Thursday, 1 September 2011

The Happiest Day of Someone Else’s Bloody Life

Love, l-o-v-e, pah! Even hearing the word out loud is enough to make me want to vomit so hard that my entire insides are sprayed out all over the floor like an elaborate Persian rug. Incidentally this is the reason why I’m banned from tennis matches, puts people off their strawberries and cream.

Being a terminally single man, who was last dating sometime around the fall of Hadrin’s wall, you can imagine how I feel about weddings. Weddings are the ultimate symbol of happiness, joy and togetherness and thus completely alien to me. Like deodorant is completely alien to twelve year old boys, only unlike Lynx I suspect I’ll never grow into them.

Unfortunately I am now at the age where weddings are inescapable, at the age of three you’re not expected to go because you’re too young, lucky sods. Approaching thirty and you find all your friends are popping off to get married, whilst you spend longer on the shelf than the average Korean language-edition Jeffery Archer novel. And being such a good friend you’re expected to go to each and every one of the love-based rituals to be joyous as the happy couple embark on their new wonderful life, whilst every step of the ceremony is designed to remind you that their life will be much better than yours. As tasteless acts of suffering go it is akin to inviting a group of starving Ethopian people to come and watch the opening of an All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet, without letting them tuck in. With all this said, you can imagine how excited I am by the fact that I am not only going to a wedding this weekend, but have also have had to toast another happy couple getting married on the same day!

Don’t get me wrong I am off course happy for both couples, as I was at the hundred odd other weddings I’ve been to in the last few years, in fact I’m overjoyed. Ok that’s taking it too far, we’ll stick at happy. In fairness all the weddings I’ve been to have been lovely affairs, all different but each one perfectly suited to the couple getting married. As I am sure this weekend’s wedding will also be. And whilst I’m not quite at the level of turning up with “It Should Have Been Me” placard, my hatred of weddings is firmly based in selfishness, the “always the page boy never the groom” bitterness is fully in charge here. It’s like university graduation, I’m happy to celebrate other people’s graduations knowing that I’m graduating too. But if you were forced to go to graduation after your 58th resit of the first year, it would all start to feel a bit like a sick joke.

And this is weddingdom for me, currently I’m just an anomaly on a seating plan that makes the whole thing uneven “well if you could bring a plus one, table allocation would be easier”. A plus one! Thanks, who do you expect me to bring a bloody teddy bear, Norman Lamont or perhaps one of the Sugababes? With the option to bring a minus one sadly frowned upon, I resort to being the person standing awkwardly at the edge of the dance floor whilst the bride, groom and all the other couples in attendance go for a romantic dance. I’m there looking interested in a plant pot, until the plant pot gets ashamed by association and wanders off, then I’m just there alone in a sea of happiness, trying desperately to look cheerful but ending up looking about as natural as Gordon Brown’s smile.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I felt there was a decent chance of me being able to return the favour and invite everyone round for my wedding sometime, but even in an infinite universe with infinite time for all events to play out at multiple times, it still seems an extremely remote possibility. I’ve probably got more chance of winning Euromillions. Which would at least give me a vague chance of funding the wedding, yes as gratuitous displays of affection go; a wedding seems the most carefree way of pissing a load of cash up the wall. A wall which incidentally has been gold plated, and accessorised by the bride and her mother for approximately 400 working hours to ensure it doesn’t clash with the flowers and compliments the shade of the groom’s tongue perfectly, lest he open his mouth whilst walking past at some point during the ceremony.

If you’re the organisers of the ceremony, you’ll run up a debt as large as a medium-sized African nation as you spend money on a church or registry office, reception venue, suit hire, wedding dresses, transport, horses, more finger nibbles than have ever been eaten in the history of the world and enough wine so that everyone gets so pissed they can’t remember the event. For all anyone will be able to recall you could have hosted it in a burnt out garage in a back street of Wolverhampton. But wedding’s are also expensive if you’re a guest, an expense that leaves an extra stain on your debit sheet if you’re still single, as you have to pay for accommodation (which is more expensive per person if you’re single!) and transportation. It’s bad enough if it’s in the UK, but there seems to be a trend for getting married aboard. “Not only are we the happiest couple who have ever lived, but we’re going to celebrate it on a holiday” - a holiday that has all the disadvantages of being a holiday (e.g. expensive, long journeys, arguments, lost baggage, food poisoning) without any of the advantages, such as relaxing and having fun. I mean seriously how happy do you want me to think your life is, because there’s a danger you’ll become so happy I might punch you in the face - and blood is very tricky to get out of a wedding dress and tends to dampen down the happiness factor.

And of course there’s the gifts, this is the happiest day of our life, but we’d be even happier if you could bring us something of monetary value. Oh and we’ve seen your usual gift buying skills, you’re crap, please only buy us something form this pre-approved list, because asking for the receipt is always awkward. Of course the bride, groom and family have spent a lot of money on the event, so it seems only fair you should buy them a gift - except when you realise the whole event is to make them feel happy anyway, my happiness has certainly not been factored in. In this context the gift buying tradition just feels greedy. Still I intend to milk it for all it’s worth if I ever get married, an event pencilled for the year 2080 at the earliest. I should imagine by then the iPhone 73 will be out, so that’s going on my wedding list (I don’t want pots and bloody pans), and the ceremony - that’ll be held on the Moon. Sod Europe, now you’ve got to pay for interstellar return tickets, serves you right for inviting me to f**king Venice way back in 2009.

You’d think given my resolute bitterness towards marriage that I’d revel in break ups and misery, but no, even they are depressing. For starters it’s considered rude to point and laugh at the recently separated, you’re not even allowed a big piss-up based celebration, like with a wedding. Instead they expect a shoulder to cry on, they want to wallow to you about how shit it is that their life has become just like yours. Except unlike you, they recently had “happiness” and should be grateful for that. Someone once said “It’s better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all”, try telling that to someone who’s just broken up and they’ll slap you. And then people worry about inviting them to weddings, because they worry it will be “insensitive”, surely it’s insensitive to invite the long-term single, at least the recently single have the perspective that it could happen to them. Instead we just watch on, spectators at the initiation to an exclusive club to which we’ve been barred entry from for no discernable reason other than having a face like the rear end of a water buffalo and being about as socially aware as a bowl of salmonella. And worse of all you have to listen to reassuring people saying “don’t worry it’ll be your turn soon”, or “it will happen, you’ve just got to not worry about it” – can we please have a ban on these phrases, we’re not living in a f***ing Disney movie, it’s perfectly possible and extremely likely that I will be miserable for all my life. And refusing to accept this is plain stupid.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m now off to get a new shirt. It turns out that binge eating on chocolate not only fails to take the pain away but also causes your collar size to expand exponentially.

1 Comment:

andyjpb said...

It's annoying when Aunts and other family members come up to you at weddings, poke you in the ribs and cackle "You'll be next! You'll be next!".

I find that it soon stops when you do the same to them at funerals.