Marriage is like having a ring in your nose?
Many years (okay, decades) ago, marriages and weddings used to scare me too. Scare and intimidate, and I was loud and vociferous about my objections to them to hide those fears. Every wedding I went to during my days as a young man, I would torment the groom as much as possible with stories of their impending slavery. My tag-line (which I should have made into a t-shirt and sold the rights to Vercie):
Being married is like having a ring in your nose that your wife can use to pull you around by.
There were usually some creative curse words embedded in the phrase, but you get the drift.
I actually enjoyed going to most weddings; the party atmosphere,† the happiness after the tension (other people’s tension, of course) and the teasing that can go on to help the tension are good experiences. I’ve been best man at three weddings (that I can remember). I did yeoman clean-up work after my brotherís post-wedding party, even gave a nice little toast where I refrained from trashing his new found marital status. I played cameraman, best man AND gave the bride away at my man Vercieís wedding (this was after I was married, but it still makes a nice story…and the video is priceless). I managed to keep up with the polish folk drinking whiskey at 9am on the day of Timís wedding (and I still remember the object lesson of scheduling too early of a flight home from Iowa so hungover that I white knuckled the takeoff, the ride and the landing).
But, no matter whose wedding, I teased them all, tortured them with the thought of me, free for all time of the chains of bondage that was marriage.
No ring in the nose for oleí Lar, no siree.
Until Audrey got me in her sites on the Rugby field. Most of you have already heard that story, or at least how I remember it.
I only asked her to marry me five times: four times when we had been drinking, and one time sober. The last time occurred while we were doing yard work at the house she was renting. We were both dirty, sweaty and disgusting…the picture of marital bliss. I proposed, she finally accepted.
And then I freaked.
I actually didn’t speak to her for several days, with her leaving me messages saying It’s okay, I know this scares you, I won’t hold you to it.
But I held myself to it. Why would I let her go?
When our wedding week came around, I was still nervous, but had enough sense of the irony of the event that I planned our joint bachelor and bachelorette party on April Fool’s Day. Many of my friends were certain that I was still joking, and came just to see the punchline. Some are still waiting.
But the following weekend, April the 8th, we gathered again. The punchline could have been that I had one of my Texaco drinking buddies, Bill who was an ordained minister, perform the ceremony. Audrey uses that factoid to this day, when she decides we are not really married because Bill wasn’t a minister and it wasn’t legal.
During the ceremony, I concentrated on staying vertical, staring at Bill, certain everyone could see the sweat rolling down my back. My bride was wearing her mother’s antique wedding dress, and my daughter-to-be Sara made a great flower girl/witness/interested party trying desperately to stay awake (which she did for the most part). With my brother at my side, I though I just might make it through the formalities to a shot of liquid courage afterwards (to mingle with the pre-festivity ones that were not doing their job).
When Bill pronounced us, my brother leaned into me and said Welcome to the club or something to that affect. I couldn’t focus my eyes, I was so glad the ceremony was over. When I finally did, I saw a thin gold ring in my brother’s nose.
A quick scan of the assembled friends and family showed me that EVERYBODY had a ring through their nose.
Again, sensing that I’d been had by a friend, I accused Kenny, my friend and Compaq colleague who was fond of practical jokes.
Dude, it wasn’t me, he said. I’d check out your blushing bride.
Stunned, I turned to Audrey. She flashed me one of those smiled that said many things, but mainly I love you, but you should never underestimate me.
Somehow, while I was sweating it out under the pressure of the day, she managed to sneak in a large amount of toy gold rings that could be easily spread apart and attached fashionably to ones nostrils. While I was doing some glad handing or other triviality, she was talking the entire gathered assembly, family and friends, into putting these things into their nose while I was frozen with fear.
We’ve been married twenty-one years. And she still has a bag of those rings around here somewhere.