Something I’ve noticed since being engaged for more than six months (!): people dread making small talk to me. It’s nothing personal I understand, more a fear, a dread, a loathing to prod the elephant in the room with a giant cattle prod.
“How are the wedding plans going?”
It seems innocuous enough, up there with discussions about weather, weekend plans or football (or in the case of Victoria, all three at once). Yet it now promotes a degree of trepidation in the social paradigm of question and answer for both parties.
The “asker” has heard it all before. Chances are they’ve been closely involved in wedding preparations for their brother/cousin/best friend previously and are thus well versed in the rigmarole of table arrangements and flower colour schemes. They ask out of a mild interest, out of an expectation that it’s the right thing to do.
The “askee” on the other hand feels a sense of dread, of both pressure and pride. A feeling of not wanting to shut off and ignore social convention entirely by not responding appropriately, but also of not going overboard and filling the “asker” in with mindless details about the stitching on the seven bridesmaids corsets or why Auntie Judy is now lactose intolerant.
The resulting conversation is nearly always brief and awkward, like an incomplete handshake.
“So, um, yeah how are the wedding plans going? Good?”
“Yeah, um, pretty good, just ticking things off you know? Saving madly. The usual.”
“Heh. Yeah man, I hear you.”
“Well, not long to go now hey? I’m sure you’ll get it all done!”
So can I just say this to all of my close friends and colleagues, dear readers all of them. This is not a plea to stop asking. This is me simply saying “I understand”. I understand if you really can’t be arsed to ask. I understand if you don’t really care, and in turn, understand that I’m not being obstructionist if I don’t give you a massive rambling answer about all the latest developments. Know that I’m saving us from an awkward conversation neither of us have to have (though if you really want to know more, just press me – it’ll be like a secret bat-signal for “Go on, seriously, I am all ears.”)