This weekend I went to an absolutely first-class wedding in Atlanta. The church ceremony was exquisitely tasteful and the reception featured a wedding band so funkadelic-ly terrific that if I had unlimited funds, I would hire them to play at my house every weekend. But then it came time for the bride to throw the bouquet. And y’all know how I feel about the bouquet toss.
The call went out to all the single ladies to come up to the dance floor…and I stayed seated. I don’t aspire to be a bride, and I don’t feel the need to compete in retro-ridiculous contest about who’s next. Some of my girlfriends participated, and the one who caught the bouquet was delighted; she just went through a bad breakup and it felt like a happy omen to her. It was all good. Except for one of my male friends, who ribbed me for sitting out the toss.
“Oh come on, Becky,” he said, “go up there.” When I rolled my eyes—he knows perfectly well how I feel about the bouquet toss—he persisted: “You can blog about it!” I told him I already had blogged about it. But he’d had a few beers and was undeterred: “You’re in the South! It’s tradition!”
Normally I love this dude, but I wanted to pour the beer over his head. I don’t like being pressured, and I especially hate it when men try to pressure me and then dismiss my resistance as though I’m just being uptight or unreasonable. I have the right to NOT do anything that I find objectionable. We all do. And really, “tradition” is a feeble justification, particularly in the South, where any decent person spends a lot of time rejecting our various offensive traditions.
It should be pointed out that this male friend—also a Southerner—is unmarried and even older than I am, which, if he were a woman, would make him the target of all that insulting wink-wink about needing to catch that bouquet. Instead, because he has a dick and the social privilege that goes with it, he’s exempt from the bullshit stereotypes that women have to deal with. But even though he’s aware of those stereotypes, he still had no problem telling me—the girl—that I should do something I find offensively sexist…because hey, it’s just a tradition, amirite?
Double standards? They’re a hallowed Southern tradition too.