Yeah mehn, Shaibu's wedding two Fridays ago was the bomb, I was there! Sorry…that isn't right.
What actually happened was; I went to Shaibu's bachelor party two Fridays ago, not the wedding -- but I did nurse intentions of going to his wedding the next day…yea, that's what happened. I saw the wedding photos on facebook.com, and that is
how i know it was awesome.
Let's start off this essay the night before, shall we?
Bachelor party – sometimes referred to as the gentleman's evening! Isn't that the one where the groom to be, has one final permission, in one night,
to play 'solo', and so all characteristics of the 'adolescent freedom of bachelorship' are crammed into a few nightly hours, in the company of his male friends? I'm talking booze (a lot of booze), gambling, hazing, severe clubbing, and, well, strippers – essentially, that peculiar rite of passage into a more, well, responsible life?
My expectations when I was going for this event were mixed; I was
both tickled by mild fear and nervous excitement. Shaibu's party was rather 'civil'; just a gathering of young men evoking (mostly with fulfilment)
memories from the past decade or so, at the bank of the next decade, at least. There was definitely enough 'pepper water' to go around, and enough carefully dug anecdotes to competently wet the groom to be with embarrassment, also a lot of fun
memories to sustain the realm of the sitting. The other 'disturbing' rituals characteristic of a bachelor party were 'left out', so my emotions when I was leaving were also mixed – on one hand I was excited at how successful the sitting went, but again, I was mildly disappointed that boundaries
weren't 'sufficiently' pushed.
How would you describe weddings?
What five words come to mind when someone mentions the word 'wedding'? What five words, in your opinion, describe weddings?
'Beautiful, heartfelt, faithfulness, old-fashioned yet in vogue, entertaining'.
These are Abena's choice in words when I posed this question to her (Abena is a childhood friend), and they are both unusual and interesting words. They're not your conventional wedding words, but I think they describe weddings just fine. I particularly like how she thinks weddings are so archaic and cliché and yet also fashionable. I also find it fascinating how she finds 'entertainment' in such a profound ceremony.
I asked Tuntum Broni too. She is a very nice person, but she's still a stranger at this point. She mentioned quite the obvious words, words which,
in many ways, are 'nearer' to the word 'wedding' than Abena's; husband, honeymoon, kids, church
What would be your five words? What feelings do weddings invoke?
Then I asked for five feelings the thought of 'weddings' invoke, first from Abena: 'mushy, warm and fuzzy, uncertain, tension, happiness'
Oh she's grown, she's thinking about marriage, but her teenage self pays surprise-visits occasionally, you can hear it in the words she uses in that
moment. I mean, 'mushy', warm and 'fuzzy'?
Seriously, are they even official dictionary words yet? I expected more 'philosophical' words…if you
catch my drift, but I understood what she was trying to say. You know, there's a place weddings take us; when, for brief moments, our hearts feel warm and are willing to accept and replace reality to Disney fairy-tales. That place which feels so beautiful, it makes you want to cry –so I understood what she meant…I just found her words a bit, well, uninspiring.
Of course I needed further clarification…so I asked her this:
'…happiness is the only 'all-out' bright word in the list. Why?' …because if you look at all the words critically you'll notice that happiness is the only 'durable' word there. All the other words feel temporary, fleeting. And this is what she gave as response:
'Mushy, warm and fuzzy aren't bright words? I don't know how other women feel…for me, initially it's all positive, and then I start thinking about my
turn. When it's going to be, if I'll make the right decision and so on. But later, I put it aside and celebrate with the newly-weds.'
I found her answer curiously personal. Either she leaked or I realised (more likely the second) her nervous anticipation of her own wedding. Perhaps too, she had helped me see a new truth. True happiness isn't found in the wedding, it's just traces that are visible. Real happiness should be found in the marriage (decades long), not in a few hours of merrymaking.
Tuntum Broni gave me just three words; love, fear and excitement. She tells me she is excited at the fulfilment of a teenage dream something I have come to notice, is the dream of many other young woman. She also tells me that weddings take her into a dream, not a fairytale, but a sort of territory. I also could smell a weird fear in her tone when she spoke about it. She tells me that it is common with many other women, and I believe her. What I don't understand though, is why someone would be scared of something which suggests so many good things.
What weddings represent
Marriage (the ceremony), doesn't enchant me very much, but before you conclude anything, that isn't
why I missed The Shai's wedding! Unfortunately, my alibi (equally) isn't the one which can (or should) easily be forgiven –I got so wasted the
night before, the wedding was over by the time I woke up, but my reason for not making the wedding was certainly not related to my 'love affair'
with weddings…whatever its worth.
Back to my point: I think weddings are just another occasion for vacant materialism by people who want to rub their good fortunes in the faces of
others, another avenue to pour their idiotic excitement or actualize a shallow teenage fantasy.
A large part of weddings don't make sense, to me; the ring, for instance. It was described somewhere as a 'consumerist piece of zinc which doesn't matter'. Look at the dressing, for instance. Sheer vanity! I went through many wedding photos while
researching for this essay. They all look so happy (the brides especially), and you'd think their smiles were love smiles, but actually, they are smiles in
excitement of their 'dream wedding'; how they've found the right shoes, perfect dress and ring and cake. I honestly didn't see anything beyond the blatant vanity.
I also looked for articles as part of preparation for my own article. Most of them talked about the perfect wedding and honeymoon locations and flowers and cakes and all of that. It was even a bit impressive, how beautifully the 'commodity of marriage' has been packaged. None
of them actually focused on the actual substance of weddings, and so I find a problem there.
Surely, there is more to weddings…there has to be. There's the symbol of union between two souls, there is the promise of happiness and unconditional love. There's also the expression of hope and faith. There's acknowledgement at the uncertainties of that journey, and yet the showing of courage and defiance at any obstacles or trials on the road (for
better for worse).
Marriage, the phenomenon
Marriage is a contract, usually between two people (a man and a woman) to be in each other's business for the rest of their lives, everybody knows that. But on a rather serious note, marriage is a
phenomenon of both hope and certainty –such a contrast! You are certain (there's usually something childish about it), in that moment, that it's the right thing to do, the only thing to do. But again, you have genuine hopes to make it to the
very last day of 'happily ever after'. If you're that certain, why do you still passionately harbor any hopes at all? After all, you are sure it will happen –
It is a matter of trust, unconditional trust. To be able to say to another person that it is them you want to be custodian of your emotions and hopes is something really serious. Before a person even considers that, it means they have found worth (of a deeper, almost abnormal level) in you. It is also an issue of profound responsibility to bear, almost something of a spiritual nature. And so there are vows, to seal this at all levels. I've got a question for you though; if trust has been established, why the need for a contract? But hey, that's just me and the way I feel about these things…
And now your reasons…
Back at the bachelor party that Friday, I thought Shaibu was a bit too relaxed and not sufficiently nervous for an event like this. In fact, he didn't look
even a bit nervous to me. So I asked the reason for his level mood. He shrugged. Then he said something so obvious, and yet so profoundly wise
(but then again, he's always been a wise man). He said that, even having kids with a woman shouldn't be compulsion to marry her. Being sure that she's the one you want to travel the journey with is…and I'm done.
Myers Hansen is a freelance reporter in Ghana. You can follow him on twitter: @myershansen
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