Three days ago I had the sincere pleasure of attending the wedding of two of my friends. Trent Neville has been a mate of mine since we met as a pair of 12 year olds back on the Year 7 handball court and we’ve been steadfast mates since. His lovely wife Charyl is an absolute legend. With a short but sweet ceremony void of any religious reference, great weather and dominating the dance floor with the best group of friends a fella could ask for, it really was a magical day.
Never in my life did I think I would call a wedding magical. But, just look at Nick dance!
When I started writing on this blog two years ago I was in a very different headspace than I am now. I’d graduated from university but couldn’t find a job anywhere. My friends were all in the process of making big, life altering changes while I wandered aimlessly in self-pity. And the girl I believed to be the love of my life casually strolled into the arms of another without looking back. When I first started writing in this space, I was one abysmal individual who didn’t know how to talk to anyone face to face. If you’ve stuck with me since then, thanks very much .
One of my many pain points back then was the concept of marriage. I viewed it as an archaic, if not redundant process kept alive by money hungry wedding industry people. Needless to say, there are things about weddings in general that I find slightly disturbing, but I wouldn’t dare knock marriage and the value people like my friends put into that union. When I first wrote about marriage two years ago, I was a severely depressed person who didn’t know how to handle what was a very crappy breakup.
For the most part, when people (i.e my immediate family) ask me if I’m seeing anyone or if I have started looking for a wife, I’d shudder like Sideshow Bob stepping on a rake.
While I previously touched on the banality of finding someone because of antiquated expectations the reason I’m no closer to marriage rests solely on me. That’s not taking into account the fact that I am an absurd man and not someone who easily gets on well with others. Especially when it comes to matters of the heart. So rather than look for that future wife I enjoyed my own bitter solitude while finding respite in the earnestly honest act of casual sex for the last two years.
But then I listened to Trent give his heartfelt speech on his wedding day. I heard how his relationship with Charyl changed him for the better, about how much he loves her. I remember sitting there and feeling an overwhelming amount of joy. Joy for my mate, one of the best people you’d meet as he was having the perfect day. Joy for my friends, that in spite of time and distance we chose to assemble on the day dressed to the nines and celebrate the occasion. As I drank in the sight of that hall bathed in soft afternoon sunlight filled with smiling faces I began to wonder if I would ever find myself giving a similar speech to my own bride. (Preferably wearing this suit)
This isn’t me saying I want to be married. But it makes me wonder if it is something that could happen to me. I could care less about a big, fancy wedding. Honestly, if I met a woman who was down for a pool party reception complete with a jumping castle and beer pong* then I’d propose on the spot.
Like I mentioned earlier, I’m not the easiest person to get along with. I prefer to keep to myself and avoid being part of the ‘in’ crowd. And whenever I do manage to be audible it’s either a long tirade of self-deprecating jokes, anime monologues or incoherent mumbling. I don’t often tell people how I feel, usually due to the mumbling but mostly due to the fact that how I truly feel about a lot of things will just rub people the wrong way. I sit in the back, I study and I speak up when I feel my words will have the most impact. Here’s a graph you can use as a handy guide.
I wish I was closer to other people. I often find myself in large group situations envious of the more gregarious persons in our company and how they could effortlessly command attention and awe. I write this blog in an attempt to be closer which has helped a lot, but if I ever was to marry it’d be someone who could understand that I don’t always feel too well without having to read a blog post about it first.
As I pondered this hypothetical woman an image began to form. One that included messy blonde hair, a peculiar nose and cheeky grin. Perhaps it’s because she had recently been in contact with me, but picturing my ex in this situation was alarming. Not because I miss her or want her back (that ship sailed a very long time ago) but because in almost 26 years she has been the only one to understand these emotionally stunted thoughts of mine, even if it was for only a little while.
I’m not trying to make you feel sad, nor does the thought depress me. It was an odd feeling I had in that moment. I conjured an image of someone from my past to fill the role of someone I wanted to meet in the future. It wasn’t wishful thinking. It was a primal feeling that all human beings have. One that compels us to live in groups rather than be alone. The desire not to run away from the void, but having the peace of mind that there is someone next to you who makes it a little easier.
As I emerged from my self-indulgent daydream I realised that this was why people get so crazy about these events. Finding a person who can add value and compliment your own life is a hard thing to accomplish, and it doesn’t happen as often as the fairytales told us.
So when it does happen, we celebrate. We agonise over cufflinks and shortbread. When we talk about the weather it isn’t small talk but a matter of the utmost importance. We triple check the itinerary and make sure to keep red wine away from the bride’s dress. We get together to celebrate that the force of nature known as love does triumph.
What’s marriage got to do with it? Everything, because at the end of the day love is what keeps us moving forward in this bizarre world.
*Beer pong takes any party from standard pleasantries and idle chit chat to larakinism in a heartbeat. Anyone who was at my parent’s 2015 Christmas party is well aware of this.