For the Teabag in All of Us

Not that kind of teabag. Don't be gross.

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Location: South Florida, United States

If I go about this properly, the blog will (eventually) explain enough about me, so let me just explain the blog, or at least the title of it, here:

"A woman is like a teabag. You never know how strong she is until you put her in hot water."
--Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, April 17, 2006

Speak Now or Forever Hold My Peace

So my sister is getting married.

And yeah, really no one is excited about it. Not even the happy couple, I don't think.

Apparently, it's wedding season. First, there was me shopping in Target the other day. I LOVE their "dollar spot" section, with all the cute seasonal stuff for a dollar? Anyway, there were all these little do-it-yourself wedding favours like frames and candles and things. AND, these cutesy little baseball caps with "Maid of Honour," "Bachelorette" and "Bridesmaid" printed on them in pretty script italic font. Then, there was Nat's post about the engagement rings... and so then I just couldn't get the whole thing out of my mind so now I've booked my flight and invited el Chulo and he booked his flight and now all there is left to do is lament.

Anyway I saw those hats in Target and I about had a breakdown in the middle of the store, because since *I* am the maid of honour, it occurred to me that *I* was supposed to have planned a bridal shower by now! So I called my mom all annoyed and freaked out and she of course thought I was overreacting because she generally dislikes these American traditions where it's really not about much of anything other than a discreet way to ask for more gifts. I mean, it's nice to get all your girlfriends together and giggle over lingerie and play the silly games but you know... I could just throw a party and giggle with my girlfriends anytime... these things are really just about cleaning out the registry list. And my sister isn't registered anyway, because she lives in NYC and her apartment is barely big enough to hold her, the shiftless fiance and the couch, let alone gravy boats and mother-of-pearl handled vegetable spoons and casual AND fine china in some ghastly pattern. So.

I decided to play it all nonchalant-like and called up Lil Sis to say "So, what are we doing about your bridal shower?" To which her response was, "What bridal shower? Isn't that just an excuse to get more gifts?" So amazingly, somehow, I got a get-out-of-throwing-a-bridal-shower-free card because my sister doesn't want one so I am relieved of my maid of honour duty on that one. I feel kind of guilty about it, but then her point is well-taken: she doesn't have loads of friends and it really is just an excuse to get more gifts anyway so why bother flying all the way up there to arrange a party that no one will attend? Sometimes (and I do mean sometimes) my sister is very reasonable and matter-of-fact about things.

Then there are the other times. Like deciding to marry The Fiance.

Okay look, he isn't a bad guy. He's quite good-looking, he's actually quite smart (though you certainly can't tell from his speech patterns), and he's a nice person. But they are just a bad couple. No one likes him (for her), no one wants them to get married... and yet, 5 years after he slipped a silver-and-amethyst ring (and make no mistake -- that thing is silver. NOT platinum) on her finger, they are due to wed. On a boat. In front of a guest list that, as I understand it, mainly consists of her bosses and other office mates.

Oh, and my father? Uber-traditional, breeding-is-everything, stiff upper lip, good Coptic boy? Well... let's put it like this. The Fiance thought he would get brownie points if he did like dad-in-law did way back when, so he took my parents out to dinner and officially asked for my sister's hand in marriage. Except dad-in-law's answer was precisely thus:

"If I say no, you're just going to do it anyway. So what's the difference?"


Actually he boycotted the wedding. Or he tried to. Thankfully Mom smacked some sense into him and this, ladies and germs, is why they are getting married on a boat, instead of in a church. Yeahhhhh, on a boat. Hey, did I mention they were getting married on a boat? Right. Because Dad's reasoning was, we have to invite every family member tracing all the way back to the time of the Sphinx, but they all live far away so they won't come and see my daughter marry a black man! Seriously? There is no end to the fuckedupiness of this wedding.

See, that's Dad's issue. He's a racist. I love him with all my heart, he is a wonderful, brilliant, generous, sensitive man and the best father a girl could ask for. And he has no objection to black people (or Asians, or little green martian men) until they want to date his daughters. Except Lil Sis? Yeah... all she dates is black men. Or I should say all she used to date, before hooking up with shiftless, no-job Fiance. She does it just to be rebellious... I think because growing up, she was always The Good Kid. -sigh-

I could go on and on about why they are not a good couple. But the main thing is, they don't challenge each other. At all. They bicker constantly but it's not that "ahh! you drive me crazy but ohmyGOD I love you anyway!" kind of bickering. There is no spark. They just exist, side by side... mainly, I think, because they're both too complacent to bother looking for happiness elsewhere, because what they have is "enough." It's like a lifetime of enablement awaits.

I love my sister, and I want her to be happy, so if this is what she wants, I will stand up beside her (on the boat) on her wedding day and hold her bouquet and smile for pictures. But I'm so sad about the gigantic step she's about to take, because I know she's doing it for all the wrong reasons.

Well. I could be wrong. Here's hoping.


