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!

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