I went through a phase a few years ago when I got passionately vocal about my distaste for weddings. It might have had something to do with the frequency with which they were occurring; at one stage I got back from uni break to find four couples had become engaged during July. It was a strange sort of a phase because I enjoy a nice dinner and a catch-up as much as the next guy, and Christian wedding services are usually (depending on all sorts of things) quite nice. I think after my fourth or fifth wedding in quick succession the excess pageantry and forced emotion started to grate on me. Thank goodness, weddings amongst my contemporaries these days are becoming increasingly rare, possibly due to almost all my contemporaries being married by now.

The wedding craze being over, the latest craze is equally insidious in terms of forced enthusiasm. It consists of a couple rocking up to church one morning sporting a newborn baby and immediately being beset by flocks of churchwomen babbling unintelligibly. Said flock then invites their begrudging husbands/fiancés/boyfriends/me into the huddle to meet the newest addition to the congregation and to try to come up with a compliment for the baby that sounds credible and sincere.

I don’t find babies attractive. I find them small, delicate, messy and loud. I can understand why parents of newborns are so besotted; that’s a tangible biological connection. I don’t understand what goes wrong in the brains of the gaggle of clucky womenfolk at each new arrival. Rhetorical questions like “hasn’t he got lots of lovely thick hair?” or “he’s got a lovely strong grip on him, hasn’t he?” or “isn’t he just as cute as a button?” are not only strange things to say, in many cases they’re patently absurd. Babies are generally bald and weak, and buttons aren’t remotely cute. So I guess that last one might actually be true.

The point is, I was pleasantly surprised this month to be informed of two new engagements of old uni friends in Brisbane. Hopefully this signals a turn in the tide of public behaviour and we can go back to fancy parties and church services instead of hospital visits and arranging our social lives around breast-feeding schedules.

We can only hope.


Garry with 2 Rs

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