Simple Love

A story: Gayle and Frank Newby met one day on a triple blind date. Unlike the two other men, Frank couldn't afford to buy Gayle a Coke, so they sat in the car and talked. A few days later, she stood him up for another date. But she apologized, they did their second date and two days after that they were married. They were engaged for 24 hours. Their honeymoon cost $20, consisting of a $3-a-night motel room and a beer garden, which had a good deal on burgers. They've been married now 57 years.

I hate two things in life: The Yankees, and romantic comedies. And yet I'm drawn to this NPR project called StoryCorps, where regular people visit a van and record their personal stories for archiving at the Library of Congress. Specifically, I can't stop listening to these stories about romance.

I'm drawn to how simple all of it seemed back in the day -- not just engagements, weddings and honeymoons, but love and life in general. Is that the way it's supposed to be? Is it in our new nature to complicate everything? What about worrying about her previous sexcapades and how much money he makes and what your friends think and whether you're "ready to settle down"? What about keeping it cool and playing the game and waiting three days to call and oopsies, let's run to CVS and get you some RU-486?

The StoryCorps true-life tales include the woman who sent her husband 700 letters while he was in the Army -- and he kept every single one. There's the teacher who fell in love with the custodian, convinced him to go to college and become a second-grade teacher. They married on the auditorium stage at the school and served milk and cookies to the guests. There's also the toll collector who married a driver who frequented his booth, and old-timer Danny Perasa, who said this: "Being married is like having a color television. You never want to go back to black and white."

Ha! As if there were ever black-and-white TVs. Now that really would be simple.

So on that note, as covered in cheese as it may be, here's wishing all of you a happy, healthy and simpler new year, in both love and life...

photo credit: NPR's StoryCorps


Getting Paid To Go On A Honeymoon? Moi?

We just watched the documentary "Sicko" on the NetFlix, and there was a lot of universal health care this, and socialists are awesome that. Whatevs. This is what really blew me away: France, on top of the four weeks of paid vacation allotted to every worker, offers one-week additional vacation time to all newly married couples. A honeymoon, on the feds.

Of course, I'd love it if you, the American taxpayer, funded the humus we'll be overdosing on while lounging on the beaches of Greece in approximately 6,096 hours (we have an LCD screen with a honeymoon countdown ticker over our toilet). But, uh, really? Is that the job of the federal government?

Beyond the fact that singles and gays and non-married couples get totally screwed (or not) by this program, what about the fraud? I'd be on my 7th marriage if I could squeeze more vacation time by having a marriage document to show my boss.

Of course, I haven't even been able to verify that this is actually true. All the crusading anti-Moore folks are blogging in their parents' basements about the "Sicko" filmmaker being a lying, fat, anti-freedom, Clinton-hugging "sicko." They love using "sicko" to make fun of him. Get it? Hilarious!

They've got their American flags in a bunch over health care in Cuba and whatnot, but they're missing the point. They need to concern themselves with the heart of the matter: Vacation Time. There is no other issue more important in America today than a paid vacation. Whether your vaca-steeze is lying on the beach or cruising the Mediterranean or smoking reefer in the Sinai or sitting on your couch for days on end drinking Red Bull and playing XBox, let's be honest -- vacation time is the only thing that makes us truly happy.

I'm too lazy to call the French Embassy to check to see if the honeymoon thing is true. Plus, I feel like it's anti-American to call. If I talk to a French-speaking receptionist at a townhouse in Washington, the terrorists win.

Speaking of which, what kind of honeymoon vacation package do you think Al-Qaeda offers?


What A Crappy Wedding

The bride said "I do," but it looked as if she had to make do-do.

Yes, a couple got married Wednesday in a temporary bathroom at Times Square, and the bride wore a wedding dress made entirely of toilet paper.

"You may kiss the bride," the officiant said, "but please don't squeeze the Charmin dress."

The dress was commissioned by a web site devoted to keeping expenses down for weddings, cheap-chic-weddings.com. For the Kentucky couple chosen to get married in the Charmin-sponsored bathroom, it was the first time either of them had visited New York from Kentucky -- or seen toilet paper firsthand. What an exciting day!

I have a number of questions about this, not the least of which is why the groom got to wear a tux. Couldn't he have worn tissues? A napkin? Kotex pads?

