Boys Get Married Too

I’m irritated about something that happened yesterday at work. And it may not come out all that articulate. I guess that’s also because it’s not just yesterday I’m frustrated with, I’m frustrated with always.

There is a guy at work who sits a little ways from me and he is in sales. Most of the office is in sales. Sales is all about the numbers (this isn’t just a cliche, this is a reality). Anyways, there is a certain amount of bullshit that needs to happen when you’re in sales. It’s the schmooze. I’m not very good at this. Insincerity makes me uncomfortable, I don’t know how to respond to people who are faking it.

This is a digression. So I overheard a conversation between this guy and another sales-y woman who is under his part of his team that he overseas, or something. He was sot of apologizing or making excuses for why he hasn’t been around to help the other sales people with stuff. He hasn’t been checking in. He’s been traveling a lot, his schedule is all willy nilly, he got sick. And as she was saying, “Oh yeah, totally!” She also slipped, “Plus planning a wedding!” And he was ultra quick, like lightening, in responding, “Well, no. That shouldn’t effect my performance at all. That has nothing to do with it.”

I mean, yes. He is planning a wedding. Or, he is getting married. He was talking about it earlier that day and I found myself wondering if he needed vendor info, because I have a little of that knowledge still stored away somewhere in the deep parts of my brain.

But here is my frustration. People ask him how his fiance is handling the wedding planning, they ask if she is stressed, they ask if she is super busy. He responds in massive nonchalance. I’m so over how the whole wide world puts the job of a wedding on a girl. I hate it so much. At first when we were planning our wedding, Kamel kind of didn’t get it. He didn’t see the big picture (But, to be honest, Kamel doesn’t always see the big picture), he didn’t see that the more we got done at the beginning, the less crazy-making we had at the end. He didn’t know all of the details. I made it clear very early on that I would not be planning a wedding by myself, there was no way. And he was always excited, so excited. He had opinions on everything, and yes, his opinions did matter to me.

So why does Mr. SalesMan have to so quickly deny his life while at work? Why does everything have to be kept so compartmentalized? And is it because he is a man? In sales of all things? Can he not let his guard down unless it’s about traveling for business or getting a cold? I just don’t like any of this. A wedding, a baby, a major life event is exciting! For everyone involved. They are all hard work but pretending like they aren’t on your mind just makes you look like an ass hole. The big events, they’re important. They take up our head space and they should. And the big life events shouldn’t be placed on ladies’ shoulders just because.

It should be more than ok for men to take responsibility in public for the stuff that happens at home. The things that are more important than numbers and sales. And more than just excitement, I want them to be held accountable. Weddings are not just about girls. They are about family, and becoming a partner, and about saying how much you care for someone in front of a big crowd of everyone you know, so that when you hate them so much you could scream because they are still leaving their dirty socks on the floor near the bed, you’ll remember what you said and how many witnesses there were and maybe you’ll stave off divorce for one more day.

And in general I’m tired of people playing it cool. Can we just try to be more honest about who we are, what tickles our fancy, what hurts our feelings, and the things that make life worth the work and struggle? And for the love of god… boys get married to. It’s not just a wedding for 1, so let’s stop pretending like it is.

24 thoughts on “Boys Get Married Too”

  1. Yes. They do. And they look damn handsome while doing it. (Sorry. I still haven’t gotten over seeing Forrest in a suit that fit last weekend. DAMN.)

    I think boys DO have opinions about weddings, it’s just that it’s not comfortable for them to voice them. And it makes me feel better when he does. Maybe we just need to be subversive and ask MEN and not WOMEN about how wedding planning is going. (I always foist the wedding colors question off on Forrest…telling people he picked ’em…which he did.)

  2. I 100% agree with this. I am 6 weeks out from my wedding, and I am so, so tired of having people assume I am planning some master day that will be precisely what I’VE imagined my whole life. Really, to plan an event of this scale, with so many personal touches, conflicting personalities, and touchy feelings to consider, you need the input of both people. Whenever thank you notes don’t go out the day the gift is received, future MIL emails me in panic. When I reply that her son has taken responsibility for that thank you and will get to it when he has a moment, she guilts me about “cluttering his mind” with those kind of details. These gifts are for both of us, the ceremony is for both of us, the reception is for both of us – yes, some things I care more about than he does, but I’ve also been pleasantly surprised at the amount of ownership he’s taken over certain aspects. There’s been some fighting (sometimes I feel like I do all the boring work of culling through hundreds of options so he can react to the top 10), but he understands that this is a major life event that he wants to do more than just stand up at. Now if only other people could see if that way and stop asking me about the damn flower arrangements!

