1 the formal union of a man and a woman, typically as recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife:
a happy marriage the children from his first marriage
2a combination or mixture of elements:
her music is a marriage of funk, jazz, and hip hop
It’s been a busy year for weddings. The summer has been saturated with them and they’ve tended to be very inconveniently timed. We recently had to speed away from my own dad’s wedding immediately after the meal to make the re-entry curfew of a festival which was originally supposed to be our main summer holiday.
You can drive fast but apparently you can’t outrun the guilt.
Much like a child who eats too much chocolate can’t bear to look at it for a while, so I’ll admit that I’d started to feel jaded about them. Given that this whole ridiculous adventure has been about weddings, it’s strange to have spent the last few months feeling like I wished they’d just chill a bit, spread themselves out and pop along at more convenient times. However life is not convenient and, whilst I’m tempted to used a hackneyed cod-philosophical statement about ‘riding the waves maaan’, what I really want to get across is that good times are not gonna wait for you and you’ve gotta grab good times by the balls and make their eyes water.
It is my pleasure to report that recently the good times have been squeaking like Joe Pasquale on helium.
A thing happened…
So… it’s going to be no surprise to any of you, but there was kind of a wedding thing. I’m not going to go into detail of the day, because it wasn’t my wedding thing and so that honour definitely belongs to Toast. What I will say, however, is that the wedding thing, was flipping AWESOME!
When we started this frivolous wager as a way of coping with serious life developments, it felt so far away to me, like it would never really happen. Perhaps if it hadn’t been for this whole ridiculous venture then it would still be far away; who knows? However watching Toast is his suit, waiting for TP to arrive, I realised how far we had both come in 4 1/2 years. It was hard not to feel proud for both of us.
It was also hard not to be impressed that the respective ladies in our lives had put up with the strange situations that blogging about a relationship can cause especially when real people you know, know about the blog. That’s probably more a testament to their strength of character than to our relationship skills
Whilst I’m sure that Toast will give you a run down of all the important things, there are some things I need to tell you. I need to tell you them because Toast and TP were the focus of the day and so maybe didn’t realise how it felt from the other side.
The ceremony was the best I have ever been to because there were no concessions to who they are. There was no lip service in the form of readings that were ostensibly romantic but ultimately the kind of forced romanticism that can sound false. There was absolutely no feeling that any part was just going through the motions. Everything was perfectly silly but perfectly touching and achingly appropriate. My eye leaked a bit because of some dust I must have got in it.
The speeches were similarly, heartfelt, honest, funny and without a hint of Google’s influence. They all felt like speaking from their hearts about people they care deeply about. The marquee was probably a bit breezy as I got some more dust in my eye.
Toast will also probably not tell you about the really impressive explosive that I and another guest made from the guts of 80 party poppers and which was totally not a like an anaemic, sleepy firecracker.
Jen and I had a thoroughly fantastic time, scoffing, quaffing and dancing like dicks in the company of delightful friends, both old and new. In short: It was pretty perfect.
It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll
This started as bet about marriage. A deadly serious bet. It was a competition and we worked hard at it because it was important. Over time, some things happened, we both met amazing women and life stopped being a game that we played by ourselves but which we played with someone else.
Toast went one way with TP and and I went another with Jen. We now own our own house and have spent the summer gradually reducing it to rubble in the name of DIY and renovations (there is something very sexy about a dust covered lady manhandling an enormous drill).
In December we’re off to Australia for 3 weeks to attend our last wedding of the year: Dragonforce, my erstwhile housemate and landlady at the time of conception of this whole affair. That feels like some appropriate symmetry and conclusion of another part of this story.
The story of this wager has been made up of many smaller stories. Some short, some ongoing and some only just beginning. I have made some dear friends who I would not otherwise have known and done things that pre-wager biscuit would have shied away from and missed out on.
This started as a bet about marriage. A deadly serious bet. A bet that, according to the rules, Toast has won. In ‘losing’, I’ve found my perfect Partner in Crime who I want to spend the rest of my life with and bring up brilliant, ridiculous children with.
If that’s losing then I wish I lost more often.
There’s been a lot of big news coming from Toast recently and you’re possibly wondering what’s happening on this side of the wager.
Will Billy escape from the abandoned mineshaft?
Will Susan discover that Jake is her brother?
Will anyone work out what that smell coming from the patio is?
There have been on quite a number of adventures, mishaps and ensuing hilarity but that’s not what you want to know, is it? Well most of it has been pretty awesome (even though it revolves around a girl, who’d a thought, eh?) but some of it has been really hard to write about, which is why I was dodging it for so long.
