Monday, May 21, 2018

Unhappily Ever After

For some people, anything to do with death disturbs them.  The site of a coffin makes them recoil.  They have to turn their eyes from wreaths and funeral processions.  I feel the same way about weddings.  I run at the sight of wedding dresses, try to drive wedding cars off of the road when I encounter them and turn the other way whenever I see a sign advertising a 'wedding sale' or 'wedding event'.  I've spent so many years inventing excuses for turning down wedding invitations from both family and friends - thankfully, most people now seem to have the got the message: I don't like weddings, I don't attend weddings.  Believe me, by not inviting me in the first place, you'll be saving everybody's time.  I actually can't remember the last wedding I attended - I do remember many of those I've avoided, including my nephew's (I've still never met his wife) and several friends and work colleagues' weddings.  I feel no sense of shame or guilt over these avoidances, just relief.  As you can imagine, this past weekend was something of an ordeal for me, what with the Royal Wedding dominating the media.  After all, if go out of my way to avoid the weddings of people I know, why on earth would I want the wedding of complete strangers forced down my throat?

I wish I could say that there is some story behind my wedding phobia, that I'd once been jilted at the altar or, worse, I'd once left someone standing at the altar.  I say 'worse', because, in fiction and the media, it is always portrayed as somehow being a greater 'crime' for a groom to jilt a bride than the other way around.  Yes, indeed, I'd love to be able to spin you some yarn as to how, in the dim and distant past, I found myself heading toward matrimony, but had an epiphany in which I had a vision of being shackled to someone for the rest of my life and realised it wasn't for me, so ran away to sea instead.  (In fact, I can just imagine myself agreeing with all the arrangements because it would be easier than forcing a confrontation, then just not turning up on the day.  I've got form for that sort of thing: when I was a teenager, for instance, some friends kept on and on about going to see this bloody film I wasn't interested in one Saturday - in the end, for some peace, I agreed to meet them at the cinema, then just didn't turn up.  I went off and did something by myself which I actually enjoyed, instead.  Over the years there have been many similar incidents).  But no such thing ever happened.  Although, in part my negative feelings toward weddings is derived from my anathema for the idea of forcing myself to share every aspect of my life with somebody else.  I'm a very private person and, after years of living on my own, a very selfish person - I'm accountable to nobody but myself and have to consider no one but myself when making decisions. I've never wanted to be part of a double act.

So, I decided many, many years ago that weddings and all that bollocks wasn't a route I was going to go down.  But that alone doesn't account for my dislike of weddings.  It is also part of a wider dislike for over-organised large scale social gatherings.  Yeah, that's right, I'm deeply anti-social.  I just don't like people much.  Not en masse, at least.  Then there's the simple fact that weddings are stultifyingly boring, full of false bonhomie.  It's like my late father always said: funerals are always preferable to weddings as you don't have to pretend to be enjoying yourself.  Ultimately, though, I've grown to dislike weddings for what they represent: the whole concept of marriage as the norm when it comes to relationships.  I dislike the way that the establishment - whether in the form of the tax system or the church - and the media consistently try and judge you on your marital status.  If , by my age, you aren't married and have no interest in marriage, then there must be 'something wrong' with you, they imply.  Worse still is the way in which it is implied that us 'sad' singles should be pitied.  for god's sake, fuck off!  I know, I know, I'm being a right miserable git.  But I've spent the last forty eight hours having somebody else's wedding shoved in my face by the media, despite my best efforts to avoid it.  On top of that, I've been in a decidedly strange mood today - part melancholy, part sheer tiredness at people keep asking how I am.  I'm fine, for Christ's sake, how many times do I have to tell people?



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