Saturday, 19 November 2011

May alarm bells ring on the most hypocritical day of your life.

Jasmin Andrade sorts out our conundrums on what everyone's thinking about - that fateful wedding day.

Take a look at yourself. Is this you?

You're shuffling to work. A drone. The same train every day. You're 30, unmarried, unhitched, without a significant other. 10 years time and it'll be the big four zero. It's there. It's in your head. In 10 years time nothing will have changed. Same train. Same quasi-life.

Shit. Friends say you don't have long. Your shelf life's expiring. You're the chilled 'Tesco Finest' meal that no one's going to buy. Later tonight you'll be chucked in a skip.

Friends try to hook you up with 'marriage' material. Your sister's tied the knot. Your biological clock is not only ticking, it's about to detonate. It's a suicide vest. Dad twiddles his thumbs. Will he ever get the chance to walk you, march you damn it, down the aisle?

Come on. Get real.

Marriage, that manufactured fantasy. As kids we're sold this dream. The knight in shining armour. Diamond encrusted horse and carriages. Off into the sunset. 'Happily ever after'. A dream garnished with bollocks. Another conundrum of modern womanhood. Let the truth be told.

Feminist Germaine Greer talks sense. She wrote 'The Female Eunuch' (1993). Wives are an "unpaid employee in her husband's house," she argued. "In return for security, [of which] there is no such thing." What's changed? Men are only getting worse. Statistics show 9% less do housework than a decade ago.

It's the 21st century. Fathers releasing their 'rose-blossom' daughters. Allowing them to 'fly out of the nest'. It's no longer the point. "Marriage was preserved by fear," says journalist Suzanne Moore. Security. Finance. Protection. They were reasons to marry. But they're gone. You should know. Women are independent now. Up until the baby drops out, anyhow. That's when 30% of domestic violence cases begin. You'll become a "manipulable reproductive machine". Feminist Anne Oakley was right. She still is.

Let's be realistic. 54% of divorces are down to unliveable behaviour. Violence and molestation included. So why marry? You can't argue with Government statistics.

Of course. It's all about that one day. The day you walk down that isle. Where you're some pumped-up princess.
Face up. You're not Cinderella. Honestly. Ten grand for a dream of happiness? That's all it is. Will pretending you're God's gift equal eternal bliss? Will your problems evaporate? Will it change your life? Will it be the 'solution to everything'?

The TV programme 'Don't Tell the Bride' blows this scenario wide open.

I'm rejoicing in it. Finally, reality is shown. Haven't seen it? I urge you to. Watch it. Laugh at it. Delight in its revelations. What you hear about weddings is garbage. You might start realising this. Then you'll throw it in the bin like the soiled lace thong it is.

'Don't Tell the Bride' is a fly-on-the-wall documentary. A good one for sure. It up-ends traditional wedding planning. It disproves that weddings equal happy ever after. Couples get three weeks and 12 grand to plan their 'big day'. But there's a catch.

The location. The bride's dress. Every last detail. The groom's decision. The bride's in complete darkness. Absolutely no control over 'the most important day of her life' - or so society says. I, however, beg to differ.

Women plan weddings. Not men. That's the convention in most societies. It's at the core of 'Don't Tell the Bride'. Women rule weddings like Hitler ruled Germany. Men are just sycophants. Doormats. Bootlickers. It's an unfair, one sided and unrealistic affair. It ought to stop.

You think the programme's a crap concept? That it artificially throws it out the window? I put this to you: It's not the case. 'Don't Tell the Bride' must be aired. It's needed. Urgently. It proves weddings are grossly artificial occasions.  Women everywhere ought to see reality. To see weddings for what they really are. That includes you.

The producers. They're perfectly within their rights to air it. Every day, preferably. Yes, they toy with conventional 21st century wedding planning. But they should be applauded for doing so. Saluted and praised. Given the mother of all ovations.

Women on their wedding days. The majority have seriously airheaded tendencies. The devil is in the detail. Brides lose sight of the real point of the day. That's if they ever had it. They get hung up over the table decorations. The dress. The champagne. The confetti. The cake. The rings. The car. The bling. They're ridiculously selfish.

