October 2, 2007

Marital Bliss

I’m looking down the barrel of one of my least favorite social obligations. Yep, there is a wedding in my future, and I want nothing to do with it. The long and short of it is that I can imagine being married, but I can’t imagine being the star of one of those ridiculous dog and pony shows. Perhaps there is a bitter orphan spinster thing going on here.

Why not just send regrets and enjoy the weekend instead, you ask? Well, because my sister needs support and asked me to be her date. The blessed event is her ex-husband’s second wedding. They have a kid together, and they are a family, and raising said kid together, divorce and all. When they divorced it was a This really isn’t working so lets not teach our kid how to have a fucked up relationship with her mate. sort of thing, and not a I HATE YOU AND I HOPE YOU BURN YOU MISERABLE PIECE OF SHIT!! dissolution to the marriage. We all get along very well and it’s important to my niece that my sister is there and the sister wants me there to support her. As much as they are all amicable and well adjusted in their relationships, it can be a challenge to watch the person who promised to be with you all your days, turn and promise to be with someone else for all of their days. So I’m going to a fucking wedding this weekend. Because there is no length that I wouldn’t travel for my sister.

Last weekend, while my sister was teaching a yoga class, I met her ex-husband and his bride to pick up my niece for some quality time planting land mines in the tender young mind of the lass. That’s what spinster aunties do, it’s our job to present ideas that the parents might find uncomfortable or inconvenient. I also taught her to chant “More sugar, no nap!” when she was a toddler.

When I was picking up the niece, I told the happy couple that I don’t give wedding gifts (and certainly not on a second wedding!) and asked them what their favorite charitable organization is so that I could make a donation in their names as a wedding gift. They own a home, they both have new cars, they are having a big-ass wedding, their cup runneth over, certainly they would consider giving back on some level, no?

Nope.

They suggested that they are a good charity, and further suggesting that their charity would be a new couch for their house. Then I got the speech about how they’ve never really had extra money to give.

!!!

This from people who are some of the most politically liberal folks I know. Way to walk the walk! These people go on vacations. They have all the hippy-yuppy newest gadgets. A new and improved Mac computer hasn’t been released without one of them embracing an upgrade of their systems. And they’ve never had the means to give? Horseshit, I say. When I was in college and so sadly broke that occasionally I couldn’t find a quarter to buy a Little Debbie Fudge Brownie to get me through the day, I found ways to lend a hand on some level. And I’m a died in the wool misanthrope.

At first I was going to find a charity for single mothers and make a sizable donation in their names, but I’m taking the high road. I’ll let them research the vast array of charities at just give and choose one that they feel good about since it’s their special day. Perhaps the exercise will plant a landmine in their not-so-malleable minds that will turn a philanthropic switch within them. I doubt it, but a girl can hope.

20 comments:

Scout said...

Well, that's a wedding I wouldn't want to attend. I admire your sister's ability to be civil for the sake of her child--go ahead and build on that with your landmine from "just give."

Not having extra money to give indeed.

Fresh Hell said...

Scout~ My sister is a good gal. I'm glad she and her ex have a good relationship. Especially since I actually like him, but he's got a seriously overdeveloped capacity for self-indulgence.

dive said...

Get them a subscription to a charity. That way, you pay the first year as a wedding present and then they are forced by guilt to carry on.

And wear pink leather mariachi trousers to the wedding.
You know you want to.

Full said...

Get up during the speeches and announce your intention to donate on their behalf and ask them to choose from your selected charities on the spot.

The mean buggers should be too embarrassed to refuse.

You could always just bring a gift tag with your message on and tie it to an expensive looking gift from someone else.

Have a jolly, whizzy time.
Pink leather sounds like a good fashon statement.
You can be reasonably sure nobody else will be wearing the same thing.

Leigh said...

Everyone has such different priorities in life.

What an awesome sister you are not to mention what an incredible mother she must be to do that for her daughter, no matter how everything is great between your sister and her ex that would be a hard thing to do.

Fresh Hell said...

Dive and Full~ Much as I'd like to wear the pink leather mariachi trousers, I don't have much pink in my wardrobe. I'd much rather wear black mariachi trousers and a poncho with a hat that rides low on my brow. Whenever I moved about the room, I'd play a recording of the theme to The Good The Bad and The Ugly. All the while with a cigarillo tightly clenched in my teeth.

Mon Dieu!! I think I just found my Haloween costume!! *mental note: go to tack shop, pick up spurs, and a crop for good measure ... never know when a crop might come in handy*

Funny story: When I first met my sister's ex, I had just gotten a tattoo. (No, you can't see it.) He said to me, "You know, Fresh, guys always want to fuck a girl with a tattoo, but they never want to marry one."

"Thanks for your input." Said I.

Fast forward 18 years: He's marrying a girl with a tattoo. Heh! I'm considering recounting that story when time comes for speeches.

Leigh~ Thanks. No matter how civilized the relationship is, it's always a hard swallow when your ex is announcing to the world that they prefer the company of someone else to your company. The sista is a toughie, though so she'll be fine.

