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What Price, Happiness?

A yellow gold engagement ring set with a diamo...

"I'm very £%*#ing happy for you"

“I’m so happy for you!” and I was. I meant it, truly I did. My friend had announced some fantastic news and as this made her happy, it also gave my innards a rosy glow. This rosy glow then turned to a slightly pale glimmer and then faded all together, leaving in its place a feeling of mild dread and resentment. My good pal had just got engaged and suddenly I’m cursing her fiancée for finally popping The Question.

I’m not the jealous type and harbour no secret lustings for her soon-to-be ball and chain so why the sudden change of heart regarding my chum’s fabulous good fortune? I’ll tell you why. Being happy for people is very, very expensive.

It happens to us all. We hit a certain age and suddenly engagement rings start flying off the shelves and landing squarely on the digits of our nearest and dearest. What this means is that we have to join them in celebrating their fortuitous union.

“Great”, you may think. “I love a good party and an engagement is a tip top excuse to get all jazzed up in my hottest outfit and neck a few cheeky beverages. I’m SOOOO happy for my fabulous friend”. Fun is had by all.

You’ve selected a tasteful engagement present (tasteful translates into “expensive but they’re worth it and I don’t want to look like a scab”), paid for your share of the meal at the latest Michelin starred restaurant and popped Champagne corks in some uber-trendy nightclub. You’re really very happy for your beloved friend and your work here as happy reveller is done, right? Wrong. Now you get the invite to the stag/hen party.

Stags and hens have obviously decided that they need to wheedle out the weak and disloyal from their band of followers. Perhaps they have decided that there won’t be enough room for two sets of friends now that ‘I’ and ‘Me’ are becoming ‘We’. They need to know that you’re in it for the long haul – literally. No longer are a couple of bottles of vino at the local boozer acceptable, no, you are cordially invited to shell out your entire savings on a long weekend to Italy/Las Vegas/the Moon!

Not so bad, I hear you say. You can stretch to a long weekend somewhere hot, you just won’t have a holiday of your own this year and it is all to celebrate the happiness of someone very dear. This will of course require you to buy another hot new outfit as everyone has seen the one you already own. And a new swimming costume. And a plane ticket, a hotel, oh and someone’s had the great idea of the whole group clubbing together to get another tasteful gift and that someone also had the great idea of organising “fun” wedding related games for you all to play and can you please contribute towards that and to the kitty for the over-priced cocktails in the numerous karaoke bars you’ll be dragged round. And for a stripper.

Still happy for your friend. Just.

The wedding. At last, the big day is here and you get to enjoy a free dinner and everyone’s favourite part of the nuptials, the free bar!!!! 

Oh, hang on. First you need ANOTHER new outfit and this time you have to make sure it’s cerise and lime green, even though you never wear cerise or lime green and aren’t likely to wear it ever again but your so called friend and her partner in bliss related crime have insisted on a theme. God only knows what theme requires you to dress like a bad acid trip. 

You need to buy yet another tasteful gift. Your blushing bride-to-be and her delightfully refined hubby have helpfully registered a list of gifts that looks suspiciously like something Michael Jackson or Elizabeth Taylor would have written to Santa. Well, it is her big day and you still kind of like her and she’s only going to do it once, right? Please, dear god, say she’s only doing it once!

What’s this? The wedding is being held at a castle in Scotland? How fabulous, how grand, how… the hell are you supposed to stay over night? It’s ok, there’s a hotel nearby that has availability and it’s only the same price as a month’s rent for the one night.

“Happy for you” is getting hard to say through teeth so gritted that the enamel is audibly cracking.

The ceremony was beautiful and you were even moved enough to squeeze out a solitary tear as the nauseating selfish witch friend said her vows (for richer, for poorer, indeed!) and now you can all head to the free bar for a good old fashioned knees-up. Except the couple-who-are-being-deleted-from-your-address-book have decided to save some money (the cheek) and it’s a cash bar and curly sandwiches!

The dust has settled, the besotted couple went on their honeymoon which, thankfully, they didn’t ask you to share with them and all seems to be getting back to normal. You stay home at nights for the next few months trying desperately to work out ways of describing a cerise and lime green outfit on eBay so that some chump will take it off your hands (“Carmen Miranda‘s granny’s nightdress” probably isn’t going to shift it), and stuffing your 37 page credit card bill down your knickers in a bid to keep warm since your heating has been cut off, but thank goodness this whole expensive business of being happy for your “friend” is over. You’re just about ready to start speaking to her again when the postman arrives.

Oh joy, more expensive bloody happy news. The honeymoon obviously went well, you’re invited to a baby shower!

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About prettyfeetpoptoe

I live in London and have both my own legs so I am fortunate enough to get out and about on occasion. I form many views on the things that I see and do and love nothing better than a session of linguistic gymnastics in order to share these views.

50 responses »

  1. Gos Single for ever

    Bloody brilliant! Saying that… I will stay single…and I think I will invite all my married friends to celebrate this with me…

    Reply
  2. That was epic!! Don’t worry I shan’t be marrying in a castle, most likely a tent in the back garden. Dress code, hillbilly. No hunter wellies allowed!!

    Reply
  3. Fantastic piece (as usual). Just hope you’re not asked to be the Godmother after the baby shower!

    Reply
  4. Ughhh…. That’s no fun. Just wait a year or so though. The ball will soon be back in your court and you can send that happy couple updates regarding your rampages of wanton independence. Nothing makes a newly married couple more quietly upset than the exuberant displays of their single friends. Maybe that will put a dent into all the anguish they put you through. 🙂

    Reply
  5. Weddings (just like Valentine’s Day and the Easter Bunny) are products of a capitalist consumptionist society designed to pressure you into spending more and more, make you think you want and do things no one in the right mind would do. Good to know that there is at least one girl who isn’t bamboozled into thinking that weddings are the greatest thing since sliced bread.

