Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I Now Pronounce You Man and Schmoopy-Poo

Just recently, one of my friends announced his engagement in an email. As most guys would, he kept it short and sweet - "I got engaged. Any advice?" - was the entire text. What follows is my response.

If one of the lone remaining bachelor holdouts in a group of male friends suddenly announces his newish girlfriend is moving in, we all knew this "we will soon be entwined together in wedded bliss" notice would be coming. (Realize those quoted words are the ones she spoke, in person, to all her friends, after the question popping - while you emailed, "I got engaged" to all your friends. I'm not pointing this out to chastise you for the way you make your big announcement, but simply to point out that you and your little schmoopy-poo are looking at this in entirely different ways.)

Anyway, we all knew this was coming, the clincher being the "weekend in Michigan"
announcement. Single guys with newly moved-in girlfriends do not go away for the weekend without packing jewelry. Not if they want all their jewels to make it back from said weekend, anyway.

As a survivor of this wedding thing, let me throw a bit of advice at you. Scratch that, this is not a list of things you should keep in mind, or stuff to consider, or my wedding tips - this list, as a survivor, is my gift to you. Ask any married man, these are not rules to play around with, they are the law.

1. This is not your wedding. It is her wedding. You, even though she will lie about this, are not terribly important in the grand scheme of the wedding. You are simply the first accessory selected - you are something for her to now find a dress, invitations, and napkins to match with. She will forever refer to it as "her wedding." If she calls it "your wedding" at any point in time it is simply to boost your esteem, you did something wrong, or she slipped. Case in point,last month my wife asked me, on our anniversary, if I'd like to watch"her wedding" video. I stupidly reminded her that I was also married that fine afternoon - she smiled and dismissed me, with a very short, "Oh yeah, 'our' wedding." Later that night, on the phone with her mom, I over heard, "We watched my wedding video, it was so nice to see." Notice the plural pronoun in one portion of that sentence, but carefully observe that it was strategically reduced to singular at just the right moment.

2. At no time are you ever to refer to it as "her wedding." Even though she believes this to be true, you are not allowed to even think that thought. Banish that thought from your brain like a Survivor being kicked off the naked dirty people island. Do not accidentally refer to it as her wedding or you will be punished. Do not purposely refer to it as her wedding in a joking manner or you will be punished. Do not purposely refer to it as her wedding in a snotty, I-can't-get-anything-my-way exclamation point on any sort of wedding related argument or you will be punished. Do not slip up and refer to it as her wedding or you will be punished. Lovingly refer to it as"our special day." You'll sound gay, your friends will mock you, and she will secretly wonder if you're a bit fruity, but you will not get in trouble. Keep in mind that D-Day, "the beginning of the end," and"sentencing day" are not cute nicknames for your wedding day (well, I think they are, but you're better off with me mocking you about the"special day" crap than risk the wrath of your little schmoopy-poo).

3. Let her pick everything wedding related. From location to music to what color you're going to wear to invitations to how many tines there will be on the forks you eat your salads with, everything needs to be what she wants. You may be thinking, "No, not my little schmoopy-poo; she's not like that." Yes she is! There are two factors that make this undeniable - she has a vagina - this is a wedding. She will -will, not may or might, will - suddenly become unbelievably irrational and anal about things you had not ever considered; prepare yourself for it, accept it, but do not question it, point it out, or ask what you can do to alleviate it.

4. You had better pick something. It is not her job to make all the decisions, this is your wedding too for crying out loud. Are you beginning to understand the contradicting nature of the bride-to-be's mind? Don't you even think "not my little schmoopy-poo," because she will contradict herself so fast about your involvement, importance,and investments so quickly your head will spin around and you'll suddenly be calling her your little poopy-schmoo, and you will find out there is not much more unfortunate than that.

5. You are supposed to have an opinion, in fact, you will be beaten over the head with random household objects like spatulas, oven doors,and perhaps a defrosting hunk of poultry if you do not express an opinion about things that you feel you could not possibly ever have had an opinion about - such as the color of an envelope, the squishyness factor of a chair, and the square footage of the small piece of tissue paper that is inexplicably included in the invitations that you had damn well better have some input about.

