Rules of engagement

Since Chris and I got engaged last year, I’ve been struck by how genuinely pleased people are for us. People we know, people we barely know, people we’ve never met before. We were in Heroes last night and I was chatting to a guy whose near-unconscious friend had latched onto us for some reason. Anyway, I pointed to Chris across the room (where he and Omar were being comprehensively thrashed by some randoms who had challenged them to a game of table football) and said he was my fiancé and the guy I was speaking to could barely contain his excitement. And he wasn’t drunk.

I’ve experienced this with almost everyone I’ve told. People go out of their way to say how genuinely happy they are (they always say genuinely – you know, to make it more sincere) and how they think it’s a lovely thing. It certainly is a lovely thing to have met the person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life and I suppose people relate to that, because it’s what we’re supposed to aspire to and because we’re constantly hearing about the break down of relationships and the family unit. So when a couple decides to get married, others – however remote or closely related – appear to latch onto the optimism that that decision represents. When people respond to Chris and me in that way, it makes me realise that we kind of take that decision for granted and that we forget its implications.

I wrote the following quotation in my diary on 11th March 2000 (when I still kept a diary – funny how things come around). I was 17 and determined never to marry and, at the time, believed that Moby (yes, the great philosopher Moby) had an excellent point.

“I tend to be faithful, but unhappy. I aspire to a steady monogamous relationship, absurd and arbitrary though it is. But one of the problems I have in committing to one person is I know so many remarkable people. When you think about it, though, you don’t only eat in one restaurant for the rest of your life, and you don’t only listen to one record.”

Well, it’s rubbish frankly. It’s true that I also know lots of remarkable people, many of whom I love very, very much. But the commitment to a single person for the rest of your life is an entirely different thing to that which Moby is talking about. If anything, the polygamous relationships that he prefers and which I am now turning my back on are absurd and arbitrary actually. The commitment that you make when you marry transcends that, I think. And I think that’s why people recognise it as a wonderful thing, even in people they barely know.

On a different note entirely, I am only a year and a half behind the times but I am now obsessed with Sowing Season (Yeah) by Brand New. Note that the video I’ve linked to was taken in front of me at the Reading Festival last year. And that I was asleep against a tent pole whilst all that was going on and missed the entire set. Damn alcohol, cigarettes and sleep-deprivation L

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