‘Every Time A Friend Gets Engaged I'm A Little Disappointed In Them’ Confessions Of A Wedding Pessimist
The Debrief: I never ever thought my mates would be the marrying kind
On New Year's Eve three friends got engaged. Yes, three. One happened early evening at what I imagine to be an intimate dinner, which I then heard about later via excited CAPS text. The second a midnight kneel followed by a slurry group rendition of Auld Lang Syne. And number three a 2am declaration of forever love on the patio while smoking a rollie. Each their own form of romance - but ultimately all similarly culminating in a some form of metal bling on their left hands.
I’d never predicted this. Quite the opposite. A few years back when I'd newly got together with my boyfriend and our first summer together was approaching he began to grumble about all the weddings he'd soon be forced to attend with.
A few years older he was pleased he’d surfed the wedding wave – had some great stories and a few new dance moves to show – and come out the other side unscathed. And now, so he thought, I was about to thrust him back into the world of pricey weekends away and lengthy speeches for people he'd yet to meet.
'Oh, don't worry', I reassured him 'My friends are far too bohemian and cool for any of that wedding nonsense'.
‘You’ll see,’ he smugly grinned – in that annoying way people older than you do – like they know every answer to the world just 'cause they’ve got a few years on you.
But hand on heart - I could have never predicted what would come next. You see, in my mind I didn’t have my friends down as the marrying types. Perhaps I’m a tad biased, but my group of mates are some of the most forward thinking and progressive bunch individuals out there - so why would any of them ever be interested in a custom that’s been around for 2,500 years?
A contract that was founded - so a quick Google tells me – in Ancient Egypt when a man was promised to a 14-year-old girl in exchange for six cows? My friends would never be interested in that.
I mean these are a group of girls and guys who also pride themselves on getting their iPhone upgraded every 18 months FFS – they’d never want to be part of an institution that once shamed women for not being a part of it – and still excludes large parts of the population in countries based on the gender of who you love. Nope, certainly not my lot.
Famous. Last. Words. Last summer I – and said boyfriend – attended a total of five weddings. And I – without him – went to eight hen dos. Quite a few people have two hens now ICYMI, prepare your bank balance for the shock now.
Of course I enjoyed myself. Weddings involve two of my favourite things; free booze and free cake - often with thick sugary icing. I also - for the record - totally love love. And monogamy. I really adore the idea of growing old and holding on to each other tightly despite the fact you both stink of pee. I've wept at the speeches with the best of them. And kicked my shoes off and danced long into the night to Whigfield.
But no matter how much of a good a time I’ve had - I still leave wondering what was the point in all that?
For them, so they tell me, there’s a lot. They tell me it’s ‘comforting to take part in a tradition in a world that’s abandoning so many’ and that marriage ‘gives you an extra reason to work through the hard times’. Some have even admitted it was just an excuse for a massive party. But if that’s the case I feel a bit bad on them that they’re down £21k (and that's just the average cost) for me to leave with a banging hangover and feeling a bit nauseous after too much cake.
Personally, I can’t help but think in a world where we’re hooked on social status ‘We’re Married’ is just another Facebook update we want to tick off the list and a chance to use the little white veiled emoji. But hey, maybe, where's the harm in that? It's their decision - and their £21k - after all.
Still, every time I get that call to announce that another friend is engaged, my boyfriend will look over at me, while I'm doing what one does and squealing in congratulatory delight, and he (and now all of you) knows that deep down I'm a little disappointed in them. But obviously really excited for the cake.
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Picture: Eylul Aslan
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