The Beginning Of The End

One is perturbed.

It’s Thursday afternoon. Ever since this week began, I feel that my presence has been announced with directions.

Wash in warm water. Pat dry. Take care to speak to this product solely about her wedding.  

The thought has crossed my mind to take notes on the amount of comments I am having on my “W” word. I could count them all up at the end of each week and drink that number in Tequila shots.

People mean well, I’m sure.

“Not long now!”

“You’re next!”

“What’s the date again?”

“Are you all ready?”

“What’s your dress like? Can I see a picture?”

This barrage of questions, nay – this gust of matrimonial flatulence – is becoming, to me, the equivalent of asking a thirteen-year-old, “How’s school?” or a pregnant woman “Do you know what it is yet?” and my personally favourite – asking an Australian “Are you from New Zealand?”.

Ask me again if i'm excited.

Ask me again if i’m excited.

In much the same way that a word is defined by its usage, a person is defined by their profession. And despite the fact I work six, sometimes seven, days a week as an administrator, burlesque performer and teacher, event coordinator, makeup artist, hair stylist, and volunteer at an animal shelter, my status as a BRIDE inexplicably overshadows all other talents and interests I may have or achievements I have met.

People mean well, I’m sure. But one can’t help but take all this attention as a sort of back-handed compliment.

Last night The Man Shape got frustrated with me because I hadn’t been paying enough attention to the tasks he had been assigned for the lead up to the wedding. For some reason, my giving him tasks to carry out (namely, “choose four songs for the wedding ceremony”) was taken as “These are the tasks we will do together”.

He lost his cool when I groaned and asked for one hour (just ONE!!!) where I didn’t have to address a wedding question.

He didn’t understand my reluctance. He’d done his day at work. He’d been to the gym, done his workout, come home and was ready to sit down and do some wedding planning. (And well done to him, to be fair).

But he didn’t realise that a bride (or indeed her immediate bridal party) doesn’t get to allocate a convenient time to think about wedding planning. Quite the opposite. It’s a constant flow of emails and tweets and private messages and phone calls and calendar pop-ups. And reminders from friends, colleagues and family members that You’re! Going! To! Be! A! Bride! Soon!

(I was aiming for a Pulitzer but apparently this is better).

Yesterday was September 11th. As a mark of respect, I decided the day would be a No-Wedding Day. A day to reflect on the less fortunate and what we as citizens of the world can do to help promote peace and an ongoing sense of multi-cultural tolerance.

10am.

IT LASTED UNTIL TEN AY-EM.

I am a failure as a human being.

Nobody cared that she had worked tirelessly for the plight of Black Rhinos. But she had an inflatable penis.

Nobody cared that she had worked tirelessly for the plight of Black Rhinos. But she had an inflatable penis.

Do Grooms have to deal with this dubious rite of passage in the lead-up to their wedding? Or does “What are you wearing? Does it fit okay? What cake are you having? Have you got the shoes yet? Are you getting excited?” come only (ONLY) after the schedules, accounts and client meetings have been settled?

If so, men have definitely got it right.

I think I’m missing the bridal chromosome. Anyone got one spare? I’ll swap you for sarcasm. I’ve got that one.

The S*** List

Let’s face it. Some weddings are a bore.

It’s a long day.

Ceremony. Photos with every possible combination of family members. So many, that the Mother-of-the-Bride suddenly develops the logic of a mathematician. Pre-wedding breakfast drinks. Wedding breakfast. Hopefully the bridal party have placed you next to someone vaguely interesting. More photos. That god-forsaken Purgatory in between wedding breakfast and the evening reception where nothing really happens, you’re getting the munchies and your feet are beginning to hurt. 

It’s also an expensive day. Travel costs. Accommodation. Gifts. New outfits. Hair dressing appointments. It can all come to a good three-hundred pounds if you’re not vigilant in the sales, as my friend Gay Dave has taught me to be.

(Dave: “You shouldn’t buy those make up remover wipes. There’s no difference between those and baby wipes. And they’re half the price.”

Me: “But these smell like cucumber. And they’ve got dual purpose cleanser and toner.”

Dave: “Miss Gemma? Who’s pound is stronger?”

Me: *sigh* “Yours.”

Dave: “Exactly. Get the baby wipes. Now. Where’s the lube? Hmmmmm ……LUBE.”)

You’re close friends and family will be more than happy to go through the above process and all it’s tribulations for you. They’ll put the money aside months in advance and count the days until the big event. You’ve invited your parents, brothers and sisters, and their respective partners. Your core friendship group are a given. (I’m not talking about the drinking buddies. I mean the ones who’ll help you get rid of the body. The one’s who’ll see you through to the blood-spattered end.) Maybe you’ll put a few people down from the office and perhaps a couple of buddies from your tennis team. 

How many more people could you possibly need????? (Personally I’m at a loss as to how most weddings hold an average of a hundred and twenty guests. As a bride-to-be, I can’t imagine the hell-on-earth involved in making shallow small talk with the fifty or so people who haven’t bothered to see you since Christmas 1997, when you’re supposed to be drunk and DANCING TO LA BAMBA ).

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Second cousin Jackie will be on a mission to drink her fuel tank in Cava.

So when a bride’s family puts pressure on them to invite not only second cousin Jackie, but second cousin Jackie’s new boyfriend that she met down the pub last month, not only is it necessary to reconsider this from a financial view point, but it is wise to think twice on a purely humanistic perspective.

Firstly, when did you last see second cousin Jackie? Are you close? I mean, “hiding-the-body” close? Have you met her new fling? Do you want to be able to say in years to come that you met her fling at your wedding? That you had to pay fifty-eight pounds per head for the privilege? That, years down the line, he’s long gone from second cousin Jackie’s life. And according to what you’ve heard, possibly in prison?

Secondly, can second cousin Jackie and her convict boyfriend afford to come to your wedding, both financially and spiritually? Do they want to spend that precious weekend travelling all the way down to whichever medieval castle, arguing over who should be Des? Is it a drag for them to have to buy you a gift?

Second cousin Jackie and all others characterised by their questionable connections with your existence, (despite their unfortunate yet unquestionable connection through plasma), may become known to your and your other half, as The Shit List.

You know they’re going to throw a fit when they’ve heard on the grapevine you haven’t invited them. And yet, you can’t remember the last time they came to your house. Have they EVER been to your house?

Would it be easier for all parties if you just didn’t invite The Shit List and let them bitch about it for a few years instead? They’ll get tired and bored eventually.

Essentially, it’s a lose/lose situation.

But let’s face it, you’re doing second cousin Jackie a favour by not inviting her.

EVERYONE HATES WEDDINGS.

It’s true. Unless the couple in question are the closest of your close friends, the only redeeming feature of any given wedding in invitation is the free booze. And, given what it cost to get there, what it’ll cost to get home and the asking price of your dress (Gay Dave wouldn’t have you paying full price), that glass of Prosecco isn’t free at all! It is, in fact, a trifling concession! An insult to your efforts, your sacrifice, even your family’s name.  

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Second cousin Jackie is one of those difficult, determined drunks. She is prone to doing awful things to a may pole if you let her.

As second cousin Jackie storms out of the castle’s tourist toilet block where she’s been arguing with the convict, she curses you and all you stand for.

“They’ll be divorced in six months!” She screams as she stumbles, barefoot across the moors and into the mists, cutting her foot on a pebble and sliding down a grassy knoll on a cow pat.

Tell me about your Shit List. 

PS You’re Des.