When this baby hits 88 miles per hour, you’re gonna see some serious shit
Let me take you back in time 9 months…
<flashback>Toast and I were living together in the 4 Xbox household. For reasons that I won’t go into we were faced with a deadline of either moving out in 4 months or buying the house we were living in. With the opportunity to expand the technological empire further we decided to go for it. In retrospect I can see how limiting this would have been on our developing relationships, but when man is blinded by the idea of a robot man servant, or even a robot DINOSAUR servant, it’s easy to get carried away.
This is the first time I had tried to buy a house and it turns out that it’s quite expensive. We spent about 4 months weighing up the pros and cons of Ponzi schemes, life insurance scams and train robberies (although I’m not sure that 13 boxes of Doritos, enough chocolate and fizzy pop to bring on instant diabetes and a train conductor’s hat would have helped us buy a house). Then our deadline was pretty much up.
This is when things got tricky. Toast finally realised that this was out of his reach and decided to make the big move in with TP. This is a pretty pragmatic and sensible decision and is probably what we should have been discussing earlier, however it came totally of the blue and the following day I found myself the sole occupant of the house.
It was a bit of a shock. I was reeling and wasn’t really sure what my next steps were.
With the previous prospect of becoming an eligible home-owner, I had obviously spent time musing about when Jen and I might move in together. In my head, her and TP would eventually move in and sitcom style hilarity would ensue. No… I hadn’t really thought it through. We probably needed at least one ferret and a drag queen to make it sitcom material.
Jen and I hadn’t actually talked about living together at that point. She was living in a shared house with two friends and her contract wasn’t due up until October. I knew that I’d love to live with her properly and we both thought it would be great, although October was a long time to be in limbo before we could find our own place to rent. It was time for some a serious huddle to talk strategy. Jen’s housemates were very understanding and were happy to let me stay for a while to give me a chance to find my feet again.
After a bit of heart-to-heart Jen and I came up with our ultimate plan: WE would buy the house, like motherfucking GROWN UPS!
There are some exciting decisions in life where you get to make grand gestures, big announcements and celebrate decisions by denting the kitchen ceiling with a poorly extracted champagne cork. Unfortunately, when the decision is forced prematurely due to circumstance it kind of takes the shine off the glory.
This is something that we both wanted to do and agreed that we would have been considering moving in together around October anyway but we’d had no time to even get used to the idea before we needed to make a massive grown up decision. It was definitely a much better plan than Toast and I buying together but we would have much preferred to have some time to talk about it, get excited and make the decision ourselves. There wasn’t any time for celebration as we were instantly thrust into the stressful logistics and finances.</flashback>
This is a lot to fit in to one post so I’ve had to skim most of the detail but I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about this decision. It was big and scary but we both really wanted it and were really excited. Having a deadline isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The whole point of this wager was to make Toast and I get off our posteriors and get us some o’ them there WIVES! Without that to motivate me I wouldn’t have learned so much about myself over the last couple of years, had such memorable experiences or met Jen.
DECORATE ALL THE THINGS!!!!
We’ve now been ‘officially’ living together for 6 weeks and it’s amazing. It feels like it’s been months. We’ve got some formidable relationship tests ahead of us including IKEA (the bane of lesser couples) and some mega decorating. Seriously, EVERY wall, ceiling and floor needs to be decorated but I know that we’re gonna lay a tag-team SMACKDOWN on that motherfuckin’ woodchip wallpaper like the Partners in Crime that are!
All our monies are now being poured into this project, which means that grand expensive life events (like expensive jewellery or parties where you dress up in pretty dress and 3 piece suit and get all your relatives and friends together to get drunk and dance to the Grease Megamix) are now FIRMLY off the cards for the foreseeable future.
However, this is the WED or Dead wager, not the ENGAGED or Dead wager.
In an unrelated conversation a friend mentioned that they had heard that Vegas do weddings with pretty much no notice. There’s no reason I mention that, I’m just saying in case someone else might feel like a Star Wars themed wedding but couldn’t wait for a Death Star wedding cake commission to be ready.
That’s the only reason.
Right, next important issue: does anyone know how to remove horrendous ‘70s gas fireplaces without a canary and armed with only a hammer and a roll of gaffer tape??
This post was written as it happened but not posted until after the event.
I’m terrible at haggling. Actually terrible doesn’t quite cover it. I’m the sort of person that can enter into a negotiation, maybe start a bit strong. Great eh?
But then I’ll be so racked with guilt that I pay more than the buying price and offer use of my house as a weekend away break for the person I’m buying off.
