First World Problems: Three Weddings And No Excuse
By Judy Balan
First World Problems is a weekly advice column for India’s first world population. Write to Judy at email@example.com (confidentially!) if you’ve broken a nail, felt a little blue, yellow or green lately,
or had a strange encounter of the any-numbered kind.
PROBLEM: I’ve been to four weddings in the last two months, and have three more in the next month alone. I’ve had enough! Plus I’m running out of outfits and work leave. I’m not close to these next three couples, but I’m still expected to go. What excuse(s) can I use?
You are my kind of girl. (You are a woman, aren’t you?) I hear you. And I’m kind of an expert at disappointing people who expect me to do things, but first, let me tell you a story about how I got here. I got married once. 1,250 people were invited (don’t ask), and they all showed up. Most of these people were only there to make snarky remarks about the food and my choice of groom. (It’s a different matter that a couple of years later, I totally saw their point). So, that’s when I decided that no shits shall be given about who gets offended about what I do or don’t do.
Now, if I don’t want to go to a wedding, I just don’t go. If running out of outfits is the problem (and hey, this is a real problem, and as Mindy Kaling would say – why aren’t more people talking about this?) I wear jeans. (Yes, I have done this.) It’s a lot easier to do after a divorce ’cause then people usually chalk it down to your ‘unstable’ state of mind. It’s bloody liberating. I’m not asking you to get divorced, but you certainly have to do something drastic and earn yourself a reputation for being just a touch loola. Trust me, if you are to survive a lifetime of Indian weddings, loola is the only way to preserve your sanity.
PROBLEM: I’m an introvert. I don’t go anywhere without a book. I went on a long weekend with my husband and another couple, and they teased me for reading while they chatted, saying I was being rude. I was paying attention and sometimes made comments, but I also sometimes need time to myself. Was I really being rude? Or are they rude for not accepting this about me?
I’m an introvert, too. Actually, I suspect I’m downright reclusive. I mean, my ideal weekend would be Tom Hanks in Castaway. I could totally get all the emotional support I need from a volleyball. So, I get it. But also, you are being rude.
See, you can fall at any degree on the introversion spectrum, but the minute you decided to get married, you decided to share space with another human being for the rest of your life. If that’s not enough, you agreed to go on a weekend trip with another couple. Darling, do you not understand what this means? You just agreed to spend what extroverts call ‘quality time’ with three humans over a long weekend. What they will never get is that the only kind of time we’re ever interested in is quality time and that’s why we feel the need to ignore humans and drown in fiction so often.
But of course, you can’t tell them that. You just have to think it through before you commit to social situations like this one. See, they may be rude for expecting you to be just like them, but you are certainly rude for expecting them to behave just like your dog. Humans are not nearly as emotionally evolved as dogs. They are not capable of loving you while you ignore them and read a book. They have expectations. They are known to make irrational demands for your undivided attention. I mean, seriously, what’s up with that? Why would you be doing one thing when you can do three things? But yes, it’s just how it is.
I’d say – be honest. If they refuse to get it, perhaps a little demonstration is in order. Invite them over for an Introverts’ Party, where you lock them up in separate rooms for three hours and give them a book to read. When they scream, bang on the door in desperation and beg to be let out, tell them that that’s how you feel at a party. Of course, they just might reach the conclusion that you need help. But I say, going to a shrink and analyzing your fancy psychological disorders would still be way more fun than a long weekend with people who expect you to talk about nothing.