Read Dave Barry's Guide to Marriage And/or Sex Online

Authors: Dave Barry

Tags: #Dating (Social Customs), #Marriage, #Mate Selection, #Family & Relationships, #Health & Fitness, #Sexuality, #Humor, #General, #Form, #Comic Strips & Cartoons, #Essays, #Topic, #Marriage & Family, #Relationships, #Self-Help, #Sexual Instruction, #Social Science, #Sociology, #entert_humor

Dave Barry's Guide to Marriage And/or Sex (5 page)

YOU: Um.
YOUR LOVER: Are you trying to tell me that, although you care for me deeply, and you will cherish always the times that we have had together, you really feel that we both need more space to grow and enrich our lives as separate individuals? For my sake as well as yours?
YOU: Well.
YOUR LOVER: Then perhaps it would be best if we broke up, with no hard feelings or remorse on either side.
YOU: Okay by me.
After you’ve mentally rehearsed this dialogue enough times, you simply go through it again, out loud, but this time in the presence of your lover. You’ll be surprised at how smoothly it goes:
YOU: Listen, I, um, I, uhh ...
YOUR LOVER: If you break up with me, I’m going to kill myself.
YOU: I was thinking we should get married.
There! See how easy that was? I am so very happy for the both of you! Onward to our “Important Prenuptial Chapter.”
Chapter 5. Important Prenuptial Chapter
Should you and your spouse-to-be have a prenuptial agreement? We put this question to five of the country’s leading attorneys, and they sent us bills totalling $63,500. This should give you an idea of how important it is to try to avoid those pesky legal squabbles that could crop up down the road. So just in case, we have prepared the following Low-Cost But Fair Prenuptial Agreement for you. Of course, as is the case with any binding legal document, we strongly suggest that, before you sign it, you place it on a flat surface.
Low-Cost but Fair Prenuptial Agreement
BE IT HEREBY AGREED that since (name of bride), hereinafter referred to as The Bride, and (name of groom), hereinafter known as The Groom, have decided that they love each other with a deep and undying passion, at least for the time being, and consequently want to get married, THEREFORE they do hereby agree that, in case later on for some reason God forbid they decide to get a divorce, they will both adhere to the following Deal:
1. MONEY. If there is any money, it shall be divided up equally and fairly between The Bride’s and The Groom’s attorneys.
2. DISHES. The Bride and The Groom shall equally divide up such dishes as have not been reduced to microscopic shards in the Traditional Pre-Divorce Violent Shrieking Kitchen Argument.
3. WEDDING-GIFT FONDUE SETS STILL IN THE ORIGINAL UNOPENED BOXES. The Bride and The Groom shall each keep eight fondue sets, and the rest shall be given to charity.
4. OTHER POSSESSIONS. The Bride shall get to keep whatever she picked out, including the living room, dining room, and bedroom furniture as well as any major appliances, carpets, lamps, paintings, etc. The Groom shall get to keep the Rolling Stones album Get Yer Ya Yas Out and the NHL Power Play table hockey game, including both pucks.
5. FRIENDS. Friends shall be divided up by sex and distributed accordingly.
6. RELATIVES. The Bride and The Groom shall each keep whatever relatives they had at the time of the original marriage. If there is any question about this, such as Uncle Bob, whom nobody can remember which family he belongs to, then he shall be allowed to visit either The Bride or The Groom, at his discretion, with the provision that he leaves after a couple of weeks.
7. DOG. The dog shall be the property of whichever party was supportive of it and cleaned up after it the time it was throwing up what looked like raccoon parts on the bed.
Tips for the New Bride
HOW TO GET ALONG WITH YOUR MOTHER-IN-LAW: Your best bet is drugs.
DEALING WITH YOUR HUSBAND’S OLD BUDDIES: Odds are your husband will have old buddies from college or reform school with whom he has shared many important Male Bonding Experiences such as fighting and burping and taking turns driving cars into the lobbies of major hotels.
After you are married, you should not try to cut him off from these friends. They are a very important part of his life. They are able to discuss with him, as you cannot, a lot of important questions that guys are concerned about, such as: Who was pitching for the Yankees when Bill Mazeroski hit the bottom-of-the-ninth home run that won the 1960 World Series for the Pirates? Now you are continuing to read this paragraph, but believe me, your husband stopped at the end of the last sentence and is now staring at the ceiling and saying: “Whitey Ford? Nah. Louis Arroyo? Nah.” This is why he needs his buddies. To resolve questions like this.*
