License to Nil

Think Getting Married
Is Easy? Ask a Chihuahua

If you ask around, few would be capable of telling why there’s usually a whole month dedicated to weddings, which varies widely according to the country, and doesn’t prevent anyone from marrying any other time of the year. But as senseless that it may be, the tradition is pretty bland, comparing with the thousands of crazy rituals surrounding marriages.
The Internet is full of them, and also of old billionaires marrying teenagers and whole wedding parties winding up locked up in jail, after a bloody brawl. We’ve heard of three particular cases, though, that may have taken the cake, if you’d let us: a brutal nose-drip diet for brides to be; an Indonesian tradition, preventing newlyweds from going to the bathroom; and a dog wedding.
Come again? Somehow, we’re not surprised, for if you really get into the deep end of the issue, you’ll learn some pretty weird, if not downright insane, rituals people submit themselves, or are forced to by their communities, in order to move in together for as long as whatever unites them lasts. Or the local law would allow it.
Weird and unrealistic expectations aside, though, one should never think such exotic preferences are confined to primitive societies, insulated by cultural or political factors or just by plain geography. That would take a whole Wikipedia worth of entries, just to list the ones that have survived thousands of years and still frighten people into follow them.
In fact, apart from the age gap, weddings between decrepit billionaires and babes are a staple of our own rich societies, and in the case of the $4.7 billion-worth nonagenarian Karl Wlaschek, it’s his fifth attempt at that particular brand of bliss. Unfortunately, age difference is not conditioned to our own institutionalized self-indulgency.
We all know about the tragedy of child brides and of young girls being sold to help their families’ fortunes. They both are examples of ancient traditions that, given their social imprint in so many cultures, make one wonder whether we ever had, as a civilization, a point in time when people would be united solely because of their feelings toward each other.
For we can always relate another Internet fixture, the many wedding ceremonies and receptions that end up in vicious brawls, to the usual massive amounts of liquor and a variety of other substances ingested, and enjoyed at least for a while, by all, including the couple, their guests, priests, officiants, children and small animals.

WHEN PIPER MET BOO
Talking about them, a May 14 reception is scheduled to be held at the Twenty Four Fifth, a New York City’s Greenwich Village landmark, for the union of Piper, a two-year old Chihuahua, and Boo, six-year old Pomeranian mix. But before you start going on about the excesses of our pet culture and why would anyone submit their animals to such silly torture, let’s us add that there’s more to it.
The ‘nuptials’ are a way of non-profits North Shore Animal League America and Waggytail Rescue to raise funds for their operations. One of the dogs’ owner will be footing the reception and tickets, ranging between $125 and $250, include a slice of the bone-shaped cake. And yes, cats are also invited, even though we doubt any will show up.
Now you can go ahead and talk about the mad love we feel for our pets, how the rich sometimes leave a lot of cash for them, to avoid paying taxes, according to some, and how many hungry children would be well fed for months for the same amount that a week-worth of pet supplies would cost.
THE ANAL-RETENTIVE WAY
For some bachelors, no matter how you slice it, getting married is to be locked up in a wall-less prison, where all individual rights cease to have any relevance, and absolutely everything needs to be shared, or else. That’s probably the kind of news that never gets through to the good people of Sandakan, in Sabah, Malaysia.
For anyone who chooses, or rather, are chosen to be married, has to endure one of the most uncomfortable experiences of anyone’s life: right after their wedding ceremony, they need to spend three full days without going to the bathroom. Literally. No breaks, no pots, no ‘accidents.’ That would risk a lifetime of bad luck for the usually young couple.
No wedding night bliss for the lovers either, for the two are closely monitored the whole time by members of their community, to make sure they don’t cheat or give up honoring such an extraneous, albeit, completely senseless tradition. We know we shouldn’t judge anyone’s beliefs, based on simple, common humane courtesy. But come on.
There are those who see a silver lining (haven’t always been those who do?) in all of this: after such gruesome three days together, an extra bound of sorts, no pun intended, please, should be established between the couple. To what we may add our own tablespoon of lubricating Castor oil: we’d highly advise them to remain motionless during the entire proceeding.

ANOTHER STARVATION DIET
When we’ve learned about the K-E diet, an unfortunate gimmick advocated by a Florida doctor, designed to shed weight of brides-to-be, we thought it was a hoax. Honestly, we thought it was a smart, ironic commentary targeting the countless Websites dedicated to induce on impressionable, fragile egos, the unhealthy drive to get thin no matter what.
Eating disorders being such a serious public health threat, pervading pretty much all walks of life, but affecting with special viciousness young girls and would-be models, we thought that no one would consciously design a diet that implies basically stopping eating with your mouth, and spend a thousand of dollars to implant a nose drip, that needs to be carried around for 10 full days.
But the procedure is not a sick joke and, despite being far from proven effective, its promise of immediately shedding 20lbs has spread unchallenged through the Web. According to Dr. Oliver di Pietro, the diet induces ketosis, a process believed to burn body fat caused by a lack of carbohydrates, while retaining muscle.
The ‘no-food diet,’ which seems bound to cause some kind of tragedy before responsible health officials step in to at least regulate it, was invented by University of Rome professor Gianfranco Cappello, and later introduced in the U.K. by gastroenterologist Dr. Ray Shidrawi. It originally aimed at helping obese patients. But need is a word that’s been dropped early on from its advertising.
Again, feel free to insert here your own comments about our for-profit health establishment and their wasteful, multimillion dollar medical procedures. And the heartbreaking stories, misguided youth, unrealistic expectations, plus a pound of organic butter. Seriously, body image is such a complicated issue, we can’t even pretend we know anything fresh to add about it.

About WESLEY COLL

Writer, musician, news professional. World citizen, downtown New York City. Some acting, few screen writings, endless clashes with reality. Brazilian by birth, multilingual by chance, cash strapped as usual. Agnostic but partial for great soccer. Unmoved by sunsets, sunflowers, full moons or drunken dawns. Poor vision, lower back pain and a bottomless pit for a navel. Blue, cats, left, 9, heat and outer space. Common ground need not to apply. Not accepting advice at this time.

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