Maybe Matt is just a romantic

by Matt Goldman

I’m not exactly what you’d call a romantic – at least not in the traditional, generic sense of the word. I usually try to avoid Valentine’s Day, long walks on the beach, astrology, slow dances and anything candlelit.

Call it a cop-out if you’d like, but I blame my parents for this inherent skepticism towards all things conventional and “lovey-dovey.” The pattern runs deep.

Take their wedding for example. For starters, there wasn’t much of a proposal; it was more of a mutual agreement. They were sitting on their living room couch in the apartment they had shared for over two years when they basically decided, “At this point, we might as well.” Doesn’t exactly pull at the heart-strings, does it?

The actual ceremony occurred three weeks later in my grandparents’ backyard, attended by a handful of friends and family. An acquaintance of my mother’s played the guitar, my grandmother made the cake and, rumor has it, my dad was wearing stolen pants. There was no wedding shower, no diamond ring, no bachelor party or rehearsal dinner. It was short, sweet, simple and, most importantly, cheap. Needless to say, they bucked the system. C’mon – it was 1976.

Actually, Goldmans have never been big on any form of tradition. Aside from an annual New Year’s Eve party, it’s usually a toss-up as to what, if anything, we’ll be doing for most holidays.

This customary lack of custom has naturally been imparted to me. If my name is used even indirectly in the same sentence as the word “marriage” I’ve been known to get outwardly shifty, awkward and sometimes downright defensive. As of now, I have no plan of taking the plunge any time soon and when I do, it will likely be something very similar to my parents’ “big day.”

My older sister, God bless her, is a bit different.

She’s getting married in two weeks and, in a beautifully ironic kind of way she decided long ago to buck the Goldman system. She’s going against the grain with her completely normal wedding plans. Allison and her fiancé, Gerry, set a date over a year ago. She then began following the standard matrimonial protocol. What a rebel.

First, a guest list, which they toiled over for a sizeable amount of time. When it was all said and done, close to 200 people were chosen. It’s very important that everyone you’ve ever met, even those who you haven’t spoken to since puberty, are invited. It helps to create just a bit more awkwardness during those fun-filled conversations at the reception. But then again, that’s what the open bar is for.

Then the oddly redundant save-the-date cards were sent out to chosen invitees. A save-the-date card is essentially an invitation to an invitation. It reminds you that there will be a wedding on set date and a formal invitation will follow. My sister tried to explain this concept to me repeatedly, and to this day I remain baffled as to what exactly purpose it serves other than to waste valuable time and paper. But what do I know? It’s a rare occasion that I receive any kind of invitation.

There are also engagement photos to take, receptions to plan, venues and menus and DJs – oh my! And don’t forget the pinnacle of any wedding reception: the special song. In their case, they’ve decided to go with Ben Folds’ “The Luckiest.” Sounds a lot like senior prom, minus the awkward groping in the back of my parents’ Subaru.

Despite my fear of all things marital, I’ve agreed to be a groomsman, so I had to get fitted for a suit – and I’ve been working relentlessly at finally learning how to tie my own tie. Seriously. It’s all a bit daunting, but this also means that I get to partake in the bachelor party, which will consist of strippers, paintball and booze.

On second thought, maybe I am a romantic.

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