Hello, sweetheart, how you dey? (How are you?)It’s my cousin at the other end of this phone call
Hello, I’m fine o. comes my reply
What’s up with you? Work dey jare (Work is cool) How was your holiday? I hope you enjoyed it. And your studies? On and on goes our telephone conversation. She’s abroad for her postgraduate education.We catch up on family, friends, the weather and just when I think the call is coming to end, BAM!!! She hits me with the headline – I’m coming home in March for my wedding introduction. I’m so excited when she tells me; I keep gushing ‘I’m so happy for you’. I guess I say it like 20 times on the phone while laughing and twirling round my office. Indeed I’m truly happy.
I go to visit my friend and in the course of our gist I share my good news with her. Some minutes later, my friend, in all her innocence and because I was on her Blackberry chatting with my soon to-be married cousin on Y! Messenger and not letting her reply her BBM chats, says ‘Give me my phone. That’s your mate getting married, when will it be your turn?’ I paused in my tracks, burst out in laughter at her question since we are in the same boat and reply ‘you’re foolish, answer the question yourself’. We both end up laughing at her question and making fun of the situation but the question stayed with me; which brings me to my topic of discussion – how many times have we single ladies made our soon to be married siblings, cousins or friends feel guilt about their happiness?
I have heard stories of brides-to-be not totally enjoying the excitement of planning a wedding or having to endure the stress of planning it all by themselves because they perceive it to be a tortuous process for their single siblings or friends. I hear statements like ‘the God that gave Sade a husband will surely give me mine’ or‘Out of all my girlfriends, I’m the only one left’ and I wonder, is marriage a competition, a race or a winner takes all prize?
Ever since my cousin shared her joy with me, I have been on the phone, Skype and Internet discussing and looking at wedding gowns and bridesmaid’s dresses with her. Now I’m not a huge fan of wedding gowns, in fact I think that they are ridiculously expensive and stylishly silly for a garment that will be worn only once but do I kill my cousin’s happiness with my personal opinions? NO. I self my ideas and opinions and go‘wow’ on the pictures of dresses she sends me. I make suggestions on what kind of style will suit her body shape and size. Am I faking it? NO. Why? Easy, because I don’t see marriage as a race or competition, I don’t see it as her outshining me and more importantly because I love my cousin and sincerely wish her well. So what if she has a fiancee and I don’t have a ‘toaster’? In the words of my uncle ‘please tell me when marriage starts arresting late comers or when it starts refusing late comers into its institution’. Why then do ladies feel sorry for themselves when they get news of their girlfriends’ soon-to-be nuptials?
I find men’s reaction hilarious; they feel sorry for the groom-to-be and not them. They cheer him on to what they believe is his inevitable doom. I have heard the analogy that to a man, marriage is like shooting himself in both feet before handling the gun to the woman to shoot him in the head, Men, true or false? Ladies I digress, forgive me.
Why make someone who should be bursting at the seams with joy hold it back because you can’t deal with the fact that it isn’t you? Why not try to share her joy instead and live the experience through hers, I want to believe you’ll learn a thing or two that will be useful for you when you are planning your wedding?
‘Fehintola, you don’t get it. Some brides-to-be are made in hell. They are sweet and wonderful until he puts a ring on and instantly without warning WHAM!!! ‘Bridezilla Mode Activated’’ I can imagined this words forming in the minds of some people right now. You have been everything to your sibling, cousin or friend, only to be treated shabbily by her and/or her family. Brides-to-be who have rubbed in the fact that they are getting married before you or who act like they are better than you because you are still single (it feels even worse when you have no boyfriend or potentials). I understand your pain and frustration but please calm down and hear me out.
Please try to understand that this wedding isn’t about you and how you feel. It is about the bride-to-be and how she feels. This is hard to swallow because we think of ourselves more than we think of others but the moment you come to terms with this fact, your life becomes easier. Also, Hollywood has planted the idea of a fairy-tale wedding and couples riding or sailing into the sunset happily ever after into our mind which has placed undue pressure on brides-to-be to have a perfect wedding day. You therefore find a normal lady with all the right etiquettes become a ‘bridezilla’. Please do this exercise, close your eyes and imagine you were the bride, now think of all the things you have to do, people who would be attending, the finances/cost of the ceremony, your face and body, your gown, how perfect you want the day to be, etc. and tell me whether you feel the pressure mounting on you or not. It still doesn’t excuse her bad behaviour and her sometimes rude attitude but you put up with her because you 1. Love her 2. Remind yourself constantly that it isn’t about you and how you feel 3. Want someone to put up with your bridezilla when it is your turn. However, I hope brides-to-be don’t see this as a means to justify their excesses but to become sensitive to the people around them by not demanding from people more than they are willing to give.
I hope we all enjoy the beauty and joy that comes will wedding planning and the wedding itself, keeping in mind that our time too shall come.
photo credit: Dan Rappa/cosmogirlwedding.blogspot.com