Eric and I recently listened to the audiobook of Tina Fey’s Bossypants, and one of my favorite parts is when Fey describes the following scene:
Amy Poehler was new to SNL and we were all crowded into the seventeenth-floor writers’ room, waiting for the Wednesday read-through to start. There were always a lot of noisy “comedy bits” going on in that room. Amy was in the middle of some such nonsense with Seth Meyers across the table, and she did something vulgar as a joke. I can’t remember what it was exactly, except it was dirty and loud and “unladylike.”
Jimmy Fallon, who was arguably the star of the show at the time, turned to her and in a faux-squeamish voice said: “Stop that! It’s not cute! I don’t like it.”
Amy dropped what she was doing, went black in the eyes for a second, and wheeled around on him. “I don’t fucking care if you like it.” Jimmy was visibly startled. Amy went right back to enjoying her ridiculous bit…
With that exchange, a cosmic shift took place. Amy made it clear that she wasn’t there to be cute. She wasn’t there to play wives and girlfriends in the boys’ scenes. She was there to do what she wanted to do and she did not fucking care if you like it…
Maybe it’s because I was not a big fan of Jimmy Fallon on SNL, but I really appreciated the image of Amy Poehler putting him in his place. And over the coming weeks, that line stayed with me. I don’t fucking care if you like it.
While I do my best to not care what other people think, of course I want people to like me. The people who say you shouldn’t listen to others’ opinions are the same people who are quick to criticize the tone-deaf assholes who don’t care about others’ opinions, feelings, or feedback. I don’t want to be that tone-deaf asshole. And so yes, I care about what other people think of me. I don’t expect everyone to like me, but in this day and age, “Likes” are currency, and it would be foolish of me to disregard that. I think I can handle being unliked pretty well (blogging for eight years will have that effect on a girl), but I admit I take a lot of criticism to heart, mostly in instances when I don’t have a ton of experience or am not very confident. Because really, what do I know about it? If I’m unsure of my choice and someone comes along who feels strongly that what I am doing is wrong, I tend to believe them.
When you want to be liked, wedding planning can feel like one long quest for approval. A wedding is an event that is this weird mix of public and private (it’s for your community, but you need an invite to attend, and it’s typically held in a private space). Still, it’s public enough that people feel comfortable criticizing it openly. Even if you do your best to keep it off the internet, it will find its way online. The pictures and moments will sit there, on Facebook and Pinterest and Instagram, seemingly asking for the approval of friends and strangers. To not get that approval can feel like a huge rejection, and so we instinctively plan our weddings to be likable.
But recently, I was thinking about some wedding detail—my veil, I think—and I found myself channeling Amy Poehler and snarling at some imaginary naysayer in my head, “I don’t fucking care if you like it.” Then I went back to playing with my veil.
This strong and dismissive reaction sort of shocked me. Did I really not care if people liked my wedding? As someone who cares what other people think, that seemed pretty outrageous.
I thought about it some more and realized that yes, of course, there are plenty of things about our wedding I want people to like. I want them to be comfortable. I want them to like the food because I don’t want them to be hungry. I want them to have fun. I want things to be convenient and easy for them. And I would never want to hear a bride or groom say, “I don’t care if you like it,” in regards to, say, a friend’s protest about, say, buying a very expensive bridesmaid dress. But I also realized that once you’ve established a basic level of courtesy and decency, everything else is just… personal taste. The flowers you think are pretty. The colors you think look nice together. The stationery you picked out, mainly for its looks. It’s all completely subjective. And once you accept that, it’s not a very far leap to the idea that the only thing you need to consider when making a purely aesthetic decision is to ask yourself, “Does this make me feel all warm inside when I look at it?” Choosing things based on what you think others will like is hard; simply liking (or disliking) things is actually quite easy.
My dress? I know what I feel my best wearing, so I’m going to wear that. My hair? I know what I consider a good hair day for myself, so I’m really not interested in outside opinions. My engagement ring? You’re free to think it’s tacky, cheap, too big, or too small. I don’t fucking care if you like it because I fucking love it.
There’s no shortage of wedding snark in the world today, and it tends to get under my skin. But when people snark on the things I love, the things I’m doing for my wedding, it just rolls off my back. Because I don’t fucking care if they like it.