So you should make a special effort to make your husband’s buddies feel welcome in your home. Invite them over for dinner. Invite them on your honeymoon. Don’t make a big scene if they leave beer cans in the aquarium. And above all, don’t force your husband to choose between them and you. I am not suggesting here that your husband would leave the woman he has pledged to spend the rest of his life with just so he could hang around with a bunch of guys talking sports and drinking beer. I am saying they would probably also order some pizza.
* It was Ralph Terry.
Chapter 6. How To Have A Perfect Wedding No Matter What
I am going to assume, in this chapter, that you’re getting married for the first time and consequently you want to do it in the most traditional and ludicrously elaborate way possible. Those of you who are getting married for the second or third time will probably want a low-key, informal wedding. I know this was the case when my wife and I married each other. It was the second wedding for both of us, and the most formal and organized part of it (I am being serious here) came when the wedding party played Capture the Flag.
Similarly, some friends of mine named Hannah and Paddy had their second-time-around wedding in a bar, amidst a dense haze of cigarette smoke and much loud drinking, such that the actual ceremony, performed by a judge, was barely noticeable. The judge kept trying to get people’s attention by pounding on the bar and shouting, “Quiet down! We have to marry Hannah and Paddy!”
But first-time marriers usually prefer to have a traditional wedding, defined by experts as “a wedding where the flowers alone cost more than Versailles.” One advantage of this kind of wedding is that, over the years, the various responsibilities have clearly been divided up between the bride’s family and the groom’s family:
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE BRIDE’S FAMILY: The announcement; the church; the invitations; the clergyman; the rehearsal; the bridesmaids’ luncheon; the flowers; the dresses; the reception; the food; the liquor; the photographer; the limousines; lodging and transportation for out-of-town guests; gratuities; the honeymoon; the national defense; a nice thoughtful present for the newlyweds such as a house. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE GROOM’S FAMILY: Not throwing up on the other guests.
Of course there is one other major responsibility of the groom, which is to buy the engagement ring. Guys, I know it can be intimidating to walk into a jewelry store and try to handle a slick salesman, but you’ll do fine if you know a few basic technical facts about diamonds.
Diamond Formation
Millions of years ago, lumps of carbon fell down on the ground and got covered up by dirt and mountains, after which they were subjected to intense pressure by lobbying groups such as the National Rifle Association. Over the years, these lumps were buried deeper and deeper beneath the Earth’s surface, so that today we don’t even know where the hell they are. Nor care.
Meanwhile, shopping centers began to form, and inevitably they developed jewelry stores. This is where we stand today.
How Diamonds Are Measured
The standard unit of measurement for diamonds is called the “carat,” which basically measures how much you love your fiancee. A guy who is only mildly attracted to his fiancee will buy her a ring with only a few carats, whereas a guy who really loves his fiancee will buy her a stone so large that she can never again swim in ponds for fear she will become embedded up to her shoulders in bottom muck.
That takes care of the groom’s responsibilities; everything else is up to you brides-to-be. You’re going to be very, very busy planning your wedding, because naturally you want everything to be perfect. Remember at all times, brides-to-be, this is your own very special day, and it damned well better be perfect or you are going to kill yourself with a cyanide capsule, which it is the responsibility of the maid or matron of honor to provide.
Actually, planning a wedding is not all that difficult, provided you do almost nothing else for the better part of a year. Naturally, this will be a very busy and exciting time for you. But as you go through it, you must make sure, amid all the excitement and hustle and bustle, that you don’t lose sight of the whole point of the wedding—its deeper meaning and the central reason for its entire existence. Your gown.
Your Wedding Gown
Listen up, brides. You get only one shot in your life at a real wedding gown, and you better not blow it. Because a wedding gown is more than just a dress. It’s a dress that costs a whole ton of money. It’s a dress that you’ll cherish for several decades in a box in a remote closet, perhaps to be taken out one day by your daughter when she’s looking for (sniff) a wedding gown of her own. She’ll wisely reject yours, of course, because by that time it will have served as the home environment for 60,000 generations of insects. The last thing she wants, when she’s up at the altar on her own Very Special Day, is for a millipede to come strolling out of her bodice.
Nevertheless you must have a wonderful gown. This is where you need the expert help of a qualified bridal couturier, who can answer your technical questions:
