This is your last chance to run: why commitment comedy falls flat for me

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*Insert sound of my soul being crushed by these “last chance to run” wedding signs* Product image courtesy of Bellestyles.com

Every once in a while, I peek my head out of the safe, offbeat cave I’ve carved for myself here in this corner of the wedding industry and I get a terrible shock. See, I spend so much time over in my little niche that I forget about the rest of the wedding world and how icky it often is.

Case in point: this HARDY HAR HAR hilarious LAST CHANCE TO RUN sign that you can buy for your ring bearer and flower girl to carry down the aisle, announcing that HO HO HO, this is your last chance to run!

Now, I get it: this is comedy. It’s meant to provide a little moment of levity in a serious ceremony. But it hurts my head, and it hurts my heart, and here’s why…

This sign says to me, “Any commitment before marriage doesn’t really count.”

This sign says to me, “Commitment is terrifying and awful.”

This sign says to me, “Marriage sucks.”

Also, while there’s nothing explicit about gender in this particular sign, in a traditional western wedding, the groom is the one who sees this coming down the aisle as he waits for the bride to make her entrance — so, you can extrapolate that this is extra HARDY HAR HAR because OH THOSE MENFOLK: THEY JUST HATE TO COMMIT.

Some versions of these “Last chance to run” wedding signs are much more explicit in their gender-grossness:

Last chance to run… because here she comes sign from here

What about avoidant women? What about ladies who don’t want to get married? Where are they in this joke? Why is the assumption that all women want to get married, and all dudes hate to commit? It’s just not true, people.

If cracking jokes about commitment through “last chance to run” wedding signs tickles your funny bone, by all means keep giggling

Ok, ok. I know I’m being a grump here, and taking this silly shit way too seriously.

Far be it for me to say that weddings shouldn’t be hilarious, or that we all have to put on our Somber Hats (somber-eros?) and our Very Uncomfortable Humorless Panties to talk about the sanctity of marriage. I’m completely confident that some of you find this sign hilarious, and that’s cool: if cracking jokes about commitment tickles your funny bone, by all means keep giggling. I just find wedding humor like this problematic because it plays into and enforces so many stereotypes and generalizations about couples and commitment and marriage…

…That marriage is awful.

…That you should run.

…That you’ve got up until the moment you say “I Do” to just be joking around, and that everything changes after you get married.

It all just reminds me of the Game Over tshirts, where it’s hardy-har-larious that the groom “lost” the game by having to get married.

HA HA, this shirt is funny because I hate women, get it?!

Again, I get it: it’s humor and it’s subjective. We all have different tastes in HA HAs, and that’s cool: there’s no need to defend yourself if you think this stuff is awesome.

But I think I’ll just stay hiding over here in my corner of the wedding world, where our comedy is stuff like this or this.

Comments on This is your last chance to run: why commitment comedy falls flat for me

  1. Brilliant analysis! And the fact that kids are holding this sign is frustrating, too. Everything we do and say teaches kids values. By actually having these kids holding this sign, it is *teaching them* that people should run from commitment and marriage, and that it’s funny to do so. Just when I think the world is making progress I get reminded that it’s only in our little bubble.

    • I agree completely. I grew up with a mother who told me (when i was 13) that the only reason she married my father was he had money, and she wanted kids. So i have a hard time finding anything like this funny.

      I’ve gone so far as to have discussions with a friend of mine about how i disagree with the concept of bachelor/ette parties for the fact of “one last night of freedom”. A soon as you were in a commited relationship with someone, you’re no longer single, married or not. And if you’re looking for that last night of freedom, why are you getting married?

      (Sorry for the rant)

      • I talk about this in my book too! My point with bachelorette parties was that if you really love strippers and penis cake, maybe you should find a way to keep enjoying those things AFTER you’re married.

        And if you don’t enjoy them, then why are you doing them at all!?

        • I totally agree with you Ariel. I recently went to a bachelorette party where the bride-to-be was mortified having to drink out of penis straws and do stupid games. Personally I don’t like that idea at all.

          • ugh ugh ugh! I have had a stern talking to my maid of awesomeness and she has assured me that the only male “members” present will be my 2 Brideguys!

          • I’m so worried my ladies of honor are going to do this to me. It’s not a “last night of fun.” It’s just an excuse to go out with my girls, because we live in separate states and don’t see each other enough. I don’t enjoy penis cakes and straws any other day of the week, why would I enjoy them this one time? Unfortunately, one of my ladies of honor is one of those “But that’s just how you do it! EVERYONE does it that way!”

        • Yes! I hate the concept of “last night of freedom”. So it’s not ok to mess around for all of your relationship prior to the wedding, but cool to blow it all off on one night? Sorry, I just don’t get it.