Still, I endorse the idea. You don't wear a wedding dress more than once anyways, and if Grandma in the front row cries, she can wipe her face on the bride. Very convenient, and a touching moment for the wedding album.

So, to recap...

Rolls of Toilet Paper: 6
Number of news outlets documenting the toilet-papered affair: 7
Convenience of not having to take off your wedding dress for that after-party B.M.? Priceless

Photo Credit: Reuters


The Wedding Industrial Complex

At our wedding, what if we had dudes dressed like Orthodox Jews, complete with fake beards, black hats and bottles balanced on their heads? What if Kool & The Gang showed up while the guests munched on mixed greens? What if Cirque du Soleil-style performers suspended themselves from the rafters during the Horah? What if we had air-brush tattoo artists, stilt walkers, Paris Hilton-look-alikes, mini-casino tables, photo booths, drag queens, cigar rollers and magicians stationed at all corners of the affair?

How about
paid models popping out of rolling dessert tables made to look like an enormous tiered wedding cakes?

Or, I don't know, call me old-fashioned. Or call me a bleeding-heart hater. But what if the ridiculous people featured in this New York Times article concentrated on actually getting married, and redirected a few hundred thousand dollars spent on some form of self-aggrandizing, irrelevant "entertainment" and, as a real sign of their love, maybe offered that money up to some of the millions around the globe who don't have food, drinking water or shoes?

Just a thought.

Pic Credits: BottleDancers.com; ScreamingQueens.com


Another Reason To Get Married

I'm psyched to get a wedding band, which I will use to scare off single women, lonely men, coin thieves and would-be assassins. Mine will be silver, or at least gray, and I assume it will look like everyone else's. I can't wait to make that annoying tapping sound on the table with it, too.


Worst In-law Ever?

This is an update from a previous blahg, "Worst Wife Ever?", about a bride in New York who sued her florist for $400,000 because the wedding hydrangeas were green and "pastel pink" instead of green and "dark rust," like the ones she expected. This color clashed with the linens, favor boxes, wedding cake and decor, so clearly the place to resolve this issue was a 200-year-old American institution, the judiciary.

The Wall Street Journal, as our nation's second largest newspaper and probably one of five most important news sources in the world, has been on top of this critical story and obtained the latest legal filings by, thank God, sending a reporter to the courthouse.
According to the defendant's response in court, the bride and mother-in-law each gave separate demands to the florist that "were often in complete or significant contradiction to one another."

As you know, I was squarely in the anti-bride camp on this issue. But maybe it was this mother-in-law's fault? Was arguing with mom-in-law over wedding plans so traumatic that the bride was forced to feel the need to get reimbursed for the $400,000 that it cost to put on the very thing that was the source of all the drama? If so, that is deeply, deeply fucked up, and for some reason it makes me glad that I'm not a lawyer in New York.

The real victim in all of this, of course, is the groom, who allegedly had no involvement at all in the arrangements. The florist said he never even talked to the shell of a man who lives among the two most intense women on earth.

Meanwhile, we can't even get a florist to give us a quote or call us back. Can you sue for that?

UPDATE: Apparently people get upset when you don't credit them for hooking it up with the ideas. So, Randi and Zach, thanks for keeping me up to date on the best wedding-related story of '08!


BREAKING: Our First Dance Will Not Be Ironic

Today's Latest Wedding Craze is the surprise, ironic, choreographed First Dance. Since everybody is doing this these days, and since we don't want to be like everyone else, we will defy this tradition and do something that involves neither irony nor choreography.

This is the clip I've received 85 times in the past week. It's the most popular first dance circulating online, probably because the couple is hot:

Traditional Indian wedding gets suddenly, shockingly ghetto-fabulous:

Classical music ends in a bad-ass breakdance:

This is some crappy pop song that turns into a hot Boyz II Men "Motown Philly" jam:

Jack Johnson > Michael Jackson:

And finally, the wedding party gets involved:


Surprise Wedding Planning Bonus: FREE THERAPY!

This past weekend we went for our first of three (four? five?) appointments with the rabbi who will marry us. And, by God, we're happy.

