If you haven’t read Brigid’s blog from yesterday stop and do it now…I’ll wait. She always impresses me, but her ability to so easily showcase the most frustrating part of this whole experience is wonderful. I mean really, it is 2011.
It all started with our first meeting with a caterer. I set up the meeting, I sent her all the preliminary information, I asked 90% of the questions, and at the end of the meeting she turns and says, “So Brigid, have you picked out your colors yet?” My immediate thought was, “They’re my colors too, you ____.” It only got worse from there. As everyone expected answers from my lovely future bride, I got given bonus points for being “interested.” The culmination was the tuxedo shop. While I examined shawl lapels versus notch lapels, I heard the idiot behind me congratulate Brigid because I “had opinions about stuff.”
There are far too many sociological issues at play to fully examine here (thesis anyone?), but here are a couple initial thoughts. As we talked about this last night (don’t be jealous that you and your partner don’t have evening discussions about the socialization of gender roles) I confessed to feeling guilty about my rage at this. Because on the one hand, isn’t it sad that the white, straight, protestant, male feels a little disenfranchised by all of this? On the other hand, why is wedding planning the only place where the woman is expected to take the lead and the power? Again, these are really just tip of the iceberg questions.
Most importantly, why doesn’t everyone recognize that this is OUR wedding. We both have an equal stake in its success and the commitment it represents. Even our friends give me “extra credit” for being SO involved. The same way Brigid doesn’t want the pressure and judgement that comes with her “position”, I don’t want to be congratulated for simply doing my part. It really does show us how much farther we have to go towards any real equality. Again, the tip of the iceberg. I can’t even imagine how frustrating this might be for same-sex couples.
So, what’s the point? I think it is that we men have to do better. Grooms of the world, unite and participate fully. Quit using excuses like “she’s planned this since she was 6” or “I’m just no good at this stuff.” I’m not blaming you…maybe you didn’t have two sisters, a mom that taught you to make bows, and a dad who wasn’t afraid to hug. The point is that now it is up to you. If we all start demanding that caterers and florist everywhere consider our opinions too, who knows what might happen. What if the expectation was that we cared about more than the bachelor party and the band? We can do this.
This is obviously not just about weddings, but it seems to manifest itself here in an unusually intense way. Why are people still so shocked when traditional gender roles are bent? What can you do to help? I know what I’m going to do…I’m going to try and take some of the pressure off my sweetheart. I’m going to become Groomzilla!!!