I was wondering how I could incorporate Jack Black into this blog. Score!
Wedding planning is a riveting female-dominated sport if I ever saw one. But where the dudes be at? Why aren't men excited about wedding planning? Where are their wedding planning blogs?
It turns out that grooms do indeed have a voice in the wedding blogging community, albeit a soft whisper compared to us ladies. I found this out when the funny and fabulous Bret of All Things 'Zilla wrote a guest post over at One Cat Per Person (home to one of my favorite bloggerettes, Angie), about his participation in the wedding blog community. Bret also shares his desire for more equal representation from grooms in the blogosphere (like this thoughtful and hilarious one).
Of course, many men are heavily involved in the planning and do their share of heavy lifting throughout the process. (Hooray! Seriously.) But that's not without first hearing the rather overdone half-joke "All you have to do is show up" advice from his friends and relatives. Unfortunately, the "planning" done by the rest of the male population involves little more than visiting a venue, choosing the menu, trying on a tux, renting a limousine, and keeping a close eye on the budget. This leaves all the tedious research, logistical details, the gathering of 150 addresses onto a spreadsheet, the up-all-night-alone-finishing-centerpieces work to his partner. Boo. Lame I tell you.
How did this phenomenon begin? I refuse to blame it on the general disinterest that most men have in centerpieces-- that would be too easy. Throwing a fun party for your peeps and planning an incredible day with the love of your life aren't exactly gender-specific activities. And when a wedding is described in this manner, you'd think that men and women would be equally excited about the celebration, equally obsessed with making it kick some major butt, equally interested in making the whole sha-bang look aesthetically rad, and more or less equally turned off by the logistics and the amount of cash dropped in hosting it. But as you know, that's not what typically happens. So what's the dealio?
I stumbled upon a possible answer to this conundrum when browsing a few online groom resources. While I was happy to find that such resources do exist, I was totally turned off by what I was seeing on some of those sites: detailed articles on etiquette, how-to guides about preparing speeches, instructions on being an A+ groom...basically a long list of rules and expectations piled one on top of the other. Wow. Fun.
And in that instant I saw with fresh eyes the similar pressure that women experience from the wedding industry, except turned up a million notches. We are taught what to wear, how to act, what to want, what to purchase, how much to spend, and how to feel...and not just on a few obscure wedding websites like the groom-geared ones I found, but in countless bridal magazines, advertisements, and films as well. It becomes clear that the source of the bridezilla stereotype lies not in the X chromosome; rather, it is the result of stress in a woman's pursuit of wedding day perfection - a standard that is defined, enforced, and perpetuated by the a blend of the wedding industry's evil genius and our surrender to it.
It was at this point that I imagined a role reversal; what if men were the targeted victims of the wedding industry? What if women were the mere bystanders? And what if my now-hubby were feeling stressed and pressured by what the magazines and blogs were asking of him? What would I do if my guy were strung out and worried that his $8k tuxedo made his butt look big and that this, combined with the fact that the roses were the wrong shade of pink, would ruin the wedding photos?
Well. I'll tell you what I'd do. I'd rebel. I'd be all "What the eff are you reading those magazines and blogs for?". And then I'd joke about eloping in Vegas and having a romantic candlelight KFC dinner to follow. But if my dear Brian paid no mind to my plea for simplicity and sanity throughout our wedding planning, I just might pull away from the stress and the mess and let him micromanage his little heart away. I'd be content with handling just the fun stuff, like picking out my dress and attending the cake tasting appointment.
Now, this is not to say that the above response is the most supportive way of handling your partner's stress. I mean, why not get to the root of the issue (i.e.- unreasonable societal expectations and his sense of self-worth being wrapped up in these expectations), instead of teasing him and then withdrawing from the planning process? I'll tell you why not: because it's easier to joke about KFC in Vegas than it is to get to the root of things.
Then, of course, there's the idea that the wedding day is "for the bride" - that' it's "her day". Well. If I were a man who believed such nonsense, and I were marrying a woman who believed in such nonsense, would you blame me if I was uninvolved and unexcited about the planning? (Again, not the most loving response, but I'll leave that topic for another post.)
So. I don't know if I've really figured anything out here. My hypotheses are merely a shot in the dark until I can conduct my Brave Groom interviews in the upcoming weeks. (Woo-hoo! Are you not excited about this??)
Until then, how about bringing up this topic with your partner? After he spills his guts, consider sharing your findings with the blog, yes? Now off you go, my little detectives!
PS. My 69th post has the word testicular in it. Go figure.
Photo Credit (Click for more freaking hilarious Jack Black photos. You're welcome.)