I had always imagined pre-wedding meetings with religious leaders to involve multiple-choice tests about the various things that can happen during sex that will cause you to go to hell. Maybe that's the second session with the rabbi; I'm not sure. But for the first one, we shot the shit for two full hours -- talking about the history of my family, the relatively awesome story of the big courtship and the Vegas odds on whether our Philadelphia status would prevent us from getting into the New York Times Wedding Section.

The rabbi, who incidentally reads every single edition of the New York Times in chronological order (he's up to the spring of 2002), has the requisite floor to ceiling bookshelves and NO computer. It was the most time I had spent away from technology since I was in Africa, and it was awesome.

Rabbi dropped the f-bomb within the first two minutes of our conversation, and we were off from there. We got a chance to unload a bit about the whole wedding process, and suddenly we were BFFs: Laughing up a storm, sharing stories, getting all sensitive.

Agenda for next session: Formally request that he rocks his bow tie for the ceremony.


Rent A Wife

Europe used to be like America, but with tighter pants and better sex and drug laws. Now, Europe is suddenly even more lame than we are. The above hilarity is a web commercial for a Netflix-like company in Belgium. I don't speak Belgish, but apparently it's comparing the awesomeness of getting DVDs in the mail to the awesomeness of getting wives delivered in massive plastic G.I. Joe cases.

Unfortunately, according to this boring article with a lot of legalese, the company was fined and a judge ordered that the commercial be taken off the web site and replaced with text of the court's verdict. The verdict! Good thing this isn't Belgium. If we didn't have misogynistic-tinged advertising with narrow, base prescriptions for gender roles, traits and tendencies, what would we have?


Why does Facebook, AmericanExpress and The Man gotta get involved in my wedding planning?

Recently I've been falling deeply and passionately in love with Facebook. I'm getting the same goose bumps I got back in the heady days of MySpace, when I could legally stalk anyone I wanted and get flirty messages from women who didn't exist. And I'm getting the same way-back-in-the-day excitement I got from Friendster, when everyone I ever knew could be found in one single corner of the interweb, and even though I had no interest in talking to them it was strangely satisfying to know that they didn't look as good as they used to.

I now have that same early-in-a-relationship buzz with Facebook, where the only thing I want to do is roll around with it all night and then spend the morning making omelettes together and listening to Jack Johnson.

But today, the honeymoon ended. On
my Facebook page is a surreptitiously-designed advertisement for AmericanExpress, made to look like a message from one of my friends and the answer to all of my dreams: "Save time and money on your wedding. Plan for your big day, save money, and earn rewards, from dresses to dahlilas."

I clicked anxiously, but was directed to a site with some crappy AmericanExpress hotel offers and not a single thing about dresses, or dahlilas. Clearly, Facebook told AmEx that I was engaged, and because I clicked on the ad Facebook made a buck off that engagement. Facebook is already embroiled in a mini-controversy over how it peddles private info to advertisers.

So here's my message to the Internet: Patriot Act my ass all you want and steal whatever personal info you need in order to make a buck for yourself, but you best be making my life easier in the process. If you promise dahlilas, Corporate America, gimme dahlilas. And a dress, too.


Fans, Fans, Fans. They Make Me Blush.

What I miss most about writing a column is the intense adulation from fans. And so since I was feeling lonesome this week, I reached out to some former column readers to let them know that I'm all web 2.0 and a blogger now. Here is some feedback:

You apparently don't remember my remarks to you.....I told you that you're an asshole, schmuck, jerk....regarding your article about Tiger Woods weeping when he won the open.....and if you remembered correctly which apparently you don't I told you that as I'm old enough to be your Mother I thank God I'm not and am spared saying an asshole like you is my son.....and as for the young girl you're engaged to I offer this advice....RUN, RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN, SAVE YOURSELF FROM THIS JERK WHILE THERE'S STILL TIME!!!!

And this, believe it or not, came from a lady.


Yo Pops, Can I Wed Your Daughter Or What?

Apparently for the first time since the 1930s, it's now a trend for men to ask their girlfriends' fathers for permission to propose marriage. And that makes me the trendiest.

Of course, this probably isn't a trend at all. But that's irrelevant, because people in this Boston Globe article are getting really weird about it:

Barbara Gottfried, of Boston University’s women’s studies department, declares herself ‘‘shocked’’ by the trend. ‘‘The fact that the parents are asked prior to the proposal seems to me to be more than politeness,’’ she says. ‘‘Underneath it all is an anxiety about the threat that independent women pose.’’

