Sun, 05 Jan 2003

Weddings bring forth sense of mortality, hormones

As my biological clock seems to be ticking faster and faster, I receive more and more invitations from my friends to come to their weddings each year.

Now, I have to admit that every time I open an invitation, there were more than enough chemicals in my system to create a heavy dose of jealousy.

Those couples would be celebrating their luck in love since they actually had found someone with whom they wanted to spend the rest of their lives. Morning, day and night.

The fact they would be spending millions, even hundreds of millions of rupiah to throw a party means they would also be celebrating their luck in finance.

How could I not be jealous? My love life is non-existent and I still have to spin my brain to figure out how I am going to pay my cellular phone bill each month.

But I never missed my friends' weddings, not a single one. Because every time I watched how the wedding reception went, my amusement overshadowed my jealousy.

At the receptions, the bride and the groom would stand up for more than two hours throughout the wedding, shaking hands with guests they mostly did not even know.

They are friends of their parents or friends of their parents' friends, or their parents' bosses and associates whom they had never met before.

Watching the bride and groom's wide and sincere smiles in the first half hour turn into a forced, tired grin just makes my day.

If only the parties would be like those I saw in Four Weddings and a Funeral or My Best Friend's Wedding, my jealousy would have struck my sanity chord.

I probably would have sabotaged the happy wedding. No one is allowed to be happy if I am not!

Thank God the weddings were dull. I have no idea how wedding receptions in this country have become so dry.

In those movies, the bride and groom seem to have much fun, mingling with their guests. They chat with the guests whom are mostly people they personally know, laugh with them and walk around, enjoying the celebration.

Unlike the brides and the grooms in this country, they do not just have to stand up on a heavily decorated stage, not even have the privilege to see the food they paid for decreasing as the guests with big appetites consume it.

I used to have a friend with whom I always enjoyed watching our friends suffer on the wedding reception stage.

He once swore if he ever got married, he would have a reception which he would enjoy. He even wrote down details from the previously mentioned movies which he planned to copy when he had his own wedding reception.

Well, he got married last year and surprisingly ended up having a reception similar to the ones we used to laugh at.

Shortly after the wedding, he came to me with that loser look, trying to tell me it was actually not possible to have the reception we had dreamed about.

Not surprisingly, it was the parents from both sides of the family who had stood between the couple and their dream wedding reception.

Not that he had not tried, my friend said, but the crafty parents had made him and his wife agree to their version of a perfect wedding.

The parents learned the tricks from their parents who had also forced them to agree to their arrangements.

The parents thought the reception was largely their own occasion instead of the couples, saying they would not be able to see the faces of their friends anymore if they were not invited to the wedding.

The parents also said their bosses would think they hated their superiors, thus making it difficult for them to get a chance for promotion in the future.

They also said that older guests would donate more money than the younger ones would (my editor would agree with this).

And the ultimate weapon the parents used was saying they had a tradition to keep which would not happen if they threw a "modern" wedding.

After I listened to the explanation, I could no longer blame my friend. I know how hard it is when it comes to arguing with your parents.

I almost forget the concept of a dream wedding until I attended a wedding reception which pretty much resembled weddings in those movies.

Only those who personally knew the bride or the groom were invited to the wedding and the couple seemed to be having so much fun enjoying the party together with the guests.

I had not known them that long so I did not get that jealous.

Curious, I asked them what the secret of throwing a great wedding was.

They said they were just lucky to have liberal parents who left all the wedding decisions to them.

The bride said her parents had always let her make her own decisions since she was small. Her parents had even told her that she was better smoking pot occasionally than become a chain smoker.

Well, my parents are not liberal at all. They don't smoke pot and cut my allowance after they caught me drinking beer when I was 15.

Will they let me have my own perfect wedding when the time comes?

-- Joko E.H. Anwar