January 31, 2010

It's My First Time Here

"Hi, my name is Madman, and I'm a groom who doesn't watch football.

Actually, I should broaden and clarify that statement. When I say watch I mean follow. I don't follow football. And when I say football I mean sports. I don't follow sports.

It could be my upbringing. Sure, Dad is a Dolphins fan as much as the next dad, but it was never a staple in our household. I've only been to about ten or twelve games, ever. I did play Little League for five years but crapped out the moment I got hit with a ball. Looking back, I guess I was a rather precious little ten-year-old.

The truth is that I've never been invested in it. Following a sport -- any sport -- is a time-consuming ordeal, and as with most things, I believe it's all or nothing. If I'm going to follow tennis, I would want to be able to predict swings. I would want to know both players' max speeds and the on-court official's officiating history. I would want to be present at all the matches -- not just the big ones. And the French ones, too. We're talking about an expensive endeavor.

Yesterday I stopped at Trader Joe's to get some demi baguettes and dried apricots -- not the most manly of grocery baskets. The friendly cashier began quizzing me (casually, sure, but it felt like an interrogation) about the Super Bowl. Thankfully I'd seen some coverage last week at the gym, so I knew the competitors, but that was the extent of my knowledge. I told him I wasn't a fan of either the Saints or the Colts.

Who's your team? he asks.
The Steelers, I say, a mechanical response I've grown accustomed to.
They had an okay season, he says, which is news to me. My team doesn't have a chance of going to the Super Bowl. Not in my lifetime anyway.
What team is that? I ask, dreading the response.
Oh-ho, I say, feigning a pity laugh. I have no idea what he's talking about.
Right? It's hopeless.
Hopeless. Eeesh. I am so lost. Might as well pack your bags now.

I later discovered that the Detroit Lions are the only team in NFL history to lose all 16 regular-season games (2008). They've also never qualified for a Super Bowl.

These are very obvious things that I should know ... shouldn't I? I should know when the seasons start. I should know the MVPs and which team belongs to which city. I should have a vague idea who won the last World Series, for chrissake.

It's my first time here, and I decided to come today because ... well ... I'm a groom. And a groom has responsibilities. I upped the Christmas gift this past December. I give 5% of my income to a jar in our kitchen marked Honeymoon. And for god's sake it's time for me to find a sport and like it. If anyone has any suggestions or inspiration, please let me know.

Anyway, thanks."

::mild group applause::

"Hi, I'm Maureen, and I'm a bride who doesn't use Etsy..."

January 27, 2010

Catering, in the Biblical Sense

God knows I like to pretend I'm somebody. I'm very Bret Easton Ellis that way.

Back in the day (so to speak), I would take 2E's out to dinner at what we thought to be the snazziest restaurants in Manhattan. Hell, we were the youngest couple at Nobu by at least 12 years. And as part of our 7-day stay in Puerto Vallarta, we hiked up an unfriendly hillside through dark, unfriendly alleyways (2E's in the unfriendliest pair of heels) to visit one amazing Mexican restaurant where I had a generous portion of ostrich for the first time ever. At least I think it was ostrich. Perhaps it was [insert rarely eaten bird here].

And it's not because 2E's and I are at all snazzy ourselves -- no-no, we're far from it -- but we do appreciate a good meal. Good service. Good food. A "no bullshit" experience.

Having said that, even we -- connoisseurs of food that we believe ourselves to be -- cannot comprehend the outrageous price of catering.

Well, I should amend that. "...the outrageous price of New York catering."

We have been speaking to the kindest, most personable caterers for the last three months of this seemingly interminable journey. They get us. They get our vibe, assuming we have one. And on top of it, they want to put their own spin on our wedding, which we love. But the Grand Total at the bottom of their proposed menu is absurd.

Is it standard? I'm assuming. I'm assuming X and Y are by no means out to screw us in the Biblical sense. Why would they?

No, this is just the world of weddings, and 2E's and I have (in our infinite wisdom) chosen to be wed in the city where catering costs run rampant. God forbid we try to contact one of the larger, more reputable companies like "Preat Gerformances." Uttering our meager catering budget over the phone would send a wave of laughter through their SoHo headquarters. Little do they know that we would gladly bus tables and do dishes at our own wedding to have just a passing acquaintance with their passing tray aperitifs.