This is an issue with ring buying. Apparently if you visit ‘the workshops’ you get a much better price but it will also involve the dreaded haggling.
If I get ripped off that blasted ring would haunt me for the rest of my life. No longer a symbol of love and affection but a reminder that when it comes to business, I’m better at drawing pictures of horses and skipping through fields.
Get in help
I’m going to see if I can get a friend to act as a haggling consultant. Obviously this will have to be a friend who is discrete AND has good taste, as well as being a super-star haggler.
I have a chum. Let’s call him Eric because he is from Viking stock and that name suits him. Eric is a good man, a really good man. He is kind, funny, honest and a paragon of what a chap could be. For most of his life Eric has been in love with one woman…
I should warn you now that the following post is true, and a bit romantic.
Eric had a bit of a troubled start in life. He was heading towards being a troubled child, luckily he got sent to a very progressive school to try to sort him out. You know the sort of place with basket weaving lessons and dancing.
Eric was 12, and he can remember the first time he saw Joy and decided he wanted to marry her. He was eating lunch, she walked in with a page-boy haircut and a jumper made by her mother. Eric was in love. They soon became close friends. Eric even gave her a ring as a present, with a dragonfly on it (this is important later) however he didn’t declare his love to her because he was a bit shy and afraid
Eric went to university in Wales and they sort of lost touch. The would write occasionally but as poor students they couldn’t really afford to see each other that often. They drifted apart a bit.
Joy got married to someone else, and had two children. Eric was the God Father to one of the children and worked really hard at it. Joy’s husband wasn’t the greatest dad and was rather distant towards the children so Eric was often the one who took them to birthday parties and things. He was more of a father to the children than their own dad.
Many years passed. Eric was still in love with Joy but wouldn’t do anything.
Eric’s brother had a tragedy, his wife had passed away from cancer. A few months later Eric and I went to America to cheer Eric’s brother up, let’s call him Sven. We took Sven out to nightclubs, rented a mustang and cleaned out the house so it could be a fresh start. By the end of the trip Sven was socializing again, it was a great transformation.
Six months later, at a festival, and while drunk Joy tried to kiss Eric. Joy’s marriage was in trouble. Eric was shocked and refused. He said he couldn’t see her socially anymore because it wasn’t right. He was still in love with her but he has a very strong sense of right and wrong.
The next year Eric visited Sven on his own (I couldn’t make it) and had a very different trip. Sven had fallen in with a huge crowd of beach volleyball players.
Eric was suddenly surrounded by a huge crowd of available women and was pursued. This was the first time in his life this had happened. He had a lovely time and returned to England with a huge amount of self-confidence. It was a transformation.
He saw Joy again at the festival and had a very frank conversation. The main theme of it was, if she was going to leave her husband then it should at least be with him because he has always loved her.
A few weeks later Joy moved out, and last night (a couple of years later) I went to their wedding. There were dragonflies everywhere (Joy still has the ring)
It was lovely. They are so happy, Joy’s children love Eric because he is so determined to be the best possible parent. Joy is happy, because as Eric said at the wedding. She is his idea of the perfect women. I’ve never seen a groom so absolutely delighted by finally being married and a bride so glowing with love.
So yes, romance can happen in real life, but it normally involves decades of longing, and dragonflies.
(Please excuse typing errors, I am still a bit drunk)
On Saturday I attended a good friend’s wedding. I have been anticipating this for some time because it would be the first time in over a year that I had been in a social situation with Cupcake (as opposed to the few ‘liaisons’ we had since) and the first time there would have been any contact since I broke off communication a couple of months ago in the name of sanity and moving-on.
However, that would not be nearly enough for a Wed or Dead Wager scenario so the following elements were due to be in place to further complicate the prospective situation:
- Cupcake’s new love of her life was likely to be there.
- Cola Lollies was also due to be attending.
- Another girl who I had done a sex on (but who, for the purpose of this blog, shall remain nameless and unidentified) was going to be there. This is a girl who has a boyfriend but still wants to do naughty things (but I do not out of a vague sense of morality).
- Nameless girl and Cola Lollies had met before and got on rather well so were likely to be drunk and chatty again, potentially leading to some squirm inducing situations for me.
As my friend and his fiancée are a quirky sort, they had picked a fancy dress theme to the wedding. It’s one that allowed a lot of latitude so, since Cupcake’s new boy was likely to be there I went for the threatening end of the spectrum. Armed with a small selection of weapons including a NERF style shotgun (painted to make it look brassy and SKILL) and a ‘butterfly knife‘ (the blunt Chinese kind, not the little folding Filipino stabby kind!) ‘borrowed’ from my brother’s wall and strapped to my hip, I looked like a neo-Victorian bounty hunter. I also threw in a mismatched set of freaky contact lenses and some huge Cuban cigars for extra unnerving effect.
