Best Laid Nervous Breakdowns
By Tom Ďoff the marketí Waters
November 1, 2007
So youíve decided to get married! Actually, you havenít decided anything. I decided to. On April Foolís Day of this year, I proposed to my longtime live in girlfriend Lindsay. On stage. At the beginning of my book launch. I told people that it was 15% publicity stunt and 85% lifelong love affair and Iím sticking to that story. And here comes the fun part for the guy: the wedding planning. Women spend their entire lives practicing for this event, so theyíve got a leg up. Men spend their entire lives avoiding this event, so weíre ill equipped to plan, prepare, think about, or even entertain the notion that weíd remotely give a shit about anything having to do with the design stage. Despite all attempts to stay out of it, let go and let Lindsay figure out the whole sordid mess, my opinion is elicited. If youíre not married, you have no clue what an obstacle course of agony this can be. Fasten your harness and keep both hands inside the vehicle at all times, because its gonna be a bumpy trip, guys.
From the get go, I made it abundantly clear that I was neither interested, willing, or available for any planning. She took this as a green light to get my two cents twenty four hours a day and seven days a week. In two weeks, sheís filled a three ring binder to the bursting point with tabs, headers, dividers, schematics, blue prints, coupons, flow charts, power-point presentations, salt maps, and appetizer hierarchies. In two weeks, sheís driven me farther out of my goddamned mind than I was to begin with (which was pretty certifiable as it was).
As a guy, I thrive on a small degree of quiet time every day. When I wake up in the morning, lose my hangover, and flop on the couch for a cigarette, I like to shake off the cob webs and slowly shift into first gear for my day. Iím old, so I donít rush into anything. When I wake up on the weekends, she starts right in with the twenty questions. Reception halls, guest lists, flower arrangements, ad nauseum. I canít answer these questions when Iím fully cogent and in charge of my faculties let alone the first thing in the morning, so my brain goes back into dump out mode. Too much information. After a brutal day at work, all I want when I get home is twenty minutes of peace and quiet, a hot bath and a long nap. I get none of these things now. I have no safe haven. Do you know anything about place settings and themes for weddings? I do. I could give a symposium on them now. Iíd also give anything to erase that knowledge from my guy brain. Instead of whiskey, Iíve started huffing lighter fluid in a poorly ventilated crawl space. That seems to be doing the trick.
Iíve been warned by men whoíve fallen in battle before me, but they either donít or wonít listen. They want our feedback. If it was up to me, Iíd have some guy slap a certificate in my hand for five bucks and hit the bar for happy hour with a plastic glitter ring I got out of a vending machine at the supermarket. The wedding has nothing to do with the guy. Itís not about us. Itís about your beloved getting within striking distance of some storybook Cinderella extravaganza with tweeting birds, metric tons of confetti, true love for the ages and all that other melodramatic nonsense. They want the whole world to see them in the spotlight for one shining, perfect day. I paid for the ring and that should be the beginning and end of my involvement in the plans until the day I show up in a monkey suit. Drop me in a tuxedo and Iíll do my best to show up on time without my fly open. Thatís it.
You can say you donít care 387 times and it wonít register. I donít care. If youíre reading this Lindsay, I donít care. Leave me out of it. Did I mention I donít care? This is not to say that I donít care about her, the wedding, or our special and legally binding union, just that I donít give a shit about the raised lettering on invitations, the choice of appetizers and ice sculptures, or the five billion other bits of minutiae that go into these things. Even if I did care, my opinion means nothing. I had three conditions regarding the wedding and one of them went out the window the day I proposed. The date. I wanted the wedding on the same day as our first date so that I wouldnít have to remember two different dates. Again, the huffing of the lighter fluid and chronic hangovers. My short term and long term memory are gone, so Iíd rather not be depended upon to remember multiple dates. It was that simple. That date was cut.
When she asks for my opinion, it means that she wants to hear what the wrong opinion is so that she can tell me what she wants. Iím physically and mentally exhausted from formulating the belief that I give a shit about any of this and then making a suggestion to have it spiked out of the sky and crushed like a sasquatch during a volleyball game. Why ask for my two cents when itís not taken into consideration?! Why? Why do they do this? I hope they have three piece straight jackets, because thatís what Iím going to need after the sixteen months of teeth grinding, hair pulling, blood pressure raising aggravation that Iím in the front seat for. Iím not even driving this crazy thing. Sheís working the clutch and sheís definitely got a firm grip on the stick shift. Yes, pun intended. My balls are now the two shriveled pink dice dangling from the rear view mirror.
Repeat after me: I donít care. If you ever get engaged, start reciting it in front of a mirror with consideration and sincerity. She tells me that once the big issues (reception, church, guests, tux rentals, etc., etc. frigging etc.) are ironed out that she wonít even mention until a few months before that magical and enchanted day, but I donít believe her. I still believe that I made the right choice. Itís rude at my age to leave the right woman waiting for longer than two and a half years, and she is the best thing thatís ever happened to me. Maybe itís the lighter fluid fumes talking, but thatís how I feel. Do you know what a cake topper is? I do. You donít want to. Letís leave it that way for the time being. Weíve got six to nine people standing up on each end and I pray to god that one of them brings a power drill to the ceremony. One of the boys can burrow a hole into the back of my cerebral cortex and remove whatís left of my capacity to reason so that I can handle the actual marriage and all the tiny, delicate planning decisions I have to look forward to for the next thirty or forty years as a happily married couple. Will I want a burgundy colored stock with two barrels when I put a gun in my mouth and take my own life or a vintage avocado colored toaster to climb into the bathtub with? These decisions are important now because you need to know what to ask for on the wedding registry. Planning a wedding is a special journey for men that drains your spirit, your nerves, your patience and your sanity. Itís a good test run for the rest of your life. Better or worse? My opinion really doesnít matter, and I wouldnít care if it did. Iím going to make a wonderful husband and a loving father.