Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Bride And The Prejudice

I am totally and thoroughly disgusted with myself.

Alex and I went to my neighbor's wedding on Saturday. I had prejudiced opinions over this wedding well ahead of the actual event.

My neighbor Mary's husband died about a year and a half ago. Mary is in her mid-60's, quite attractive, and she was left in a very comfortable financial position when her husband passed away.

I understand not wanting to be alone, I really do. When she came and told me she had met a man and they were getting married, I said "Good for you!" but I really didn't mean it. I was lying through my teeth. I didn't want her to throw herself into the funeral pyre, but after only a year and a half, I thought she was rushing into something. (Right, like that is any of my business!) I asked Mary how she had met the new man, and she told me "on the internet" which set up loud alarms ringing inside my head.

I had really liked Mary's husband. He was a great guy. Mary introduced me to her future husband, Chris, a few days later. He seemed like a nice enough man. He was recently divorced from his first wife. Mary mentioned that Chris was living with his parents for the time being (which set off more alarms in my head). There was also Chris's disapproving 19 year old daughter in the mix.

(Of course, I was comparing Chris to her late husband and the new guy came up a little short, literally and figuratively.)

When Mary came to see me and talked about her plans for the wedding I was frankly taken aback. She was planning a formal wedding, with bridesmaids, a matron of honor, and a long bejeweled white dress and veil. There were about 150 people invited to attend the wedding and reception which would be held at a very exclusive hotel in the Bay Area.

I "oohed and aahhed" appropriately, all the time thinking to myself that this was the tackiest thing I had ever even heard of. (This was Mary's third marriage. You don't do the dewy eyed 21-year-old type wedding bit when you are in your 60's and it's your third trip down the aisle!)

I sent in our RSVP note accepting the invitation to the wedding but I had a little trepidation over it. Since I was being critical in my head, I questioned that I should attend at all. Finally, I determined that as long as I kept my mouth shut and my negative opinions to myself, we should be fine. After all, she is my next door neighbor, and not to go would be insulting.

The wedding ceremony was to be at 4 PM, with the reception and dinner to follow. We arrived on time and admired the 5-tiered elaborate wedding cake before the religious service. I whispered to Alex that a family of four could eat for a month on what that cake must have cost. So much for my open mind.

When Mary walked down the aisle escorted by her brother, she looked lovely. The service was brief, but rather charming and not nearly as religion-heavy as I had feared. The reception and dinner were both great.

A couple of people I know made somewhat catty comments to me about the appropriateness of a formal wedding at Mary's age, but I immediately cut them off because the comments actually offended me.

Here they were at Mary's wedding being wined and dined on her dime and being critical! How rude is that? I felt that anyone who was critical of Mary or her wedding was a total jackass.

Okay, what does that make me? I'll answer that. I was a jerk, a hypocrite, a snark, and a jackass too. I've always considered myself to be open minded. Hah! Self-delusion is the worst kind of delusion!

When I watched Mary walk down the aisle with her pretty face glowing happiness and hope, I realized how very wrong I had been.

I had to ask myself, was I jealous for some reason? I really don't think that's the case. I've had weddings too. I always chose to have much more private marriage ceremonies because that is what I preferred for myself.

I felt ashamed of myself because in truth, I was just being a bitch.

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