and it bankrolled my move to grad school (and, yeah, I kept every last fucking cent from that fucking wedding. You suck someone else's cock, I get the gifts. I am pretty sure that's in the wedding vows).
But I don't need a day to pledge my love and commitment to Justine. We have a kid together. It can be a hard life sometimes but I am tied to her like the buttons on her blouse. And this time we'll be doing it in a church, something I haven't done before. So maybe this time with God watching more closely it'll actually stick, who knows? Like Justine likes to joke, "[She's] the third luckiest girl in the world."
I suppose in closing, I'd like to say this. In the end, the wedding is just another day, though it receives the lion's share of attention, lots o' weight placed on it. It's fun (for those getting married. Seriously, if any friends are reading this and are wondering whether to invite me to their fucking wedding, please take this at face value and please please please don't. I will be forever grateful). Then the hard part starts, the fucking day-after-day drudgery of the rest of your lives, filled with doctor's visits and taking out the trash and trying to lose five pounds and in-laws and cleaning up after the pets and the career disappointments and the countless hours where nothing much happens at all, and that can't live up to the many splendid things. It's like going on vacation to a five star resort in Fiji and returning to your one-bedroom apartment in Illinois in the middle of winter and wondering why you're depressed.
Did I mention that I prefer cash?