Ezy Reading: The Three-Headed Monster

Evan Kanarakis

Yet another of my close friends announced his engagement this past week, which brings the current total to about 3,293,582 friends now consumed by the three-headed Engagement-Wedding-Baby Monster. Growing up in Bathurst I had a few friends who were married and had kids early, as is often the case in country towns, and there were a few other exceptions here and there, but the real insanity took over when I turned about 27. From then and at pace over the past two years since, every other weekend seems to have been dominated with heading to one of the three-headed monster's many favourite hangouts, which roughly translates into either function centres, churches, more churches, or the occasional neatly-trimmed garden. Now don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm ungrateful to be invited to these joyos celebrations 'I especially love engagement and wedding celebrations for the beautiful sentiment, free alcohol and spectacle of paralytic bridesmaids that they so often provide' but sometimes it can get a tad overwhelming.

Take the whole guest list fiasco, for instance. The guest list is perhaps the most sordid, evil and depressing aspect of all these sorts of functions, and I'm consistently appalled by the amount of noise people seem to make about their 'slight' at not getting invited to a forthcoming wedding. Are they annoyed because they thought they were that much closer to the married couple-to-be? Or are they really annoyed just because they've missed out on all that free champagne and their daily ration of satay chicken skewers?

(As an aside, what ever happened to the pig'in'the'blanket on an hors d'oeuvre platter? It used to make regular appearances at cocktail parties in the 1970's and 1980's, but you're hard pressed to find them anywhere nowadays. I guess in the face of fancier things like mini quiches, a Thai fish cake or sushi, the humble pastried dogette's days were numbered, but someone really should look into this...)

Regardless, I think I've always been pretty understanding of the fact that especially where weddings are involved, the guest list is always a considerable challenge for the bride and groom. Though I've no idea what exactly constitutes someone as 'a lock' for inclusion on the big day, unless we're especially close friends, given the costs involved in putting on such a function, and the common demand for eighty obscure relatives to be included in proceedings, if you have to leave me off the guest list, I completely understand. If anything, should I ever get married, you've just made my own list two names easier to finalise, you ungrateful, treacherous bastards.

But forget about even getting to the wedding, how about the lead-up? With respect to my happily married pals, the year before a wedding is marked by- nothing more than a series of scams designed to milk as many presents as possible out of friends and family. There's the initial 'I just got engaged let's have a beer' session, the engagement party, then possibly a cellar tea party, a bridal shower, a hen's night, a bucks party (no presents given there, just apologies the next day...) and about a hundred free drinks and dinners in between. I'm telling you, for the gifts alone, this whole wedding thing is worth looking into. You need a new television? Some fine dinnerware? A freakin' whipper snipper? Forget buying the stuff, let me introduce you to your new best friend, the bridal registry.

As a gag, one of my friends from home added a request for a 1983 green Datsun (automatic transmission) onto his bridal registry. Someone actually bought him the car. Hell, twenty years on from the production line a second hand Datsun is probably going to cost a lot less than those lame Hummel figurines the happy couple would love you to buy them. Seriously, if I ever get married I'm having every possible gift opportunity function and then some. I might even throw in the odd 'New Playstation 2 Games' Tea Party or 'The Entire CD back'catalogue of Supertramp' Tea Party. A wine cellar I can fill up anytime, but the music of Supertramp, hey' it lives forever.

The whole baby thing can be another nightmare. A few years ago when a friend had his first child I came up with the idea that it might be nice to buy an oversized teddy bear to give in advance to any friends of mine who were expecting their first child. What started as a 'cute' gesture, however, has spiralled into madness. Thanks to my sex'crazed friends who can't stop bloody shagging, at last count I've now got eight teddy bears taking up space in my already tiny bedroom and awaiting delivery. At this rate, I'm either going to open up my own bear business and start stuffing the cute carcasses myself, or I'll down'size the whole gesture and, mindful of my humble writer's salary start offering one congratulatory stick of gum per baby. That, I can afford.

At the end of the day I guess all this rambling is kinda' pointless. It's near impossible to decapitate the three'headed monster, and eventually most of us will indeed fall prey as we get hit with the permanent love'bug and catch a nauseating case of -my-baby-is-ever-so-cute-itis'. Plus, my overbearing future wife will undoubtedly have me so under her thumb that any chance of me having that Playstation Tea Party will be shut down immediately by her standard sneer and a muttering about how 'I should have accepted that shoe salesman's offer to marry...' But forget about the threeheaded monster, all we can hope for is to never encounter 'The Ogre of Alimony' or 'The Resentful Teenage Minotaur.' But there's plenty of time for that later. For now, go buy that engagement or wedding present, order another teddy bear, enjoy the free food and drinks, and soak up the joy that is to be young and in love.

Drop by every Monday for another edition of Ezy Reading.