Sunday, November 26, 2006

Telling It Like It Is

I was returning from the local bodega when I passed a young man who was talking on a cell phone. He was leaving a message for his lucky girlfriend -- or boyfriend.

SWAIN: HEY! Pick up or I'll shove the phone up your ass when I see you!

Now how can one resist such a lothario, yeah?

Not too long ago, a woman I don't really know was showing off her engagement ring to a group of friends. At some point during the evening, she came over to me and stuck out her left hand for me to admire her ring. It was lovely. However, the man she is marrying is not. They always seem to be arguing. Furiously. Violently. Long-termly. But, I murmured the proper words that included congratulations, so happy, lucky you, at last, and run for your life! No, those last four words were not uttered--aloud, anyway. After all, it was best not to tell her the truth of the matter because, as Oscar Wilde once wrote, A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.

I looked around for the husband-to-be. She saw this and told me that he had stayed home while she went out to celebrate her engagment with her girlfriends.

BRIDE-TO-BE: He's so cute! He was so nervous that he had to drink-- a whole lot-- and get into a big fight with me before he got the nerve to ask me. He got down on one knee and when I said yes, he jumped up and fell over. He banged his head on the table and knocked himself out. So he's home sleeping it off.

Now that is the most romantic proposal I have ever heard.

Bride-to-be then asked me several questions:

1. Do I have to wear the ring every day?
2. Do I have to return it if I don't marry him?
3. It's too big. Should I go have it fixed?
4. Can I just stay engaged? Forever?

Hmm. This is a woman in love. So, I offered advice.

1. Yes.
2. Yes.
3. Uh, yeah.
4. Yes. No. Maybe.

Bride-To-Be's best friend then told me that for her wedding, she wanted The Women to get really dressed up in beautiful 1940's-type dresses.

ALICE: Oh, of course. When are you getting married?
BEST FRIEND: Well, I don't have a man in my life, yet. I'm just thinking ahead. So remember to keep the date open.
ALICE: Date? When is it?
BEST FRIEND: Well, one year after I get engaged.
ALICE: But you just said you don't even have a boyfriend, let alone a fiance.

She walked away and left me with Bride-to-Be, who was still asking questions.

BRIDE-TO-BE: But, Alice, why should I give the ring back if we don't get married?
ALICE: Because. It's a promise that you made when you accepted...
BRIDE-TO-BE: Excuse me, I didn't promise him nothing, okay?
ALICE: Well, not in words, but in action. You took his ring and...
BRIDE-TO-BE: It's not his. It's mine. He gave it to me.

I realized that this group had been drinking for too long before I came along so it was best to just tell her what she wanted to hear.

The truth. It is rarely pure and never simple. That's what Oscar would have said had he been there. Actually, that's what he did say. Once.