You watch them. They say the success of their married life is dependent on that single day alone. That the entire marriage hinges on it. Everything dependant on her exact, pretty often stupid, demands. They must be met. All or nothing. Paradise and total success... or bust. Open your eyes. Smell the coffee.

These women expect every detail in their heads spawned. No fairytale wedding, no happy ending. That's with all women involved. Mums, aunts, sisters, cousins, friends. The list goes on. Each weighs in. More farfetched expectations of men. More demands of the wedding day. And the bride gobbles it all up. Buys in to it. Brain-washes herself. Allows herself to be brain-washed. Allows herself to become a certified 100% airhead - and the doom commences.

WTF is what I say.

Season 5, episode 7. Kara's sister says if groom-to-be Alex 'fails' the wedding: "She's not gonna let him get away with it." Her mum adds: "She'll bring it up every day. Every single day." In all honesty, I wouldn't question them.

Kara frets over designer shoes. "I just want some really expensive shoes," she snorts. "He's got 12 grand, the least he can do is buy me decent shoes." Alex must choose a dress that's above the ankle. People must 'delight' in seeing her shoes. Everything must be pure perfection. Else the entire occasion will be her "worst nightmare". What sad irony.

So darling. Are you from planet naive? Are you a wedding day airhead? Forgive me for getting personal. It's in your best interest. They say weddings are about joining in 'holy matrimony'. So why is the cost of a pair of shoes at all important? This is the real world. "Marriages fail because the expectations are ludicrous," argues Suzanne Moore.

The series unveils the truth. Women have ridiculous expectations and priorities. According to Kara, everything pales in comparison to your dress. "Like, massively! 90%. If I don't feel I look my best, I won't have a good time," she says.

All of this is second-rate. Maybe it's time women realised this. These weddings aren't about love. They're a form of female hysteria. Catapulted at you right about NOW. Weddings have been contaminated. You're probably infected too. They're a matriarchal institution. Plain and simple. They only benefit women.

'Don't Tell the Bride' is an important programme. I'm talking in the long-term cultural sense. It lays it all out. Right in front of us. All is not as it seems. The women who feature on the show. You think you're different? Maybe you're not. Maybe you're just like them. Or you will be on the big day. If you get one.

Let's say you do marry. 10 years have passed. You're 40. Married with a significant other. House in the suburbs. No beautiful flat. No city location. Hot men? Forget it. They'll be out of bounds. The romance has worn off. That's if it ever existed. It's no longer "have a wonderful life together" you hear. It's "well that's marriage for you isn't it?" The kids. They were great for a bit. The novelty wore off soon enough.

Independence? Buried. Cremated. Annihilated. Obliterated. Incinerated. Up in smoke. You're struggling for a moment to yourself. There's no time. For anything. No sex. Not even porn. Maybe he attempts to spruce things up. The odd occasion. Inevitably in the 'marital' bed, aka, 'the marital pit'. Still. You’ve gained a few pounds. Struggle to feel attractive. Even to feel attracted. Confounded by your little one. Stupid o'clock every night. Crying. Running in. You yearn for a moment. One moment. Where you feel like 'you'.

So. Remember back to how you felt first moving into your own place? A place you called your very own. Your sanctuary. No one telling you what to do, how to live. All gone. 

Now ask yourself before the deed is done. Before it's too late. Was the loss of that truly worth the one day I got to act like a pumped-up princess? Where the horse and carriage's only direction was downhill from there? Think carefully. Maybe you'll think again.

So who are you?

The clever one? The one who will sip tea in tranquillity whilst your sister files for divorce? The same fun loving person you were before, minus the pressures and worries. The one who, quite frankly, couldn't care anymore. The one who thanks my guts.

Or the gullible one? Discussing husband difficulties with your sister? How he leaves his socks on the floor. Buys the kids sweets so they like him more. Pees on the toilet seat. Burps and farts indiscriminately. The one whose only ever chance of a fuck will be with a vibrator?

The choice is yours.

Written for Filament Magazine: "For women who like hot men and intelligent thought."

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