STFU Fridays: Party Season Is Over Just In Time For Bridal/Baby Season

So in the last six months we have celebrated: two birthdays (that I baked my eight hour cake for); an anniversary (that I baked another eight hour cake for); Halloween (homemade costumes); Thanksgiving (handcrafted party to avoid having to do much on Thanksgiving, only to be expected to do much on Thanksgiving anyway); one birthday (that extended into two parties); Christmas (three required family events, plus brunch hosted by me); another birthday (made a birthday dinner); yet another birthday (that extended into three parties); my mom’s birthday (that I didn’t plan on celebrating, but turned into me hosting 12 people for dinner when they all just showed up); and my dad’s 70th (surprise party, thrown by me). In the month of December, I contracted Influenza A (the H3 that was so nasty), and was sick for an entire month. In October my husband caused a car accident; in December he bought me a used car with the meager settlement and took my nicely running Yaris; in January I had to buy myself a rebuilt transmission for said used car after it broke down; last week I had to get a new cooling pump as well. On October 24th a very good friend of mine committed suicide (never got invited to the memorial, though); in January my husband’s uncle died (memorial was in February); and after three days of being in hospice with pneumonia, my first sweetheart – my grandpa – passed away peacefully (resulting in two weeks of funerary activities, culminated in two wakes, one burial, two memorials, a $500 trip to just south of Yosemite where he is buried, and at least five different times that I cooked a meal for a large group of family).

To say that I’m done entertaining and cooking for other people – amidst all the other common bullshit life has thrown at me –  is a gross understatement. I won’t even get started on the fact that my birthday is coming up, and my dad is having  hip replacement surgery – so either my birthday has to be celebrated next weekend when the kid’s home, or it’s not being celebrated at all. I’ll save the “I did all this for everyone else, and they didn’t do shit for me yet another year” rant for when/if it actually happens.

The annual clusterfuck party season is over in this house. I’m done making decorations. I’m done putting together costumes. I’m over baking cakes. And if one more person walks into my house with their shoes on – traipsing dirt all over my carpet – they will be receiving a visit to the throat with my five-fingered friend named Fist.

So it would appear, though, party season has ended just in time for bridal and baby season to begin. Let’s spend this Shut the Fuck Up Friday examining the evidence:

Weddings Are Being Talked About Everywhere

I have three weddings coming up this summer of close family members. Please don’t get me wrong: I am super duper excited for all of them. They are each cousins, and having been an only child, they were more like brothers and sisters growing up. They still are (to me, at least). And each of them couldn’t have found better partners in crime – I love all of them and am so happy for them.

But goddamn does wedding talk get on my nerves sometimes. For one, my wedding was the most bare-bones, low-key wedding ever. I still have mixed feelings about that, which means that sometimes when I see a Bridal Expo sign, or drive by the bridal shop down the street from my house, I cry. There was very little “what the bride wants – this is her day” at our affair. Again, I did enjoy the time with my friends and what family was there. There was a lot of specialness in it all, and yeah – it’s not about the wedding, but the marriage. But there may be a little jealousy there, because as with many things in our lives, a lot of our situation (beyond the wedding, itself) was just dysfunctional.

The other day I was talking to my aunt and mentioned that I had asked my cousin when her bridal shower/bachelorette stuff was going to be. She said “oh, she won’t know – that’s supposed to be a surprise!” I had no idea that a bridal shower or bachelorette party was supposed to be a surprise. Why don’t I know? Because no one ever threw me one. The closest thing I had to a bachelorette party was shortly after I got engaged, we went on a girl’s night out. Everyone said “this is your last night of freedom!” but it didn’t feel like it. There was no drinking. There was no dancing debauchery. There would be no tittie flashing and screaming “wooooo – bachelorette party!!” at my affair. No, we sat in a bar, awkwardly sober, while one of my friends (that I no longer speak to) dry humped a complete stranger on one side of our booth. I was home by 10:15.

We had our Catholic wedding a few weeks before my brother in law and Hello Kitty Toaster had their “Celebration of Marriage” and she was thrown a huge bridal shower by my husband’s extended family. After my girl’s night out, the closest thing I came to a bridal shower was being allowed to take notes on what gifts she had received.

Baby Belly Photos Are Showing Up In My Newsfeed

487659_10200438668384263_1494975773_nAnother set of people I am unequivocally happy for: the twenty-two good friends I have giving birth between the months of May and July (and the number keeps growing). Let’s start with a note: I didn’t even know that I had twenty-two friends. No shit. Now I do because they’re all pregnant – and again, I am so excited for them. I’m thinking about planning a day at the end of July to just go and visit every, single one of them. I already know what cute little outfits I want to get each of them. And I am super excited to throw a baby shower for one of them (the only party that I actually *want* to throw).

