Thursday, March 01, 2007

Do Men Get Hit by the Bridal Wave?

I've been wanting to write something about this for a long time, ever since I talked to my old friend Bay about the book last summer and told him my big news. ("You're abandoning me!" was his response.)

Then a reader named Annie wrote in to share some links from Odd Todd. In particular, we loved his rant on the online wedding gift registry:
So today I went online to buy a wedding gift for a wedding I went to months ago. I went to and found where the couple was registered. That was the easy part. Then it got like annoying and headachey. Here's a listing of the stuff that annoyed or bothered me:

1. I went to the wedding by myself and I don't really know how much I'm supposed to spend. People say, 'Whatever it costs per plate is approximately what should be spent for the gift. But how am I supposed to know how much they paid per plate? Is that number printed if you turn the dinner plate upsidedown or something? WTF? I never had a wedding! I don't know what stuff costs! And you can't call up the bride and say, 'Hey! What was the dollar amount per plate for your shindig?' Right?

2. When choosing off a registry sometimes things feel too random. Like say 3 forks and a butter knife fits my budget but nobody has bought the spoons or the knives or the other forks and it's months after the wedding-- would they really want just the three lone forks and a butter knife if there's a chance no other forks and stuff aren't gonna be bought?

3. If I buy something that's like leftover registry scraps because it's months later (like a gravy boat saucer or whatever) it feels extra impersonal and lazy. I know the couple wants stuff off the registry but doesn't the extra leftover stuff make for a weird thank you note? Like, 'Hey! Thanks for the gravy boat saucer! Every time the gravy spills out of the boat we'll be thankful it's not on the tablecloth! Thanks to you! We love it!' People can't treasure a gravy boat saucer. Right?

4. The shipping charge is sort of a factor. Like let's say I want to spend $100 on a gift and shipping is $15.00. Now it's $115 I'm spending technically. I get mad that the place is ripping me off that way but it feels weird to drop down to $85 to make up the difference. Even though technically it should be ok maybe or something. Or not.

When we were writing the book, we made an editorial decision not to include the male perspective.But there many men we met who said being single at a certain age is hard for them, too: if you have a substantial relationship history, clearly you are a commitment-phobe, if your relationship history is somewhat lacking, you are clearly gay.

We have guy friends who either a) went along with an engagement (they bought the ring even though they never exactly "asked") without ever actually thinking about, oh, you know, spending the rest of their life with that person or b) went ahead and got married because it seemed easier than breaking up, and then promptly got divorced before their first anniversary.

I've got a friend whose boyfriend just has three high school friends get engaged and he's panicking himself. (About what, we wonder: That his GF may start dropping "hints" or that he's going to lose all his friends to Club Wedd or is it actually existential--like where am I in my life and should I be doing this, too?) Then I've got another guy friend who had the good sense to break off an engagement but now worries he might be single forever. Then there's my friend who's been single so long that he seems unable to have a relationship beyond a few months because he is so set in his ways that he doesn't want to compromise at all. He thinks he wants to settle down, but as soon as something becomes relationshippy, with expectations about Friday nights together and etc., he's out.

What do you think? Are men as hard hit by the Bridal Wave?

If so, why is it that when you go to a wedding with a guy you are dating, when the question "So what about you two, are you going to get married?" is lobbed, it is always directed at women?

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