Unfortunately (or fortunately) Cupcake’s boy did not show with her. Instead I had the 10 year olds pestering me for goes on my shotgun and impressive sidearm.
Having largely avoided her for about half hour, I decided to address the elephant in the courtyard and say hello to Cupcake. 30 seconds in to our greetings and I look over her shoulder to see that Cola Lollies has arrived and is grinning away, looking stunning, chatting to someone 2 feet away from us.
There was an awkward moment of trying to say hellos to them both almost simultaneously then I left Cupcake to it and went to catch up with Cola Lollies. In fact, I spent most of the day with Cola Lollies and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Cupcake pulled a numer of classic moves but she has no power over me anymore. These included:
- Texting me during the meal with “does it worry you that you’re always surrounded by children”
- Making comments about chatting up a pretty lady.
- Pulling me in for the ‘close’ photo [aka ‘marking her territory’. I do not appreciate being pissed on… well.. depends]
- Coming up for the big hug in plain view of Cola Lollies and saying ‘I miss you’.
The great moment for me was when she said that and I thought ‘I really, REALLY don’t miss you’. I gave back an ‘ahhhh’ and a bit of a fake hug. She pulled back and said ‘is that all I get? “ahhhh”?’. So I gave a marginally less fake hug… but I still didn’t miss her. And that, THAT was utterly delicious. Finally, unequivocal confirmation that I was absolutely free of her. Bliss!
Whilst I was generally distracted, Cola Lollies was often chatting merrily away to others including great stretches of time with the girl who shall remain nameless. We were together most of the time and worked our way through most of the large bottle of vodka I had brought with me.
And as the drink was settling in and the frivolities and dancing ran amok, I kind of got it. I think I was finding that spark that had been lacking with Cola Lollies.
Thankfully the venue allowed camping so bed was only a short stumbling distance away. At about 11.30, sozzled with lots of rum and vodka Red Bull, we made our way back to my tent.
*camera pans away leaving a fleeting glimpse of silhouettes in the tent and audible suggestion of hijinks ensuing*
Cola Lollies spent the whole of the next day and night back at my place. A lot of this was spent recuperating from excesses of booze. What became very obvious though, is that the spark was very much a product of the moment (and possibly booze). I REALLY enjoy her company, but I don’t think there’s anything more. However it is still lovely to cuddle up for a night. Cola Lollies is about to leave for 6 months work in China so this is not really an issue.
Hmmm, why do ALL the girls seem to leave the country?
So, with Cola Lollies effectively out of the picture, and nothing further from from Stripy dress since I replied to her over 26 hours ago, it’s time to look forward. Tomorrow night I have my date with the tenacious Irish girl I met recently. Friday night I am going to hit the favourite rock club for a drunken night.
In addition to this, the Wildcard mentioned in the recent summary has actually turned out to be incredibly promising! She is funny in email and has a wicked and subversive sense of humour. She likes a lot of the same things I do, including music, and seems rather interested in learning more about me.
The other point worthy of mention is that our mutual friend, who has been subtly trying to set us up for a while, is fully aware of this blog and its contents. I don’t anticipate this being too much of an issue as the mutual friend is quite a clued-up worldly sort who would not break cover. That and I am lovely and treat people well as long as they treat me the same.
Mind you, skirting a bit close to the edge though, isn’t it!
Toast is getting cocky. After meeting The Fez he has definitely pulled ahead and an unfortunate run of Real Life (mostly work orientated) has kept me out of the dating game for a few weeks.
Today he declared that he wanted to raise the stakes of the wager. Well, actually he declared that HE would choose the song that I would be singing. This was never part of the deal.
I cannot sing. I have never done Karaoke. I got into a girly strop when an ex wanted me to play Singstar and it wouldn’t let me chose a song. The most I’ll attempt is a bit of Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” (or maybe some Bon Jovi) whilst drunkenly playing Rock Band.
Aware that I might lose, I have been weighing up songs that I could carry off, perhaps with a guitar for friendly accompaniment. Knowing Toast, he will probably pick something like this (along with choreographed dance moves). Assuming the choice would be down to the loser,I was angling for something more like this (about waking up after a night’s drinking and not knowing where you are. MUCH more my style).
So my options are:
- Take the raise like a man and up my game (whilst compiling a list of evil songs for Toast to sing).
- Decline and protect some dignity should Toast win, but lose ‘man points’ in the process.
- Assume a new identity as a foreign tea merchant and disappear to India.