But dammit, ladies – cover up. I am very familiar with pregnancy. It makes me nervous. Childbirth makes me feel faint. Every time I watch those Discovery baby shows, I get short of breath. I don’t need to see naked belly photo updates. I’ll take the clothed ones – we can see your bump nicely under your Motherhood top. We don’t need the stretch marks and the belly button popped out. I further don’t need commentary on your constipation, or your milk leakage. I will celebrate your baby in all the ways you want me to – at your pretentious “gender reveal party;” at your ultrasound where eight of us are crammed in the room. I will “like” and comment on photo after photo of your many, many ultrasounds. I will even hold your leg for you, or hold ice chips to your mouth in the delivery room – I am that committed of a friend. But I can’t take the uglier side of pregnancy and childbirth. I won’t look at your vagina as it gives birth to life. I will not discuss your fire-y hemorrhoids that started as soon as the baby dropped. And I will not enjoy your gargantuan stretch mark belly pics.

Entertaining season, or party season, has officially come to a close in our house. But it looks like the party is just getting started. Do you have a party season in your house faithful blog followers? Ours this time around was particularly arduous, and I would be lying if I didn’t say that after it has all come to an end I am still left feeling that the world is completely off its axis since some very important people were lost during all of it. As bridal and baby season ramps up, we should all keep in mind that not everyone has the same experience as us. Some are better, some are worse. Being modest and happy for each other seems the best course of action.

But just know: if your pregnancy talk gets too detailed, or your wedding jargon is reminding me just how hard mine was for me, I reserve the right to tell you to shut the fuck up.

A Miserable Marriage

Today on Facebook, one of my friends posted a question “what is the key to a successful marriage?”  People were posting all manner of things:  honesty, communication, devotion, sex, similar interests … all of them relevant, timely remarks that logically seem to help in making a successful marriage.  But something about it didn’t really seem to hit right on the mark for me.

My comment was a little off the beaten path of the rest of the comments (big surprise, I know..).  Nonetheless, I think mine was the most accurate, which was:  reconcile yourself to misery.

This idea came to me after I thought about a popular quote about marriage:  “I can’t have what I want and be happy; you can’t have what you want and be happy; let’s compromise on misery.”  This is intended on being funny; that in a marriage neither person can have exactly the way they want things to be; each has to give a little to get a little.  The idea isn’t that we are actually going to settle on being miserable because we both can’t have exactly what we want, though.  In reality it just pokes fun at the idea that anything other than the exact way we want things to be is absolute misery.  The truth is it’s not.  Not having exactly what you want isn’t misery, it’s just not exactly what you want.  The beauty in compromise is that it is not a complete annihilation of one side in favor of the other, but rather a synthesis of the two in which there is an element of each side’s happiness present.  In reality, a compromise can be seen as the happiest of all possibilities, for it is the best of both worlds.

I think this reflects a current problem we seem to have found ourselves in, which is that we seem to think that we are going to find a life-partner that is exactly the same as we are, thus there will never even be a need to compromise.  We think that there even can be a person exactly like us out there, and that when we marry them everything will be pie in the sky and ear-to-ear smiles.  I can’t even count the number of couples I know that seem to think they will always agree on everything, and that if they don’t that may as well be the end of their civil or religious union.  This seems to be a wholly naive and childish way of viewing the world:  that there are two people who actually are so alike they will never disagree and need to find a middle-ground on which to compromise is (in reality) just plain stupid.

So what is the key to a successful marriage, you ask?  Why, it’s reconciling yourself to misery!  In other words, it is going in to a marriage realistic about the fact that no matter how compatible eHarmony said you were; no matter how much you seemed to have in common on those initial dates – there is going to come a time that you and your life-partner do not agree on something (and believe you me, it will be a big something).  Recognize that now, because it will happen.  No matter what you do; no matter how you try to avoid it – it will happen.  One day down the line, you will be asked to compromise (in most cases, many days and countless times down the line).  The key to a successful marriage is knowing that one day the need to give a little to get a little will be upon you.  Denying this is a way to make your marriage fail, because you will be destined to think that there is no way to reconcile something that you thought was supposed to be perfect.  In reality, nothing is perfect – marriage included.  Reconcile yourself to the compromise on misery, which really won’t be miserable if you just give it a try.

