Monday, 11 February 2013

The Parade of Ugly and Stupid

There’s a quote from the brilliant John Waters film Hairspray (the recent remake) that can be re-tooled to fit any everyday situation, but that I have kept close my heart during these crazy-hazy-wedding-planning days:

“You two better brace yourselves for a whole lotta ugly comin' at you from a neverending parade of stupid.”

Within our wedding party, we are surrounded by amazing people who are super-cool and powerful, like The Avengers, but marriage is such a hot topic and everyone else has opinions. Throbbing, barely contained opinions. And just as it is with other hot topics, some people will step beyond the boundaries of taste and common decency to share theirs.

I know that you know, upstanding moral citizen that you are, just how to speak to someone who is getting married. Just so this isn’t a wasted exercise, I’d like to share with you some experiences I and other brides I've chatted to have had.

“Don’t invite any children to your wedding!”

For those of you that don’t know, children are like tiny adults that don’t have to pay bills and are more likely to poo and scream than the average wedding guest. Because they don’t always fully understand that churches are not appropriate places to squawk and make fudgies, they are often not top of some people’s invitation list. And that’s OK. If children aren’t your thing, then don’t invite any at all.

But the great thing about children is that more often than not they come with Guardians, unless you live in 17th century London near an Orphanage (in which case, how are you reading this article? Are you a wizard?) And more often than not, Guardians will take them outside if they need to poo or scream or ask why the lady three rows in front is so fat. Although I don’t have any of my own, I’m perfectly aware that children are not the Plague. They will not deliberately trash your wedding, unless their name is Damien. So it’s best just not to invite any ‘Damien’s.

“Aren't you going to lose weight / Should you really eat that if you want to fit into your dress?”

Hi, I’m Neety. I work hard. I play hard. And that’s why every now and then I treat myself to A Bloody Massive Cream Cake.

As ambassador for Bloody Massive Cream Cakes, I’d like to tell you how relaxing it is to tuck into a stodgy mass of carbohydrates and processed hydrogenated glycerinated sugar. So, if you’re like me, and have just had to deal with a nightmare customer, or have period pains that resemble the finest Navy SEAL team picking away at your uterus, maybe YOU should treat A Bloody Massive Cream Cake.

Now that my imagine spot info-mercial is over, I’d like to state that I am human, and I will often eat something a little bit fatty or indulgent. And that shouldn’t stop just because my best friend put a shiny hoop on my finger.

Said best friend and I have always been a little on the zaftig side, and - sit down, this might come as a shock - we don’t mind that. It might come as a surprise to some people that there isn’t a little switch in peoples’ brains that turns on once they hit thirteen stone or so, making them suddenly desperate to join a Slimming World group, or face never being happy again. I’ve been the victim of this question at least twelve times, and only once was it acceptable: when Brawny’s aunt, who is a goldsmith, asked me so that she could size up the ring she is making us. AND ONLY THEN IS IT ACCEPTABLE, PEOPLE. Stop forcing your negative body image issues on me.

“Don’t invite your boss/ex/a divorcee!”

We gave a lot of thought to our invite list - it wasn’t like going through our phones and Facebook and just picking names. Generally, when planning a social gathering, you invite people who:
1: You think will enjoy being there
2: Make you happy
3: You think deserve a free meal Are nice

Pay close attention to numbers 1 and 2. If someone makes you feel that way, what does it matter if they’re your boss or not? And if I was playing by this rule, I’d have to not invite the ladies that are doing my hair and makeup, my Bridesmaid, and one of the Readers at the ceremony - simply because the former are my Boss and colleague, who are kindly doing my hair and makeup for free; my SIL who was a dear and trusted friend long before I started boffing her brother*, and my Ex-boyfriend, simply because we dated for a lovely yet short 6 months when I was 16. Seems a bit petty.

“Don’t invite anyone who doesn’t believe in marriage.”

Take a look at that sentence - doesn’t that just make the subject sound like the worst person ever? Saying that someone “doesn’t believe in marriage” makes them sound like the kind of loping misanthrope who goes around telling kids there’s no such thing as Father Christmas. Boo. Boo on that person.

I don’t think it’s a question of “not believing” - I’d rather say it’s more like “wouldn’t choose it for themselves” or “has a different view”. If they’re the sort of person that would try to push their views onto Brawny and I, I wouldn’t invite them anyway. But does that mean I have to not-invite my LGBT friends? After all, not all of them will choose to get married; some of them because they don’t want to, others because they sadly can’t have the marriage of their dreams.

One of the first people I told about our engagement was an old friend who is notoriously anti-marriage. He’s never said anything disparaging about it, only that it’s “not for him”. When I told him, he made a half-joking “yeuck” noise, but then he said something along the lines of “I always thought that if anyone could make a go of it, you and Brawny could.” Why wouldn’t I want someone as supportive as that at my wedding?!

“I’ve had enough! End the parade of ugly and stupid.”

So you see, there is a fair amount of narrow-mindedness and ill will in there, but luckily it’s all come from people I don’t know telling me what to do. Everyone has an opinion, and as soon as you say “I’m getting married”, you may find yourself having to nod and smile politely while someone tells you that “You don’t need a piece of paper to show that you love someone”.

So just ignore the idiots, because the only person you DEFINITELY shouldn’t be inviting is them. 

*Sorry, Ro

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