“Why do you want to watch that? It’s stupid.”
“It’s not even our country, it’s a waste of time.”
“They’re figureheads without power.”
“Look how much that ridiculous wedding is costing the UK.”
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“No. One. Cares.”
With every comment I heard or read online, I got angrier and angrier. In my head, this event had gone from simply a wedding to The Wedding. The related ones in 1981, 1986, and 2011 were all different, but my memories of watching them are all special and each negative comment threatened to steal my present and future joy.
This time I had let my mouse do the shopping and acquired two fascinators — one for myself and one for my 21-year-old daughter/ watch-buddy.
We had plans to get up early, stumble downstairs, watch on the big TV, sip mimosas and maybe nibble on some scones. Even if she wasn’t as into it as I was, this wedding was going to be a shared memory for us and thinking about it brought me joy and excitement.
But some of those comments up there? They’re from people who live in the same house as I do; people who would be waking up mid-sofa-wedding-party. These people were entitled to their opinion, were more than entitled to plan their Saturday morning based on that opinion but several times they couldn’t keep it to themselves and I asked them to stop trying to p--- on our parade.
To me, one of the most annoying things a person can do is to throw negativity toward something another person is looking forward to. It’s one thing to do it in love as a running gag — my friend JD and I throw, well, gags at each other by talking about Brussels sprouts or cilantro — but it’s another thing to attempt to smothering someone’s joy.
I’m not talking about an opinion-based conversation. “What do you think of the royal wedding?” or “Do you want to watch with me?” both lend themselves to sharing positive or negative views.
“I’m so excited about the royal wedding” does not. If someone isn’t asking for your opinion, and giving it doesn’t add to a conversation, why is it necessary to share it? Sure, haters gonna hate…but do you have to be one?
The phenomenon wasn’t unique to this particular event. It’s a behavior that’s creeping into a lot of situations when people are excited about something.
Like long-anticipated movie sequels.
Like summer vacation destinations or recreational activities.
Like child birth.
It’s always been BIG in the child birthing conversations! I don’t think I know a mom who didn’t hear, “When I gave birth, I (fill in horror story that has no positive value to pregnant woman here).”
I’m guilty of it myself; sometimes I feel like I’ve made kvetching about sports an artform. I should do better. I’ll try. To quote Maya Angelou: “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”
But that’s me bettering myself, not my male-folk so when my equally excited friend, Kathleen, casually asked if anyone wanted to watch with her, I jumped at it (and dragged my agreeable daughter with me at an hour when college aged kids are sometimes coming home.)
We wore our pajamas and our fascinators.
We had mimosas, wedding cake, egg casserole and fruit.
We shared and looked up intel on the fly as the wedding progressed; we oooh and ahhh’d over dresses, flowers, speeches, a gospel choir and a youthful cellist.
Best of all, like a wedding favor, we all took home a shared memory of a morning long, multi-stop, joyful and perfect wedding parade.
Susan Vollenweider lives in the Northland. To listen to the women’s history or historical media recap podcasts that she co-hosts go to www.thehistorychicks or www.susanvollenweider.com.