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Get Married in Red or Not at All

By

Bride in Red I just finished watching my favorite guilty pleasure, "America's Funniest Videos". It is an acquired taste, since you either have to be dumber than biddy shit (like most of its audience) or horribly, inexplicably, car-crash-rubberneckingly fascinated by the idiocy of mainstream America (like me). For instance, when I watch wedding videos of doves shitting on people's tuxes, tiny ringbearers and flower girls throwing tantrums in the middle of the aisle, and brides and grooms falling off chairs hoisted by their drunken relatives, I don't laugh and think, "Oh, this is cute!" or "How awful!" I think, "Good, they deserve what they get!" I have no sympathy for those beset by wedding bloopers, and find them about as "charming" as some snot-nosed brat showing Dad and the camera what he picked out of his grubby little nose...meaning, not.

Not that I am against marriage, per se. It's not for everybody, that's for damn sure, despite what people will try and tell you. I won't go into how pissed I am that male-female marriage is the ONLY legal form recognized, and in fact lawful, in the U.S. But the fact that in this country the institution of marriage is as yet limited to one man and one woman brings me to the point of this entire rant -- how much I hate so-called "traditional" weddings.

For starters, there is the whole ideology behind "traditional" or "church wedding" ceremonies, best symbolized by the bride's dress and the "giving away." Even in this age when women are free to have a sex life before, during, and after marriage, why are almost all wedding dresses still VIRGINAL white? I've been told that it symbolizes the "purity of love," whatever the hell that means. I don't buy that. When you consult those godawful wedding magazines, they almost ALWAYS tell you that at second- and third-marriage weddings, it's "not in good taste" for the divorcee bride to wear white -- although off-white is fine. So are we to assume that second and third marriages are somehow lacking the "purity of love"? Give me a fucking break. It's all about the perceived purity of the bride! As long as she likes what she's wearing and is happy, what does it matter if it's white, black, or a pair of denim overalls? I am amazed at how expressing a desire to get married in black shocks and even angers people who ask me if I'm "weird" or "on something." No one questioned my sweetie when he said he would rather wear a suit than a tux!

And why do most ceremonies include the "giving away" of the bride by her father? Sometimes you will hear a bride's parents giving away their daughter, but the father is always doing the "giving" whether the mother is or not. I mean, how much sense does that make? Does Daddy "own" you until some other man comes along, pops the question, and then requires transfer of ownership at the ceremony? Do they sign over a title when you're out of the room? I fail to comprehend why thousands of women who would never dream of out and out CALLING themselves the property of a man basically BECOME that when they indulge in this antiquated bit of business, all in the name of "true love." And it's surprising how resistant they are to the idea of dispensing with it!

Which brings me to...the bachelor party -- basically a way for the "love of your life" to ogle (and sometimes, go beyond mere ogling) naked women, while drunker than hell with his drooling friends, before he is resigned to the old "ball-and-chain"...YOU! Some women see it as a bit juvenile, but not a big deal. Then there are those who seek at all costs to prevent it. Personally, I feel it's a bit unfair that, as the bride's role is to be "given away" the next day, the groom gets to celebrate his last night of "freedom" while his buddies rub in his face the fact that he'll soon be resigned to (they presume) a life of chaste and boring sex, because how can sex be exciting with just ONE woman all the time? (And don't give me this shit about "bachelorette" parties, which are even more pathetic, mostly because all they amount to is some girlish giggling, a few beers, and a grope or two of the sweaty ass of some male stripper or Chippendale, who's probably gay anyway. I'd rather stay home with a pint of Ben and Jerry's than pay some self-absorbed human cauliflower to provide me with my last hours of "bachelorette" entertainment.)

True to form, most "traditional" brides-to-be go apeshit when they find out that their new hubby had a line of naked chorus girls wriggling in his face only a few hours before The Big Event that is supposed to make them ONE for ALL TIME. Duh. Get over it. If he truly loves you, no baby-oiled boob-jobbed bimbo is going to change that. If, however, he takes his last night of "freedom" waaayyyyy too seriously (i.e. it is obvious he is looking forward to it more than being married to you)...maybe you should just kick the bastard, sell the rings, and take a trip to Tahiti. It'll save you from later having to divvy up all those trivial material things, like furniture, expensive wedding gifts, and children.

There is also the widespread idea that everything has to be "perfect." It's "your special day," in which you get to be "queen" and the center of attention. All very fine and good, but I have personally witnessed women driving themselves nearly to the point of madness over the fact that due to a small florist's mistake the accent flowers on the banquet table were not BLUSH ROSE but BABY PINK. Puh-leez! Who CARES if every little detail is perfect and everything is exactly the way you want it? IT'S CALLED LIFE -- DEAL WITH IT! I'm not talking about true disasters here (groom doesn't show up, clergyperson has heart attack between "I do's", mothers-in-law open fire in pews), I'm talking about people who throw hissies when the ringbearer (who is probably only four anyway) drops the ring in the aisle and has to scramble to pick it up. The pressure is in the wrong place here. Instead of worrying about how "perfect" your wedding should be, maybe you ought to be worrying about how much of an ASSHOLE you are being by changing the menu four times the week before the event, and insisting that every flower be hand-picked that day by trained farmers wearing silk gloves so as not to bruise the stems.

