Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Wedding Apology from the Man

Charley's Treasures
by Charley Norton

Along time ago when I was a young man living very far from home, an older couple that lived in the apartment next door decided to take it upon themselves to look after me. It started as a dinner invitation, but eventually it got to the point where I would get scolded if I was late. I ate there pretty much every day. Marge ( my neighbors wife) was a good cook and made me lots of different tasty foods. But at almost every meal I could count on one thing to always be on my plate and that was cauliflower. Now I don’t know if she had read somewhere that southern people loved cauliflower or if she and her husband loved it but the fact was, I couldn’t stand it. But being raised right and taught to clean my plate, I would choke it down. The first few times were the most difficult but eventually I learned that if I mixed it with the potatoes and doused it with brown sauce, it was tolerable. But I never got used to it or found the taste any less than repulsive. Put simply, there are things that a body and mind just don’t like, but can tolerate if it has to. And that leads me to the male species and weddings.

Now I’m sure there are those out there somewhere that may be the exception but for most men, there is almost no part of a wedding and the events that lead up to one that they will enjoy any more than I did Marge’s cauliflower. And for this majority, I would like to apologize to all the brides to be. I apologize for the many times you will hear him say “Whatever you think” and the empty and uncaring comments made to end an issue to which the subject escapes him because he was so bored that only his body was present at the time when it was discussed. Keep in mind that when he is helping you pick a dress or make wedding invitations, he is eating Marge’s cauliflower and is looking for the potatoes and brown sauce by drifting away in his thoughts. Please appreciate that it is his undying love for you that motivates him and understand his moments of weakness. He loves you with all his heart so please remember that when he threatens to burn down the next store you want to go register in, it’s the cauliflower talking, not him. I know that it is hard for the bride to understand why her man isn’t excited about the details of the wedding, but there may be a way for them to get an idea.

I think some empathy can be found by the brides if there was a trade of tasks. Like when a bride has her groom help her pick out the wedding cake. The next day, the groom should have his bride help him gut a deer or go hunting with him at 4 am in 12 degree weather. Maybe she could spend a day with him at a gun show or stay at home and watch a Mythbusters marathon. The point is that what’s fun for one can be downright awful for the other. But that’s what true love is all about. It’s doing awful things for the one you love because (trust me on this) they are going to do a lot of awful things for you. Mom used to tell me, “Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to”. Such a wise woman she is to say so much in so few words.

As for myself, I was fortunate. When Kim and I decided to get married, we called the preacher, met him at the church, got married (with the cleaning woman as a witness) and went home. I called her dad just before her curfew and told him I wasn’t bringing his daughter home. I think he was the second happiest man on Earth that night. His daughter was married and it didn’t cost him a dime (just kidding Billy)! I admit that I do sometimes feel a little guilty that I didn’t have to earn my bride by the emasculating ordeal which is often a wedding.

But you know, it really doesn’t help matters when the man is called the “groom”. I looked it up and other than the guy that cares for horses, there isn’t anything manly about the word. Most definitions of groom have something to do with being a servant, EEEEK! Most manly men won’t be too cool with that! So I thought it would soften the blow if we called the groom something else. I think I would handle it better myself it she was called the bride and I “The Man”, and maybe reverse the order so it would be “The Man and Bride”. I like that better. That way when he is dragged in to look at wedding pictures, the photographer will ask him “Are you the Man?”, he can say “Yes, I am the man”. And when the bride insists he go to one of those wedding showers, a nerve raking torturous event, at least when he enters all the ladies there will say, “Oh look, she brought the man”. And he could respond proudly “Yes, I am the man”. It would be a constant reminder to him, even when there is no testosterone left, that he is and always will be, the man.

So when the fateful day arrives, and the future husband stands there at the altar with his loyal friends at his side, being gazed upon by an anxious crowd. They will all know that there before them stands The Man and his Manly Men and all is good. He knows as he watches his future wife doing the step and stop, bride hop down the aisle drawing ever so near, that he can look forward to a life of steak and potatoes, with a little cauliflower on the side.

Charley Norton is co-owner of Norton’s Flooring, a company started by his mother and father in 1976. Norton’s Flooring products are in countless homes on Lake Wedowee.


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