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Fall Weddings and My Funeral

As the calendar moves from B.H. to A.H. (Before Hunt and After Hunt) and the memories of October 19th are safely tucked away thanks to the wonders of selective amnesia, a new era is upon us. The fake phone numbers exchanged D.H. (During Hunt) are now at the bottom of the circular file (C’mon, did you ladies really think I would be fooled again by the whole 867-5309 “Jenny” trick?), so it’s appropriate to move on to Stage 2 of Autumn.

Yes, it’s now time to start looking at, of all things, the Classified section.

Why? Well, if you had to attend as many weddings and marriage-related proceedings (5) over the next month as I do, you would need to start pimping yourself out to compensate for a wedding-expense induced third-world personal debt too. If the Hunt is the apex for inane interaction and imminent intercourse (depending on the direction of your moral compass), weddings are its red-headed stepchild. Of course, since we’re talking in a Jersey context, make that a once-red-headed stepchild turned blond with non-matching drapes.

Despite a bear market and a sluggish economy, holy matrimony is still doing strong business in the Soprano State. According to the latest census figures, 4,619 of Hoboken’s 38,577 residents are married, making 88% of its population technically single (no, strategically leaving a toothbrush at your partners’ pad does not count). Based on these numbers, the chances of the under-35 crowd attending at least two weddings over the next year are about as certain as one of those two couples getting divorced (the U.S. rate sits at 51%).

The first such event on my itinerary isn’t actually a wedding itself, but an engagement party. This gathering is similar to the impetus behind President Bush’s pre-emptive strike policy. This couple is likely still a year away from developing a 9-hour ceremony and reception that will serve as a weapon of mass destruction to a Saturday that would otherwise be spent watching football at Black Bear. But the existence of such a party serves notice as the first stage of the three entities of the wedding cycle.

Call it the axis of blissful evil.

Stage 1-Engagement Party: Like that feeling you get after watching the overrated Sopranos this season, it’s four hours out of your life that you’ll never get back. Jeez, wasn’t the $12,000 basketball of a ring on your finger enough? You need more presents?

Stage 2- Bachelor/Bachelorette Party: The most contrived aspect of the axis. First, attempt to chew an almost-rancid steak at a second-tier steakhouse complete with lots of crazy crap on the walls. Proceed to make a tired trip to Bahama Mamas or some faux version of the Bada Bing, where a minimum of one moron in the group will utter, “Dude, I think that stripper I just gave $300 to actually digs me for real”.

The night at least becomes entertaining when listening to nervous, already-unlucky-enough-to-be-married guys pathetically lying to their wives on their cell phones (“No honey, you CAN play golf at midnight these days”). Bachelorette parties can be just as naughty and sometimes a few notches higher on the sloppiness scale (see: Trojan-gathering scavenger hunt and candy necklaces that become lonely strings by 11:30).

Stage 3A- Wedding: Priests and Rabbis suddenly seem to feel the need to turn the local church or temple into a night at the Improv. Gone are the days of poignant advice and touching anecdotes. Now, it’s all about having a ceremony that is two parts Leno and one part Seinfeld. After about 20 minutes, you begin looking for a waitress to satisfy the two-drink minimum.

Stage 3B- Reception: Hearing is forever damaged after enduring the cacophony of a cheesy DJ from Lodi or a band with a Newark Airport lounge singer belting out Gloria Gaynor and Wang Chung all night. However, the true challenge is trying to digest a dinner that is usually reserved for humanitarian airdrops to the oppressed living in Somalia.

Need a score of the game? Forget it. All reception halls within a 100-mile radius of Hoboken don’t have TV’s. And forget about calling for outside help; It must be in the wedding contract to make the area in and around the area a secure no-fly zone for cellular satellite reception. So basically, there’s no reception at the reception.

Cut the cake. Catch the garter belt and bouquet. Perform the Electric Slide and Chicken Dance back to back while side by side with geriatric relative that only get out of the house for…weddings. Clink the glass to make the bride and groom kiss AGAIN (and everyone wonders why couples stop having sex six months into the marriage). Then proceed to contemplate the following question:

Does ANYONE know how to spell originality anymore?

If it’s a black tie affair, the cost will increase further but the advantages of the “15” rule make donning a monkey suit worth it. Under this rule, a tuxedo can greatly enhance your chances to sweep up an unsuspecting gal losing a battle to resist the tractor beam pulling her back to the open bar while looking for Mr. Right (Now).

In short, a tuxedo can invariably take 15 pounds off your appearance, add 15 points to your IQ and add $15,000 to your bank account (bringing mine to $15,046).

The overall list of expenses reads like a sappy MasterCard commercial:

Engagement gift- $100.00.
Bachelor party- $200.00
If making a connection at said bachelor party with a performer whose name ends in a vowel
(see: Tiffani, Jenna, Kylie): $500.00
Wedding gift- $150.00
Airfare and hotel (if necessary)- $500.00
(we’ll avoid adding in the cost of a guest. After all, bringing a date to a wedding is like bringing sand to the beach).
Tuxedo- $125.00

The look on your face when working the 10 PM-4 AM shift at the Golden Arches on Washington and 3rd to pay for these MasterCard moments: Priceless.

The Hunt is over. The nesting of Hoboken has begun. Right now a brave young man may be on a bended knee at Amanda’s Restaurant proposing to his 50% chance of a soul mate as you read this. It seems the girl never says no to the “Will you marry me?” question anymore.

And one month later, the engagement party invite will arrive in your mailbox. The cycle begins again.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have more pressing matters to attend to….

"Sir, do you want fries with that?"

Joe Concha writes a weekly NFL Preview for NBCSports.com, is a BI-monthly feature column for Hobokeni.com, and offers Happy Meals at Mickey D’s for $1.99 on Wednesdays between 5-7 PM. If you have any questions or comments, please write to features@hobokeni.com and we’ll be happy to forward them to the author.

Please send all comments, questions and corrections to features@hobokeni.com and we'll be glad to forward them.