I'm gonna kill her... And of course, what red-blooded female hasn't been full of dread when asked to be a bridesmaid at a friend's or relative's wedding, knowing full well that you will be told to don a seafoam green, bubble-skirted, hideously ugly lace gown, which you will have to pay for and which can never be worn again, or even altered into something reasonably decent. Everyone knows that brides do this on purpose, especially ones to whom looking better than everyone else is more important that whether or not their friends, sisters, or cousins resemble inflatable pool toys smirking uncomfortably in the pictures, which are bound to make the poor dears look even more bloated and sweaty, in contrast to the bride's toothy, big-haired radiance.

I could go on forever, but instead here is a brief list of everything else that sucks about weddings, yours or others':

  • Squashing cake into each other's faces. Truly idiotic.
  • Schmaltzy recorded songs like "Somethin' to Believe In" or "Everything I Do, I Do for You" which are full of the worst cliches about love. If one like this is "your song," I feel sorry for you.
  • "Festive" wedding drinks which are really Minute Maid Fruit Punch spiked with cheap gin and ginger ale.
  • Forcing people in your families or among your friends who fight like cats and dogs to socialize together. If they won't behave at Christmas or Hanukah, and continually end up shouting obscenities at Thanksgiving, what makes you think "your special day" is going to be any different? On the other hand, you could turn their competitive antagonism your way and make them fight to buy you the best and most expensive wedding gift...
  • Plain white wedding cake with white frosting and two stiff little people on top. I'd rather have sawdust with my champagne, thanks.
  • Cheesy rituals, like the lighting of "unity candles" by the couple and/or their nearest relatives, which almost always looks stilted, overrehearsed, and forced, no matter how "romantic" it is supposed to be.
  • Throwing rice, which kills birds who eat it, or throwing birdseed, which attracts birds and causes people to slip on the sidewalk.
  • The food, which is almost always bad, either because the bride and groom are cheap, or because it's been sitting out for hours since they HAD to take all the pictures before anyone got to eat.

About the only redeeming quality at a wedding is an open bar, but depending on the couple, the bar could be cash only, or nonexistent if you are unlucky enough to find yourself at certain Protestant churches. Getting blasted and insulting the bride (who all weekend has been a royally self-centered, whining twit) may not win points from anyone, but it sure makes up for sitting through clumsily-worded self-written vows and a 15 year old boy honking and squeaking his way through "Can't Help Falling in Love" on an aging clarinet.

When all is said and done, the worst thing about weddings is not their forced elegance, false sentimentality, cheesy decorations and songs, and the certain knowledge that the couple will split up in three years anyway, it's the way that the whole business is rammed down people's (mostly women's) throats as the be-all and end-all of love and the pinnacle of a woman's life. All the trappings are just the symptoms of this collective stupidity. It's as if people who can't afford big weddings are somehow lacking "what it takes" to make happiness, or women who are comfortable being single are sad and misguided, or those who do not relish the thought of all that hassle and would rather go to the JP and get it over with are somehow unfeminine and wrong.

No one ever comes out and SAYS any of this, but in case you don't believe me, try telling people you don't want to get married, especially if you are young. They'll tell you, "Oh, you'll meet the right man and change your mind." as if the possibility doesn't even exist that you WON'T. I urge you guys out there to try telling people you don't want to get married, too. Bet you don't get told you'll change your mind half as often as women are.

Even in a long-term relationship, the pressure is there. After a while, relatives, friends, co-workers start asking those annoying questions, "So when is the big day? Set a date yet?" If you tell them you're not interested in marriage now, or maybe you will "one day," just watch and see how many of those inquiring faces turn sympathetic as they ASSUME that your partner is the one who won't make the decision to get hitched. (I assume that lesbians are relatively free of this kind of pressure, but then again, if same-sex marriage is made legal, multitudes of you too can expect the joys of being second-guessed as if you've no will of your own!)

It seems that ALL women are supposed to want to find Mr. Right and lure him into proposing, so we can have huge, wasteful ceremonies, inviting people we barely speak to in order to get more gifts, and preening and playing Cinderella-at-the-ball in preparation for some piece of shit Happily Ever After (meaning, HE becomes YOUR whole life). It doesn't matter if you are a clerk, a lawyer, or the Attorney General (who seems to be doing fine without tulle, thanks)-- the penultimate point of your life is the making of your Mrs.-hood. That's what REALLY bothers me about the whole thing -- wet bar or no. All the frou-frou of a mainstream wedding is held out like a dog treat to a Doberman before the gullible and vapid women of our society, with the whispered mesage that if you roll over and lie down like a GOOD GIRL, you get to cut the cake and wear the fancy clothes and be a princess for a day, and then live forever in bliss with your Prince Charming. Thank u very muuuch... So if you're getting married anyway, and are contemplating the "traditional" way, please, please, please THINK AGAIN, sweetie. You're not helping the rest of us one bit. Just say NO to Vera Wang and roasted squab! Fuck tradition or what "people will expect." Get married in red sequins! Do it in the most creative and original and meaningful way you two can come up with, or don't do it at all. Marriage is not always evil, but poufy white satin dresses ARE.

(Note: lest some people call me a sour-grapes spinster who is degrading the Holy Institution of Marriage because I have no hope of ever having a husband myself: fuck you. You don't have to be single to hate the propaganda society forces in our faces regarding what marriage, and ultimately womanhood, "should be." For the record, my fiance and I are talking about eloping to Las Vegas, getting married by an Elvis impersonator, and gambling in the hopes of financing a cross-country road trip -- "someday." If we feel like it. I can tell you one thing - there will be no sugar-coated white chocolate doves or frilly bouquets, thank you very much.)


Copyright© Aime V. & Heartless Bitches International (heartless-bitches.com) 1999
Copying or reproduction (in whole or in part) on any medium (such as in print or on the web) is expressly forbidden without written permission from HBI

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