Keep it cool, Gottfried. I'm as anxious about the "threat" of independent women as the next guy, but old-school chivalry doesn't always indicate deep-seated sexism. Tradition doesn't always suck. Only sometimes.

In my case, I didn't want to ask "permission," per se -- because it's not like I would have shrugged my shoulders and walked out the door if Deborah's parents said "no." But I did feel strongly about seeking some degree of approval beforehand. There was no question that I wanted to update tradition by asking both parents, and I knew I wanted to do it in person because the anxiety attacks during the two-hour ride to their place would make it all the more worth it.

But why did I feel the need to ask in the first place? Maybe I wanted to show respect to them for raising the woman I fell in love with. Maybe I just wanted them to like me. Maybe I was scared that her father's joke about keeping an ax in the house to fight off unwanted suitors was actually true.

Either way, the notion that this is somehow backwards and sexist is silly. Mandating that women wear a certain color and style of clothing during the ceremony seems so much more backwards -- and void of any real relevance or meaning -- than having a simple conversation that makes the bride's parents a part of the engagement process.

Either that, or as a Boston Globe reader put it, asking permission is really code for this question: "Is it ok if I show up for Thanksgiving for the next, like, 20 years?...So are we ok with this? Or are you going to be giving me shit?"


Results of Poll On Wedding Centerpieces: It's A Tie!!!

For the first time in Engaged Guy history, we have a tie in one of our monthly polls -- where YOU get to be your very own bridezilla and make a wedding decision. This month's decision: What should our centerpieces be at the wedding? Choices given: 12. Last place with zero votes: Bobblehead dolls of the groom.

Weirdly, bobblehead dolls featuring both the groom and the bride landed in first-place.
And shockingly, the other first-place position was taken by the Wandering Jew. None of the eight people who voted for it realized that this is actually a purple house plant.

To settle the tie, the bride will use her veto power and reject the idea of any more Wandering Jews at our wedding. Meanwhile, we will recognize the bobblehead doll by putting two custom-made bobblehead dolls of ourselves on top of the wedding cake.

The question is -- and this leads me to the next poll -- what should our cake bobbleheads be doing? Should we be a bride and a groom?!? Hells no. There are companies out there -- like Headbobble.com's examples in the pics posted here -- that actually turn your likeness into something cool, like a bobblehead doll that poses in Tarzan underwear.

So far, here are our ideas so far on how to pimp our bobbleheads.
Vote on your left, early and often: Superman & Superwoman; Fireman & Cop; Groom's head with Bridal Dress & Bride's head with Tux; Groom in Tie and Undies & Bride in Pants Suit; Both as Cheesy Muscleheads; Bride and Groom on Toilet.


Yet Something Else You Won't Find At The Katz Wedding

The latest thing to hit the wedding industry is "boudoir wedding photography," in which a wedding photographer takes pictures of the bride getting dressed for her big day or posing pornographically (or "erotically," depending on your level of outrage) in her bedroom or in a boudoir studio. The nudie and semi-nudie pics are then presented as a wedding gift from the bride to the groom, who briefly looks up from his Maxim and then goes back to staring at an airbrushed Jessica Alba.

One New York photographer charges $2,500 for a two-hour session at home or in her boudoir* studio. The package includes up to 200 prints and a coffee table book for couples who have families that are really, really, really, really comfortable with their sexualities.

An insulting symbol of how women will stoop to the lowest common denominator of the male imagination in an attempt to maintain relevance in an increasingly misogynistic, sex-obsessed society? A heartening symbol of women's liberation and the American female's post-post-modern ability to own her sexuality and turn marriage, thought of as a stale sexual dessert, into something exciting and new and hopefully everlasting?

I have no idea. I clearly haven't given this much thought at all or viewed too many boudoir wedding galleries.

To form your own opinion, do NOT view this site at work, unless want to get called to HR. Probably shouldn't view this one even at home, especially the "nude/implied" category with the bride being embraced by seven of her naked bridesmaids.

[Photo above taken by this New York City photo

* "boudoir" - French for "I just banged your wife"


Leave The Roses, Take The Canolis

Wedding planning turned shockingly awesome Saturday afternoon when we went to a caterer who not only hates the Yankees and calls desserts "dessert concepts," but he has an employee on call who randomly shows up in his office with trays of the dank chocolate!

