I love weddings. Don't you?
And I love to see young men at weddings -- the groom, his best man, the ushers, and all the young guys who comprise the family and friends of the young couple. At the ceremony, they are all so tidy and well-groomed and splendidly dressed. And respectful. They politely escort the ladies to their seats, stand up straight, fold their hands, wear earnest expressions while the minister dispenses wise marital advice, cry a few tears during the vows. Such gentlemen all these young men are. It is so nice to watch. Gives me hope for the future.
But, then comes the reception. And the alcohol. Don't even get me started on the after-party.
Please don't misunderstand me. I love parties. I love beer and wine and old fashioneds and Manhattans. I am no tea-totaller. I serve alcohol to my kids and their friends. (No worries. Everyone is 21 and over.) I am no enemy of revelry and a bit of tequila-induced cheer.
But, I also grew up amongst more than my fair share of alcoholics. My parents were moderate drinkers, but a few of their friends and relatives were not. And it was pretty awful to grow up with. I often didn't really understand why I had to be around these people. I loved a lot of them, but it truly was not pleasant when they drank excessively on a regular basis. And -- I admit -- this experience left its mark on my soul. I hate it when people get drunk.
And that is frequently what I see at wedding receptions. A lot of drunk young men. The respectful, well-groomed young men from the ceremony kind of morph into something that's rather the opposite during the reception. Some of them even seem to think that intoxication is the main goal of the whole occasion. That's the impression they give, anyway, when you hear them talk and watch how they behave.
I'm probably sounding here a lot like that abolition lady with the hatchet. That's not my intention. But, you know, a wedding -- though joyful and happy and festive -- is also an occasion that should be at least somewhat dignified. ALL THE WAY THROUGH. Not just at the church.
I think this is especially true for people who consider a wedding and a marriage to be of a religious nature, or Sacramental. There is a lot of talk these days about marriage rights -- who should have them and who should not. And there are a lot of religious people who tout the "one man-one woman" idea, and heavily criticize those of other viewpoints. A lot of religious folk say that same-sex marriage endangers the institution, that it endangers family life. Many religious individuals -- especially Catholics -- also frown upon contraception. Many of them believe that you should be open to a baby from the minute you get married. They say that they believe in strong and life-long marriages that nurture the many children they hope to have, or hope other couples will have. I have heard young religious guys cheer each other on when they find out that their pals have baby #2 or #3 on the way. You would think they were attending a sporting event. (And it's kind of cute, actually.) But, if you are a religious guy and you diss gay marriage and/or brag that your second baby in two years is on the way and/or discuss your admiration of Judge Scalia -- all at your friends' wedding reception -- at least be sober. Otherwise, you look really hypocritical. And kind of ridiculous. If I were an LGBT person, I would not be impressed. I'd think, "And these dudes believe they are 'protecting' marriage and ensuring the 'safety' of family life? Ha!"
Of course, I know many people who have gotten drunk -- or whose pals have gotten drunk -- at their weddings and have gone on to have very successful marriages. And I have attended many weddings where very few guys drank to excess. And some people get married without judging the marriages of others. And I probably sound like a douche in this post. But, when I see people who pride themselves on their devotion to their faith, on the purity of their faith, on their knowledge of their faith getting shit-faced at their chums' weddings, it kind of rubs me the wrong way.
Now, where did I put my hatchet?
Oh, here it is. Next to my Jim Beam.