          For my own bachelorette party, I just had a girls night in – movies, junk food, girly stuff. So much more fun, and contained. I made it very clear to my girls that was all I wanted, because I thought the rest was stupid.

          And my husband just went over to a mate’s place and did a similar sort of thing just hanging out with his mates without the need for any of the strippers and crap like that (not that I made him promise he wouldn’t or anything, his plans were his own decision, but we think alike – you know one of the many reasons we got married! 🙂

          • We have a semi open relationship arrangement… Marriage doesnt mean the end of that! So we are turning “one last chance to do whatever with whomever” on its head by having separate parties and then ending together at a swinger party. Oh yes, not the end of anything….

          • Nice.
            I had a ladies night in, with sparkling wine and snack foods, chatting and dancing, sing-alongs and smoking.
            It was perfect.
            My husband and his fellas had a very TAME visit to a classy strip club, with pre- and after- partying at home. Totally chill. 😉
            (I was totally fine with their choice of entertainment–and was actually at home for the before and after, heh.)

          • This!

            I’m having a girl’s night in, beautifying, and romcom fest the night before the wedding. And we won’t even be up very late. The boys are going to a MAGIC the Gathering game 2 nights before since we’re putting them to work setting up the venue the day before.

            And we’re both psyched about it all. At best, we might have some drinks. The Maid of Win’s fiance does mead… >..>

        • I sort of saw the sex toy party and pole dancing lessons and not so much a “last blast” as a “we know you’re sexually adventurous and we’re celebrating that you get to continue that with someone who it too.” Though… the guys did give my husband one of those game over shirts. Not so much because they think it’s game over (they’ve known us since before we started dating and really know how happy we are together) but because it was a shirt that involved gaming and they didn’t have much more imagination than that.

        • On my bachelorette (which involved dinner, a save the planet walk and movies with Ben & Jerries, stuff that I totally plan on keeping doing) I was amazed how many rowdy comments I got from random men who invited me for a last ‘bit of fun’ and who actually seemed to believe this was not just ok, but also a fairly good offer. Weird. (And yes, they recognized me by the crappy veil, without penisses of course.)

        • My husband actually had his best man step back from the role after being told ‘no strippers, no drinking (for him)’. My husband has never drank and had a change of look outlook on life a few years before we started dating on the whole stripper thing (mainly meeting them and hearing that they felt negative about it- not that many don’t enjoy it, but he couldn’t get it out of his head when he visited, ruining the experience for him).

          Instead, he wanted to do an ‘epic game night’, but his best man refused. No longer best friends as the best man said ‘you have to either drink or have strippers’ and wouldn’t compromise as it was ‘his prerogative’ to plan.

          On the other hand, I do fear commitment. I’m committed, but the act of being proposed to and walking down an aisle just filled me with fear. Not being married, etc. Just me being a ‘shy bride’ I guess. Excellent posts and notions and ideas you have laid out in this though!

          • I can relate to the “shy bride” comment.
            *I* was the one who was the committment-phobe.
            *I* was the one to say “yes, I am finally ready to get married”.
            *He* is the one pushing the time-line, wanting to get married sooner.

            Isn’t it great we’re all different!

        • “…if you really love strippers and penis cake, maybe you should find a way to keep enjoying those things AFTER you’re married.”

          And here people were, giving me strange looks as they ladle’d out the cranberries and gravy from my penis cake pan on Thanksgiving. I’m just resourceful, is all.

        • Exactly! If someone is *so* afraid to commit, DON’T PROPOSE then turn around and blame the other party for forcing them into a monogamous relationship.

        • we had a joint pre-wedding party and played stripper bingo at the club. Neither of us was comfortable with the concept of a gender-segregated bachelor/bachelorette do tho.

      • When my sisters got married, we skipped over the normal bachelorette nonsense for a more personal approach. For the first sister, we went mini-golfing, then out to dinner, and then settled in for a movie, slumber party style. For my 2nd sister, we had a hard time deciding on something worthwhile to do based on her interests and the amount of money we could each contribute. Then my mom pointed suggested that we pool our money, give my sister the cash, and then we do an all-day antique shop run and make her spend ALL of the money on stuff she wouldn’t normally allow herself to splurge on. So, we did that. She found a sterling silver cake platter that was perfect for her wedding cake, a side table with an inlaid chess board, and a few other things. Overall, we had fun, and she got stuff that she’d actually use.

      • OMG, that is exactly why we’re not having bachelor/ette parties. We have decided to have a joint pre-wedding celebration with our friends together instead. My sister hates this idea, but to me I have been in a committed relationship for 10 years already. Why go out and have a night of ‘freedom’ I mean if you’re getting married you should already be committed to each other. It just seems weird to me.