I thought the caterer part of wedding planning would involve lots of free sampling of food, so during two other catering appointments I skipped breakfast and lunch accordingly. But one caterer we went to gave us peanuts -- literally. And another refused to give me a cup of water, even though I didn't ask.

Our luck changed Saturday when the caterer offered up some rugelach, canolis, brownies and a full chocolate cake! To take home! And if he charges us too much we still might not even hire him! Here's Moms and Pops putting the "free" back in freedom:Unfortunately, super-generous caterer-guy ruined it for super-nice florist-guy on Sunday, because I just assumed he'd hook it up with some complimentary begonias. When he didn't, I was disappointed, and now I just may sue him.


Malawi Wowwy

After 35 hours of travel, four scrumptious meals on Ethiopia Airlines, six beers with one British guy in two African socialist republics, I made it home safely and happily this weekend. Instead of an extensive travelogue, I will summarize my trip in charticle format:

  • Jeremy and Melissa, my friends who run Goods For Good International, are better people than anyone you know. They've avoided reinventing the wheel with top-down aid and instead research community-based organizations already in place (along with their employee, Brigitte). This allows them to find out what Malawians -- who suffer from poverty, AIDS, malaria, fatal diarrhea and a broken educational system -- truly need. Then they work with corporations in the states to provide shoes and books and pens and pencils to the most vulnerable people in Malawi (and also Liberia).

  • But it's not just Goods For Good. Melissa and Jeremy bust their ass on so much other stuff in the community each day -- volunteering as teachers, helping individuals out of their own pocket, etc.

  • To say Malawi is merely poor is like saying America is merely rich. Agricultural techniques are probably 300 years behind the West. But the place is generally politically stable, the people are friendly and those trying to make a buck don't swindle Westerners every chance they get (I'm looking at you, Egypt and Vietnam...)

  • Chubuku, the "international" beer of Malawi, comes in a milk carton and is pretty much the grossest possible thing you can put into your mouth. Imagine putting a cardboard box in a Cuisinart with expired corn-flavored yogurt and Natty Light. Mix for 5 seconds, drink, and then spend the rest of the evening in the outhouse.

  • Monkeys are cool, but the elephant that showed up outside of our lodge during safari in the middle of a game of "I Never" (which I totally won) is way cooler.

  • Malawian 2-year-olds are God's gift to cuteness. I took home six. Congrats, Mom and Dad! I told you that you'd be grandparents before Lenny and Susie!


I'm Off To Eastern Pangea

Assuming the rain stops and Philly International clears a plane to leave on-time the first time in its history, I'll be heading to London tonight. Then I'll board Ethiopian Airlines (I know I know, they serve empty bags of peanuts...), and fly to Rome. Then I'll head to Addis Abba, Ethiopia. Then I'll land in Lilongwe, Malawi, which is apparently a land-locked country in eastern Africa. When I get there, it will be approximately two weeks from now.

I'll be hanging out with my wonderful do-gooder friends, Mel and Jeremy, who have a wonderful do-gooder organization, Goods For Good International, where they take surplus goods from corporate giants in our country and ship them to children in need in Africa. Read about their adventures here, and don't forget about me while I'm gone. Seriously. Don't go and find some other place on the interwebs to kill your time. If you do that, that means you hate Africa. See you some time in early November....


Speaking Of Flowers...

Deborah caught the bouquet! Deborah caught the bouquet! Holy shit that means I'm gonna get married!

We went to a gorgeous, rocking wedding the Sunday before last for two of our favorite Philly people, Sarah and Sam. The venue was unreal -- the Constitution Center in Philly, where Deborah got way too friendly with the delegation from Massachusetts...

and Aaron got extremely friendly with Benjamin Franklin...

...right before Steve beat Franklin's ass in thumb wrestling.

Sarah and Sam can't make it to our wedding because their friends are getting married the same day. So instead of tossing her bouquet, Sarah told tradition to go eff itself: The band stopped playing, Sarah said a few kind words, and then she handed the flowers off to Deborah. I may or may not have cried.

As Deborah kissed the bride and groom, I snapped pics. Then Sam turned to me and said (as far as I can tell from this picture): "Matt, Why are you so awkward? You're supposed to come up here also. You're always soooooo awkward."

