I went to a wedding on Saturday, and it was the first time I’ve been to someone’s second wedding after having previously attended their first wedding. It was an odd experience.
Normally when I go to weddings I feel really pleased that someone has found the person they want to spend their life with, and feel excited for them to be making such a big commitment. I know how nervous they’ll be feeling about the day going well, and I get a bit choked up when they say their vows and declare their love for one another.
None of that was absent from this wedding – I’m sure the happy couple were just as nervous and excited and meant what they were saying – but I couldn’t help thinking it all sounded a little bit hollow when I’d watched one of them make the same solemn vows before. It couldn’t have the same gravitas to hear them say they’d remain faithful and loving for the rest of their lives, even though they no doubt meant it wholeheartedly, when a little voice in my head kept muttering “Yeah but you said all this before, and then decided you’d had enough of them after four years”.
Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think people should stay together if they aren’t happy, and it’s perfectly possible to fall out of love with someone. But I don’t see how a second wedding can ever have the same impact as the first one.
I also had to keep biting my tongue when talking to the bride, because I don’t know her all that well, and my natural response when making conversation is to latch onto the experiences I’ve shared with them. And in context that meant her first wedding, and saying things like “You didn’t want a harpist this time then?” Which is sort of a fair comment, because it was true, but there was an unspoken rule that no one should mention that she’d been married before and everyone had to act like it had never happened. So I found that a bit stupid, and all the more so when she was still using the surname from her first marriage up until she signed the register.
The wedding itself was OK. A bit cramped at times, as they’d chosen a small venue, and rather too cold to be eating outside so everyone was shivering a bit (especially the girls in summer dresses) and then fled inside as soon as the meal was over. They had karaoke in the evening, which was a bit unusual maybe, and lots of people didn’t want to do it in front of so many other guests they didn’t know. Chris and I waded in anyway and gave them awesome renditions of Cher – If I Could Turn Back Time and then Billy Joel – Piano Man. We were clearly the best singers (in my head).
Then on Sunday we had lunch at Chris’ Mum’s house with his family, and unfortunately we both came away feeling quite annoyed. Neither of us really cares for his aunt and uncle, and nor do Chris’ brother and sister-in-law. So the four of us are generally a bit reticent to spend time with them. Chris’ Mum though has as thing about Everyone Getting Along and basically tricked us into lunch with them this weekend.
The four of us were sleeping at her house on Saturday night after the wedding (as it wasn’t far away), and she had said “Oh I’ll do some lunch for us on Sunday before you go back, shall I?” to which we’d all agreed, imagining it meant just us lot. At some point along the way, this transformed into lunch for 12 people, which she deliberately kept from us until we couldn’t get out of it. You just have to endure family lunches, of course, so the four of us had a whispered “she did that on purpose” conversation but knew we’d just have to deal with it.
The meal was alright, the same as ever really, but I got really annoyed and actually quite offended by his uncle this time. He made several gay jokes, including saying Chris’ new car was a ‘gaymobile’, that it should have a pink stripe down the side, and when we mentioned we’d been baking recently over dinner he said “Let me guess – FAIRY CAKES! laughlaughlaugh”
And it just wasn’t very funny. It made me very self conscious and quite uncomfortable, and I just thought fuck off, I don’t know you well enough for you to make jokes like that. It wasn’t his intention to offend, I’m sure of that – he thinks he’s showing he’s OK with it – but he did it too much, and I didn’t like my sexuality being his primary topic of humour for the day. There are certain words in particular I really don’t like being called – and queen and fairy are my top two. I could call him a bald retarded alcoholic with a trout for a wife, but I wouldn’t because it’s insensitive.
Chris’ Mum is flapping now because she knows we got pissed off, and her enforced socialising sort of backfired on her. So now she’s trying to repair the situation, even though she didn’t do anything wrong herself really, and telling us she’s sure he was only joking. Well fine, he no doubt was, but if anyone else came into her house and made offensive jokes at us, she’d probably get really cross with them herself.
So anyway, it was a bit annoying. On the upside, we can use it as a reason why we don’t want to have lunch with him again for a while, and she’ll probably lay off trying to force the issue.