Thursday, February 27, 2014

Half (ass) Book Report 1: The Wife

The Meaning of Wife: A Provocative Look at Women and Marriage in the Twenty-first Century by Anne Kingston

By page 133 I am enlightened. When I started the wedding planning process over a year ago, the web introduced me to the A Practical Wedding book and blog and the courageous writers who reassured me that I wasn't crazy as I experienced first-hand wedding night freak-out, the reality of family relationships and their place in a real life wedding, the ugly truth about budgeting and the grown-up "gimmies" induced by a serious industry...and how sometimes life really gets in the way of expectations. 

What I didn't expect was regret. My lover and I had great discussions about what we wanted in the wedding, and what we didn't. But I found myself with a bad case of the what-ifs post-wedding. What if we had abstained from sex for a bit before the wedding...would we have had more explosive sexual chemistry during the honeymoon? What if I'd tried on my mother's wedding dress...just for that bride-in-white framed portrait for the wall? What if my husband and I had reserved a special slow song just for us...just to say we did?

Now for the record, sex with the now-husband was the only thing giving me the emotional reassurance that yes, this IS what I wanted in the crazy stressful week leading up to the wedding. The whole of the wedding was built around the idea of living a real wedding--our wedding--not just having pretty pictures of a knockoff picture-rific perfume advertisement featuring a bride and groom. And even though I regret not having danced with my husband (oh the horror!) at the actual wedding, the in-your-face of that is he isn't into dancing AT All and I hate being stared it didn't seem like an "us" thing while we were planning the party. 

Of all these regrets, those that loom the largest are the self-doubts. Maybe I cheated myself out of a whole experience by not having all the formula elements of a "classic" wedding, I mean- there was no white dress, no cake cutting, no first look, no slow dance, no "oh hey, it's YOU" first night/wedding night sex. 

Turns out, the Wedding Industrial Complex (WIC) doesn't stop at selling us the planning elements of a picture-perfect wedding; it sells us the doubts about the legitimacy of the experience entwined with mock-virginal and domesticated housewife modes of behavior. Anne Kingston lights it up. These doubts that I've been feeling? The questions friends/family have asked about how come I can't "make" my partner do as he's told on (fill in the blank)_____(gaming habits, doctor visits, diet, cleaning). He's a grown-ass man but as his wife, I am now assumed to both crack the whip and organize the household.

Thank you, Anne. Instead of doubting the legitimate adult decisions my partner and I made in planning our real-life wedding, and instead of feeling like some sort of failure in the wifedom department, I feel like I've pulled the veil from my eyes and I am a modern, married woman: empowered.

1 comment:

  1. A two person loving each other is the most important thing. A party is just part of the package.