6. The opinion mentioned above had better not be your own. If you have some sort of "I love my schmoopy-poo" brain addling affliction that is handicapping your better judgement, please listen to me and realize that she does not want "your" opinion on anything - that's what moms, sisters, and female friends are for - the so-called"opinion" she is asking for (which are also known as "your thoughts," "some help," and the ever-dreaded "input.") is not, in factm your opinion - what she wants is you to read her mind, know what decision she's already made, and confirm that she is indeed a wedding planning genius.

7. Do not offer to take charge of anything that is critical to her special day staying special and not becoming that thing that "he"screwed up. There are certain things men can and should handle. They are:
a. driving her places
b. paying for stuff
c. getting a haircut
d. eating cake
e. mailing stuff (but not picking out the stamps for said stuff, addressing this stuff, or stuffing the stuff into the stuff that needs to be stuffed into the mailbox)
f. turning in paperwork.

However, the list of things that you can't handle, no matter how much you believe you have the ability to, and no matter how much she tells you that you can (she doesn't mean it - it's the first of many tests), you should not consider yourself in charge of any location picking (rehearsal, church, reception, engagement party...), music, food, clothing, your groomsmen, who to invite, who not to invite, photographers, videographers,choreographers, planners, and/or what sort of animal/object/animalobject is going to be thrown at you as you exit the church.

8. You had better pick something to be in charge of or you are toast. I'll make this easy on you: Think of a wedding you've already been to together. Think of something you know she loved about that wedding. Bingo, make yourself in charge of that. For example: She loved that DJ at her cousin's wedding... Could it be that simple?

9. That thing you're in charge of... don't steal something from someone else's wedding. What kind of idiot are you? This is your little schmoopy-poo's day and she doesn't want someone else's rerun wedding.

10. That thing you're in charge of... you're not really in charge of it. You must still run everything through schmoopy-poo headquarters and get it approved. Do not feel like you can trick her, sneak something by her, half-ass a designated responsibility, or pass off this assignment. Your input will be considered, passed through a committee of trusted friends and close relatives, dissected to death, discussed, and most likely denied. It is not so much what you came up with that counts, (because anything you come up with doesn't count) but the fact that you came up with something. Even though it is likely to be given about as much consideration as my "all you can eat soft serve ice cream" idea was, your idea better be good, and it better not involve rainbow sprinkles.

11. Have a plan B for every plan A you are asked to come up with. While you're at it, come up with a plans C through H. If you are wise, you can actually give her enough options that she makes the decision anyway -which is what she ultimately wants, only she has an inexplicable need to make you show your commitment to any/all schmoopy-poopyness by running around like a maniac to supply her with options so that she can choose something that she invariably would have been able to select on her own with much less effort. You think this sounds difficult - like more trouble than it's worth? First, do not vocalize that opinion. Second, wait until it is time to pick out paint.

12. Practice this phrase - "I know our wedding will be great, but I want our marriage to be even better." Yes, this sounds so gay that people who overhear it will think you just escaped from a three-year tour on RuPaul's cruise lines, but your schmoopy-poo has a score board in her brain. You need points. This is a guaranteed 58 yard field goal with no time left on the clock.

13. Keep in mind a few simple things for your own sanity: Weddings suck (again, do not vocalize that opinion or there will be crying and you will wind up with bruises in places that bruises do not belong). Marriage is pretty cool. If you can survive the first, the second will be awesome.

14. Congratulations.

15. Stop calling her your little schmoopy-poo. It's disturbing and it makes your friends throw up in their mouths a little.

Every chuckle, snortle, and guffaw deserves a vote at humor-blogs.com , or you could simply leave a comment to show me the world cares.


Kirsten said...

You are a very smart man!! If all men knew these "simple" rules life would be so much easier!!!

Anonymous said...

Weddings do suck.

I started to read this... got a few paragraphs in and they realized I was all to much reminded of my failed wedding that was to be held last month.

Oh joy

BUT you are SMART

Anonymous said...

Maybe I should share this with my soon-to-be nephew-in-law...


I'd hate to scare him off.

Funny stuff!

Sensei said...

Well played. It's good to see there are others out there who have been beaten into submission.

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