Saturday, July 7, 2012

Weddings are the Best (and the Worst)

Ambivalent. adjective 1. having mixed feelings about someone or something; being unable to choose between two strong (usually opposing) courses of action.

Many may use the term as merely an antonym for care, but the reality is the term means so much more. This is the situation where you really care strongly about something but those strong feelings seem to pull you both ways at the same time. For a step into the Phat Man's world, today I went to a wedding. Weddings put me in such a position.

On the one hand, a wedding is the blandest of services. You typically have a similar charge with a little variation. I mean, the average person could give me a list of 20 Bible verses and in a standard service quoting 5-10 verses, they will miss at most one of the verses quoted. Further, the vows are incredibly generic. The ring is a symbol... I could go on, but assuming that you've been to a wedding, you know what I mean. If you go to a "Justice of the Peace"-styled wedding, I imagine there is even more blandness to it.

You get seated by people in a tuxedo, who either know you and want to see who won the College Football game they are missing or have no idea who you are, so they automatically seat you on the other side of the auditorium. By the way, who thinks that bringing together two married people is best accomplished by putting their friends on opposite sides of a building, like a giant game of Red Rover?

On the other hand, things with a great deal of formality show the seriousness of the act itself. How nervous, for example, do people seem to get when a simple notary steps into the picture? (Incidentally, one can become a notary in Florida simply by taking a four hour "class" online). The friends of both parties being there to witness the event really shows how big of a commitment the covenant of marriage is.

Back to the first hand, the average person invites 141 people. The average person cannot carry on a meaningful conversation with more than two people at a time. So, in order to have a five minute conversation with everyone, you would need to have at least 70 different conversations (or about 6 hours of talking). Therefore, the average bride-groom give, at most, a pass by hello. Further, they probably don't notice if the average guest is there or not.

Back to the second hand, there is something incredible about talking to a couple immediately after their nuptials have taken place, and if you get to say a few words, you will probably remember it forever. It is also an incredible way to catch up with the mutual friends that you haven't kept up with like you should, but you may commit to be better at doing so, which basically means one email may get sent until the next wedding.

I have things pulling on me to say that I think weddings are merely an obligation, while others are telling me that weddings are a great spectacle that are a fitting beginning to a wonderful marriage. This is ambivalence! I love it; I hate it. I don't know what to think, but I do know that every time a wedding invite comes (for people that I care about), something in me wants to completely bail, while another part of me wants to go and be front and center in all my congratulatory things. And dependent upon what my other opportunities are for that day, I may attend or not attend weddings with a pattern that just seems plain silly when looked at in a vacuum.

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