    1. I want to PUNCH A WALL over the “cluttering his mind” comment. Of course, yes, because my mind was made to write hundreds of thank you cards and address a million envelopes. Weeee! MY LADY DREAM COME TRUE.

      Punch. Face.

      1. Oh man. I am NOT excited to get to the thank-you note of things. Fiance was apparently raised in a barn, because he has never sent a thank you note in his life. And HELL TO THE NO I am not writing all of them myself. There WILL be words.

        1. So we split the thank you notes down family lines, this helped immensely. And we sat together and did them side by side. But! I started getting super peeved at how I was the one writing the christmas cards and birthday cards, and christmas thank you notes, and valentines, and he didn’t have to worry about any of that, but got some of the thoughtful credit…. so now we are taking turns with who has to write what. And this christmas he wrote all of the thank you cards for me. It was awesome.

          1. I think splitting it down family lines is a great idea. No one could argue that that isn’t fair 😉

    2. I am HORRIFIED at the “cluttering his mind” comment! My head would explode. And yes, i feel the same way about narrowing down the options. I do a lot of the boring work and fiance gets to choose between the options, and it irritates me that he isn’t plodding through everything too!

      but then, when he asks if he can handle a project, the super uptight control freak in me CANNOT HANDLE the thought of just handing something over when i’ve spent so much time thinking about how everything will fit together. Alex had an idea for table numbers that was a bit unusal and that he’d handle all by himself, but all I can think of is the complications and how it may not work out and what would be wrong with it… please, wedding, get here soon.

  3. This is pretty much the reason I don’t want to be engaged. Married, sure. But wading through all of those assumptions and attitudes about weddings and what they should look like and who will care about and be responsible for what seems exhausting. It’s a topic I’d be happy to talk to my friends about, but not so much with co-workers and acquaintances because it’d introduce that whole strange dynamic illustrated by Mr. SalesMan. Even if I wasn’t there strangers would assume it’s my burden to be stressed or worried and UGH.

  4. Amen to all of this.

    We are three months out from the wedding, and frankly I am sick of planning it. But I am happy that my fiance and I are planning it TOGETHER, and he is actually responsible for about 50% of the planning. However, approximately 99% of questions and suggestions regarding the wedding are directed at me. I’ve gotten so fed up with this that I just bluntly redirect people to my fiance and tell them that he is dealing with the particular aspect of the wedding they have opinions about.

    1. This might seem like asking the world too much, but I really wish that instead of allowing people to assume it’s the girls’ DREAM and that they are naturally a bridezilla and naturally a control freak and naturally obsessed with flowers and invitations, that men could assert themselves and say, “no, actually, I’m really stoked about this amazing day, and I also have been looking forward to it for months and months and have also put a shit ton thought into it.”

      Not every dude loves weddings, but neither does every girl. And I’m over the sentiment that gender plays a roll in what we think is fun or exciting. Also, i find it offensive that the pervasive thought is that men “don’t care” about getting married and women are “obsessed” with it. I’m offended both for the guys AND for the ladies. Getting married is a big deal, if someone isn’t excited then maybe they shouldn’t be getting married. And that excitement doesn’t have anything to do with centerpieces.

      1. Stephen got really offended when someone would praise him for coming to a meeting. After one, “It’s so nice to see a groom here! We usually only see the bride and her mother!” he went off on a long rant about how it was his wedding too. Made me proud : )

  5. Not only are there assumptions about planning, but I also think there are all sort of assumptions about how *excited* the guy is — everybody wanted to squee with me about how he proposed (he didn’t, I did) and the ring (nonexistent) — but nobody brought those things up with the hubster. Which, as frustrated as I was at having those conversations myself (which just weren’t my thing), made me sort of sad for him that he didn’t have the same opportunity.

  6. During early planning, I wasn’t too into it because I figured we had loads of time. I had no idea things had to be taken care of so early. Then mid way, I noticed that timing was important as things booked up. Then towards the end I was finally all in. It took a while, but once I was on the same page as Lauren, it became way more fun (still stressful, but with a buddy).

    I was always excited about the whole thing. I’d get all happy when things were crossed off the list, and I never had to “play it cool”. When people would ask me about how it was going, I always knew what was going on and I gave them the updates.

    Then, day of, all our planning efforts paid off and things went *almost* as planned. It was an amazing day that could’ve gone really wrong had we not been on top of things. Both of us.

