Last Saturday, I battled the ferocious plains’ winds and subzero temperatures to attend a friend’s party.
One well-intentioned recently engaged friend grabbed my naked ring finger and blurted out, “I don’t see a ring. Is there trouble in paradise? Why aren’t you married yet?”
This question is not new to my sister or me. I have been in a serious relationship for two years and my sister for six years. As ‘single’ females, we are often asked a question inspired by Beyonce: “When is he gonna put a ring on it?” Similarly, my mom jokingly utters the old adage, “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.”
As if this is not enough, every time I watch TV I am bombarded with a barrage of wedding jewelry commercials imploring me that I must invest in diamonds to show how much I care about my loved ones. Cue the jingles, bells and a generic soprano: “Every Kiss begins with Kay!” Or the dramatic male baritone: “This Christmas Say Something without Saying Anything!” “Let love Shine!”
Sorry to the jewelry companies, you won’t be getting my business or my boyfriend’s this year. No, I think my love shines very bright despite my bony, ET- like finger devoid of a sparkling diamond. Glossy, embossed wedding invitations swarm my mailbox, my fridge is dotted with “Save the Date” magnets, and I have been invited to participate in the wedding party in six weddings in the past few years.
Obviously I do not want to chastise friends or family for choosing to get married, just as I would hope they would not chastise me for deciding that marriage is not a goal for me right now even though I am in a happy, long term relationship.
It boils down to individual choice. And I am an avid believer of the unconditional, fierce devotion that marriage requires.
After all, both sets of my grandparents recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversaries and my parents are going on 30 years of wedded bliss. My family is a rarity in the age of divorce. I have seen the glorious beauty in two people devoting their lives to a shared partnership.
Instead, I lament the “wedding industrial complex.” The wedding industrial complex is like the military industrial complex sans weapons of mass destruction. There are weapons of a different kind.
Weapons of consumerism if you will: diamonds worth more than my car, overpriced dresses with trains longer than Rapunzel’s hair, layered cakes that evoke carpel tunnel in the bakers from all of the tedious decorating. I despise the wedding shows “Say Yes to the Dress” and “Bridezilla” and the like that perpetuate the vicious cycle of greedy consumerism.
Are you greedy because you chose to have a wedding? No!
Certainly some people want to have a special day to celebrate the union of two families and enjoy the party atmosphere. I try to verbally explain my wedding disdain with my friends and family to no avail. I am not some anti-love oaf shaking my fist at happy couples who chose to get married. I am happy for the couple, yes.
I used to love weddings as a wee one, but they aren’t the same as an adult introvert. The oom-pa-pa of the accordion blaring in the background has now been replaced with a creepy DJ playing music more suited for a middle school dance than a wedding. The Shirley Temples my sisters and I daintily sipped with no side effect worse than a sugar rush and gut ache have been replaced by binge drinking and shots.
Simply put: weddings are a sober introvert’s nightmare! They are frankly exhausting, what with all the forced socialization, meeting new people, being surrounded by alcohol and noise.
When the time is right, I hope to get married amongst close family and a few dear friends with the splendor and brilliance of nature as the backdrop.
We will join together as we hear the orchestral hum of crickets, rustle of leaves, slow trickle of water, and crack of the embers in a bonfire.
Diamonds won’t be exchanged. I will wear a dress with lots of tulle and it might be blue even though it’s supposed to be white.
Someday but not yet.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Assistant Editor: Paige Vignola
Image via Flickr