Today is the birthday of Nicola, Lyn, and Peter. It's also one of the most auspicious days in Chinese culture -- double eight sounds like double fortune in Cantonese.
I almost got married on this day. 8th of the 8th month sounded like a good day to get married. So I reserved the Floating Seafood Palace in Amsterdam.
I listed the friends and family members that I shouldn't forget to invite. I calculated how much it would cost per head for the wedding banquet of eight dishes and one soup. I estimated how much advance notice each person would need to book holiday time from work, reserve flights and hotels. I imagined how it would be the first time that my family would be together in twenty years. It would be a day to see all the familiar faces I love in my life.
The more I thought about the plans for this weekend event, the bigger the project became. Nobody would be able to refuse the invitation to my wedding. How could they? Anyone who has been to my soirees would know that such festivities are not to be missed. They would travel from Asia, the Americas, and all over Europe to my wedding.
It would be called the Double Infinity Wedding.
It takes a lot more than wishful thinking for a wedding to take place. First you need the papers, the official documents that prove you are free to marry. Then you need the means to get married --- money. Without both, you can't legally get married.
But even before you have the papers and the money, you need the will to get married and stay married.
For someone in pursuit of flexibility and who never wants to experience divorce, getting married opens the possibility of divorce. At the same time, getting married will force commitment, the opposite of flexibility. But for a romantic who has been weaned on Harlequin Romance novels and played piano and organ at weddings since age sixteen, getting married has always been an option to be exercised once and once only or never at all.
You don't put the cart before the horse. You don't get married so that you don't have relationship problems anymore. You don't get married on a principle. Marriage doesn't stop nature. It doesn't change who you are. It doesn't prevent you from wanting to be free and independent. Rather, if things go wrong, it complicates your life.
Why get married if not for financial reasons or if you won't have children? But marriage has been around for centuries, you say. Surely this tradition is a stabilising factor of society. Besides, you don't want to be labeled a spinster. Is that the reason to get married?
A wedding lasts only a day. A honeymoon a week or two. But will a marriage last a life time? Or even a double infinity?
Perhaps I will never find out.
8 August 2004 Sunday