Thank goodness winter is here so wedding season’s at an end. We’re all friends here, so let’s tell us each other the truth: weddings are weird. Yes they are, and don’t deny it. If you weren’t raised in a culture that normalised weddings, you wouldn’t believe they were a real thing and not some kind of hoax.
Society: This couple you probably don’t know very well is getting married.
You: That’s great, I sincerely wish them well and hope it lasts as long as they want it to.
S: Thank you, but they’d like you to watch them getting married.
Y: What? Why?
S: Because they want you to see how happy they are.
Y: They can just tell me, I’ll believe them.
S: No, you have to put on some uncomfortable clothes and drive somewhere inconvenient and give up at least one of your weekend days to see for yourself that they are happy.
Y: And will they be happy?
S: No, she’ll be stressed and he’ll be wishing it was over already and there’ll be some sort of concealed dispute involving family members.
Y: That doesn’t sound like fun.
S: Plus there’ll be speeches. And you have to bring a gift.
S: Not just any gift. They will provide you with a list of approved purchases, to express how sincerely happy you are for them.
Y: Wait, are you sure this isn’t some sort of thing that North Korean citizens have to do to please their dictators?
S: This is a wedding, and when you get the invitation you’re supposed to be happy.
It’s the gift that gets me. That’s the final insult. It’s almost as bad as the way they torture and mistreat you in economy class, but still expect you to pay for your ticket. Why do I need to give a gift? If this couple is as happy as they claim, why do they need to be bribed? I’m already giving them my time and my presence, how have I incurred a financial liability as well? Have I been a bad friend? Is this some sort of fine? Is it a taxation?
And if you just arrive empty-handed people look at you with narrowed eyes and make pointed comments for years to come. I’m not a cheapskate – well, maybe I am – but the resentment becomes too much for me. This is my solution: I arrive at every wedding with a pair of concealed scissors and a card that reads, “I hope you like this present! Lots of love, Darrel” Then when no one is looking I sneak into the room with the gifts, cut off all the cards and drop my card onto the pile. When they tally up the number of gifts and compare it to the number of guests they’ll find there’s a disparity to the tune of one, but so long as no one ever catches me red-handed with the scissors, I’ll carry on getting away with it.
Edgars magazine, June 2018