Anonymous said...

Good on ya girl! Bride + Groom = Self-Centered Cheapskates!! How's that for a mathematical equation?? (and I never was 2 good at math). And I like the other comment about pink leather mariachi pants at the wedding. If anyone could pull it off, it would be YOU!! Love you muchly my high spirited muchacha.
Mama C

Enrique said...

So many challenges: the gift and then attending the wedding. Why not buy them a plane ticket to a very exotic place like the Yukon, Belize, French Guyana or Iceland?
I don't envy you at all.
Enrique

AliBlahBlah said...

OMG! I can't believe it, but then yes, wait I can, having met most of the cast of characters. The moral high ground is all very well, but 17 margaritas and in impromptu speech at the wedding? Priceless.

Now why is my daughter busy shouting 'more sugar no nap?'

laughykate said...

'More sugar no nap.' I like it a lot. My neices have learnt, 'Daddy I want a pony,' and I can't wait to teach them how to dress like strippers. (Currently banned from that household). As for the wedding thing - no matter how 'okay' everyone claims to be about those type of things, at the end of the day it's alway going to feel strange. I am very amicably broken up with my boyfriend of eleven years and am delighted he is very happy with his new girlfriend, but I would rather have my tongue tied to the exhaust pipe of a car and be driven over broken glass than have to attend their wedding and pretend I felt okay about it.

dive said...

Hee hee. The tattoo story rules, Fresh.

Fresh Hell said...

Anonymous Mama~ High spirited indeed! I learnt from the best. Love you, Mama!

Enrique~ If I buy tickets to go to the Yukon or Icelend, you're darned skippy they will be for me. However, those kids have the sense of entitlement that would allow them to accept a lavish gift from someone they know couldn't afford it. Disgraceful.

Ali~ Your kid is an impressive and fast learner. She took away the 'more sugar' lesson after several martini soaked olives. It's a testimony to her good breeding. Look out though, now you know what she's capable of. You're screwed, my friend. Smart kids are nothing but trouble. Ask Mama C.

Laughy Kate~ Oooh! 'Daddy, I want a pony!!' I like it. A lot. I'm going to have to add that one to the arsenal.

The sister started coming a little unhinged last night about the wedding. She was having shoe, hair, and dress issues. I wanted to suggest to her that we just don't go, but I know better than to drop that idea at this stage in the game.

Dive~ It's all true. What a nimrod, eh?

Sassy Sundry said...

WHAT? That is just wrong on so many levels. First, I think it's possible to teach a child that divorced parents can get along without one ex having to go to another's wedding. I applaud you for supporting your sister, but I think there's something going on there.

Second, they expect you, the ex-sister-in-law to give them a real gift? Your gift, my dear, is to be there for your sister. And they really said that?

I strongly suggest getting rip-roaring drunk at the reception and give a speech about charity.

Andraste said...

I hate weddings. If I could have sent a proxy to my own, I would have - but the idea came too late, the dress would have needed extra alterations, and we ran out of time.

Now, about these selfish, materialistic twats - words fail. I would donate to a charity and put it in your niece's name. So they get NOTHING. Not even the credit.

Art said...

That is so sad. You're not the misanthrope in this story...

savannah said...

sugar, what ever you decide to do (and i know you know this) just remember your niece will be there and she'll remember everything you say (been there, done that) re the gift..you're your sister's DATE...no gift needed from YOU! yes, i checked with miss manners!

Andraste said...

Dude. it's Sunday night.

I can't WAIT for an update.

Just spent the afternoon at Waverly Oaks, drinking like an effing loon.

took 10 minutes to type this.

Thank Salma for 3-day weekends....

Urp.

Sassy Sundry said...

So...?

Manuel said...

Your sister is a bigger person than I could ever be....

Fresh Hell said...

Y'all~ Sometimes breakups aren't adversarial. This is one of those instances. It's not as much that she HAS to go to the wedding, it's more a case of wanting to be present for the expansion of her family. She, her ex, and the new wife are raising a child together. Being petty serves no one. Her ex, his family, and friends have been in our lives for 18 years. The bride has been in her daughter's life since she was 2 years old. In essence, they are already a family. It's just the over the top sincerity of the ceremony that I object to. That and not being somewhat charitable in such a hard cruel world.

Relationships and marriages are very coducive to compartmentalizing and categorizing into standardized roles. There is a lot of presupposition of what an ex is and should be. Likewise what the new wife should be and the relationship should be between first and subsequent wives, as well as the relationship between the exes should be. It's understandable since often times ugliness prevails in these relationships. But it should be just as understandable that people can change their minds about their level of commitment and still be amicable with one another. The changing of the minds is where I get persnickety about the principal of marriage in the first place. i.e. if you don't mean it, don't make the commitment.

Thus ends my blathering on about something I know nothing about. I have had very few relationships that have sustained past a few months and I've certianly never promised myself to someone forever. My intimacy and commitment issues know no bounds. Nevertheless, I do pay attention to what others do in their relationships, and it seems that no matter who is involved, each situation and dynamic is a unique entity.

And thanks, Art.