Not long ago, I attended a friend’s wedding. This is certainly not my first wedding, nor will it be the last. As all the people around me are bonding and subsequently procreating, I realised that weddings are a particular burden for the young adult who is neither close to marrying nor likely to procreate.
But why? Why do weddings cause such emotional distress to the observer?
The first reason is hope.
I must confess, dearest reader, that while I generally consider myself a very balanced person with great emotional control, weddings stir up unanticipated feelings. There is a common stereotype that women will be extra sensitive and receptive to romantic advances at weddings, and it saddens me to admit that this is true.
There I sat, watching a couple promise to love each other forever, and I wondered; maybe my new-age thinking is wrong. Maybe my rational mind telling me that marriage is really unnecessary and probably won’t work is also false. Although I can be independent, maybe I don’t want to be. Maybe there is one person for every person, and maybe true love exists after all, just like Disney movies promise us!
And as I drank what was most likely a mixture of champagne and my own tears, and watched everyone celebrating and congratulating the couple, I started fantasising about my own wedding, which now appeared to be the only gateway to happiness.
The second reason are the parents.
As soon as you throw on a tuxedo or the princess wedding dress, your parents express the kind of love and pride they never do for day-to-day accomplishments. There he was, the father choking up as he told his daughter how beautiful she was, and the mother who shed countless tears during her speech, proudly narrating how she raised the world’s most wonderful man.
On my 5th champagne, I wondered what it would be like if my parents finally showered me with this kind of respect and gratitude, this love and affection, in front of everyone, so that I may have evidence of this on tape and re-watch it whenever they express their disapproval in the future.
At the end of the night I went to bed with mixed emotions, wondering what it would be like to wake up next to my perfect husband.
When I finally did wake up with a sober mind, I looked around me, and realised I was still alone. The alcohol had worn off, the hormones were at normal levels, and I finally took a good, hard look at my life.
And then I broke into uncontrollable, hysterical laughter. Laughter that makes your belly ache. Laughter that you worry will kill you.
And as my laughter rang through the entire building, dearest reader, I knew this was the sound of deep, heartfelt relief.