Dear acquaintance, you’re invited to this joyous occasion…

I think it would be fair to say that up to my mid 20s, I’ve been somewhat, what people often call, ‘vanilla’. Not on the verge of being a pushover, yet I think I’ve fairly maintained my position as a ‘nice person’. Not very opinionated, trying to avoid any sort of confrontation and not too keen about disliking people. In fact, I was so intent on liking everyone and especially, being liked by everyone, that my family (although, true, families are not always the best judges of your character) used to say that whomever I hated must be a really bad person.

Years have passed, and I’m not sure if age makes you wiser, but it definitely makes you crankier. I have firm stances on political and social issues these days, which I feel free to express anytime, especially since the online medium allows me to ‘say’ these things without really, ‘saying’ them to an actual person’s face. I have found that it is actually pretty difficult for someone else to be liked by me, since I’m so good at picking faults whenever and wherever I see them. Unfortunately, I haven’t given up the hope that I, on the other hand, should be a generally likable person and should thus be, liked by everyone who meets me.

But moreover, I am realizing how many things there are in my surroundings that just, well, piss me off. And by ‘pissing me off’, I don’t mean the nonchalant, casual way of saying ‘Hmm…no, I don’t like that’, I mean, the whole fuming, swearing, ‘Jeezus, are you f** kidding me??’ pissed off stage.

One of these issues lately is ‘marriage’, or rather ‘wedding’ to be more precise. I’m not even talking about people around me, or my mother, asking me when I’m going to get myself a husband whenever they have the chance to open their mouths. I’ve  given up on that issue some time ago (although that still pisses me off too). No, my anger and frustration is directed towards other people’s marriages and weddings, especially for those I haven’t met, talked to, or even heard of for the last, oh, I don’t know, 5 years.

I get it, marriage is a beautiful institution, a wedding, in the presence of family and friends, is a joyful occasion to celebrate and congratulate on the love of two people, who, under no duress, have chosen, voluntarily, to spend the rest of their lives together. It is a courageous choice and I do admire them, especially when half of married people seem to end up in divorce and research constantly seems to point out that no human being can be faithful to only one person during all his or her life. I have, and will certainly have more, friends who are married, and I am, truly, happy for them. There are some I’m even jealous of for they have found something I’m beginning to think I’ll never have. (Please don’t say ‘Awwww… don’t worry, you’ll find someone too. He’s out there’ I’ve heard it enough not to believe in that crap either). Moreover, I’ve considered myself fortunate to have been around some of them on their very wedding day, congratulating them on what should and will be their happiest day ever.

Deciding to spend the rest of your life with someone else is something that should be thus, celebrated and congratulated upon, but I also think it’s something quite personal. You would want, I would assume, those around you on your happy day to actually know you, or your other half, enough to feel genuine joy for you. You would want them to say words they really mean, you would want them to shed true tears of joy, if need be. You would want them to say ‘These two are really meant for each other’, ‘You guys look great together’ and actually know what they’re talking about,  and mean it.

Apparently, that is not how weddings or marriages are about for the majority of Koreans. Weddings have to be successful, and that means, you have to have as many people as possible crowding the tiny wedding venue you have to vacate anyways in an hour for the next happy couple to say their vows. Weddings are another joyous occasion for pictures, proof of how successful and popular your wedding was, which directly reflects upon you, as a person, and how successful and popular you are. God forbid that you don’t need to take two sets of pictures with your ‘friends’. You will want enough people at your wedding so that you can take one picture with your ‘college friends’ and another with your ‘co-workers’.

So that is why, when most of all the plans for the oh happy happy day are made, people start digging up their phones and send out messages (air mail, the usual texts, and the IMs like Kakao Talk) to all of their ‘acquaintances’. It doesn’t matter if we haven’t talked to each other for the last five years, heck, it doesn’t even matter that we weren’t even that close five years ago, when we were at least in the same university. As long as you’re in my phone book and I remember your name and even briefly remember what you look like, you’re worth getting my wedding invitation. Please come and donate 50,000won. No, I don’t know what you’re doing these days, or even what you’ve been up to for the past couple of years. It doesn’t matter, we will so catch up at the pre-wedding dinner where I will give you my wedding invitation anyways and promise you we should so meet up often. Geez, spare me your hypocrisy.

As I said, I am capable of being happy for my ‘friends’‘ weddings. I truly am. I just don’t think anyone should expect me to actually be happy for the others’. It’s not that I’m ‘unhappy’ about it, I just … well, don’t care, really. Sure, it’s a good thing you found the love of your life, but don’t expect me to hug you for that. Heck, a wedding announcement between Josh Dallas and Ginnifer Goodwin would make me happier.

I just don’t understand why people feel they have to do this. Do they think people will feel left out if they don’t invite them? Are they actually doing all this for…me? Am I the one who’s being ungrateful? Then, please, by all means, don’t feel pressured to consider my feelings and I, for one, don’t give a care in the world if you’re getting married next month, oh dear acquaintance.

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