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Monday, May 27, 2013

The wedding advice I wish we'd had


A good friend of mine (I'm naming names again, Dr Ng) sent me a reference to a beautiful little piece of Dorothy Dix marital advice (not "martial", Ms Evatt, although the two terms are oft interchangeable) very recently published in the New York Times. It made me realise how little thought we had put into this aspect of our own wedding and how sadly we had failed to appreciate the spirit of the exercise. I advise you to read this little NYT story now but you better come back here straight after or I might have to ki** you. I've spent all day on this I have, so please read it.

   It was July 2010. My health was failing badly. In short, it seemed inevitable that, to put it euphemistically, I was destined to kark it within a very few months. 

   For reasons I still can't quite figure out in view of the fact that we were going for the record for the longest engagement in history, one which had begun almost last century (millennium even), we abandoned that exercise after a sterling effort of nearly a decade, and opted to get married instead. 

   So we have no engagement stamina, it seems.

   This wedding decision was taken utterly in secret, but we needed witnesses. My daughters were up here on a visit - a fair start. Wanting it to be a complete surprise, we invited a couple of friends to a fake Christmas in July celebration, except for one - my adopted bro, Captain Morgan, who was brought here on the pretext of helping move some piece of furniture - his muscles being basically the only reason we ever let him in the door, except for an occasional coffee of quality far better than he appreciates.

   He arrived in yard clothes, unshaven and otherwise abysmally scruffy after sluicing out the feed-lots for the cattle. He sat in his truck a while, somewhat surprised to witness the spectacle of a quintet of others he recognised coming in the gate. All of them were wearing unspeakably Christmassy things like, in one memorable case I'm-looking-at-you-Marg, gigantic earrings featuring an apparently garotted but otherwise cheery Santa Claus. One dangling from each ear, to be precise.

   It was a pretty nasty thing to behold, really.

   The bemused Captain Morgan was told to remove his boots caked with cowshit before entering the house, which he did with only minor objections, still trying to work out how he got the furniture-shifting date so wrong. He knew the other invitees, I should add, having played the part of a brave American gentleman who went down with the ship in our recent production of Titanic the Musical. The others he was spying on coming through my gate had been also been cast and crew members.

   When the jolly little party was assembled, having been relieved of Christmassy food offerings and a few credible bottles of decent wine, my affianced announced in her best stage voice that they had been misled (a word that looks in its present tense like it should be pronounced "missle" the way Americans say "missile" but isn't) and that it wasn't going to be a silly old Christmas in July nosh-up at all, but a wedding. In the same breath, she hastened to reassure them that the vittles were still OK as a wedding feast. I'm sure plenty of wedding receptions have featured Christmas crackers and godawful crepe party hats that make everyone look like escapees from bedlam. Or, in some cases, very reluctant returnees to the fold.

   Nor, they were reassured, was it a shotgun wedding designed to make an honest woman of the bride.

   Jackie squeed with delight and started crying, uncontrollably kissing anyone in her path and talking rather incoherently in a peculiar little falsetto voice I didn't know women could do. How a pharmacist of thirty years' doling out Viagra and blood pressure pills (often, wisely, to the same client) could behave like a thirteen-year-old who'd been smiled upon with heart-stopping lust by the School Captain is beyond me, but I was showered with tears myself by this usually-serious dispenser of pills and potions.

   It was a bit wet.

It all turned out all right.
   The men pretended to look pleased at the prospect of sitting through a marriage ceremony, although their secret objection was the delay in partaking of the bread and wine of a mock-Christmas. Captain Morgan, well into his third glass of claret, looked openly put-upon. 

   In fairness I have to say we had trimmed the actual ceremony to the bare minimum, due to my sharing the manly point of view about wedding priorities. We'd pared it right down to a sort of "Do you take this man/woman mumble-rhubarb-rhubarb" followed by "Oh - righto." and some illegible scrawls on fancy bits of paper.

No! Hara-kiri is not an option.
   Over in a flash it was. So the important part wasn't all that interrupted.

   I've lost my thread, having got all sentimental about the Fourth of July Christmas wedding. The point of all this, coming back to the New York Times article, was that we failed badly at the real purpose of a wedding, namely, the receipt of as many and as expensive a range of gifts as possible.

