Since my last rant against all the “helpful” lists and articles on weddings, I've been thinking a lot about why I was getting so offended by them. Why I've been getting so offended about everything negative and wedding-related.
The thing is, when I come up with a helpful list, I really mean for it to be helpful. It can be sort of preachy and I try to keep it in a “this worked for me so it might not be relevant to you, but here's my suggestions!” type of way. The Tribe — indeed most of the Offbeat Empire — is great with lists and articles like that. So when I read an article from a source that is supposed to be on my side but basically boils down to a wedding themed “You'll seeeeeeee,” I feel… betrayed. Tricked. Hoodwinked.
Why am I taking what some stranger on the internet thinks so personally? I don't in real life. I get irked, but I remind myself that Their Relationship is not My Relationship. We have different rules. Mine are “Have a beer with your co-workers, just let me know what time I should expect you home or start calling the cops,” theirs are “Call your spouse every hour or they'll blow up your phone because you are obviously a Cheaty McCheaterson and totally not working.”
Hey, it seems to be working for them.
But my wedding irks are not limited to just me, or even just to the internet. I mentioned to my mother and grandmother that I considering cutting the train off of my wedding dress — to me, a ten-foot train on a dress for a garden party was impractical. You would have thought that I had told them that my partner and I would be sacrificing my sibling to a Dark Lord (pick one, any one!) during the ceremony. Their reactions — ranging from “you don't know what you want” to “you're don't know what you're doing” — pissed me off so much that I didn't calm down until my partner said, “You've got scissors and it'll take them at least five hours to get here. I don't think they can stop you.”
When's the last time I got this worked up over something that I took so damn personally, and that everyone else also took so personally? And then last night, when I was reading about Dashcon, I realized it.
When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I collected fandoms like some people collect speeding tickets. All sorts of fandoms. I was one of the fans at the Harry Potter midnight book (and movie) releases. I've dressed up as the Doctor at Comic Con and waited for three hours to see the cast panel. I've been the only fan in the movie theater for an anime movie because anime was showing in a theater, y'all. I've waited outside a theatre door in London's West End for a picture and a signature. I'm a veteran of the fandom-rending wars (RIP Torchwood… pity you ended halfway through season two). I've written fanfic that started out horribly but ended up being pretty good, if I do say so myself.
And look, I know you're in fandoms, too. Don't try to deny it. We all know that first blush of a new fandom, the intriguing cover of a new book, the thrilling soundtrack on that awesome trailer. So you do a little research… That Critic that you like (because the rest are crap)? They love it. Your friends rave about how awesome it is. Totally recommended. So you cave.
And then it's like you're alive and on fire and drowning all at once. It's characters, places, worlds that don't exist, but they should because they're so amazing, so they do. There is nothing fictional about the fiction. Things that happen during the day remind you of your fandom. You always get a little thrill when you see something fandom-related in your normal life. You troll the internet for source material, interviews. You are invested, and insulted if the person portraying the thing you love gets it Wrong Wrong Wrong.
It's… well, it's being in love.
The problem is, there are also the anti-fans. I've been one of those, too, and judged people for their fandom choices. Even knowing how rabid a fan that they are, and how much it hurts to be told you're silly or stupid.
And how do you react when your (imaginary) partner is being attacked? You get mad. Your blood pressure rises. The next thing you know, someone starts calling another person Hitler, and then we just can't have nice things.
So… is there a wedding fandom? No. Because that would be silly. Because that would be silly. [Yes, it would! -Eds.] But thinking of them in similar ways makes it easier for me to grasp, certainly.
There certainly are wedding fans and anti-fans, and millions of different “fan-theories” on what it is. The wedding industry — whatever engine promotes “traditional” marriage, however that is perceived in your neck of the woods — would probably be the canon standard, while us Offbeat Brides and grooms are probably veering a little off-course. We're writing our own fanfics, and who cares what the commenters think? It's art for art's sake, for our sake. We're not writing it for them.
So what does that make what I'll call the anti-wedding camp? Why, that makes them trolls. And we all know what you do with trolls.
You distract them until dawn, whereupon they turn into stone, of course.