Four Things Not To Do At Your Wedding

Let’s go with another list, only this one is not so much about my train-wrecks in the dating world as it is about what to not do at your wedding.

Of all the weddings I have been to, at least one or two things have been done that made just about everyone in the room gossip the day after.  From a bride who got so wasted she couldn’t walk, to a groom complaining loudly about the gifts they got – there have always been a number of faux pas when it comes to weddings.  And this should come as no surprise with the number of wedding etiquette books and websites that are out today.  Updated every year, these etiquette manuals are made to ensure that you don’t leave your wedding with less family and friends talking to you than you went in.

Now I don’t necessarily agree with a lot of the things listed in those etiquette books, most importantly because they seem to lack the understanding that in a crippling economy, money actually is an issue.  So with that in mind, I have come up with my own etiquette, which is as simple as the four things not to do at your wedding.  Avoid these and you should be golden.

#1  Don’t complain about your gifts, either before or after your wedding.  This goes beyond weddings to babies, birthdays, etc.  When someone goes out of their way to bring you a gift, even if it is a meager one, you should be grateful they sacrificed their time and money to show you that kindness.  I have been to a lot of weddings where people did not bring gifts and the bride was complaining about the disparity between gifts on the table and guests in the reception hall.  And I’ve seen people complain on their Facebook pages about the gifts they received – all of which is completely inexcusable if you want to keep friends.  If you don’t like a gift, be considerate and return it quietly.  And whether you like the gifts or not, always send a ‘thank you’ via the mail.  Not sending a ‘thank you’ for any type of major gift (be it bridal, wedding, baby, anniversary) is a sure way to lose friends.

#2  Don’t change into slippers once the reception begins.  This may seem petty, and while you are the bride/groom and you should be having a good time, it is in very poor taste.  For one, you’ll ruin the pictures.  For two, you’ll set the standard for your guests to strip off or change other articles of clothing of their own choosing, and as fellow attendees I can say with certainty that we don’t want to see that.  Rather than changing shoes, do something different like wear comfortable, yet stylish shoes from the get-go.  I’ve been to weddings where comfortable, wedding flip-flops were worn; wear stylish, matching tennis shoes were on the entire bridal party.  You don’t have to go ten miles down the road to Tackyville to be comfortable.

#3 Don’t give us updates about your pregnancy.  I know, I know – having a baby is a blessed occasion, and you shouldn’t hide anything.  But, really, you should.  I’m not arguing that anyone should be ashamed about being pregnant before getting married – it’s the 21st century and a lot of people do it.  And props to those that see it as the opportunity to “do the right thing” for the baby.  But when you announce updates (“Thank you everyone for coming, and we wanted to let you know we just found out – it’s a girl!”), you invariably subject us to Aunt Beatrice and Grandma Flo’s gossipy conversation about how the bride shouldn’t have worn white, and the groom had better start looking into management positions to feed the baby.  I went to one wedding quite a few years ago and did not even know the bride was pregnant until she announced the sex of the baby during the toasts, and was then subjected to two hours of my date’s mother telling me all the details of just how the groom’s vasectomy didn’t stick.  Thank you, I’ll pass.

#4 (And this one particularly applies to those that also fall under #3), don’t get CRUNK.  That’s right, I said it.  Don’t get so crazy drunk that you can’t walk or speak clearly.  You see that crazy chick in the photo above?  I bet she’s regretting allowing a beer bong at her wedding reception now, wouldn’t you?  Not only will being a complete drunk at your own wedding ensure family gossip for years to come, but you’ll ruin the pictures and garner a reputation.  A wedding I attended last year was so out of hand with the drunkenness that we actually left before a full on group orgy broke out.  As it turned out, the debauchery didn’t really start until the after party, but it was only because of the drunken displays at the reception, itself, that I had to end up being told about it.  Twenty years from now, you don’t want your kids to look at your wedding album and see you falling over your dress with champagne spilled all over you.  Trust me, you don’t.  We all know the planning process has been a stressful one, but just save the heavy drinking for the honeymoon (even if that ends up being one night at the Motel 6 down the street from your apartment).

It would seem that these things would be common sense, and yet every wedding I attend has some semblance of at least a few of them.  No matter how many weddings you have been to, when your big day comes I know you will be tempted to do one of these horribly tasteless, unbelievably obnoxious things.  Just remember what it was like to be a guest at that one wedding when the bride fell over after too many whiskey sours and showed her panties to the entire crowd.  You don’t want to be her, now do you?