When I was growing up (that I am now grown is a source of constant amazement), there was a man, a friend of my father’s who didn’t talk down to me in that condescending, over-bright way that most adults speak to children. I don’t know why ‘grown-upness’ was so important to me then, but every time we spoke, I’d leave thinking, happily,“he talks as if I’m a big person!” which teaches me to not treat children like idiots because one day I might feature in their columns, for whatever that is worth. I also want to be called cool in other people’s articles.
This man’s son got married last Saturday and even though I am acquainted with both bride and groom through work and such, it was the performance that he and my dad were making at the reception that cinched my attendance. You must be aware of the pressure that an ‘artist’ parent can put on his brood when the time comes for him to show his skills off.
The wedding was pretty and the food was good, but that’s not usually enough to make me enjoy myself at a wedding.
Because I dislike weddings.
They’re so full of speeches and tears and taffeta. Whenever you stand, your high heels maliciously dig their straps into your skin (which, now that I think of it must be a sign that I need new ‘dressy’ shoes) so most of your time is spent dreading the moment when you’ll no longer be able to ignore your body’s cries for independence from the punch that you’ve so liberally poured into it.
There’s so much pressure to be happy, to exude good will and if you look miserable for any reason, the watchers of the video will label you the jealous ex. I know this because at some point, nothing amused me more than identifying bitter looking guests in videos of weddings and kwanjulas.
But this one, from the band to the cake, the bride’s dress to the dancing bridesmaids, filled me with a kind of terrible impatience for my own that I last experienced when I was 5 years old.
Conventional weddings are out of fashion. Nobody wants to do the dance in the way that their parents did it. An obsession with special, with different, with quirky has gripped the world. We’ll soon be seeing couples crawling up the aisle to the beat of some hard rock song by Ramstein.
Fortunately, the quirks at this one were the kind that you tweet about. For example, after being declared man and wife, the couple neither made their relatives squirm with an M-net kiss nor did they embarrass their friends with an awkward hug. They high-fived.
The reception venue was close to the church, so that business of putting the success of your festivities at the mercy of traffic jam was avoided.
As the groom made his speech, he advertised his company, which must have earned him points with his employer. When the bride’s turn came, she bawled. No, she didn’t say, “I’m bawled over”, she sobbed all through and it’s hopefully a sign of much co-operation to come that the groom kept chipping in with “commercial breaks” to distract us. It was all very cute.
One lesson I learnt is that if you’re going to be irreverent, you’d better have enough glamour to justify it.
A happy life to you, Annet and David. May your supply of laughter and good vibrations never dry up.