Then I got in on the hug action too. Good times. Thank you again, Sam and Sarah.

At our wedding, we're planning to attach Deborah's bouquet to a string of water balloons and drop the whole damn thing onto the crowd from the balcony when no one's paying attention.


Worst Wife Ever?

New rule: From now on, if I find myself unappreciative of my wifetobe in any way, I will drop to my knees and thank everything that is holy that I am not married to Elana Elbogen.

Elana is the overly litigious bridezilla who this week sued her wedding florist for $400,000 because--oh, just wait for this....wait wait wait wait---her hydrangeas were green and "pastel pink" instead of green and "dark rust," like she ordered. This color clashed with the linens, favor boxes, wedding cake and decor, according to The New York Times. Shockingly, the couple lives and got married in New York, of all places.

The flowers, which at $27,000 is pretty much my annual salary, were "entirely inconsistent with the vision the plaintiffs had bargained for," according to the suit. The florist, Stamos Arakas, who for sympathy's-sake let's pretend looks like Gepetto, said Mother Nature and the lighting in the room controlled the look of the flowers.

We thank new favorite fan Randi for this tidbit, and for the idea for a new poll I'm posting on centerpieces. You know how it works: You vote, and we'll do it (maybe) at our wedding. Vote early and often at your left so it looks like we're popular. The centerpiece choices: Bobblehead dolls of the couple, bobblehead dolls of just the groom, big boxes of sour candies, giant Peeps, seasonal wildflowers, bowls of goldfish like you get at the carnival, sparklers, green and pastel pink hydrangeas, thick bushes of amazing green plants, Wandering Jews, herb gardens OR....ironic pictures of Elena Elbogen!

P.S. Photo reprinted from the Kelley Drye law firm web site. Elena please don't sue me.


Puppy, 4/05 - 10/07

We've been dealing with the life cycles here at Apartment 1002 these days. A long-time member of our family, Puppy, died last week. Puppy was the name of our beta fish, because we're ironic like that. We got him as a sign of domestic commitment and because this semi-professional weed dealer we knew had one and it seemed sorta badass.

Puppy went on and lived 2 1/2 years, which is insanely long for a beta, becoming a significant part of our lives. He shared aquatic living quarters in the pot of our bamboo plant, and our (new defunct) band D(o)SP even wrote a song about the imagined love between Puppy and the plant. It was called, appropriately, "Puppy and the Plant." Eventually, Shmelvis fell in love with Puppy, too, spending his days staring at him pathetically through the glass. And that's why Puppy's death was such a shock to him. Here is a confused Shmelvis after Puppy was flushed:
I told Shmelvis to man up, but he just went into a hysterical temper tantrum, knocking shit down all over the place:To shut him up, and to numb the pain in our own hearts, we bought a new beta, named Kitty, naturally. We bought other fish too: 1360 and Sinacki. Shmelvis was excited when they were delivered:
The End.


DJ Update: I Think He Likes Me

So I've been corresponding via MySpace with this deejay candidate, and things are going well. I'm definitely ready to finally tell you about him, even though at this point there is a good possibility that he will actually read this and realize that I'm live-blogging my correspondence with him. And that might make our relationship awkward.

But...too late now. Here goes. His name is DJ Deejay, which we enjoy. He does these very bumping Madonna-Michael-Prince dance parties, one of which we went to over New Year's Eve, which we liked not only because of the tunes but also because one of our friends gyrated against our other friend's friend during Prince's "Kiss" and a picture of said gyration ended up on the web site of the party promoter on Jan. 1. Happy new year!

DJ (that's the name he goes by--I'm not sure if it refers to his real name, his deejay name, or his profession) seems excited about the wedding, although we haven't spoken specifics. Do I recommend artists, and he picks the tunes? Do I give him suggestions about what to play, or are those suggestions actually mandatory? And does anyone have any suggestions on the mandatory suggestions, if there are are any?


I Totally Think I Just Did Something For The Wedding

We now sort of have a photographer, and I'm definitely responsible for hiring her. True, I work with her, so I didn't even have to make a phone call to find her. And true, when it came time to talk price I freaked out and had to have the wife deal with it. But I'm taking credit anyway -- this is my special day too, dammit.