2E's thinks the next month would best be spent seeking out other proposals and "getting creative." I suppose this means requesting pricing information from smaller companies, shredding rejected proposals and using the shredded paper to prepare shredded paper salads -- our very reliable back-up should we not find an affordable alternative. Doesn't get more DIY than that.

January 25, 2010

Picking Your Battles (and Losing Most of Them)

I believe it was a great U.S. general who once said, "A good man knows when to raise his sword, and he knows when to retreat."

Actually, it may very well have been a groom.

While I'm a longtime activist for groom's rights (hell, check out the title of the blog), I'm no Norma Rae. We men aren't meeting in bunkers, communicating through confessionals, fighting the good fight for grooms' suffrage. We like to be involved but we don't expect to make decisions, for chrissake.

"A good groom knows when to nod and when to smile." End quote.

That being said ... there are those rare moments when I will push and pull for something that 2E's might be on the fence about. Take our wedding website, for instance. After sweating over our budget for months, 2E's was more than fine with a simple, traditional, [insert here] website. I was not. Nothing against those plug-in sites, but for two designed-oriented people, it seemed against our nature to go the simple route.

She was about 65% convinced when I began working on the design. I toiled through the night, saving the files in unsuspecting folders like Mac HD < Library < Logs < Qmaster (and I still don't know what that folder is for). I kept the design simple, manageable and as cheap as possible. When I revealed a first draft of the design, her 65% turned to 99%.

We were blessed in that our longtime web partner (Zach Katagiri) offered to put up the site for free as a wedding gift. 2E's was thrilled. 99% turned to 110%.

And here's the final result: Brussels 2 Brooklyn. Now all we have to do is teach 1/4 of our guests how to access the internet.


January 22, 2010

Who Scored the Scorecard

Last week I introduced the first Groom Says Giveaway, an opportunity for brides and grooms alike to write in and tell me why they deserve an original, limited edition, FREE laminated Groom Says 2010 Scorecard. This prize has so many adjectives it's almost silly.

We had five excellent entries ... and it was a close call ... but the scorecard goes to CINDY! 

[dramatic balloon drop insert here]

Here is a snippet from Cindy's very convincing argument:

"An example of how wonderful my fiance is: one Sunday afternoon he put together a brand new bookcase he bought for me then helped me completely clean my room (vacuuming, dusting, purging of old items, etc.) and then moved my furniture around until it was perfect. All this took about 4 hours. Then as if that's not enough, he then helped my parents remove all the furniture from the family room (couch, desk, computer, recliners, tables, tv, etc) so the carpet installation people could come the next day and then he helped them put all the Christmas decoration stuff in the crawl space under the house. And that's just one example of all that he does. He really is extremely deserving!"

Yes he is, Cindy! Why? Not necessarily because he helped you clean your room. Cindy's fiance spent his Christmas helping his future in-laws move furniture and take down their decorations. This is a serious health and wellness issue. Cindy's guy accrued hundreds of points over the holiday break and clearly has no means of keeping track. This must end.

So Cindy -- send me an email at thegroomsays@gmail.com and tell me how I can get your guy on the right track.

Mucho thanks to the other four contestants. Tim -- hang in there buddy. Help is on the way.


January 19, 2010

Guest Post for the Men

Dear grooms,

For any of you who get chills at the thought of popping the question a second time ... please check out my guest post on The Man Registry:


be strong,

January 18, 2010

STD Awareness

2E's had been talking up the Save the Date since October. She was eager to get it out before New Year's for two good reasons ... or ... one good reason and one other reason:

(1) because over 75% of our guests will be traveling and will need to find accommodations, we needed to think of this as a destination wedding. We wanted to give our attendees (esp. those with kids) ample time to find their hotel rooms, book their rooms, book their flights, plan their trips, etc., and

(2) if we got it out by early-to-mid December, the Save the Date could double as our Christmas card.

One thing we kept in mind -- something that helped us speed things along -- was that we didn't want our Save the Date to trump the invite. And we needed it to be cheap; with all the expenses approaching in the next 9 months, we couldn't put a load of $$$ into what is essentially a precursor-to-invite.

So without sucking months out of our lives or hundreds of dollars out of our pockets, combining our own graphic design skills and the beautiful work of our engagement and wedding photographer, Noah Devereaux, we were able to put together the following:

We thought about photoshop-ing in a large black hole beneath me ... but 2E's decided it was too morbid.

