Ake's Pains debuted in the University of Akron Buchtelite in September of 1977. The school's reputation as an institute of higher learning has still not recovered. Ake's Pains returns after a brief 32 year hiatus. It's back, baby!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Father of the Bride (The Wedding Chronicles – Part 1)

From the moment you first hold your infant daughter, you take on a set of very important responsibilities of which you are totally unprepared for.  Raising daughters is often like driving an old truck full of highly combustible materials down a very bumpy road.  You can drive masterfully and still end up smoldering, holding what’s left of the steering wheel.

The responsibilities get easier and less taxing once the teen years are over, but one major responsibility remains. It lurks out in the shadows, waiting to pounce when you least expect it.

Then one day something called a “proposal” is made and if accepted, this transforms you into an almost mystical being which our society labels “Father of the Bride” (FOB).

But this FOB thing is a really odd responsibility. And whenever you are given a title that you did not seek, you can be sure you are being set up in some way.  “Here’s a nice, new, title.  My aren’t you special!” (Stupid sap you are!)  I was told to “save your money” but I was not told how much money to save or what it would be used for.  In reality, nothing can prepare you for the financial beating you are about to receive.
One part that did not cost
any money!

As far as I can tell the primary function of the FOB is to write frequent and sometimes enormous checks for everything and anything wedding related, checks that have many zeroes and commas.   You are playing the role of the superhero “Father of the Bride” and bills and invoices come flying at you from all directions at warp speed.  You must suppress these evil forces by all means necessary, using the super powers at your disposal; checks, credit cards, loans, whatever it takes!

The difficult part is that you are paying large amounts of money for things which under normal circumstance you would never, ever, buy.  Weddings would be so much different if men planned them, which is of course is the reason men do not plan them.  If they did, it would be a disaster.

However, weddings provide the opportunity for the women folk to go slightly insane doing extreme woman-type activities.  The wedding planning is a series of estrogenically driven actions without any limits.  It is estrogen unchained, it is estrogen unencumbered, it is estrogen overflowing!  This results in things such as discussion and planning of every inch of the wedding dress. Women break down the details of the wedding dress similar to the way guys break down the details of a football game.  The dress’s train is discussed with the same enthusiasm and preciseness as a “Cover 2 Defense”.

And this obsession with precise detail is repeated over and over again with the cake, the flowers, the attendants’ clothing, the music, the table settings, the napkins, etc.  The intensity of this effort reaches a crescendo the week of the wedding as the estrogen reaches dangerously high levels.  It was so strong in my house I had trouble breathing. Now in some circumstances high estrogen levels are a good thing (right guys?), but elevated amounts of estrogen always result in men paying some price. And this time the price was enormous.

In the case of wedding planning, each attention to detail results in added expense which the FOB is naturally expected to pay for.  Fresh banana cake! Ba Ching!, Top Deejay! Ba Ching! Special Flowers! Ba Ching. Etc., etc., etc, Ba Ching, Ba Ching, Ba Ching!  That giant sucking sound was the money flowing out of my savings account.

And you have to pay it because it’s your daughter’s wedding, for heaven sake!  It’s like a female version of Mafia demanding extortion.   It’s a chance for payback against the male species and oh you are going to pay up big time.

I used to laugh when reading about FOBs who had to take out home equity loans to pay for a daughter’s wedding.  I thought the poor saps got suckered into paying for a very extravagant affair.  I am no longer laughing.  The average wedding today costs $30,000. Ours was a modest event and the cost of living here is low, so the total was much below that.

Yet, I am not laughing, I am crying. And it had nothing to do with the blessedness of the ceremony. I thought we were being prudent by serving chicken at the reception, but it was Chicken Cordon Bleu.  I figure they had it flown in from France because the Chicken Cordon blew a hole in my bank account! 

And just when I thought it was over, my wife asked me for a blank check on the day of the wedding to cover “extras”. Extras? What could possibly exist that I hadn’t paid for already?  She said maybe this was in case someone drinks too much. Drinks too much? I was raised a Baptist, in my view everyone is going to drink too much! 

As I walked my daughter over the bridge to the gazebo where the vows were exchanged, I tossed 10 pennies out into the lake.  The official story is that I did this to bring the couple good luck.  In reality it was the last 10 cents I had
Where I deposited my last 10 cents!
left, so I figured they may as well have that too.

But I made it through, I did fulfill my obligation and most importantly, none of the checks bounced! And I will be able to quit my new second job at the telemarketing firm as soon as I get my sales volume up.  So if anyone needs some new aluminum siding for their house, please let me know.


  1. I've not been an FOB but I have been an FOG (Father of the Groom). The initials tell it all since the MOG (Mother of the Groom) got very involved and left the FOG in a fog. Wasn't that cheap either

  2. Only you! I don't think I paid more than $1,000 for both of my weddings combined. But then again, neither one took. Maybe if I'd thrown more money at the mythical SOMEONE I would still be married. No, I don't think so!

  3. Yes, the expense for a modest wedding was a surprise and we went 20 percent over original budget. I'll have David read this he will laugh. he couldn't understand why we needed a lot of things haha.:)

  4. This is so very true. Try a wedding for your only daughter in CHICAGO. Cha Ching.