Do men hope for marriage?

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December 17, 2013 by hollyhodgepodge

I inadvertently played engagement photographer a couple of weekends ago.

While walking across the Walnut Street Bridge, a woman asked me to take a picture of her and her boyfriend. When I handed the camera back, the gentleman asked me to shoot one more, “just in case.”

Then he pulled a ring out of his pocket and dropped on one knee.

Fortunately, for him, she said “yes.” (That would have been a disaster: “Will you marry me?” “Actually, I’ve been seeing your brother.” “Oh, uh, OK … can I have my camera back, complete stranger who has just taken pictures of this whole humiliating process?”)

The miracle for me was actually being touched by the moment and not wanting to throw their camera off the bridge.

Yeah, yeah, sue me, but when you’re of a certain age and every week seems to bring news of engagements, marriages, babies, etc., it can be exhausting to have to constantly be happy for other people.

Some days, I really want to invoke a matrimonial embargo.

You’re imagining, I’m sure, an embittered Miss Lonelyhearts typing away in her bathrobe, surrounded by cats.

I have no cats, am gainfully employed (and yes, we do wear clothes at the TFP), and I have someone I love and who loves me. Suffice to say, I’m not crying nightly into my Chunky Monkey, wondering when my prince will come.

I’m just a little fed up with the nuptial parade. And thanks to online networking, it really IS a parade: of engagement-ring photos, wedding planning status updates and floral arrangements.

Of course, society dictates women should want spouses and babies. There’s even that famous lament, “always a bridesmaid, never a bride.” But I have to wonder whether unmarried men will admit to a craving for bands of gold and midnight feedings. “Always a groomsman,” perhaps?

Perhaps. But will he admit to it? Not so much. In fact, of multiple social networking queries reaching about 800 people, the only single guy man enough to speak up was my good friend, Phil.

“Weddings can be depressing. When you know you haven’t been able to find the right one, it can suck to watch other people so happy,” he said. “I get more bitter around the holidays when everyone’s significant others do this cool, special (stuff) for them, and I’m hanging out at home, watching DVD #436797.”

He said he makes exception for very close friends, whose happiness he celebrates unabashedly. And I generally agree. Which is why it was a lovely surprise to feel all warm and fuzzy for a pair of total strangers.

I hope they’ll be very happy together. But mostly, I hope the pictures came out all right.


Originally published Sept. 10, 2010 in the Chattanooga Times Free Press

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