Whose Life Is It, Anyway?

June 29, 1994|By JON KING

"Karen, I love you so much, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?''

The words rolled off my tongue as my eyes swelled with tears. After a brief moment of emotional silence she cried out a yes, but the word was smothered as she grabbed by arms and kissed me with joy. I had never felt so happy about our future.

That was then. Now we're thinking about divorce as we plan our wedding. Planning a wedding is like writing a research paper -- you're miserable until the deed is done!

Saying ''I do'' isn't as easy as it sounds. It's a process. A long, tedious, absolutely ridiculous process, involving you, your spouse-to-be and about 150 others who want to plan your life. This cast may include an aunt who once sent you a $10 check for your 16th birthday. Or a distant cousin whom you last saw at a family reunion. Mark these words: The enemies aren't the Russians, the North Koreans or the Iraqis. They're your family, and they're never going to leave you alone.

Everyone has his own idea of what is perfect. Rock-n-roll, for example. Karen and I like it, but few others in our families want it at the wedding. So we'll be dancing to Frank Sinatra tunes that evening. It doesn't matter what we like. It's what everyone else likes.

Let's say you want to get married at 3 p.m. on a Saturday in a hotel. Forget it. You'll end up getting married at 7 p.m. on a Sunday in a chapel. If you want a buffet dinner, it will be a sit-down dinner. If you want your dream wedding, it's time to throw that dream away. This is a marriage, and it doesn't involve happiness and love. It only involves debate and argument.

Try going out to a local store to register for wedding gifts. This sounds pleasant, but have no illusions. It's more boring then watching bowling on TV. I find no enjoyment in picking out towels and linens, or finding the right china and crystal. This is ''girl stuff,'' and quite annoying to go through. Who cares if my towels match my shower curtain? If they soak up water, they're fine with me. They could be puke-green with little duckies and bunnies on the fringes, and I wouldn't care a bit.

And why do we need to buy china at all? It's just an expensive version of what normal people call ''dishes.'' If food sits just as well on a $3 plate, why waste the money? The same is true with crystal. Water doesn't taste any different in a $60 glass than a beer mug. How about flatware, which is a euphemism for forks and knives? What makes one fork better than another fork? At Macy's, about $100 does. Registering for gifts is an excuse to waste other people's money.

So now I'm getting married to someone I fight with constantly. LTC Many people say, ''Everyone goes through this. It's perfectly normal to hate your spouse when you're getting married.''

The wedding process has become commercialized, industrialized, pasteurized and homogenized. It's no longer a simple deal where you buy a ring, kiss the bride and live happily ever after.

You're forced to deal with caterers, florists, bartenders, dressmakers, bands, coat-checkers, furniture renters and limousines. Wait, there's more: rehearsal dinners, hotels, parking attendants, string quartets, tuxedo rentals, invitations, airlines and all the Rolaids and Tylenol you'll need.

You'll no longer want to get married. You'll want to elope. The wedding process is hopelessly flawed, designed only to boost our economy and further the cause of pain and suffering.

My advice is simple. Find the guy or girl you love, and move as far away as possible. Don't waste your time planning a wedding. Just plan your escape! Your lives will be much happier, and you won't have to write ''thank you'' notes.

Jon King lives in Columbia. This article appeared in slightly different form in the University of Maryland Baltimore County newspaper, The Retriever.

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