A Wedding In Pak
How to navigate the choppy seas
Of a modern relationship
How to process the incongruous sight
Of a bride all in white
Yet wearing a 16th century Venetian plague mask and holding a crossbow
We ask ourselves why?
There are no easy answers
People may SAY there are easy answers
Answers like, "Yes" or "No" or "Well obviously" or "In the bottom drawer" or "As long as you thrust gently"
But in fact there are no easy answers
Answers are always difficult
And whether they are difficult because of religion, because of culture, or because of a cleft palate
Makes no difference
Not a skerrick
Why is the bride wearing a plague mask?
Perhaps it is the groom's fetish
Perhaps she is a time traveller
Perhaps she not wearing a plague mask and you merely have a tiny plague mask-shaped speck of dust in your eye blocking your view of her face
All of these are possible, but is it not more likely that the mask represents ambiguity?
After all, whoever you marry, your relationship will never be clear-cut
There are complications associated with marriage as surely as there are lice associated with your children's revolting little heads
How many women have married the man of their dreams, only to find out on their wedding night
That he is not the man they thought he was, but is instead a large swarm of bees
Forming themselves into humanoid shape?
I have no official statistics, but I bet this happens a LOT
You may be married in Pakenham, under the watchful eye of Brown Eric, the wise elder of the local cow tribe
Or you may be married in Pakistan, swearing your oath of fidelity on the sacred erection of Imran Khan
But either way it is true what Stalin said:
Marriage is hard work
Take that as you will
It is open to interpretation
It could mean, "Marriage is full of back-breaking physical labour and carrying bags of cement and things"
It could mean, "Marriage will give you a hernia"
It could mean, "Marriage is like riding a donkey up a sand dune"
There is no right or wrong, except for that last one
Marriage is nothing like that
Marriage is about love
Not the love of a man for a fine gram of high-grade heroin
Nor the love of a woman for racist violence
More like the love of a man for his pet ferret
Or the love of a woman for a book about mushrooms
Those are closer approximations to what marriage is all about
And so, when you stand before the world, and before God, and scream to the heavens, "I LOVE THIS MAN, OK? BACK THE FUCK OFF?"
In a somewhat idiosyncratic adaptation of the traditional wedding vows
Just remember: love; hard work; complexity; thick, delicious creamed honey
Keep these things in mind, and no doubt your marriage shall be a happy one
And the crossbow was probably for, like, foxes or something