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Tuesday, March 26 , 2019, 12:26 pm | A Few Clouds 60º


Tim Durnin: Whether Guest or Participant, Men Say ‘I Don’t’ to Weddings

Marriage is great; it's the pomp and circumstance leading up to it we can do without

It has been a big summer for marriage and weddings, creating frenzy for paparazzi, entertainment magazines and wedding planners alike. Prince William and Kate Middleton, Kim and Kris Kardashian (or is it Humphries?) and, of course, the state of New York have all shared the spotlight on their journey to the altar. Romantics and gossips swoon.

I know men aren’t supposed to talk about weddings, but women might be surprised to find we do have something to say. We want to take the prospective brides in our lives — fianceés, daughters, sisters, friends — and put our hands delicately on their shoulders. We want to look them lovingly in the eye and shout, “Are you kidding me?!”

Let me begin with the assertion that the cost of a wedding is inversely proportional to marital happiness. I have no idea whether this is actually true, but I want it to be. And I want it to be true because it occurs to me we have lost all perspective when it comes to weddings and, by association, marriage.

Throwing caution to the wind, I am using the first person plural “we.” In short, I am boldly speaking for all men, knowing there are a fair number who do not share my jaded opinions. I do think I speak for most men when I say we generally don’t enjoy weddings. We endure them, even our own.

This is not to suggest we feel the same about marriage. In fact, by almost every measure, marriage is better for men than it is for women. We get this. It is the weddings that give us fits. It is the untenable belief that weddings are about the costly externals, often to the degree that the essential purpose of the event becomes an afterthought, if not lost altogether.

When we discover the cost of the average wedding is $27,800, we immediately translate that number into tangible things. That amount of money represents a new car or boat, perhaps a down payment on real property. When we hear a wedding dress costs $2,500, our minds calculate the number in terms of ball games, NASCAR races and poker chips.

We consider being invited to be a member of the wedding “party” anything but. It is not in our nature to be ornaments in an elaborate fairytale. We don’t get the whole wedding party thing, never having considered our friends to be potential groomsmen.

Most often our participation in a wedding is marked by brief episodes of bewilderment held in place by parenthesis of utter boredom. And no matter how many times we tell you we like the bridesmaids’ dresses, we don’t.

We have no interest in the color of anything, unless, of course, a favorite sports team is the basis for selection. In that rare eventuality, men would happily oblige some unreasonable requests for the good of the team. Be warned, the colors must be true. Pastel purple and yellow do not a Laker make.

Men don’t care too much about menus. Our ideal meal is one that fills us up and consists of foods we recognize and can pronounce. Beef in any form is always good.

As for the guest list, we want to invite everyone or no one. Think tailgate party at the church or, conversely, a quiet, intimate family dinner. We do not want to be involved in the politics of invitation.

Our idea of a decent wedding, whether we are attending as a guest or participant, is one we make it through without embarrassment. Weddings put us far outside our element — treacherous territory for men — and we are prone to trip and fall.

Men are pragmatists who want nothing more than for the wedding to be over and the marriage to begin. The fewer complications and excesses on the path to arrive there, the happier we will be. In the end, our silence does not imply disinterest, nor does it mean we have nothing to say. Our silence is our method of survival through the bizarre and peculiar tempests that weddings have become.

— Tim Durnin is a father, husband and serves as chief operating officer for Surgical Eye Expeditions (SEE) International. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for comments, discussion, criticism, suggestions and story ideas.

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