Next up: Matt finds a DJ. To recap, I want a dirty tatted-up scenester who plays parties that I'm not cool enough to attend. There's risk in this, of course, because he (she? no, probably not) could be too hung-over or OD'd to actually show up at the wedding. But with risk comes reward, right? Or with risk comes your friend Steve spinning your iPod mini on your iHome while your new iNlaws shoot you disappointed looks. Either way, I'm on the case. After getting rejected by the last DJ I messaged on MySpace, this time I am trying a more deejay-friendly approach, which means I started this message with a "yo." Check it:

Yo DJ Deejay (that's his real name),
Possibly ridiculous question: I'm getting married next Labor Day weekend at the FUEL gallery, and we don't want a wedding band, because they're sometimes cheesedick, so would you consider doing a wedding? We're just looking to have a big party, heavy on the dancing. Oh, and a big, big horah.

Now we wait. What will he say? If finding a DJ requires me leaving MySpace, I'm in trouble.


You People Are Sick

By an overwhelming majority, a song that opens with...You know I thug 'em, fuck 'em, love 'em, leave 'em/Cause I don't fuckin' need 'em...will be the song that I walk to down the aisle to.

As I've written, barring a spousal veto, I will follow whatever the monthly polls tell us to do for our wedding. Last month we asked how to give some love to gay couples, and readers voted for a rainbow chupah. So we shall have a rainbow chupah hovering above us as we get married.

This month, we asked what song should play when I walk down the aisle. "Big Pimpin'" from Jay-Z won. Readers voted to send me walking into holy matrimonty one of the most anti-true-love songs in human history.

But what's worse? In second place came "Captain Jack" by Billy Joel, which includes the romantic ballad: Your sister's gone out, she's on a date/You just sit at home and masturbate.

Due to this hijacking of democracy, for the immediate future polling will be temporarily suspended. I want everyone to think about what they've done and start taking this shit seriously. I also need time to come up with another poll idea.


Neurosis Of The Day: I Look Like A Jackass On Wedding Dance Floors

Deborah and I recently attended the wedding of this banging-hot couple...Mark and Yumi. The photography, by the shockingly good Anna Kuperberg, caught the magic of the night in the Redwoods of Northern California. The camera also captured, in full splendor, my flamboyance, my attention-whorishness and my general lack of coolness on a wedding dance floor. Consider:

By the way, I don't remember posing for these pictures.
And I don't remember my future wife laughing at me behind my back.
But if I was her, I wouldn't be laughing.I'd be worried about the kind of DNA I'll be passing on to her children.


Become A Communist...About Wedding Gifts

How much do you give for a wedding gift? Is it based on the per-person caterer costs -- and if so, shouldn't you have a vote on whether they get that extra cheese platter at the cocktail hour? Is it based on the value of your relationship or friendship -- but how do you quantify such a thing without sounding like a d-bag? Is it based on the amount of time you've seen that person in the last year -- or the amount of time you've spent with that person in your life?

Every Saturday afternoon at about 3 p.m., after wedding guests have stuffed themselves into dresses and rented tuxes, they sit down in front of their checkbooks (or online in front of The Knot registry) and try to figure out how much to give a couple.

There are various theories on this. One site suggests spending $75 per person -- and then subtracting $25 if the bride is pregnant but adding $100 if you're the father. It says to add $25 if there's an open bar, but subtract $20 if your date goes home with the drummer.

Of course, you could reimburse the couple (or their parents) for the amount spent on the wedding, but do you even like these people? And aren't they going to get divorced (probably) anyways?

Exactly. So do this: Pay what you can, just like at museums on those special "donation-only" days. If you're rich, give $500, a toaster and one of those musical cards. But if you've got a few credit cards loaded with some debt, if you don't even open the cable bill unless it says "3rd notice," if you've already dropped $1,000 on the bachelor(ette) party and $550 on a flight, if you're renting a tux and getting a hotel and taking a day off work, then don't worry about it. Pay what you can. Staple a $5 bill to a postcard or regift that wok in your cabinet with some nice wrapping paper. The only ones filing for bankruptcy at a wedding should be the bride, groom and their parents.

For this system to work, those rich cheap-asses need to buck up and add some zeroes to some wedding checks, quick-stat. Poor people, rise up!


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