Monday, September 08, 2008
With These Shoes, I Thee Wed
Males of the human species are a schizophrenic lot. It has been proven through countless research studies (and books by Dave Barry) that within each of our kind you can find two distinct personalities: first is the Man, who is responsible and enjoys seeing a well-planned course of action bear fruit, and second is the Guy, who feels that planning, courses of action and fruit-bearing in general can wait until he finishes this pizza.
Male personalities are so archly divided because they are needed in very different instances. For example, no woman wants to make wedding arrangements with a Guy, because he wouldn’t offer any meaningful participation in any of planning, except to request that “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” be played during the recessional march.
Once the wedding is complete, however, she’d prefer to take the Guy on the honeymoon, because the Man would probably spend that time calculating the number of children they can have, the possible gender combinations of these hypothetical kids and which combination poses the most long-term complications to the family 401K.
During the wedding itself, however, events will take place which are critical to the status of both Man and Guy. This is especially true during the Korean traditional royal wedding, and particularly if the male of the species concerned is American.
The Man personality of this American may appreciate that the 1 million or so won (which is roughly equivalent to $1,000 in his home currency, depending on which Asian country is in upheaval that month) he has been paying toward the wedding on a monthly basis is being spent on a unique cultural experience, full of ornate hanbok, or traditional Korean costumes and an intriguing ceremonial process. The Guy will like the fact that they won’t ask him to rehearse the ceremony beforehand, giving him more time for pre-wedding pizza enjoyment.
Extra time can be a bit of a mixed blessing, though. As the bride begins the two hour-long make-up session predating the ceremony, the Guy has extra time to enjoy his general guyness, blissfully free of the excess powders and oils that non-males regularly and voluntarily subject themselves to.
Two hours, though, is more time than any Guy needs to spend alone with his thoughts on a day such as this. Soon the questions begin swirling through his not-made-up head, such as: “Am I ready to share my life with someone completely?” “Am I prepared for the additional financial burdens that come with a family?” and finally, “What if she doesn’t want to order pizza?”
Before any of these questions may be answered, the ceremony will begin. Once it does, its once-celebrated impromptu nature may please neither the forward-thinking nor the fun-loving aspect of the male’s personality. It appeals to no male to be handed a hanbok that a) is pink, b) has multiple rips in the side of one leg and c) doesn’t cover his entire torso 10 minutes before the event is to begin. (Depending on how well-developed his Man personality is he may have brought a spare outfit to change into, though).
If he has, say, size 13 shoes, he is also unlikely to be pleased when given shoes at least two sizes smaller than that; shoes which will require him to curl his toes throughout the ceremony, unable to relax for even a moment, because the footwear is made of a material that feels similar to titanium, only less flexible.
A special hat comes with the royal wedding ceremony, a crown in the style of Korea’s monarchs in days of yore, perhaps signifying the groom’s status as king for a day. The Man might reason, however, that monarchs in Korea’s past were probably measured carefully for their royal hats, and not given one that will slide over his nose every time the groom is required to bow, which will be frequent in almost any Korean ceremony.
Beyond the wardrobe that regularly threatens to malfunction, the ceremony itself is simple. The bride and groom will both be carried on a platform around the vicinity for all onlookers to observe. The procession itself requires no practice because there’s an attendant present to tell both bride and groom what to do. The attendants will probably give all their instructions in Korean, but won’t be afraid to physically guide the American groom into the proper position, if necessary.
The procession itself is not long, either: Both bride and groom drink from ceremonial cups, bow to one another and then take their positions on makeshift thrones at the front of the assembly to signify their union (at least I think that’s all their was, but the discomfort in my feet may have caused blackouts).
By the end of the day, the male will discover new personalities emerging from the dank corridors of his psyche. The third will be the Mad Dog, who emerges during the post-ceremonial pictures, when a rapidly tiring groom will be photographed in a wide variety of scenarios, including 1) bowing to his parents, 2) bowing to the bride’s parents, 3) pouring tea for the bride, 4) receiving tea poured by the bride, and 5) having the bride climb onto his back and then carrying her around the room.
“Okay, big smile!” the wedding photographer will say.
“Take the picture!” the Mad Dog groom will then shout, teeth bared, causing all onlookers to gasp. The chastened photographer will then squeak out, “Okay ..." and snap the final pic before the groom places the priceless photographical device in the photographer’s colon.
Then, finally, all the photographers are gone, the onlookers have departed, the atrociously undersized clothing replaced, and the final personality remains: the Husband. The Husband is the male who no longer acts entirely for his own enjoyment, who no longer makes detailed plans for his own benefit, and who does not feel the need to vivisect pesky cameramen.
Actually, that’s all I know about the Husband role so far, but I plan to learn more in the near future.
Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]
Subscribe to Posts [Atom]