Thursday, August 17, 2006

An inconsiderate engagement

First, a moment of silence for the demise of Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro’s marriage.

As my bio says, I believe there is someone out there for everyone, and I thought his freaky was a perfect match her deaky. But alas, it was not meant to last. And as for Kate Hudson and Chris Robinson, well, that split was really no surprise. As a friend said succinctly: "I say it's time for her to go out and find her own Kurt Russell." Amen to that. And cut her kid's hair while she's at it, before he gets mistaken for Coco Arquette or something.

Anyway. Moving on.

I got a call from one of my closest friends. She was so outraged, her voice was about three octaves above its normally high pitch. I’m sure dogs were howling all over her neighborhood.

The reason she was so upset was because a mutual male acquaintance of ours who's pushing 50 – I’ll call him "Inconsiderate Ian" – had just gotten engaged. What upset her was the way Ian went about it.

Ian was emceeing a fashion show in front of a big crowd in San Francisco. His off-and-on girlfriend of a decade (I won’t belittle her with a nickname; the poor child has already been through enough) was “on” at the time, and assisting him backstage. At one point Ian called her out onstage and, to her horror, gave this rambling speech about how they’d been together forever and it was about time he made an honest woman out of her, yada yada yada. Then he asked the crowd if there was a jeweler in the audience.

At this point in the story I was clutching invisible pearls at my throat and gasping, “you mean to tell me he didn’t even have a ring?!” But of course he had a jeweler come out from backstage with a ring on a pillow. Cue the audience cheers.

Sounds romantic, you say? Whaddaya guy, you say? Well, what upset my friend, and me – other than the situation was like that Jagged Edge song with the decidedly unromantic lyric: “Meet me at the altar in your white dress/We ain't gettin' no younger, we might as well do it” – was how Ian went about the whole process. While his girlfriend is arm candy, she doesn’t like to be in front of crowds or make a public spectacle of herself. Inconsiderate Ian, on the other hand, LOVES the spotlight. His favorite place to be is at the center of attention. He loves big gestures and to show off. However, he knows his woman does not. So really, this very public engagement was about him, not his girlfriend and their relationship.

As my friend put it, and I agree: “I’m sure she would have much preferred it if he had taken her to her favorite restaurant and simply asked her over dinner.” Instead, he mortified her by asking her to marry him in front of a large – and very vocal – crowd. If the poor girl had said no (although she wasn’t going to; after all, she’d stuck it out for 10 years) she would have been the villain of San Francisco. Even the cute gay boys in the Castro wouldn’t have bought her a consoling drink.

But that’s not the worst of it! After the poor woman said yes and the deal was done, Ian decided he wanted to have an engagement party. This is where my friend called me.

“He sent me an invitation to his engagement party … IN AN E-MAIL!!” she shrieked, so loud that my cat, napping next to me, jumped. “Who invites people to an engagement party in an e-mail?

“And in this stupid e-mail,” she continued, “he tells everyone to bring a bottle of their favorite champagne to toast the bride and groom! How tacky is that?!”

VERY tacky. Not only is this man expecting people to show up for his engagement party (as if folks aren’t already gonna have to shell out for more parties and showers and wedding gifts and the like), he’s asking people to provide the liquor!

“If he can’t afford to pay for a party, then he shouldn’t HAVE a party,” my friend finished in a huff. But of course she’s going to said party, because she wants to see who else shows up and how the bride-and groom-to-be will behave.

I told her to take copious notes.


Anonymous said...

Oh, yeah. Definitely would have been better to just keep stringing her along indefinitely.

Men are idiots. Women make sure that gets pounded into their heads constantly. But then they act all shocked when men prove them to be right!

No wonder there are so many gays!

Anonymous said...

Engagement parties are a joke - just another way for people to ask for presents. You don't get a party just because you're engaged. I don't know who came up with that one. Give me a break - an engagement party, endless bridal showers, a bachelorette party and a wedding (and maybe a housewarming party thrown in there too??)?? Come on!!

In direct repsonse to the guy - I can tell you from planning my own wedding that guys just don't know about etiquette regarding stuff like that. My fiance though he could just call and invite people to our wedding maybe 2 or 3 months in advance of the event and that would be sufficient. Um, no.

Anonymous said...

OK, maybe because I'm very different from the fiancee in this case, in that I would love to get a proposal in public, I don't see what the big deal is about his proposal. I doubt she was "mortified," maybe just stunned. I get invitations to parties in e-mails. In 2006, that's not a big deal. I wouldn't think that was tacky. (I think a WEDDING invitation by e-mail might be a bit tacky, but not an engagement party.) And the engagement party is a time to if folks want to BYOB, so what? I was raised with good manners and upbringing, but I guess I'm not uptight enough to see why this blog was even written in the first place...

Anonymous said...

I got invited to a coworker's going-away party a few months ago via an e-vite. I mean how rude were that host to use technology to her advantage? What is this world coming to where people use computers? Oh no, I'm writing this on a computer. Maybe I should write it on paper and mail it in.

Anonymous said...

Last time I checked, pretty much everything that is associated with a wedding, with the exception of a bachelor's party (assuming the girl lets him have one), is about the girl. So why can't the proposal be about the guy? He's the one forking over the money for the ring, why shouldn't he give it to her the way he wants to do it?

Anonymous said...

I'm really jealous of this blog. If I could get paid for repeating other people's conversations and talking about my cat, I'd be rich!

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'll say it.

She's been with the guy for 10 years and put up with his on-again-off-againess. If she's been with him that long, then she's well aware of him being a little self-absorbed.

I say that to say this: She knows what she's getting into and if she's that invested, she should just be happy he proposed. She could always give him the ring back and buy her own damn champagne.

I bet these chick will still do to the party...

Anonymous said...

Ok, I guess we all know that men are men and women are women, weddings are all about brides and parties, gifts, and general confusion. Next!

Deirdre McGruder said...

I think Anonymous No. 5, the one who posted at 12:55 p.m. makes a good point. (BTW, if we're gonna have a conversation here, can't we use our names?) Weddings do tend to focus on the bride. But couldn't there be a compromise?

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else read this and not say "Who cares?" at least 200 times??? Get a life.