Blogger sassinak said...

damm dude
that sucks

i know those couples... they just go through the motions and you wonder why they bother.

those are the lonely togethers and are why i'm a lonely alone *grin*

4/17/2006 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger JMai said...

I think there is a lot to be said for settling into a pattern or a comfort zone. But that's different from just plain settling.

-shrugs- She says this is what she wants. She says they're made for each other. Maybe it's the cynic in me but I think ... do you really decide, at 20 (because that's how old they were when they started dating), that here is the person you're going to be with for the rest of your life? And then really mean it?

I mean, what the hell did I know when I was 20?

And you're a quirkyalone -s-

4/17/2006 10:27:00 PM  
Blogger sassinak said...

well of course i'm a quirkyalone, but that's also a defining characteristic... being a lonely alone does that right?

you're totally right about settling into a pattern or a zone or a groove or whatever your personal term for 'all is right with the world' happens to be... but she's not doing that ... at least it doesn't sound like she is and that's unfortunate.

i knew NOTHING at twenty... more now but still nothing :)

4/18/2006 12:08:00 AM  
Blogger Natalia said...

Ahhhh I am reliving our conversations. I still do not get this...damn I still remember when they were just sort of dating. And now marriage. Who am I kidding? I remember when your sister was dating the other high school...I am feeling old now.


4/18/2006 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger Alice said...

aw, that's sad... i'm totally not the enormous-wedding-oh-my-GOD-did-you-see-my-DRESS!!!!! kind of gal, but the bride should at least be excited about getting married, no? ugh sucks sucks sucks when you see something like that but can't DO anything about it. if sis says she's happy and this is what she wants... what can you do? i guess the answer is: get married on a boat :-)

4/18/2006 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger terry said...

oy, that sounds awful. just awful.
there really should be some joy about the occasion... but if the bride can't even get it up...

4/18/2006 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger JMai said...

Sass -- WORD. At this poin, I feel like I've experienced so much that I'm almost afraid to make final, life-altering decisions, because I've learned SO MUCH that I realise that I barely know anything. Of course, we all learn by practice. Or at least I think that's the ideal learning situation.

Nat -- Yeah, my parents still wish she'd married that one. But he's too safe an option for her, I think.

Don't feel old...because if you're old then I'm old and I SO not ready to be old!!

Alice -- I'm with you on the small wedding, don't-make-a-big-deal of it type thing. Funny thing is, little sister is too... even with the unexpected attendance of her whole office (she only invited the bosses, but they sorta decided it was such a big event that they'd just close for the day and bring everyone along. Weird!!), the guest list is still only around 50 or so.

I just want her to be happy. On a boat, in a coat... etc.

Terry -- Well, you kinda have to know her. She's not upset about it... but I wouldn't say she's excited about it either. Whereas most brides are bursting with ebullience, she's just sorta ... ugh! when is this going to be OVER????

So yeah.

4/18/2006 08:51:00 PM  
Blogger ~Deb said...

My father was the same way. When I was dating boys back in the day, I would date only Spanish/black men, and my father would flip out! Total Archie Bunker! I swear! And now, not only is my lover Puerto Rican, but "SHE" is a SHE. ;) So he lost the battle of being a racist OR being judgemental regarding people and lifestyles.

4/19/2006 06:10:00 AM  
Blogger Natalia said...

Yeah but I think Poppy is not just being racist about it. I think he is probably concerned about the standard of living that they are gonna have and the fact the guy seems like he is from another planet to you guys. If the happy couple *heheh* actually seemed happy, then he might be more inclined, within his prejudice, to feel better about it. But give Poppy some credit... he has come a long way considering things that have happened in the past.


4/19/2006 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger JMai said...

Deb -- It's hard to accept that kind of unacceptance in a person you love so much, isn't it? Of course in the end he's just going to lay down to what we choose, because he knows his other option is to lose us (or at least that is the extreme that my sister would go to... not sure what I would do in her position). And at the end of the day, he will choose us over his pride... in my last (31st) birthday card, he reminded me that I will always be his baby girl. And they don't say "who gives this woman" for nothing... it really is an act of letting go for him, and I imagine all parents. It's a tough thing for him to accept with ANY man... even if it were some terrific, rich, non-Muslim Egyptian man who -dingdingding- is a lawyer. I get what he's going through, I just wish he would see things with a lens of this century!!

Butt -- He is a good man and I give him a lot of credit for being as accepting as he is under the circumstances. His old world ways truly make me crazy though! His biggest fear? That their children will be societal outcasts. For the simple reason of mixed race. Wow, I mean... how far behind the times can you BE?

But more than being upset with him (he's handling it pretty well now that we're down to the wire), I'm upset with her for her stubbornness that I believe will ultimately lead to her intense discontent. But we all live and learn I guess. And like I said -- I could be wrong!

4/19/2006 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger JMai said...

Also, I think I just made up the word "unacceptance"

4/19/2006 06:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoyed a lot! » » »

2/15/2007 12:20:00 PM  

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