Living in Honduras or Guatemala as a foreigner is sometimes hard, mostly fun and never boring. This Blog is about more than just the oddities of my years in the not-so tranquil, cobble-stoned town of Copán Ruinas and, more recently, Antigua Guatemala. Hence Serendipity, the gift of finding without seeking…

Monday, April 15, 2013

Why I hate weddings



Oh, that dreadful moment when someone knocks on your door and stands there with the biggest smile, handing you an envelop with on it your misspelled name in golden letters…
“You’re coming, right?”
I sigh inwardly, grind my teeth and force a smile.
“I’ll try.”


I hate weddings. I’m not a big fan of formal parties anyway, but weddings, Honduran weddings in particular, are not my thing. But since it appears to be socially desirable to have at least one gringo or gringa at the event, I get, to my regret, my share of invitations.


I’ve nothing against two people in love vowing eternal fidelity (and I’m not even going into the Honduran (male) interpretation of the word “eternal” or “fidelity”), it’s just that I find attending weddings a waste of time, energy and money.


For starters, there’s the wedding present. I gave up long ago trying to buy something that I think is beautiful or useful, because tastes differ. Tremendously. My most successful presents were those that I found most horrendous, so now I go to the store and pick the most hideous and expensive thing I can find, the more frills the better. If I manage to avoid attending the event, I buy an even more expensive gift, to ease my guilt and to stay on good terms with the happy couple. That’s socially acceptable and I suspect in some cases even desirable.


The second torture is what to wear. Oblivious to the latest fashion in town, I find it hard enough to find something in my wardrobe that has no paint splatters on it or that looks remotely feminine and elegant. I always end up feeling underdressed and slightly uncomfortable, especially when wearing heals instead of my beloved All Stars.

Then there’s the event itself. Incapable by my Dutch origins to arrive late, I spend sometimes hours by myself at the “random table” (the one for people that don’t fit in any category) politely smiling at the guests that arrive long after the hour mentioned in the invitation. Those hours would be more endurable if there would be a big bottle of some kind of hard liquor in front of me, but usually there’s only a homemade table decoration to look at.


When the ceremony finally starts, I’m usually so zoomed out already, it’s hard to concentrated on the wedding vows. When lucky, there’s a civil ceremony only, but more likely there’s a priest with a sermon, followed by a religious pledging too. I find it baffling how people can actually sign two different documents that contain completely contradictory pledges: during one of the last weddings I attended, the couple was first married legally, promising fidelity and such, as well as respecting the equal rights between man and woman. Not ten minutes later they signed the religious document, the woman promising to be subordinate to her man. Personally I think that irregularity should be reason to nullify both wedding certificates, but no one else seemed to notice, much less care.


Weddings with a mass before the actual wedding ceremony are even more of an agony to me. Last year I was invited to a wedding of a very dear friend, mass included, so I tried, even though I’m not much of a church going person. I found a seat in the very back of the church which was a good thing because twice I had to walk out and take a very deep breath. The first time was when the priest said that the only union between man and woman that has any value was matrimony for the Catholic Church (I already knew that, it wasn’t my first catholic wedding), that the only purpose of matrimony is reproduction and that he was aghast when he met a man the other day who happened to have more dogs than children!!! (I happen to have more dogs than children.)

The second time I sneaked out (and actually went to the bar to have a quick drink) was when the priest compared Honduras with Japan: Both countries are similar in size, but the difference is that Japan is much more developed and has a much bigger population. Hence, the solution to become a more developed country is to REPRODUCE! Not only did I utterly disagree with his reasoning, it was totally out of place during a wedding ceremony.


Back to the wedding reception, the moment of relief when food is finally served. Traditionally a huge chunk of chicken with (because of the special occasion) an abundance of starch: spaghetti, bread, potato salad and, of course, tortillas. And when it’s time for dessert, the event is suddenly over… A lot of guests don’t even stay to eat their dessert, but take it home, covered with a paper napkin. No lingering, no guests getting drunk, no dancing or flirting between bridesmaids and best men. Instead, kids start running around grabbing the decorations of the table, pulling down balloons and anything else that can be taken away. Without exception, the beautifully decorated wedding location looks like a battlefield twenty minutes after dessert is served.


Mission
accomplished.

Time to go to bar…




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