THREE WEDDINGS AND AN ENGAGEMENT

By Skeptik Sinikian

This column is not my best work. I’m warning you right now. I’m writing this on the back of a napkin at wedding somewhere in the Valley. It’s 11 p.m. and they just started serving dinner. I’m so hungry I tried to eat the centerpiece. (By the way–orchids taste like raw–unripe almonds.) I’m nearly deaf from sitting next to the DJ.

My editor told me I have an early deadline this week because of July 4–so here it goes. At the risk of sounding like Andy Rooney–I’m going to pick an inane topic and beat it to death. I’m trying to sound less bitter or angry in my columns but I can’t help it. Criticizing is what I do best. And after a marathon wedding/engagement/graduation weekend–I’ve decided to start a petition to remove the month of June from the traditional calendar. I know I’m not alone on this–but no one else seems to want to speak out.

Here’s a basic rundown of what my weekends looked like this month.

First weekend of June:

Friday–wedding

Saturday–wedding/engagement (I double-booked because I knew I’d have more fun at the engagement and the wedding was just one of those where I was invited because of my parents and not because anyone really knew me)

Sunday–graduation party (this party might as well have been a wedding–over 300 guests and just because of a graduation from high school.)

Second weekend of June:

Friday–Graduation/wedding

Saturday–Wedding/graduation/baptism–the Armenian community trifecta. Ok. I think you get the picture.

I’ll spare you the details of the rest of the month except to say that if I ever have to step foot inside another Vegas-themed Armenian Banquet Hall again in the next month–I’m going to snap and start throwing seafood salad and hummus all over the dance floor and then punch out the DJ when he starts playing Turkish/Arabic music!

Maybe I’m a cultural snob or maybe it’s because I’m not married–but I can’t seem to understand the draw and allure of a) having a wedding or any significant celebration in June and b) having 900 people you’ll rarely see again in your lifetime attend such a special day. The one that boggles my mind the most is the wedding style graduation. That’s when the family drops 15,000 dollars to rent a place that looks like Liberace’s rumpus room (www.liberace.org in case you don’t have an active imagination like mine) and hire a DJ–all to celebrate a kid’s graduation from high school. They celebrate and party as if there were a doubt that the kid might not graduate. They drink and dance like it’s the kid’s last day of freedom before they send him or her off to jail to serve three back to back to back life sentences. Meanwhile–the kid will probably continue living at home for the next four to six years while they commute to Cal Sate Northridge or Los Angeles. BUT MAN–WHAT A PARTY! RIGHT?

Seriously though–people need to grow up and come back down to earth. Graduating from high school or college is a big deal but not an earth shattering event that requires carved ice sculptures of naked gymnasts holding bunches of grapes on each table! Maybe a pen. Maybe a REALLY nice pen or a check to cover the cost of books during the first semester or pay for the airplane ticket for a trip to Europe and Armenia. Like I said–maybe I’m just a snob and I will never understand.

But here’s a word of advice for anyone out there planning a wedding or any other significant event and is considering doing it in June. Don’t. Really–I mean it. Don’t do it. Unless you’re a sadist–pick another month. For those who live in California–the land of eternal sunshine–it’s not like your wedding is going to be snowed out. October is just as fine a month as June–maybe even nicer. I’m begging all my readers to put a moratorium on all June weddings and other similar parties–but I know that nobody will. The temptation to be like everyone else is just too much for Armenia’s. God forbid we do something different–what will people think? WHAT WILL THEY THINK?

That’s what really drives all of these ridiculously expensive and pretentious events. The "what will other people think" syndrome that has infected our community. It’s a mental affliction that manifests itself in the most inappropriate ways and times. And the double standard that goes along with it is also sad. Here’s an example: It is ok for an overweight woman over the age of 50 to wear a tight–bright–sequined dress and shake her flubber to the tunes of Arabic crooners–but it’s taboo to ask a band or a DJ to play only Armenian music. Why? Because what will the other guests think! They won’t have fun! The armies of sequined and puffy-faced lushes need to reminisce about their summers spent at the resort towns of Iran–Lebanon–or Turkey. Never mind that each person attending is already costing the newlywed couple almost 100 dollars.

And speaking of weddings and DJs–has anyone else noticed that there are no female Armenian wedding singers? Why is that? Just an observation but one worth mentioning.

Anyway–here’s the bottom line. I’m not going to go to anymore June weddings–even if it’s my own. I’m not going to encourage anyone’s kid by attending a graduation party held anywhere other than someone’s backyard. And finally–I’m going to only write checks that cover the cost of my attendance for couples I don’t know very well.

Here’s a word of advice for anyone who’s inviting folks to a June wedding. Have your wedding in early June because by the third week my bank account looks like the Gross Domestic Product of a Third World African nation.

And my final word of advice–make sure there’s more Armenian music than Persian–Arabic–or Turkish. Otherwise–there’s going to be a stop-payment on that check and I don’t care what anyone else thinks!

Skeptik Sinikian is planning to be married in the dead of winter in Las Vegas by an Armenian Elvis impersonator. The reception to follow will be held at the Liberace Home/Museum Banquet Hall. To RSVP–email SketpikSinikian@aol.com or visit www.blogspot.sinikian.com.

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