  7. One of the guys at work likes to pace the hallways while on the phone. Last fall he started to seem more agitated and stressed … especially while talking. He came up to me one day and said “You’re married, right? So, you DO survive the planning?”

    He was planning his wedding … in fact, his fiancee was hardly involved at all (by her choice) … and he was out of his mind stressed. I and the other women in the office, found the fact that he was doing the planning totally normal.

    The men, however, were stunned and made nasty comments about his fiancee being “the man in the relationship”. It took all my willpower not to go off at them.

    It’s all a part of the problem. Society has conditioned men (or at least a good portion of them) to think they’re not responsible for any of it. Which is bullshit, and needs to stop NOW.

  8. Wow Lauren, you nailed it in so many different levels on this post. And yes, of course big events should take the headspace of ALL the parts involved… and numbers… They can make me crazy,, there I said it., Thanks for this I needed to read it.

  9. I think probably a lot of it has to do with the machismo of sales, the intense desire to distance oneself from the womanly arts of matrimony. But there are also some women who just take the reins and set off, come hell or high water, with no consideration that the fiance will participate in any way. My husband knows a couple of people who didn’t even know what their wedding colors were, before and after the ceremony, and this it’s absurd that they might ever need to know/remember that.

    Of course we were in the opposite position last year, with him planning everything logistics-wise (he does phone calls better than I do, and I do crafty stuff better than he), but the entire industry is designed around catering to the needs of women. We visited venues and vendors and people asked ME questions, which he would then answer, and then folks would turn around and ask me the next question, which he would then answer. It was shocking how many people didn’t pick up on this and just kept talking away at me, without ever addressing husband or the fact that “my” answers came out of his mouth. People just don’t think.

  10. So I will just throw this out there.
    I am a producer so organizing, planning, budgets, deadlines, things coming online at different times… this makes sense to me. So, consequently I am definitely doing a large portion of the wedding planning. We have approached the whole thing together, but she has a lot of vision on what the day will look like and I have a pretty solid approach to delivering that.

    But when I tell people the above piece of information they don’t know how to react. People are mostly shocked that the man in the situation is taking any more of an active role than ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. Other men have actually mocked me to my face and women think that I should be butting out and letting Colleen do this kind of thing. I don’t understand it and have been really surprised by the reaction I have received.

    1. People are stupid. And being honest about involvement in things that are labeled “girls only” that so should not be, is the only way to change perception. It’s really frustrating that 1) people have such strong reactions to someone being involved in their life and 2) that men seem to be under pressure not to care.

    2. I am a producer too, so you’re right, it does come a lot more naturally to handle this event than it does for someone who doesn’t usually deal with hundreds of moving parts and problems at once 🙂

  11. Not a very eloquent comment here, just wanted to say great post! I feel like this all the time.

    On a somewhat related note, when I went to the tux shop with my fiance to pick out a tux etc. the salesperson let him pay the deposit and then tried to give all the info and receipts to ME. What am I supposed to do with HIS tux info??

  12. Oh yes. We women should be all super duper excited about getting married and planning a wedding … and the men we are marrying should not be. It’s so maddening.

    What I found crazy was right after the engagement everyone wanted to talk to me about “OMG, how’d he’d ask, what are you planning, where is it, what are your colours, aren’t you so excited” – to the point where friends would announce my engagement to others before I was ready because I must have just been dying to shout about it – whereas he’d get a quick congrats and maybe a follow up question or two and that’d be it.

    Which is back asswards because he’s the one who was shouting on rooftops and trying to talk about it with everyone he knows, whereas I was just in floaty-glowy-happyland and wanted to be able to sit with it and be thrilled on our own for awhile.

    1. Sitting with it. Yes! That’s exactly it. Engagement is such a brief time, it’s this special in between place. I wanted to just BE. But it was pretty much impossible.

      And it’s not that all guys are secretly LOVING weddings. But…. but, why does everything have to have some giant social commentary? Like why can’t we just be without the weight of expectation? And even though I do believe everyone should be excited about the happy things in our lives, we don’t have to be thrilled and tickled by all the details surrounding it.

      Having a penis or a vagina doesn’t make you LOVE DIY or LOVE football or carry around a machismo indifference the size of texas.

  13. I totally agree with the whole spirit of this (see my other comment above) but I wanted to add that I personally would get defensive with a coworker about using wedding planning as an excuse for anything related to work. If I was slacking, I would NOT want people to think it was because I was busy planning a personal social event. I didn’t even like to tell people at my internship that I was engaged because I thought it took away from my credibility to talk in any detail about our wedding plans.

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