Dear everyone,

Jameelah and placed another offer on a house, this time for an extreme fixer upper. I mean extreme. In fact, it’s threatening to dissolve right now due to rain. And ironically, it’s only ten blocks away from the house we got outbid on. This way, we can always drive past the beautiful house we lost, and imagine what life would have been like. I’m already stocking rocks in my car to aim at their windows.

Unfortunately, this new house we’re bidding on, it’s a short sale, which means that we have to wait for six months to see if our offer is accepted. It sucks, but I really like this house also. Let’s hope the rain stops soon before the lead-based paint peels off.

On a different subject, this weekend Jameelah and I went to a wedding expo. As a writer (of magical horse dialog), I have learned to see things from different angles. Usually that angle is in my boxers on the couch in front of the TV surrounded by empty bags of Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos, which are delicious beyond comprehension. But she really wanted to go to this expo. So of course, I did what any loving and supportive partner would do in a situation where wedding logistics are involved: Feign an emergency board meeting. “I’m really sorry. The board, um, has to call me in to explain this month’s financial statements. I might get fired!” Unfortunately, I had already played that card when she asked for my advice on party favors. But I figured what the heck, at least I could get a Jagged Noodles column out of it, so I grabbed my bag of Doritos and a Post-It pad, and off to the expo we went.

We paid 15 bucks each, which was ridiculous, but apparently prices do not matter to wedding vendors. Sometimes I wake up at night, thinking of all the caterers, event planners, and photographers who are laughing at the suckers getting married each year: “This cake is normally 50 dollars, but let’s add some orchids, call it a wedding cake, and charge them $2,000.”

As soon as we walked in, they put stickers of “Bride” and “Groom” on us, respectively, which was pointless, considering that the stickers brought no extra goodies or services of any sort. It did, however, help us hapless “grooms” to identify each other as kindred spirits. Each time we passed one another, an unspoken bond was formed and silent encouraging messages were delivered: “Hang in there; be strong.” This, I came to realize, is how grooms have survived wedding expos for millennia.

For two hours we wandered the aisles, perusing one catalog or wedding album after the next, while the enthusiastic salespeople gently ushered us into the world of wedding planning, like an angler fish guiding its hypnotized prey into buying a photography package. “Two photographers! 6 hours! Packages range from $1700 to $6000, but if you sign up right now, you can get $100 off.”

It was a surreal experience. At a booth, a lady was whitening people’s teeth. “I just like to make people look their best for their wedding day,” said the smiling blond. On stage, models were walking around wearing different wedding outfits while an actor played the role of the Phantom of the Opera, prancing about and twirling and cape and cane while “Music of the Night” played in the background. Further down another aisle, a group of transvestites and a Michael Jackson impersonator strutted, advertising their services for wedding entertainments.

And that’s when I had the epiphany. I realized that weddings should be entertaining. People take it very seriously, but really it’s not supposed to be that serious. Marriage vows and what they symbolize should be serious. Weddings are supposed to be happy occasions, a time to celebrate with those you love and those who love you. They don’t care if you spend 50 bucks or two grands for a cake! They don’t care if all the bridesmaids and the groomsmen match! And if they do care, it’s because society told them they had to! Looking around at all the glitz and shiny decorations, I was disturbed by how commercialized and superficial weddings have become. It is now less about celebrating love, and more about showing off. The people whom you want to and should impress—family and friends—are already happy and impressed that you’ve found someone who can tolerate you despite yourself. And the ones who might not be impressed by your celebration in whatever form it takes—crystal stemwares and embossed invitations, or potluck and drum circles with Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos as appetizers—probably shouldn’t have been invited in the first place.

On our way out, at the Mary Kay cosmetics booth, Jameelah was accosted by a very aggressive saleslady. “Spin the wheel, get a free prize,” she said, florescent light gleaming off her glasses. It was a “free” prize, but you had to make an appointment to collect your winning. She tried hard to get us to make an appointment. When Jameelah refused and we started walking away, her words followed us like ghostly shadows: “You must get makeup, you must get it for the wedding pictures, or you’ll fade away!”

“Photoshop!” I yelled back at her.

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