Recently, I got to stay with my friend Marisa "Dr. G." in NC where I happened to be doing research. One night over dinner she said to me, "You had burgundy hair and purple contacts. I thought you were so together!" (I think it was more like a cry for help, but anyway). Then I heard from my friend John, who just moved to the city to write for Law & Order. (How cool is that?!) John gave me a copy of Herman Hesse's Steppenwolf when I was a sophomore, I think. Anyway, he asked me--as many of my guys friends have--about why there wasn't more stuff for guys in The Bridal Wave. So in honor of John (and Bay, too), I thought you would enjoy Aaron Karo's Ruminations #115: Return of the Have-Knots, which is basically a dude's perspective on The Bridal Wave:
Last August, when I first drew the distinction between those twentysomethings who are already married or about to tie the knot (“the Haves”) and those who still think of weddings as really expensive open bars with cover bands (“the Have-Knots”), I was still a wedding novice. A year later, though, with four weddings under my belt and eight more scheduled in the coming year, I’ve already become a grizzled vet. Summer is, of course, wedding season. And that means the Haves are busy taking ballroom dancing lessons to prepare for their first dance as husband and wife, while the Have-Knots just can’t wait to make fun of them. Ah, marriage. It can be a wonderful thing – when it’s not happening to you.
-Getting engaged seems really annoying to me. I mean, how do you tell everyone the news? Obviously close family and best friends get a personal call. But what about everyone else? I’ve actually gotten a few “I’m engaged!” text messages. Which is fine – as long as you actually have the person in your phone book and don’t have to text back: “Congratulations! Who is this?”
-On my refrigerator, I have Save the Date notices in all shapes and sizes for my next year’s worth of weddings. My favorites are the ones that feature a picture of the happy couple because I like to imagine what the conversation was like that led them to include that photo on the card. I usually envision the girl looking lovingly into her fiance’s eyes and saying, “Honey, we’re gonna take a picture in which I look beautiful and you look awkward, send it to everyone we know, and you have absolutely no say in the matter.”
-At a wedding, the bride and groom are like celebrities to me. They’re the center of attention but they’re mostly surrounded by their best friends, like a little VIP section. If you’re not a VIP, you actually have to observe and plan out when there’s an opening for you to go up and talk to them – as if you were looking for autograph. Then you chat for like two minutes but you know they won’t even remember it. Let’s face it, the only difference between the groom and Justin Timberlake is that JT didn’t spend the summer taking lame-ass ballroom dancing lessons.
-I used to say that married people shouldn’t be allowed in bars. I’d like to expand that to say married people shouldn’t be allowed on Facebook. If I ever see in my news feed that Jane Smith went from “in a relationship” to “married,” the next line better be: Jane Smith has deleted her profile.
-In the past year, I’ve learned not to stress out too much about all my friends getting married – to just go with the flow. I happened to come to this realization at a wedding where I hooked up with two bridesmaids in the same weekend; but I’m sure that’s just a coincidence. Still, the older I get, the more the pool of fellow Have-Knots will dwindle, and the number of Haves will grow. Soon, I’ll be in the minority. But that’s OK with me. I just bought a brand-new tux and there’s plenty of room on my fridge for more invitations. My guy friends can expect that the only wedding-related text messages they’ll be receiving from me any time soon will be solely for the purpose of making fun of our awkward-looking buddies in their Save the Date photos.
-As always, here are some random things I've been ruminating about lately…
-My friend Christina got legally married six months before her actual wedding, in order to exploit some loophole that allowed her and husband – both doctors – to get jobs in the same city. You’d think the wedding would be a little anti-climactic, but I was pleasantly surprised to get just as belligerently drunk as usual.
-So far, I’ve never been invited to a wedding with a guest, and somehow I feel like I’m getting screwed. The way I figure it, everyone I’ve given a gift to so far is earning interest on it. Meanwhile, if/when I get married down the road, I’ll have to invite, and thus pay for, all those couples to attend my wedding – when I was only invited as a single. I’m not sure of the exact economics, but I think I’m gonna end up in the red. That’s why I think my buddy Matt had the right idea when he gave Christina a check for her wedding – and it promptly bounced.
-Unless you’re only inviting like fifty people, if you have your wedding out of the country or on New Year’s Eve, you’re an asshole. Plain and simple.
-My buddy Seth is getting married this year on December 30th. Brilliant. I’ll fly to New York, party at his wedding, stay in New York, and go out for New Year’s the next night. It’s like he organized the whole thing around me. Someone get me the name of that wedding planner.
-As I get closer to thirty, the girls around me want to get married more, but I actually want to get married less. The obsessed-with-getting-married chick is a breed I’ve only recently encountered. To be honest, I kind of feel bad for them, because there’s obviously a double standard about being single depending on whether you’re male or female. I do have some advice for the girls, though. To me, finding your keys, hooking up, and getting engaged are all similar: they happen when you’re not thinking about it and least expect it.
-Maybe it’s just denial on my part, but I still refer to my friends’ wives as their “girlfriends” and continue to call my married female friends by their maiden names. I figure, at some point, someone I know will get divorced. And since I won’t have to update their last name in my address book twice, I’m the big winner.
-And, finally, even though I’ve spent most of this column mocking weddings and married people, I actually have no problem with the institution of marriage itself. I love my married friends. Weddings are great for me since I get to hang with buddies I don’t normally see since I moved to LA. And I look really, really good in my new tux. I guess in the end, as they say, we mock things we don’t understand. While I understand theoretically why the people I know are getting married, it’s hard to comprehend that commitment when you’re personally not there yet. Thus, wedding season is sometimes bittersweet for me. For instance. my next wedding is in New York over Labor Day weekend. A little over ten years since we went to Prom together, my friend Marcia is getting married. Since then, our lives couldn’t have become more different. But, in a way, not much has changed in a decade. Once again, I’ll find myself at the end of a long night – alone and in a tux – with nothing to do but jerk off. Fuck me.
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