Andy Richardson: Wedded bliss? I’ll give marriage a miss
I’m thinking of assuming a new identity. You know, change the picture to a bloke who’s got better cheekbones. Maybe add a little hair. Change the name to Reg Dwight, or something? What? Elton’s already done that. Hmm. Maybe I’ll adopt a different nom de plume.
In the wonderful world of the worldwide web, there is, in fact, a digital machine that performs such feats for free. Yes. For £0.00. All you have to do is input stuff like the name of your first pet, your favourite cake and pointless froth like that. The Nom De Plume Generator suggests I call myself either Brad Pete Randall, Pete Mischief or, if I’m planning to write a Romance Novel – and lord knows why I’d do that – Brittany Petegirlfriend or Betsy-Anne Diligentflower. But I digress. And I have no plans to change my name to Pete Mischief.
The reason for seeking an alternative identity is that the boss has just phoned. Actually, she hasn’t. The boss has left for the day. The boss’s deputy has just phoned. And I’m thinking that if I change my name I can also change my luck.
This is what she said: “Please could you write your column about, erm, marriage.”
There was a silence that lasted for 1,528 seconds. Tumbleweed howled along the M54. The second hands on clocks stopped ticking. Men and women across the office sat motionless and expressionless, staring into the void.
We shook ourselves back to life. “Yes, weddings, you know. Enrique Double-Glaze-ious. Flowers. Suits.”
She pushed her luck, like a butcher suggesting I buy an extra rack of lamb, three chickens, half a goat and a side of beef, to go with my half pound of bacon.
“In your case, you could call it once, twice, three times get lucky. Or. . .” She laughed so hard that the lady from the asthma clinic asked if she was alright. In fact, as I re-read this seven days later, I still detect a tremble in her shoulders, a twinkle in her eye and an inability not to smirk. Thanks, boss’s deputy. Big up.
So here goes. See you on the other side. And, as Churchill said, if you find yourself going through hell, keep going.
In 2014, there was a decrease in the number of divorces. Though I like to think I was doing my part to hold an end up. For, sad to say, the curse of the failed marriage has struck me twice. And, as Oscar Wilde told us in The Importance of Being Earnest, once is unlucky, twice is careless. God knows what he’d say if I got it wrong a third time. I’m not going to put it to the test.
I love marriage. But marriage doesn’t love me. And as happy as most of the times were with Wife One and Wife Two – discretion being the better part of valour – I’m not sure I’ll be looking to meet any more vicars, or, come to that, family law solicitors, anytime soon.
Divorce strikes every time Ray LaMontagne releases a new record. I tend to get three or six penalty points on my driving licence each time and there’s the usual routine of boxing up and clearing out.
A friend thinks I’m heading for two more marriages before my time’s out. She’s wrong. I couldn’t stand that much fruit cake with icing. And getting the confetti out of my hair is a bummer.
I love women – this column is avowedly a misogyny-free zone, and, for that matter an any-other-kind-of-ogyn-free-zone before the trolls strike, again. I love the idea of lifelong commitment, I love the idea of soulmates and I love the idea of being sent to the shed while Mrs Wife proves beyond reasonable doubt that women rule the world. But, and here’s the rub, I’m hopeless at it. Utterly, utterly rubbish.
One of my favourite post-marriage things is to work out why I’m so useless. And there’s a personality test – the Myers Briggs, since you ask – that holds all the answers. Scientifically-based, it describes fellas like me as being particularly rare. The good stuff is that we’re bright and creative #Blush. Though we’re also a a paradox that few people understand – which is why we’re often accused of stuff that’s just plain wrong. If you’re looking for examples, think Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, Inception producer Christopher Nolan, ex-FLOTUS Michelle Obama and unhappy philosopher Friedrich Nietzche, who had a great moustache but whose books are best not read just before bed. Principled and loyal as we are, romance is also our Achilles heel. We just don’t get it.
So while my heart rejoices at the sound of church bells and hired Rolls Royces, at the thought of funny speeches and ballerina dresses, I’ve learned my lesson and hope that, just this once, you’ll forgive me if I don’t join you.
And to all of those tying the knot this year, I wish you Une vie de bonheur.