Of reputation and fraud

I am really tempted to say that wedding is a fraud.  I do not know about you, but in my culture (oh, let’s not generalize: replace “my culture” with “my family”) wedding is a matter of pride.  We like to say dignity instead of pride, but we know that it is actually about pride.  We have a reputation to maintain, we like to say.  We have a reputation to maintain, how can we hold the banquet in less than a five star hotel?  You need to consider Father’s name, how can we not decorate the place lavishly?  Consider the widely acclaimed taste of Mother, how can we choose the cheaper menu?  We have a reputation to maintain, how can you use the same wedding gown twice?  Twice, you might ask, why should one wear a wedding gown twice?  Simple, for one may have two banquets.  How, you may exclaim, can one have two wedding banquets?  Even simpler, for both sides need to host their own banquet.  How, you may ask in disbelief, can that be?  Very simple, try to be an Indonesian.

The list goes on and on.  How can we hold the banquet in less than a five star hotel?  Now that we have a respectable enough venue, surely we have to decorate it lavishly, to further emphasize the grandeur of the place, and the elegant taste of the host? (I can’t help thinking that if your venue was Merethron or at least Pemberley, then you would certainly need no additional decoration.  But of course our venue is not those.  No, it is not, which brings us to an important point: we do not exactly have a reputation to maintain!)  How can we invite less than a thousand guests?  We are known to be generous people, befriending the rich and the poor, surely we have to invite all our acquaintances?  How can we not use special lighting, surely we should let people see and duly admire the expensive decoration?

A lavish celebration is proper, I presume, if you are really someone.  But we are not.  By the old standard, we are clearly nobody, with no estate, title, or great lineage.  By the new standard, i.e. wealth aristocracy, we are just some happy middle class people.  So what reputation are you talking about?  We do have a reputation, that of being a sensible people.  This wedding business seems to ruin that reputation considerably.

I used to think that we are important people.  But we are not.  We are not, really.  I used to think that I am special.  But I am not.  I used to think my family is rich, but now I know better.  (Now don’t you dare to lecture me on being thankful.  I do not think we need illusions to be thankful.  Those in Tatler are rich, we are just happy middle class people.  Even in national scale this classification remains true.  The Bakries are rich, we are just happy middle class people).  I used to think I am smart, but now I no longer know what I am.  I am not even sure anymore whether I have ever really thought.  As for career, oh, think of the rat race in academia and you will agree with me that glittering career is something I cannot boast about (yet).  I used to think that my family is an exemplary family, but now I don’t think so.  We quarrelled, we got disappointed in each other.  Oh, sure, I am thankful that we are still together, but does that make us The Ideal Family?

So this is 1.40 am, tomorrow is a working day, I have to think on the kriging, I have spent my weekend (and many weekends before) for this wedding preparation only to feel exhausted and not amused and insecured and stupid.  Ah, well, at least I’m not the only one experiencing this.  I believe there are many fellow desperate brides- and grooms-to-be out there.  Which brings me back to my point: I’m just one of many.  Once I thought that I am smarter and wiser than them all, but that does not seem true anymore.


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