Maybe this is a side effect of being a mostly stay at home mom, but I have become addicted to the Vows/Weddings section of the Sunday New York Times. It’s not that I consider myself a hopeless romantic anymore so much as a curious-about-possible-alternative-realities daydreamer.
The Vows section of The NY Times have a certain formula with few exceptions. There is always the basic gist of the couple- not unlike reading the obituaries- and that gist centers around what you do for a living and how you met. What you do and where you studied are the shell of your identity whereas how you met and why you believe you have found The One break into the very essence of who you are as a human.
Even the very tame words perfectly edited to receive the New York Times have their special vulnerabilities when it comes to describing the person you’ve chosen to spend your life with for all time. For example:
“‘Ms. Sellers had been on my mind since we first met,’ ” (and then he asked her out in so many words and she refused him and they dated other people at university) but then “they were back in each other’s orbit”. Eventually, the couple bonded over anatomy and biochemistry. How lovely is that?
Another couple write for NBC and study life ministry (again, the shell of their identities) and one of their mother’s is an auditor (the shell expands) but what’s really interesting is that they met at a dinner party in L.A. Shit, that’s all they have to say about that? Every single couple in the “Vows” section looks rich as hell. I mean, who else can afford, or even cares to afford a bit of space to brag about their impending doom in the most popular national paper of all time. But it has to be noted that the photos of couples that look the happiest, in a natural glowing this is really perfect sort of way, are usually the same couples that write up a little description of why exactly they have chosen this person and how they met them and fell in love in the first place. I mean, if you have found time to tell us your mother is an auditor, wouldn’t you want to find time to tell us just how you have met the love of your life?
Anyway, many couples meet at University, many couples like to talk about their mothers, and many couples are religious. I think, perhaps, if you follow a particular faith, especially Christianity, then you feel inclined to project your love into a periodical in order to seal it with the Lord. It is what he will be looking at while judging your worth at the Pearly Gates. That and just exactly what happened after the Wedding celebrations settled down and everyone began their happily ever after dramas behind closed doors.
On a personal note, I have yet to get a ring to replace the one I bought myself, or to see my husband replace the ring I bought him but he flushed down the toilet in a moment of rage. While I didn’t marry Mr. Darcy, but I refuse to believe that I married Mr. Wickham. If Charley ever buys a ring- any ring- I will forgive him for calling announcements like these in the paper empty self indulgence, and consider giving him another chance to be a real man, and by man I mean someone who doesn’t make excuses for their own clueless behavior. Some men go to great extremes and efforts to prove their love, and they do it with horses, and carriages, and flowers, and videotaped proposals. I don’t believe that these efforts are superficial calls for attention, because every couple is different and marriage is one of those epic life moments you want to mean something. And if “Vows” proclaimed for the world to see, from where you graduated, to what year you met in a bar in Saratoga Springs, makes your soul mate feel special, than all the more power to you and your cardiology practice.
If Vows just rubs you the wrong way, there is always “Unhitched”, the online story of marriage to divorce for everyone ready for the inevitable road to disillusionment.