Issue #94 – “The Have-Knots” – August 7th, 2006

-I’m flying back East this week because two people I’ve known since childhood – my old roommate Brian and my doctor friend Christina – are getting married only five days apart.  The only way it could be more convenient for me is if they were marrying each other.  (I pitched that idea, but it got shot down for some reason.)  The only other wedding I’ve been to in my adult life was two years ago, so with two weddings this month and my Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends of 2007 already booked up, this marks the official beginning of the Holy-Shit-Everyone-I-Know-Is-Getting-Married phase of my life.  Clearly, I’m not emotionally prepared for this, as every time someone under thirty introduces me to their “husband” or “wife,” I do a double-take and ask if I heard them correctly.  As I navigate through the thicket that is my friends’ impending nuptials, I can clearly see a line being drawn in the sand.  There are twentysomethings who are looking to get married, are about to get married, or are already married.  And then there are those in no rush at all, who rock ill-fitting rented tuxes and try to bang bridesmaids.  In other words, those who have the desire to tie the knot (“the Haves”), and those who think they might have swallowed a cufflink with that last shot of open bar Jack.  You can call us “the Have-Knots.”

-To me, a wedding registry is merely an opportunity to say, “I like you guys this many napkins rings much.”

-In reality, when shopping from a registry, I almost always buy alcohol-related items (or “barware” as those fancy fucks at Williams-Sonoma call it).  The way I figure it, that’s the only way I’ll be able to partake in my friends’ usage of the gift.  Of course, I’ve never actually drunk anything from a flute or carafe.  But I figure as long as there’s an opening at one end, the beer will know where to go.

-At Brian’s ceremony, the groomsmen will outnumber the bridesmaids by about three to one.  The strangest part is that, since there are not enough chicks to go around, as Best Man I have to walk down the aisle by myself like a lost drum major in a marching band.

-It amuses me that, when planning a wedding, the bride and groom pay so much attention to details that no one else even notices.  Christina’s wedding is on Block Island, which is an island in between Rhode Island and Long Island, just off the coast of Bumblefuck.  Last week, she called to ask me what ferry I’d be taking to get there.  “Ferry?” I asked, “What ferry?”  “The ferry to the island!” she exclaimed, “You know, it was on page four of the Save the Date booklet we painstakingly crafted for your benefit?”  “Ohhhh,” I said, “That thing.  Yeah, I was using it as coaster.”

-In the end, I believe that marriage is the great equalizer of twentysomething life.  There’s nothing I enjoy more than watching a chick wait desperately for her boyfriend to get off his ass and propose already.  You have to understand, ladies, our entire lives since puberty have been predicated on waiting for you.  We’re always ready to hook up, but we don’t get blown or fucked until one of you decides the time is right.  But by tradition, the man alone decides when to propose.  This is the first and only time we hold all the cards.  So if your boyfriend has been beating around the bush about dropping the knee, don’t misinterpret it as cold feet.  It just takes a while to absolve fifteen years of sexual frustration.  Payback’s a bitch, ain’t it?

-As always, here are some random things I’ve been ruminating about lately…

-At least four girls I’m friendly with have gotten divorced, separated, or un-engaged this year – and most are understandably upset.  But the way I think about it, at twenty-seven, I can’t even fathom making a commitment of that magnitude in the first place.  So if you’re my age and have already broken such a commitment, well, that pretty much makes you like the coolest person I know.

-During my five-year college reunion in May, I wandered into the tent for those who graduated in the ‘80s and noticed an unusual amount of pretty gourmet chicks – which was surprising because that’s not exactly Penn’s forte.  Then I realized none of the nametags that the really hot women were wearing listed a Penn graduation year – these were actually the alumni’s wives.  Apparently, the Latin on my diploma reads “Bachelor of Science in Economics with a minor in Marrying Well.”

-My college girlfriend recently got engaged to my fraternity brother, who she dated immediately after me.  Like I always say, if you’re gonna lose in the playoffs, might as well be to the team that wins the championship.

-You guys are not going to believe this, but I swear it’s true.  My buddy Triplet #1 is dating… another triplet!  All six of them are fraternal, so unfortunately there’s little chance of someone accidentally getting slipped the wrong sausage.  But just imagine what that wedding party might be like some day.  Best Men and Maids of Honor will be tagging in and out of the ceremony like some sort of black tie WrestleMania.

-If you want to make an argument for the beauty of marriage, take my parents, married 32 years this fall and still going strong.  When I moved to a new apartment earlier this summer, my parents came out to help and I was able to observe them closely as we spent four straight days running errands while I futilely attempted to get them to pay for stuff.  What I noticed was that, after all these years, my parents are still looking out for each other.  My dad made a point to make sure that the air conditioning was strong enough to allow my overheated mom to sleep comfortably.  And my mom would suggest we take a break to eat because she knows just when my dad is about to get hungry.  After a while, though, I realized these were not entirely selfless acts of adoration, but rather long-ingrained defense mechanisms.  My dad wants my mom to be comfortable so that he can sleep without her tossing and turning.  And my mom wants my dad to eat so that he won’t get cranky and start aggravating her.  So in essence, I believe the key to a happy marriage is identifying, isolating, and mitigating what your spouse does to annoy you.  Well, that and uniting in the refusal to pay your son’s outrageous Bed Bath & Beyond bill.

-And, finally, in the time it took me to write this column and have my sister edit it for me, two more of my fraternity brothers proposed and I attended the engagement party of a third.  This shit is honestly getting ridiculous.  I need to take a break from the madness so in a few weeks my friend Marcia is flying out to LA and we’re gonna drive down to San Diego to party it up for Labor Day weekend.  Here’s the twist: she’s happily engaged.  To be clear, Marcia and I have never and – now that she’s engaged – will never, hook up.  (I’m proud to say she was my senior prom date but must admit I couldn’t close the deal.)  I have to confess, though, I do feel kind of strange about spending an entire drunken weekend with her.  I’m not sure if Haves and Have-Knots are supposed to commingle like that.  But let’s face it, her fiance doesn’t have anything to worry about.  This time around, I didn’t even qualify for the playoffs.  Fuck me.