YOU: What kinds of gowns do you have for under $2,000?
COUTURIER: Well, we have this one right here.
YOU: This is a group of used Handi-Wipes sewn together.
COUTURIER: Yes. By preschool children.
With this kind of guidance, you’ll be able to select a truly memorable gown, one that will cause your parents to remark in admiration: “How much? That’s more than we spent on our first house!” If they don’t make this remark, your gown is not memorable enough, and you should take it right back to the couturier to have some more pearls glued on.
After you’ve selected your gown, it’s time to get on with planning the rest of the wedding. This task will be easier if you use this convenient Wedding Planner Checklist:
Bride’s Wedding Planner Checklist
Six Months before the Wedding
This is the time to choose your wedding site. It should be extremely traditional. Ideally, you want St. Paul’s Cathedral, in London, England. This is where Princess Diana got married to Prince Charles in a ceremony that lasted longer than a number of major wars. Also it required more horses. This is the kind of memorable wedding you definitely want to shoot for.
If St. Paul’s is not available, look for a large traditional religious building, such as a church or synagogue, closer to home. In many cases, these buildings are affiliated with major religions, which may require that you hold specific religious beliefs before you can get married there. This is a good thing to check out beforehand, by calling up the person in charge:
YOU: Hi. I was thinking of getting married in your church or synagogue, and I was wondering if I had to hold any specific religious views.
RELIGIOUS PERSON: Why yes, you do. YOU: How many?
RELIGIOUS PERSON: Let’s see, here ... five, six ... looks like eight in all.
YOU: Fine, fine. Could you please mail me a set?
If the building is really right for you, with adequate parking and every thing, you should go ahead and agree to hold the beliefs, even if they involve animal sacrifice. This is your wedding, after all.
The other major things that must be accomplished six months before the wedding are:
* The bride should select a caterer and a nice country club for the reception, and her parents should withdraw their life’s savings so they can put down a deposit.
* The mother of the bride and the mother of the groom, if they do not already know each other, should have a luncheon wherein they get along about as well as Iran gets along with Iraq.
Five Months before the Wedding
Now is the time to select your bridesmaids. This is a very large honor, which you bestow only upon people who meet the following criteria:
1. They should be female.
2. They should be willing to wear bridesmaids’ dresses.
This second criterion is the most important, because the whole point of the bridesmaid’s dress is to render the person wearing it so profoundly unattractive that she cannot possibly outshine you, the bride. In fact, one of the really fun things a bride gets to do is go to the bridal salon with her mother, and the two of them get drunk and howl with laughter as they consider various comical outfits that they might encase the bridesmaids in. Some of them go so far as to select actual clown suits, but most prefer the traditional look, which is:
* Long frilly dresses in bright pastel colors reminiscent of Bazooka bubble gum or some experimental and ultimately unsuccessful ice cream flavor with a name like “Pumpkin Surprise.”
* “Puffed” sleeves that make any woman who is larger than Audrey Hepburn look like a Green Bay Packer.
* Large “fun” floppy hats that obscure the bridesmaid’s face so thoroughly that you could use men if you really had to.
You need not feel restricted to this look, however. This is your Very Special Day, and you can make the bridesmaids wear anything you want. Veils, fur stoles, whalebone corsets, hats with waxed fruit, kneepads, anything. Remember: they have to pay for it.
Four Months before the Wedding
This is a good time to select a silver pattern and a groom. (see Chapter 1, “How to Find Somebody to Go on Dates With”). In fact, your smart modern bride will often select several grooms, so as to guarantee that in case one or two of them get “cold feet,” she’ll still be able to have her Very Special Day.
You must be much more careful in selecting your silver pattern. It should have a name similar to the ones developers give to shoddy new apartment complexes, such as “Coventry Downe Manor”; and each place setting should consist of a regular fork, a dinner fork, a breakfast fork, a snack fork, a soup fork, a holiday fork, an emergency fork, a Care Bear fork, a Pez dispenser, and the equivalent knives, spoons, ladles, scone handlers, beet prongs, tuffet churners, prawn smelters, and clam goaders. Remember: Your silver is your first major family heirloom, to be cherished and stored in the same closet where you cherish your wedding dress until such time as one of you files for divorce.

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