Monday, February 25, 2008

The Pains and Gains of Engagement

You know, a lot of the men I’ve talked to about getting married have complained about what a big pain it is to plan the damn thing, and how frustrating the fiancée can seem while she’s nagging at you about flowers and doilies and dresses and every other godforsaken thing women worry about when it comes to weddings.

I, however, have found the experience to be rather delightful.

Now don’t get me wrong; talking about flowers and dresses and doilies is about as droll as things get from my angle of this, but for every feminine headache there are all kinds of opportunities to keep the marrying man happy, too. For example…

The Bad: Spending hours upon hours inside of Bed Bath and Beyond registering for things like duvets, coordinating towels, and endless mountains of what women call “flatware,” otherwise known to males as “forks and spoons and knives, except with a lot of other crazy silverware pieces that we’ll never, ever use.” (Did you know there were separate forks for meat and salad? Why?!)

This also includes deciding what china (men—“plates and coffee cups, except with a lot of other crazy bowls and platters that we’ll never, ever use”) we should ask for, which seems ridiculous considering these plates—which I swear to God look just like regular plates—cost about $75 a piece. No kidding. Who spends $75 for a plate, let alone for a porcelain deviled eggs plate or something called a Pasta Dish?

The Good: Registering at In the first place, you get to do it on your laptop while sitting on your couch, which means you don’t have to get all tired from walking back and forth between “Towels” and “Bathroom” sections to see if the soap dispenser matches the hand towel.

It also means that you get to register for really awesome stuff like MP3 players, digital cameras, and wireless routers. It’s not all china and flatware, gentlemen. Go the online route and the rewards will be plenty.

The Bad: Visiting every reception hall in the city of Bloomington in order to fine the one that is both large enough and eloquent enough to house the Brigham after-party. Men could see one room for three minutes and think, “Yup, it’s big enough. Let’s book it.” Women, however, look at things like how large and clean the bathrooms are, how sweet the events coordinator is, and how much space the DJ has to operate. Amy and I love the venue we’ve booked for this, but the process takes forever and it’s a headache.

The Good: Meal Tastings. In a couple of months, Amy and I (along with the best man and maid of honor) will go to our carefully-chosen reception hall to taste about ten different main course options for our reception dinner. We’ll have our choice of steak, prime rib, different types of chicken and fish, and even some pasta. The whole day will be spent eating all the different meals. Nothing could keep me from attending this event.

The Bad: Giving the okay on every single decision the fiancée makes. Part of why women get so stressed about weddings is because the man doesn’t help with anything. Usually the guy just says, “I don’t care, honey. Whatever you want. Just take care of it and make any decisions you want without me. I truly, honestly, absolutely do not care.”

Women, however, don’t like the ball entirely in their court. They don’t want the man to make actual decisions by himself (trust me), but they do want to bounce the decisions they’ve already made off of you to make sure you agree that it’s a good idea. As a man, it’s very tempting just to go the “I don’t care” route, but the easier things are for the woman in the planning process, the easier life will be for the groom.

But paying actual attention to what she’s saying requires a lot of mental energy and a lot of patience. I’ve done okay so far (I think), but it can really be draining. I see now why women get so stressed out about these weddings!

The Good: Not having a naggy fiancée. Most grooms just want their ladies to plan the damn thing and they’ll show in the tux and say “I do.” Taking this route, however, creates a naggy woman. I am personally no fan of this. I’ve maintained living a perfectly happy existence with Amy throughout this whole process because I’ve taken the time to listen and help out when she’s needed it. It might seem like a lot of work sometimes, but trust me—it’s worth it in the long run.

The best thing about getting married, though, is the presents and the honeymoon. Registering is seriously one of the coolest things ever, and we are going to get SO much cool stuff (like the automatic hand soap dispenser), and then we’ll whisk away to Negril, Jamaica.

I know, right?

All the joking aside, this wedding planning thing has gone exceptionally smoothly, and Amy’s been probably the most awesome gal-pal in the world about getting things done without being a pain in the rear end. What can I say? The woman has a gift!

Hmm… Note to self—add “Non-Naggy Wife” to gift registry.

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