The Bell Ringer’s Lament ran on Day to Day today. If you’re looking for a holiday sedative, check it out …
Thenest.com â€” sister to the wedding behemoth known as theknot.com â€” just published my article on busting through male myths, making me the hero to new brides everywhere and the whipping boy for, well, pretty much everyone else …
This proposal essay was originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine.
Thereâ€™s a scene in the Gilmore Girls when Emily Gilmore, the blue blooded matriarch of the clan, goes postal in a department store. It is a scary sight. Clerks are skittering this way and that to either fulfill her demands or get out of her way. And THEN she blows up â€” an atomic meltdown of indignity and wrath.
If a 4-year-old put on such a scene, it would be considered a tantrum. But that the performance is coming from someone more, say â€¦ seasoned, itâ€™s best just to grab some popcorn, pull up a chair and enjoy the show. Because who doesnâ€™t dream of just speaking her mind anywhere, anytime?
In other words, I want to be her. This week, I was.
Normally, Iâ€™m an easy-going type of guy. Iâ€™ll say, â€œExcuse me,â€ or â€œPardon me, if you donâ€™t mind â€¦â€ when Iâ€™m asking people to do something other than what theyâ€™re doing. Like, â€œExcuse me, could you please not talk through the WHOLE movie? Thanks.â€
Iâ€™ll even catch myself beginning a request with, â€œIâ€™m sorry, but â€¦â€ â€” which really drives me crazy because itâ€™s just so weak and, really, Iâ€™m NOT sorry.
â€œIâ€™m sorry, do you mind not breaking into my car?â€
But this week, I was in the hospital.
My wife, Dana, had just given birth to our first child, a daughter named Emmeline. As these things go, it was probably pretty easy compared to others. But itâ€™s still god-awful tiring â€” for all three of us.
So we were very, very happy when the nurses stuck us in a recovery room at the end of a long hallway â€” less traffic that way. There was even a little alcove with a window where you could watch cars silently cruise by on the streets below. It was very serene. So of course it would draw attention. Throughout the week, people stole moments away from their own new brood to hide out in the little alcove, maybe read a book, maybe place a call on their cell phones.
The only problem was, the alcove boasted signs that read â€œNo Cell Phones!!!! Quiet please!.â€ Considering that the alcove was right outside our door, we heard every call â€” while Dana was trying to recover and little Emmeline was trying to, well, LIVE.
Enter Emily Gilmore.
In the early afternoon, when Dana had finally settled into a long nap, I heard a booming voice outside our door. It was the kind of one-sided conversation that says a cell phone is involved. â€œNo, no, a parrot!,â€ or â€œHa, ha, ha, right â€” nuns!.â€
Something in me snapped. This was a hospital. A r-e-c-o-v-e-r-y ward. Is a quite-please sign really necessary? But because there WAS a sign, it angered me even more that someone could be completely unaware of their surroundings AND completely ignore a sign. A SIGN!
So I snapped open the door and caught by surprise the stranger, a very large man with a military crew cut.
â€œGo away,â€ I shouted, pointing at the sign. His mouth gaped. â€œGo on, close your mouth and open your gait. Shoo!â€
It got worse.
Later that day, a woman felt the need to update her relatives about a family memberâ€™s grueling 27-hour labor. No detail was spared. And then, suddenly, the conversation shifted to shopping and a nice little Capri number she had purchased for Easter.
â€œIâ€™m glad rules donâ€™t apply to you,â€ I snapped, after popping my head out of the door.
â€œRules, Iâ€™m so glad they donâ€™t apply to you. Where do I sign up? Although youâ€™d think rules wouldnâ€™t be needed and that people would naturally be quiet in a hospital out of concern for others. But I guess when you just made a stellar purchase, you can interrupt other peopleâ€™s lives and recoveries just for a moment, right? I mean, whatâ€™s a good nap compared to a new pantsuit?â€
I later saw the woman huddled in an empty recovery room, her hand covering her cell phone as she talked in a hushed whisper.
Iâ€™m sure my own mental breakdown had to due with a horrible lack of sleep. But I wonder now whether Iâ€™ve crossed an invisible barrier, whether concerns for a new family will outweigh my own desires to just get along. Dana says Iâ€™m just being overprotective, that itâ€™s natural to gather up a spear and stand guard over a new brood.
When I gain back some sleep and our lives return to normal, Iâ€™ll settle down, she tells me. But I have a suspicion Iâ€™ll be putting on a few more shows of my own.
Because really, who needs a spear when you have Emily Gilmore?
Today’s NYO Bridal Blog post tackles the “duties” most grooms are assigned:
Many brides attempt to get a break from the planning by giving the groom some duties, such as securing the band, buying the liquor or keeping the ring bearer from swallowing the jewelry.
My fiancee, Dana, offered me zero duties: “How can I put this? I don’t, ummm, trust you,” she said, setting the stage for a wonderful marriage. “I’ll say roses and you’ll think, ‘Hmm…lilacs…'”
But in the end I was vindicated. When it all became too overwhelming, I was handed certain duties (such as the emergency, mid-morning, mother-in-law-won’t-stop-offering-advice liquor run) and I executed them flawlessly.