I OFTEN mistake the word ‘wedding’ for ‘funeral’.
I don’t mean to do it and it’s a troubling trait to have. What I mean is that I could easily say something along the lines of “the bride looked lovely, it was a gorgeous funeral” when what I really wanted to say was “it was a gorgeous wedding”.
Conversely, I never use the word in the opposite context. I’d never arrive home from a funeral and even remotely think of the word ‘wedding’.
This literal confusion is, I think, a Freudian slip because, if truth be told, it comes from my deep-seated fear of being married. Having reached middle age without ever even being engaged, let alone married, I’ve no intention of ever tripping up the aisle at this stage. It’s not for the want of opportunities either, because even though I’m currently single, I have had proposals in my day. (I turned them all down so, ergo, the relationships didn’t last.)
I don’t know where this fear comes from. It’s not like I was dropped on my head as a baby at a wedding. It’s not like some drunken uncle stomped on my foot while he was doing the Hokey Cokey on the dance floor at his daughter’s nuptials. As a teenager, I tried to enjoy my older sisters’ weddings for their sakes, but secretly I couldn’t understand what all the bloody fuss about hair, make-up, dresses and speeches were about. I balked at the thought of being centre stage in the show business of wedding days.
My mother, God bless ’er, couldn’t understand where this sentiment came from either. She looked like Ingrid Bergman in her own wedding photographs, standing beside my Da, radiating happiness and beauty.
But my fear of marriage, and weddings in particular, has grown bigger as I’ve grown older. So much so that when I was invited recently to my friend Deirdre’s wedding, I wound myself into a knot over it.
Don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled for Deirdre and her fiancé. They were, as they say, made for each other. She was ying to his yang. He was the Bogey to her Bacall. She was the chicken to his bacon salad (you get the picture, I’m not good at describing romance).
Yes, I was delighted for the pair, but as the day approached I got more and more nervous about it. My biggest stumbling block was that I’d never been to a wedding on my own before. I was attending with three couples, all of whom I knew really well. I was nervous that their ‘coupleness’ would emphasise my own lack of a partner.
“Get the f**k over yourself,” my sister told me when I confessed how I felt. “Look, it’s simple. Go to the wedding, get p***ed, dance, laugh, have a good time and, you never know, you might even meet someone nice.”
I then fixated on my clothes and what I would wear. My other sister handed me a dress and said, “shut the f**k up and wear this. It’ll look lovely on ya”.
Then I turned to make-up and hair as sources for anxiety. Not one for usually wearing make-up, I knew that I’d have to have a face full of slap for such a big occasion as a wedding.
“I’ve booked you in with Jacqueline, my beautician, at 11am on the morning of the wedding,” my third sister said. “She’s a doll and a genius. She’ll even make you look good.”
And so it was, thanks to my three (not ugly step) sisters, that I did indeed make it to the church.
And guess what? I loved it! The newly-married couple smiled like loons, while we cried at their speeches. We all ate too much and drank even more. But we danced our socks off and laughed and laughed and had fun.
I absolutely loved it. Now, I’ve just heard that my nephew is getting hitched in November. I’ve got eight months to prepare myself …