   All we got was fruit mince pies, a mysterious concoction called "White Christmas" and the impulsively donated Santa earrings, which I confess I have never worn, and I've never seen them adorning Tracey's delicate earlobes either. The Santa garotting image is still way too fresh in memory, and anyway, I've never had my ears pierced.

I know. We should have thought about the presents.
   Not that an ear is the only place I could have hung a Santa from (maybe both Santas, with enough encouragement), in order to signal the consummation of the marriage. The end of a chaste engagement of nine years a la Fred Nile and Silvana Nero should be marked appropriately, even in private. OK, especially in private.

   However... no body piercing is involved. And no-one else ever needs to know whether I've been circumnavigated or not.


Circumnavigation is my own business!

17 comments:

  1. Great story Denis, and I loved the pictures. We have never had the problem of failing to receive presents for birthdays, anniversaries - or any other occasion Julie can think up. She makes sure that discreet little notes go out, with subtle comments like "only 12 more days to my birthday." Friends, she says, would like to buy presents for her, and it is only fair to let them know when they have the opportunity to do so. But then, she is still young enough to celebrate birthdays.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To quote from a deeply religious text: "...She's just a very naughty girl!

      Delete
  2. That's a bloody lie! Trust Bob to get it wrong! I am much more thoughtful than that - my first reminders go out at least two months before my birthday (there are only 60 more shopping days 'til my buffday). And then I send follow-ups to the chosen few, to spare them the embarrassment of forgetting. The older I get the more I think birthdays SHOULD be celebrated. As for wedding presents - well, - that's what happens when you have surprise weddings. You get nowt, which is why it pays to advertise.
    (And by the way, it's my birthday on Friday!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I rest my case.

      Your birthday is tomorrow? I'll donate to our "Replenish wine-rack fund" in honour of your special day. I also agree that every birthday should be celebrated. Funny what wisdom comes with age, hey? You must be very very old....

      H A P P Y _____ B I R T H D A Y !!!!

      Delete
  3. Hmm, yes, agree Julie -you can have a secret wedding or presents - not both :)!! PS Happy Birthday, hope you have lots off presents (hey, we are both Geminis, as well as both Julies with aqueous names!)

    the other Julie..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Does that make you twins with the other Julie H20?

      ✿ ✿ ✿ Happy birthday! ✿ ✿ ✿

      Delete
  4. Weddings make me cry - even when they're only in blog posts. You both look glorious - as does the cake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. And here was I thinking you were a woman of steel, and you turn out to be a softy after all.

      The bride and the cake were pretty nifty. Two outa three's not bad, I guess....

      Delete
  5. That 2nd photo is so full of joy. I love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How can you judge the look on the bride's face from that one? My recollection is that she seemed to be mumbling, "Oh no! What have I done?"

      Delete
  6. Precious - you Two! I smiled the whole way through this piece. I love all the pics - but I especialy love the look of indignation? quelle horreur? how very dare you? in the final pic. Hilarious! But the whole situation is very touching as well as funny. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ros. I have no idea why the look in the last pic, nor what was really happening in Pic 2. For that matter, I have no clues about the melancholy faces in Pic 3 - except for the lack of presents, of course.

      It did have its poignancy, yes. You understand.

      Delete
    2. I remember exactly what I had just said in pic 2 :-)

      Delete
  7. Lovely post. You must have had so much fun planning that little surprise. Thanks Denis.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Naturally, I planned it all. And if you believe that, keep your head down. You're about to be invaded by flying pigs.

      The surprise was all intended to avoid a gift issue for the guests, who would not have known our preference in toasters or luxury cars. I thought that was mighty noble of us.

      Delete
  8. YO TAMBIEN TE DIGO GRACIAS DENIS YA QUE TUS PALABRAS TRASIENDEN LAS FRONTERAS Y LOS IDIOMAS UN ABRAZO DESDE ARGENTINA EDGAR.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A menudo me pregunto cómo se han traducido las palabras. Soy feliz si la gente como estos diez puntos.

      Delete

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