    Reply
  6. AMEN, I say to you. I have been maid of honor in no fewer than six weddings, which also means organizing/throwing the bridal shower. I have thrown several baby showers as well. All of these, by the way, were surprise parties. Bought every damned dress and accompanying shoes and jewelry where required (including two that were the exact same shade of lavender from the same store for weddings one month apart, for which I was not allowed to wear the same shoes). Meanwhile, I have bought all my own kitchen supplies/utensils/gizmos/appliances, every frame and wall hanging and piece of furniture, for myself on my own, thankyouverymuch. My aunt (only ten years older than me) and I have decided: we’re going to register for being single and childless, and doing everything on our own!

    Reply
    • Wow, you really have had your capacity to be happy for your friends tested to the max. I hope you’ve kept all the receipts so you can present them for a full refund on the day of their divorces!

      Reply
  7. A very amusing piece that. Life is complicated for female friends of the bride it seems.

    Blokes just say “Yeah mate, be there at 6” and turn up to the stag do in jeans and a t-shirt.

    Reply
  8. Its good news a new life experiment. I wish her all the best 🙂

    Reply
  9. PT–I can SOOOOOOO relate! I second your sentiments. Omgoodness you sound exactly like me except your across the pond.

    I wanted to share with you a little find so that one day when you are planning that “extravagant” occasion of your own…you wont break anyone’s bank hehe. Check out Emmaline Bride (the “do it yourself” wedding) when you get the chance dear. I think you might like it.

    Peace and love!

    Reply
    • Thank you kindly! It’s nice to know I’m not alone in the finances vs friendship battle.

      Thanks also for the tip. Should I myself ever be struck down with a terrible case of “wedding” then I shall investigate this.

      Reply
  10. This is great- and very true. Just be thankful you weren’t asked to be a bridesmaid in a “picnic/50’s/rustic country” themed wedding in which you had to wear an “I Love Lucy” style brown and white polka dot organic cotton number….

    Reply
  11. Baby showers are even worse! An hour and forty five minutes of “ooooooh” “aaaaaaaah” as the mommy opens up yet ANOTHER package of onesies. It is a serious waste of an entire afternoon. Maybe if they provided booze. . . .

    Reply
  12. Ugh…. So true! And when you have two or three weddings in one summer… be prepared to stay in every weekend for the rest of the year.

    Reply
    • Absolutely! When one starts going off, they all do it, like blimmin car alarms. Say goodbye to your own life and bank balance, it’s Happy For You Season! *sigh*

      Reply
  13. I love your sense of humor! It’s great that you’re able to make light of the situation.

    Reply
  14. This was FANTASTIC!
    Well done.

    Reply
  15. All I can say is…be careful what you wish for 🙂

    Reply
  16. This reminds me of a wedding anecdote a friend told me only today. The groom said in his wedding speech that he wished he’d brought a paper bag so he could put it over the bride’s head; and the bride proceeded to fall over on the dance floor and knocked herself unconscious. The groom left her friends to look after her while he carried on drinking. They were divorced within two years and now her main focus in life is on making his life a misery.

    Thanks for liking my blog today by the way – where did you stumble across me?

    Reply
    • Thanks for stopping by for a read. That wedding tale sounds like something that should be on the front of a Hallmark card!

      I stumble across various people when I have a curious mind and a glass of Merlot. You never know what treats are out there until you let your fingers hit the keys.

      Reply
      • Ah, yes, that’ll be the same glass of Merlot after which my best work is done! Something peculiarly pleasurable about pottering about on the internet with a nice beaker full of the warm South and then wittering on.

        Reply
  17. thanks for the deliciously funny post. I’ve been reading too many serious personal development blogs like mine lately. You’ve inspired me to lighten up or change my blog or go to some weddings!

    thanks

    Reply
    • Wow, glad to know I’ve bought a little ray of sunshine to your day. Thanks for reading.

      Only go to weddings if you can guarantee that there’s a free bar. Or there’s the chance of some kind of dramatic scene á la The Graduate.

      Reply
      • Absolutely, sunshine & chuckles.
        I wrote a humorous ( I hope!) Halloween post inspired by my blogging muse across the pond.

        Bar or no bar, I might risk the wedding just to get off my backside.

        Reply
  18. Nice to see some light-hearted comments after the neanderthal, misogynistic remarks I’ve been getting today. Anyone who actually likes women, feel free to leave your comment at http://fwords.co.uk/2011/10/10/how-not-to-deal-with-a-pr-crisis-call-complainants-%E2%80%98ugly-feminists%E2%80%99-and-tell-them-to-%E2%80%98get-a-life%E2%80%99/

    Reply
  19. You would think that brides-to-be would remember how much their friends engagement parties/bridal showers/weddings cost them and have some sympathy and consider keeping the expenses down ( and avoid ugly dresses) But noooooooo. It must be a sort of revenge?

    Reply
  20. insiderealme

    Hilarious!!!

    Reply
  21. I see you’re in the Freshly Pressed section of WordPress! Wow! Would be really interested and intrigued to know what effect that has on your hits?

    Reply
    • Well, it’s all rather overwhelming to be honest – in a totally amazing way. I’m hugely flattered and humbled and as for my hits? Well, let’s just say my stats graph looks a little lopsided. 😀

      Reply
  22. This was very funny and the close friend who shared this with me, perhaps identifies with you, since she went through the same ordeal last month. Now she’s flat broke.
    I cleverly avoid such situations.
    And I like your writing very much.

    Reply
    • Thank you very much and thank your friend for shared me.

      I’ve had two more hen party invites since writing this post. Clearly my friends think I’m joking.

      Reply

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