    • I agree completely. I grew up with a mother who told me (when i was 13) that the only reason she married my father was he had money, and she wanted kids. So i have a hard time finding anything like this funny. I’ve gone so far as to have discussions with a friend of mine about how i disagree with the concept of bachelor/ette parties for the fact of “one last night of freedom”. A soon as you were in a commited relationship with someone, you’re no longer single, married or not. And if you’re looking for that last night of freedom, why are you getting married?

      (Sorry for the rant)

    • This is something not a lot of people think about, the kids in these sorts of weddings/unions. I myself am getting married next month and of course I’m in ultra stressed out mode but when I’m in any store now I always make it a point to go down the wedding aisle just to poke around. The last time I was there I saw a cake topper of the bride dragging the groom by the collar behind her and he had a very scared look on his face. Of course I took a picture and immediately shared it on social media to broadcast my utter distaste for it. Something along the lines of “you want to remember your wedding day as an event of your life that you had to drag him to?” Yeah that spells out happily ever after. Anyway, it does teach these outdated ideas of gender roles to kids and that commitment is something to not be taken seriously. It makes me cringe.

  2. “somber-eros” made me choke.

    otherwise, this is why I love OBB. Thank you for not being afraid to talk about this kind of stuff.

  3. for what it’s worth, Ariel, my sense of humor on things wedding-y adheres pretty closely to yours. Certain things that people find hilarious squick me out a little bit. Which is so funny, because not much is squicky to me. I can eat my lunch in the corner of a working veterinary surgery (so as not to miss the good stuff, even though I was HUNGRY!) Sooo, there you have it, that sign squicks the hard to squick over here.

    • This is absolutely what I was thinking of while reading the article. I HATE those! Why is it funny that the man doesn’t want to be married?

      • Yup… I was watching a TV show with a lot of jokes like these… and my hubs -who wasn’t really watching, but happened to be in the same room- pointed out that he didn’t get the kind of humor that portrays ALL men as commitment phobic, not to mention marriage phobic!
        It struck me that I hadn’t noticed the ‘jokes’ before… I guess is all that conditioning we take on constant basis.
        So marriage might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for us two is freakin’ awesome!

        • And a bit OT: the somber-ero thing is quite accurate! I couldn’t resist to post this since spanish is my native language. sombrero comes from ‘sombra’, the word we use for both ‘shadow’ and ‘shade’ 🙂

    • Oh! oh! How about the one where the groom is holding a fishing pole with a ring dangling on it and the woman is below reaching for it. That’s all women want out of a marriage is jewelry, right?

      • I have to comment on this, because I hate the ball and chain ones and dragging the groom, and that sign? Ugh… BUT, I have that fishing cake topper for our wedding next year. I love it, because we love to fish together, that country song about “My Baby Loves to ‘Fish'”, and we joke about catching each other ALL the time. We always refer to each other as “my catch”, and our wedding theme is “Country couple goes on a fishing trip/picnic”. I’m customizing it with a tutorial I read on here to be more “us”. But, yea, just gotta have love for the first wedding thing we bought!! lol

        • Of course if it’s meaningful to you, then you should use it! I didn’t mean to offend your choices. On the surface I don’t like the symbolism behind that topper, but it sounds like it’s a cute fit for your wedding. Rock it!!!

          • It’s fine!! Wasn’t offended at all!! I saw the other fishing one, too, where the groom is trying to get away… Hated that one. lol.

          • Similarly, if a really kinky couple got a cake topper with the groom wearing a ball and chain…because they’re into that sort of play, and want to share that with their guests…that’s a completely different story.

            Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s usually the case with these toppers.

    • I was going to mention the cake toppers, also. Ariel, I’m so glad you wrote this post. This kind of thing makes me cringe, if people crack jokes like that to my fiance it hurts my feelings, as well as his. We are getting married because we love each other, not because I nagged him until he grudgingly bought a ring.

      • The worst part is that I know couples who DID do this: the man finally gave in because the woman gave an ultimatum because she wanted to get married NOW (no matter to whom). Ugh. And that’s why these things aren’t funny!

        • I know it’s been a while since this was posted, but I have thoughts, so I’m posting :P. I have known many people (including my fiance’s ex-boyfriend) who have decided that marriage is NOW and they don’t care who is waiting at the end of the isle. I find this appalling. In my community (which includes a lot of Latter Day Saints because my fiance used to be in the church) this tends to be a religio-cultural thing, where the church and the family and everyone are constantly pressuring women and men to get married. I have not seen this work out well, almost ever. Some of them are still married (and having loads of kids) but after about the 3rd of 4th child, these marriages have been disintegrating.

