In recent months, I've noticed yet another aspect of wedding planning that, to put it delicately, utterly flummoxes me: there appears to be a big, fat, belching expectation that I'll be so engrossed in wedding planning - so ensconsed in each and every detail, and enthralled to talk about it ad nauseaum with anyone who'll listen - that I cease to care about other things in life. It's as if there's a Sacred Sisterhood of Wedding Obsession - a sorority, of sorts, whose members spend unfathomable amounts of time being preoccupied by every last detail of their respective weddings. And apparently I'm expected to join them.
This has manifested itself in various ways, but one of my favorites so far is a tip I saw on a wedding website. In an article on how to keep your relationship healthy during your engagement (this is when you, dear bride, will be unable to talk about anything but the wedding. Even if a meteor slams into the polar ice caps and displaces huge volumes of water and half the world drowns as a result, you'll neither notice nor care, as long as the reception venue hasn't sustained damage and the florist doesn't need more time to process your order), they recommend setting aside one night per week to talk with your fiancé about things that aren't related to the wedding.
No. Effing. Way. One night per week? I'm supposed to spend six nights per week barraging my fiancé with wedding shit? Is this for real?
If anything, we have the ratios reversed. We spend six nights per week discussing things that don't have a damn thing to do with colors, tulle, floral design, or organza. Let me elaborate.
Things my fiancé and I have discussed this week, in order of amount of time spent discussing it:
1. Random/stupid things that happened during the day
2. Football playoffs
3. The NY Times op-ed section
5. People we don't like
6. The Tunisian uprising
7. The library books that I just checked out
8. Wedding planning
Seriously, why am I expected to stop caring about, paying attention to, and discussing things unrelated to my wedding? Where did this come from? Why is my wedding supposed to be so all-consuming that I get completely lost in it? Most importantly, who are the women spending every waking moment obsessing about their weddings, and how can I thank them for not hanging out with me?
This bizarre expectation has other manifestations, too. It most often rears its head during the course of conversation, during which time a lot of people have reactions ranging from shock to mild horror at my approach to wedding planning. The conversation usually goes like this:
Random Chick: How's wedding planning going?
Me: It's going fine, thanks - everything is coming along nicely.
Random Chick (looking slightly concerned): Have you picked your colors?
Me: Actually, I'm not really doing colors. The bridesmaids' dresses are red, but that's because they were on sale and the red one had the most sizes available. I figure that most colors go together nicely, so as long as I don't have people in argyle and polka dots, it'll look good.
Random Chick (now looking mildly constipated): Oh? Um, ok...oh, your theme! What about your theme?
Me: I'm not really doing a theme either, since I figure that the theme of the event is marriage.
Random Chick: Uhhhmmmmm? But aren't you excited?
Me: Oh, I'm definitely excited - but I'm doing a lot of stuff besides wedding planning, so I'm not getting too wrapped up in it. It'll all turn out fine.
At this point, Random Chick is usually sporting a facial expression ranging from acceptance (God bless you if you're one of these folks), to concern, to shock. The latter category is the most fun, because they tend to look like I've said something truly disturbing. When I say I have no theme or colors and that I have interests outside wedding planning, you'd think I'd actually said "puppies are abhorrent," or "I routinely eat a massive bag of Doritos dipped in a tub of Betty Crocker icing for breakfast," or "I think it'd be totally awesome if Iran had nuclear weapons."
Sometimes I'm tempted to make something up - some sublime bullshit that will make me sound like I'm on the same page as (apparently) typical brides who spend hours parsing the details of colors, themes, flowers and cake - to make the other person think I'm not some blasé bride whose wedding is going to be a complete trainwreck. But within nanoseconds of thinking this, I veto the idea. The fact is, in the immortal words of Popeye, I yam what I yam. I'm not a typical bride. I don't care about perfect linens or improved lighting or swoon-inducing decor. I don't give a shit about themes. I care about being married, but I don't much care if the wedding is a shining example of nuptial perfection.
Although the all-consuming wedding planning seems to be considered a rite of passage among brides these days, I'd prefer to pass on induction into the Sacred Sisterhood of Bridal Obsession. Instead, I'd like to ask the dudes among us if I can become an honorary member of the Fraternal Order of Preferring Football Over Wedding Stuff.