Tuesday, 11 January 2011

In which a friend should be otherwise engaged

I am constantly baffled by some of the things that other people choose to do. Spending Saturday afternoons being constantly disappointed by the performance of West Ham; screwing the office junior; and voting Green are all activities enjoyed by members of Social Circle Blonde that I’ll just never get my head around.

One thing in particular was hammered home recently when The Medic came down from The North to stay during the Christmas holidays.

A little context for newer readers: friends from the beginning of Uni, The Medic and Best Mate have always had a more-than-friends friendship, despite TM having had a girlfriend for much of the time we’ve known him. They’ve mostly been well-behaved, other than the night a few years ago - after a boozy dinner and several rounds of Pirates of the Caribbean II drinking Top Trumps - when things got a little heated and he spent the night in BM’s bed.

Shortly afterwards, the girlfriend issued a ban on TM spending any time with BM or me, and announced their engagement.

The ban has since been roundly flouted by TM - he’s wont to come down under the guise of visiting his godson, turning up to dinner parties clutching magnums of champagne and proceeding to get everyone riotously drunk.

This year, over the Christmas holidays, he came to stay with BM (I was irritatingly tucked up at home with the lurgy), drink much wine and then toddle to his parents.

“We were talking about how things were going,” BM said to me later as I leant against her kitchen counter early on New Year’s Eve, knocking back the caipirinhas and trying to stop the kitten from licking the trifle. “Things are good - there’s been no progress made on doing up the house, but work’s going well, and he’s decided to carry on with orthopaedics.”

I waited for the inevitable and most interesting bit.

“But it seems he and she didn’t spend Christmas together - she’s with her parents in Newcastle, and he’s down here. Oh, and I asked how the wedding plans are going. They’re not. His exact words were “there aren’t any plans to get married”.”


Now, leaving alone for a moment the fact that the dislike TM’s fiancĂ©e has for us is entirely mutual and also shared by his entire circle of friends (because the woman is BONKERS), and it’s probably for the best that they don’t actually go through with getting married (because she is BONKERS), who proposes to someone without any intention to follow through?

It seems to be more and more prevalent these days: seeing engagement as an end in itself, rather than the state one happens to find oneself in whilst planning a wedding. Surely if you’re prepared to propose to a gal, then you’ve actually contemplated that the result could be marriage? And if you’re not prepared to make that commitment to someone for what could be the rest of your life, why get engaged in the first place?

And proposing to someone merely to paper over a fight because that’s what she’s demanded and you like to take the easy option is surely the worst idea altogether?


HC said...

Bonkers women + easily petrified men = spontaneous, knee jerk marriage proposals.

I don't make the rules, just abide by them.

Amy said...

People seem to get engaged willy nilly. It's bizarre. And like HC says — people will propose to bonkers women if they're scared just to placate them. Totally the wrong reasons to propose to someone.

nuttycow said...

Another way in which we think the same Blonde. For me, an engagement is a pre-cursor to the main event. One should only be engaged for the time it takes to plan the wedding (from 6 months to, at a push, a year). There's absolutely no reason to be engaged for longer than that. If you can't afford the wedding, then don't get engaged.

I remember a couple at college who got engaged before she went off to Uni with a view to getting married when she graduated (4 years later!). I didn't see the point - it was like another stage of commitment for them which, frankly, is a bit odd.

You're engaged to be married. Not engaged to be... engaged.

em said...

My ex used to talk about us getting engaged all the time, but he never wanted to get married. Besides me getting a sparkly ring and maybe throwing a party, I didn't quite see why he would even bother asking if we weren't going to go 'all the way'.
I hear he is now engaged to another unfortunate. I wonder if she knows he's not likely to take it further?

theperpetualspiral said...

Long engagements baffle me, as previous commenter's have stated an engagement is a precursor to getting married, not just being engaged.

Mind you I was four months from engagement to married and that didn't turn out be work as expected!

AgirlcalledTom said...

I have been engaged, we opted for the long engagement which gave me plenty of time to work out he was not the one, so they are not always bad ;-)

That having been said I have a Czech friend whose mother always told me

"Dahhlink, you should get engaged as many times as possible. Build up a jewellery collection."

Martin said...

I don't see the point of a long engagement, unless there's some massive roadblock like a fully-booked super-sentimental venue, and I agree with nuttycow - engagement is a statement of intent, not an end in itself.

I was engaged to my now-wife for 7/8 weeks, depending on who you ask, which was roughly how long it took us to plan the wedding and subsequent party. A good number of our friends thought we were inviting them to an engagement party in 7 weeks and not the actual wedding, which is quite telling. Why spend 7 weeks planning an engagement party when you could plan a wedding and just get it all signed and done with?

The whole "oh, it takes at *least* a year to plan a wedding dahling!" makes me want to punch people.

HC said...

Some robust viewpoints. I'm pretty sure people should be able to do what suits their circumstances, their whims or their relationships without fear of castigation. If it makes them happy and it takes 10 years of 7/8 weeks,then perhaps that is perfect for them, even if it isn't our own preference or interpretation. I got married lickedysplit but have no objection to people who don't/haven't.

Blonde said...

HC: You're probably right. Still doesn't make any sense to me, though.

Amy: Exacticly. You're going to have much bigger problems further down the line if you're using marriage as a crack-paperer now.

NC: Great minds, my friend, great minds. (Or minds pickled by gin. Either works.)

Em: You should have done it - just for the diamonds!

TPS: Ah, the best laid plans, huh...?!

Tom: What's the ol' saying: I never hated a man enough to give him back his diamonds...

Martin: Now, I would have thought eight weeks wouldn't have been enough time to plan a wedding. That's pretty impressive. But I'm more inclined to go down the speedy-planning route than the ekeing-out.

HC: Indeed. Who knew it was a topic people had such feelings about?

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