Today I’m thrilled to introduce the brand new APW writing intern series for 2012, Planning: Journeys. I’m delighted for you guys to start to get to know the wonderful women who comprise our intern team this year. You’re going to love them, I’m sure of it. Our very first post is from Zen, who you’ll remember is a Chinese Malaysian lady, living in London. Today she’s writing her long held hatred of the concept of weddings and what being engaged has taught her. It’s damn good stuff. So, let’s give a huge welcome to Zen.
I used to hate the idea of weddings.
I didn’t hate weddings—not weddings as I knew them. To me a wedding meant a gigantic Chinese banquet in a hotel ballroom. You’d have to wait half an hour past the time on the wedding invitation before the food was served, but there would be compensations. The slide show before dinner showing pictures of the bride and groom at various stages of childhood, puberty, and adulthood, tracing their development before the separate tracks of their lives converged. The film of the ragging that would have taken place that morning, in which the bride’s friends and family would’ve set the groom embarrassing, hilarious challenges before he was allowed to claim his bride.
And of course, the eight-course meal, and the toasting of the bride and groom when they came round to each table. Even if you didn’t drink you could hold up your cup of tea and shout “yaaaaaaaaaaam SENG!” with everyone else, prolonging the vowels until you ran out of breath.
No, weddings were ok. It was the idea of weddings that I hated. In a Western-dominated world, it was the huge white dress. It was the rock on your finger that measured by the percentage of your fiance’s salary spent how much your love was worth. It was the bride being passed, a prized possession, from her father to her future husband. It was women hating each other, squabbling with each other, envying each other, all for the glamour and achievement symbolised by that one big day.
I was totally above all this. No mystique about the wedding day for me, no sirree. It was nothing more than a means of formalising a legal relationship you entered into to please your parents and placate the tax collector. The real relationship underlying it was all that was important. Weddings and marriage were only a social institution laid on top of that love, the way a layer of fondant (ew) is laid on top of delicious cake.
You could be married without getting married. In a lot of cases, e.g. if you were gay and lived in all except a small number of countries, you kind of had to!
“The wedding is for the family; the marriage is for the couple,” I said, with all the profound wisdom of inexperience.
Then I met someone, and we had the delicious cake of affection and comradeship, and earlier this year he asked me whether I’d like some fondant on it. I said I could go with that. Continue reading Zen: Confessions of an Ex-Weddingphobe