Issue #190 – “The Have-Knots: Part V” – July 11th, 2011

-It was way back in 2006 when I first discussed the conflict between those people who are married, engaged, or obsessed with one day tying the knot (“the Haves”), and those like me who consider weddings to be pagan rituals perpetuated by women and Williams-Sonoma (“the Have-Knots”). I’ve now written five columns on the topic and it continues to fascinate me. As yet another wedding season arrives, I can’t help but wonder what drives my otherwise rational, fun-loving friends to succumb to the pitfalls of marriage.

-My buddy Eric got married two weeks ago and decided not to have any groomsmen. Fair enough, I thought; to each his own. Then he asked a few of the guys to speak at his rehearsal dinner. Not a problem, we were happy to oblige. Then he asked us to show up ninety minutes before the ceremony to take pictures with the bride. Come on, dude! Why don’t we just call a groomsman a groomsman, give me a boutonniere, and end this fucking charade.

-Eric’s wedding RSVP card had only two choices to check: “Cannot attend” or “Delighted to attend.” Yeah, I probably could have used a third option.

-A few months ago, Time magazine ran an incredible profile about the artist Thornton Dial. He was born in a cornfield, raised by his great-grandmother, dropped out of school in third grade, and can’t read or write. As a hobby, he had been creating makeshift sculptures from scavenged debris, until the metalworking plant he worked for shut down. As a way to get all of his junk out of their house, his wife showed the sculptures to a local artist, and Dial’s career took off from there. And the whole time I was thinking…wait a minute, how the fuck did this dude get a wife?

-I went out to eat with a few friends recently and I asked one of the women – who I knew the least well – why her husband hadn’t joined us for dinner. She joked that she’d lost him in a card game. I didn’t quite get it, and the night continued. The next day my other friend told me that the woman’s marriage had recently gone kaput. I had absolutely no idea. Though I have to hand it to her: “I lost my husband in a card game” is a fantastic euphemism for divorce.

-As the oldest child, the pressure is on for me to get married. When I was in my twenties, if my parents called and heard a girl in the background, they would sigh, scoff at my womanizing, and ask me to call them back later. Now if they call and hear a girl in the background, they immediately light up and picture their future daughter-in-law. I should stop picking up the phone.

-Though I’m proud to be a Have-Knot and frequently mock the Haves whose weddings I am “delighted” to attend, I’m actually not entirely opposed to getting married one day myself. You see, though the concept of marriage does seem a bit antiquated to me, it’s actually the hullabaloo surrounding marriage I find most troubling. Like the fact that it’s a “goal” for some people, like a promotion at work. And the trend of wedding weekends morphing into a yearlong series of events. Or the idea of forcing your friends to schlep halfway around the world just to witness you tie the knot. It’s all a bit much. Especially for an institution in which 50% of the participants end up getting lost in a card game.

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

-Any online shopping site’s full return policy is completely moot because the odds of me repacking the box I just tore open with gusto and hauling it back to UPS are zero.

-When you ask for someone’s business card and they say, “Oh, I just ran out,” or “I’m waiting to get new ones,” that means they never had any business cards to begin with.

-One of my buddies is infamous for his inordinate patience with women. He once spent nine years – nine years! – pursuing a girl before he finally got her to go out with him. It was like the Shawshank Redemption of dating.

-Having an air mattress for visiting buddies to crash on is completely pointless. By the time we get home from the bar hammered to the gills there’s no way I’m gonna fire up the pump and blow that thing up. I’d return it but I bought it online.

-I was recently privy to one of the greatest Freudian slips of all time. I was watching TV at a girl’s place but the remote wasn’t working. I open it up and there’s no batteries inside. The girl says, “Oh, I must have taken the vibra—I mean the batteries out.”

-I was sitting around with a group of friends and the question of how often you should change your sheets came up. One girl – who is single – said she does it once or twice a week. One guy – who is married – said he does it every three or four months. There you have it, folks: concrete proof that married people are fucking disgusting.

-I was walking with a friend the other day and when we got to a busy street corner, he actually pressed the pedestrian crossing button with his finger. I shuddered. You gotta use your elbow or your sleeve for that! Can you imagine where that button has been? If I was a bum I’d be defiling those buttons like it was my job. Which it sorta would be.

-I was recently prevented from entering a bar because the bouncer deemed me too drunk. As a man who has been very drunk in his life, I can tell you that while I was in fact drunk, I was definitely not too drunk to enter the bar. The only problem is, the more you try to explain that to a bouncer, the drunker you appear. Basically, I was outwitted by a bouncer. So maybe I was too drunk.

-And, finally, one juvenile yet treasured tradition my high school buddies and I maintain is that when one of us gets married, during the reception we play “All the Small Things” by Blink-182 and mosh in the middle of the dance floor, sending the rest of the guests scurrying. We must be getting old, though, because at Eric’s wedding I had to stop mid-mosh, put my hands on my knees, and struggle mightily to catch my breath. “Dude,” one of my friends said to me later, “we thought you were gonna puke.” “Nah, man,” I replied, “I thought I was gonna die.” Fuck me.