Jenice Gharib: Wedding Belles (A monologue)

Fall '06 TOC

(A woman sitting on a folding chair.)

Young people these days got no common sense when it comes to getting married. Look, look over there. You ever seen such a display? No, not Lisa Jean and John Thomas kissing. The flowers, Mavis. The flowers. Jesus Almighty. It's like talking to a stump.

(Walks to side of stage.) Look at them glads. And the roses. Had to be yellow Mary Ann said. "Yellow roses was the first flowers Bradley ever gave me." First flowers. She acts like he's gonna keep right on giving her flowers every year. Ain't gonna happen. He got a low forehead and his eyes are close together. He's gonna forget all about yellow roses by the first anniversary.

I tried to teach my granddaughter, Mary Ann, two things. I forget the first. The second was elope. Looks most likely I failed on both accounts.

What? Yes, Mary Ann, the flowers sure turned out pretty. Yes, I'm having a good time.

(Returns to center.) Remember the days when people'd just jump over a broom or shake hands or something? None of this engraved invitations, cakes as tall as New York skyscrapers, or fancy honeymoon stuff. These young people been brainwashed by television. That Princess Diana ruined a lot of girls for good.

(Shouts.) I'm fine, Mary Ann. I'm fine. No, I don't want any wedding cake now. Really, Bradley. You two just go on enjoying your special day. Don't you worry about me.

Mavis, if I didn't know better I'd think marriage was a government conspiracy to keep women unawares. Look there at Mary Ann, a young woman in her prime. Not the smartest slice of the pie but she ain't retarded or anything. These are the best years of her life and she's devoted them to doing her hair, keeping her figure trim, and learning the graces, whatever those are. All for what? To marry a Bradley.

And all those magazines just for brides. Those magazines are like enemy propaganda dropped from airplanes during the war. They hypnotize these girls. Fill their heads with satin shoes and Hawaiian beaches. Then they're hooked. Fish bait, I tell you. Fish bait.

How many hours you think she's spent reading Bride magazine? I come home from work, my feet aching and my hands red and raw, and she's laying across the bed, orange juice cans in her hair, oowing and ahing over dresses and finger sandwiches. I wash people's dirty laundry for that?

I've been thinking. Who benefits from this whole marriage thing really? It certainly ain't the girl. She doesn't stand to gain nothing but heartbreak when she finds out the show dog she married ain't nothing but a common mutt.

I'll tell you who benefits, Mavis. The politicians. That's right. The politicians. Why? You got to ask why, Mavis? So them politicians can have their ways and their wars. You ever notice how many of them are always talking about family values? That means "women get back to minding your weddings and things. Don't you go messing up our little party."

(To the side.) Not this party, Mary Ann. Everything's fine. Why don't you dance with your cousin John Thomas? His lips could use a break.

Had a politician call me on the phone once. Wanted my money and my vote. Greedy little fellow. He talked a good talk though. More of them benefits for old people, adding police to cut down on all the wrongdoing that's going on. "I will keep you safe in your home and in your old age," he said.

I agreed to send him $15 and give him my vote. Then he had to go and spoil it all and mention family values.

I put my checkbook back in my purse and told him to take his family values elsewhere. I knew they were code words for keeping the woman down. Pretty soon we'll all be wearing sheets over our heads like those women in Afghanistan. Ain't gonna happen here as long as I got my $15 and my vote.

I told him that right out. "Young man, you take those family values of yours and you stuff them in your back pocket and sit on them awhile. You think about how your daughters are gonna feel wearing sheets in the heat of the summer." He acted like he didn't know what I was talking about.

(Turns to the side.) What, Mary Ann? Time for more pictures? Yes, dear, I suppose you'll be wanting lots of pictures to remember your special day. C'mon, Mavis. You, too.


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