I attended my friends wedding a few days ago. Many of the emotions I experienced were appropriate -the marvel at the beauty, the cursing of the hot sun in the outdoor arena, the tearful adoration of the bride, the sighs of contentment at the practically perfect vows- I could go on.
However, I couldn’t quite silence that voice of sarcasm that pronounced that this is just another ordinary day.
An ordinary day that just so happened to be a wedding. How do I describe… the feeling that nothing special was taking place. That those few moments were fleeting, practically nonexistant.
But twas enough to make the christian attendees happy- enough of a ceremony to permit holy sex-amony.
“No sex before marriage” right?
But marriage, really didn’t seem to be all that special.
Don’t get me wrong, it was probably a powerful moment for the bride and groom. For the parents-in-laws too. It was probably a big deal for anyone else.
To me, it was just another day.
I forgot how christian-oriented my friend is, and hence the service. The pastor at the front kept confusing the sequence of his praying as he couldn’t quite distinguish whether he was ending or starting a prayer, ending or starting a sermon, starting or ending a dedication -hell, I was confused whether he’d ever stop talking. He would end a prayer, start addressing the crowd, then address the “lord” again. I’ve forgotten how “special” pastors are -it’s like they fade in and out of reality sometimes.
Another ordinary day.
My friend is of Irish heritage, and the wedding included a hand-fasting ceremony where the two white and one green ribbon twines around the clasped hands of the bride and groom as a symbol of eternal union.
I almost laughed when the people around me kept glancing uncomfortably at each other, brows furrowed in question and confusion.
“What’s that?” “What’s going on?” “What are they doing?” “Something with ribbons…”
“What’s a hand-fasting?” a middle-aged patron inquired, her jowls quivering in inquiry.
“It’s an Irish ceremony of eternal union, conducted at weddings. They’re of Irish heritage,” I informed her, trying not to roll my eyes.
Are christians really so ignorant of general customs and practices of other cultures?
Ohhh, right, there can be only one, right?
Speaking of one, I was the only one in so many respects.
- The only non-Christian
- The only person who hadn’t grown up with the bride
- The only one the groom hadn’t met before
- The only one whom people couldn’t figure out how I got invited “Soo, how did you know the bride? Or, do you know the groom?”
- The only one of two people with my skin color -that was hilarious.
- The only one who knew a total of 2 people attending -one of whom was “to be married”.
- The only one who didn’t drink -shocking I know, but 45 min isn’t long enough and I had to drive back home.
- The only one who thought this was just another day
Rather callous of me.
I do hope my friend has a long life, and a long, everlasting romance. I hope that the happy couple have many years together, that their love only deepens and grows, and that they remain together for as long as eternity lasts. I hope the sweet man she married keeps her happy, and keeps that smile on her face always.
Personally, I appreciate the thought of marriage and the concept of eternal union -I just don’t think it exists.
And if it does, it will be nothing like the idealization that has been purported by churches and media and parents and life.
I believe in fidelity. I don’t believe in marriage.
The statistics are on my side in that regard. My experiences have taught me better. I’ve meet people who married and I thought they’d be together forever. But they don’t even make it 5 years.
Against all odds, my parents made it work. Together for a long time, married before having children in a christian marriage.
The trick is that they took time apart -Dad was a “missionary” and a minister, so he wasn’t home much for over 10 years after my younger brother was born. Much of my memories are of waiting for him to get home, asking Mom if he’d be home today, when? when is soon? why is he leaving again, mommy? doesn’t he want to stay with us? can’t the world do without him for awhile? will he be home for my birthday? father’s day?
A pathetic memory I have; as a kid, I’d make boxes out of cardboard, and decorate it with glitter, and markers, and pretty pictures from magazines which I’d glue to the outside. In some dumb, stupid corner of my brain, I thought if I made him something nice, he wouldn’t leave again. I thought if I made him an amazing gift, he’d stick around. But he never did. And the logical part of my brain acknowledged that it was rather stupid of me to think he’d put his family before the desperately “sinful” world that -apparently- needed him more.
Cause, fuck, apparently he didn’t think I needed him. Well, fuck ‘im, turns out I didn’t. Need him, that is.
…Jeez, how did I get on this tangent?
Oh, right. I don’t think I’ll marry. What’s the point?
Weddings are for everyone else. The guests, the family, the church lovers, the legalists, the government, the taxation bureau, the IRS, the assets, all that shite. Oh, and don’t forget the massive spending: the cake, the dress, the venue, the food, the rings -the list goes on.
After the ceremony, I watched the newly wedded couple dance. They were so embarrassed, they couldn’t seem to get into the moment. I kinda felt bad for them, as much as weddings are a celebration, it doesn’t help when they’re feeling awkward…
Is such a romantic (so purported) moment meant to be tainted by voyeurism?
At least we didn’t have to stand around for the coupling, such as in the medieval days -can you imagine how awful that would be?!!!
Gahh, fucking medieval weddings.
Weddings are a special day for the bride and groom. A public declaration of unity and love and devotion.
But for the guest -aka me- it’s just another ordinary day…