          By the way, I was one of those brides who badgered her partner into getting married, but it sure as hell wasn’t for the jewelry. Her response was “We have a dog together. I moved to Indiana for you. What other signs of commitment could you want?” 🙂

      • This has hurt my feelings as well. When we went to visit our ceremony site, the director smiled at us and said, “So you want to get married?” Ecstatic about our recent engagement we agreed enthusiastically. He then turned to my fiance and said, with a chuckle, “Now, if she left the room would you answer that question the same way?” I was appalled. The implications about me as a person (Pushy and demanding marriage? After jewelry and money? Not worth giving up his manly “freedom”?) are hurtful, not funny. Fortunately my FH finds these comments offensive as well and won’t go along with them.

    • like everyone else in this particular comment thread, this is precisely what came to mind.

      i would never in a million years have either one of those stupid cake toppers *or* the sign pictured…because i respect my partner more than that. but i get there are people out there who find it funny, and more power to them for it. i just fail to see the humor.

    • I am SOOOO happy that you posted about those. I go into a rage every single time I see them!! I’m angry now just thinking about them.

    • the only redeeming quality of those cake toppers is how easily they are repainted so the chasing spouse is a zombie.

    • Another reader who thought immediately of those awful cake toppers. A friend posted a picture of them on facebook and said he “had to show the wife. Too funny!” Ugh.

      • And let’s not miss the choice of words here: these are the people who go on to call their spouses “the” wife, which drives me berserk. Ah yes, the inanimate object that sounds like a big heavy burden. Guess you don’t have to express emotions when it’s a thing not a partner-soulmate-best friend-love of your life.

    • I hate those, too. I find them to be very immature. Women aren’t the only ones who want to get married, and if a man feels like it’s “Game Over” and marriage is a trap, he shouldn’t propose! Or accept a proposal!

    • THIS! I was thinking about those damn cake toppers while reading this. They really bug me because of the message they are implying.

    • Ugh, my friend had the worst topper: it was a bride with her arms folded looking grumpy with the groom sitting in a La-Z-Boy chair with a foot up a coffee table looking at a TV screen that read “GAME OVER”. I was horrified. They have been married just over a year and still go on about how much they loved the topper though, so I guess they get the last laugh, haha.

      • Heh, that one I actually like better. As a video game widow, I can totally relate to the “Not until I finish this match, honey” mentality. I don’t really see it as the wedding being “game over” so much as the poor bride having to wait until he finished his game – even on their wedding day.

        Note, I solved this problem by just having video games at the reception 😛

  4. GAWD, this image comes up once in a while on my Pinterest feed and it makes me gag. Same with the “Here comes your girl!” ring bearer signs (although that one is more cutesy but I still have feminist issues with it). I’m glad you wrote this post, bravo!

  5. Having kids carry a sign down the aisle to signal to the groom that now’s the time to run away and sew his wild oats? Not funny.

    Having kids carry a sign down the aisle to signal to the guests that now’s the time to arm themselves for the impending zombie apocalypse? Offbeat hilarious.

  6. I completely agree! For me, this falls in the same category as those ‘hilarious’ cake toppers with the bride dragging the groom by his tux collar. Humor is great (we had a Simpsons inspired wedding cake), but it shouldn’t be at the expense of the love and commitment of the people getting married!

    • Oh, wow, I just had a huge nerd moment. I literally got shivers when I read “Simpsons inspired wedding”. That is awesome.

    • Well, I’m not even engaged yet, but I now know what my cake toppers are! Marge and Homer from my parent’s simpsons chess set (They are the ‘king’ and ‘queen’). SO My partner and me lol.

  7. I totally agree with this! It’s so frustrating, in most cases it was the groom was who proposed and planned that proposal, making the commitment (mostly) THEIR idea. I find it odd that people think it’s hilarious to think the groom wants nothing to do with this huge step in their life. Or that the commitment the couple has already been in wasn’t anything. I’ve been with my fiance for almost 6 years now and I’m pretty sure those years meant just as much as our marriage will. Unless it’s a shot gun wedding, I’m pretty sure weddings are a fully mutual choice and commitment, mine was. So why basically tell them (joking or not) it’s a mistake or that they’re doomed? Because that’s what it sounds like.

    • > the groom was who proposed and planned that proposal, making the commitment (mostly) THEIR idea

      wat.

      Ideally, I’d say the commitment is equally the idea of both partners and the result of many long, productive discussions about their hopes, dreams, practical matters, lifestyles, etc. The partner that proposes isn’t solely responsible just because they do the asking.

      • traditionally though, even if both parties are keen, the bride usually waits for the groom. I don’t know anyone in real life that hasn’t done it that way! I’m pretty baffled why!

        • Obv you don’t know me IRL, but I am one of the few (females) who proposed to their (male) SO’s. I guess that’s part of what makes me offbeat.

          We had talked about getting married, but until I was ready it wasn’t going forward. He left the ball in my court, and that’s how I decided to tell him I was ready. (:

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