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Life Arts    H4'ed 7/21/13

As My Daughter Remarries

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Message John Sanchez Jr.
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In a couple of weeks, my daughter will be embarking on her second marriage, her fiancà e's first, and it seems like a good time to count the blessings showered on men in these instances.

Women are the primary arbiters and planners of weddings, as I am sure that we all know. A woman's planning for such an event begins far before she is a woman. She begins as a little girl who finally has a doll that can serve as a surrogate for the bride. The plans laid at this point are elaborate, detailed, and influenced, by and large, by princess lore. These plans will continue to be adapted and refined to conform to changing fashion and maturing taste as the little girl approaches womanhood. As the young woman arrives at a marriageable age, but has not, as yet, entertained any proposals for marriage, she declares her independence of any need for marriage, and this first phase of planning comes to an end.

Then, after dating an array of unsuitable and barely suitable suitors, she discovers "the One", and depending on his ability to take a hint, be it subtle or blatant, he eventually comes to the idea that was skillfully planted by his bride-to-be, that he has "decided" to ask for her hand in marriage.

This event calls for a resurrection of the wedding plans of girlhood to be dusted off and modified to conform to what some (particularly those whose living depends on the wedding industry) like to call "reality". Planning gains a new imperative, with the princess lore being left by the wayside, and a new, more practical outlook gaining ascendancy as recommended by the vast array of wedding publications provided by those who hope to influence the necessary spending.

This is also the point at which the planning process becomes a collaborative effort, engaged in by the bride, her mother and her prospective mother-in-law. The input from the mother and the mother-in-law is influenced by flaws that were noted by them in the plans for their own weddings, and by their shared duty to rein in the bride's plans so that the budget can be paid off within a couple of generations of the nuptials. Of course, they understand that one way or another, they will be paying down the excess budgeting.

Which brings us to the roles played by the groom, the bride's father, and her prospective father-in-law. They need to observe the planning procedure carefully (that is, while the commercials are being broadcast) in order to discern the instructions intended for them, which will be, "I need for you to go get measured for a tux." If the men's roles are played correctly, they will be blessed with having this simple task as the entire scope of their work in this regard.

Of course, men recognize that any attempt to interfere with a process that has been evolving for as long as wedding plans have, without any real understanding of the process, is a dangerous initiative that could possibly result in the rending of the space/time continuum. However, in their effort to preserve the universe, they should leave nothing to chance. It is barely possible that a bride might hit on the idea of expanding the collaboration to include someone capable of doing the grunt work. There is only one way to ensure that such a thing will not happen.

Play dumb. Not dumb enough to make her commit you to remedial therapy, but certainly dumb enough that any of the official planners will dismiss the possibility of your ever being trusted to do anything right. If you pull it off, you may enjoy the blessings of wedding planning that are a man's birthright. That is, go get measured for a tux. Period.
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I am a lifelong resident of the Chicago suburbs, with a several year hiatus to serve in the Navy when my Vietnam era draft notice turned up. I had been told that guys with last names like mine were among the preferred cannon fodder in the Army, so (more...)
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