Monday, September 06, 2004

The Wedding

First, I'm not a particularly traditional guy. I will say, however, that there is a good reason tradition dictates the bride and groom don't see each other between the rehearsal dinner and the wedding itself.
But everything worked out ok, the happy couple are off to Thailand to generate their own stories of South East Asia, the sort of stories with which I famously bore my friends. I really don't mean this vindictively, but now that my friend is married and traveling someplace where waving a few dollars in someone's face and shouting won't get him his way, I'm looking forward to many an evening of "I told you so's."
I tend to think of weddings nowadays as more expensively orchestrated, slightly less sadistic sorority or fraternity initiations. Really, the only reason to have a formal wedding is to ritualize your entrance to the club. Most of your audience are already card carrying members, and welcome the newcomers with gifts, grins, and the occasional grimace. The ceremony itself - if done properly - and the speeches afterward, can be quite moving, even for this jaded primate. But by and large, a formal wedding is much more about demonstrating fluency in the genre and less about the joy that lies inherent in realizing the chairs are in six rows of five instead of five rows of six, awaiting only a last minute panic to reveal its inner beauty, like a Rodin.
But what changes, really? Potentially quite a lot. A strong marriage, such as the kind I like to think Mrs. Primate and I have, is a heavily invested partnership. Even without the house and children, she's so crucial to everything I do, every decision I make, I can hardly fathom life without her. This is not a needy thing - both of us are fairly resilient people who could go it alone and successfully at that, something we both know. But it's so much better to have a partner to gently (ok, well maybe not always so gently) encourage you along the right path, someone you trust to weed away those parts of you that just don't work. Friends and family can help you become a better person, but short of intense personal tragedy, only a life partner can engender the intimacy to affect real change in a fully formed adult. There are also other advantages, but I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader [insert smirk].
OK, that was pretty sappy and somewhat ethnocentric. I suppose the point is that I enjoy seeing my friends get married, especially when I like both of them a great deal and think that they've a good shot at building a real family. And, I guess the fact that I'm embracing this sentiment is the revenge of the generations before us, the ultimate, "I told you so." Oh well, being mistaken about this marriage business is a sophism of my youth I don't begrudge having corrected.

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