Inspiration #65: The Tiny Tie Tucked In Look

January 15, 2010

The Person at Extension @$&! is Not Available

10 minutes on hold with 3-1-1, a transfer to the NYC Marriage Bureau, and this is what I get:

The person you are trying to reach at extension 3-6-5-2 is unavailable. Your call is being transferred to a voice mailbox system. Unfortunately, the person at extension 3-6-5-2 does not subscribe to the voice mailbox service. Goodbye.

I managed to locate another extension on a message board floating through the world wide web, so I called that number. That person did subscribe to the new and exciting voice mailbox service, so I left a clear and detailed message ... though, in retrospect, I might get a quicker response if I were to scribble the question on old parchment paper, stick it in a discarded wine bottle and toss it out into the Pacific.

The response may come back in Japanese...

答え、狂人はあなたの中心に、ある。 あなたの中心に相談すれば方法を知っている。

...but at least I won't feel neglected.

January 13, 2010

Guest Blog on myKPW

Dear Readers,

Please check out this morning's guest appearance as part of the new "Involving the Groom" series on the Kate Parker Wedding Blog:


Look out for a new guest post every Wednesday!

much love,

p.s. Comment below for a chance to win a limited edition Groom Points Scorecard!


I am thrilled to announce the first Groom Says Giveaway!

With Valentine's Day approaching, you want to show your groom that you care. And not just that "chocolate chip pancakes in bed" kind of care. You want to show him that you get him. That you connect with him. That you understand his plight.

What he needs most of all this Valentine's Day is a Groom Points Scorecard!

Brides -- make a comment on this post between now and Thursday the 21st at 10pm PST and tell me why you think your groom is most deserving or most in need of his own laminated scorecard.

Grooms -- Valentine's Day is about love, and that includes loving yourself. Write in and tell me why you think you're the best candidate for your own points tracker. 2 points for honesty.

Husbands, wives, MOBs, MOGs, life partners and significant others -- you're eligible, too.

Giveaway includes:
  • 10"x15" laminated limited edition 2010 Groom Points Scorecard 
  • Expo Vis-A-Vis wet-erase markers, assorted 4/Pack
  • Free shipping to anywhere in the Continental U.S.
The winner's name will be posted here on Friday, January 22nd. Happy commenting!


Fahrenheit 451

A couple of months ago, 2E's mentioned that we needed to begin the search for material to read at the wedding. We didn't want to use a traditional poem or verse; we wanted something more unique and more personal. Being the "reader" between the two of us, she thought I might be best suited for the task.

Not the case, it seems.

After reviewing a shortlist of texts that I'd assembled this morning, 2E's has removed me from the post. Apparently, grooms, the following titles are not suitable for one reason or another:

Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut
A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess
Anything by Edgar Allen Poe
The Road, Cormac McCarthy
Bee Gees songs 
No Country for Old Men, Cormac McCarthy
Anything by Cormac McCarthy 
Animal Farm, George Orwell
American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote (I was 100% invested in this one)
Faust, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (both parts)
The script of Fargo, Joel & Ethan Coen
The script of Barton Fink
Anything by Joel & Ethan Coen
The Scrabble Player's Dictionary

A big upset, too, because I had just stumbled on the following text from Coen's Raising Arizona that would have brought down the house for sure:

"I had a dream. I dreamt I was as light as the ether, a floating spirit visiting things to come. The shades and shadows of the people in my life rassled their way their way into my slumber. ... I dreamed on, further into the future than I had ever dreamed before. ... I saw an old couple being visited by their children, and all their grandchildren too. The old couple weren't screwed up. And neither were their kids or their grandkids. And I don't know. You tell me. This whole dream, was it wishful thinking? Was I just fleeing reality like I know I'm liable to do? But me and [insert bride's name here], we can be good too. And it seemed real. It seemed like us and it seemed like, well, our home. If not Arizona, then a land not too far away. Where all parents are strong and wise and capable and all children are happy and beloved. I don't know. Maybe it was Utah."

Ethan Coen, you slay me.

You too, Joel.

January 11, 2010

Inspiration #64

Dear Brides Magazine

I should have known better. I should have seen the name and thought, Don't even bother. I should have considered your sister publications (Vogue, Glamour) ... or your girlish, pink-ish orange cover ... or the even more obvious fact that your primary demographic is not 26-year-old men...

...but I didn't. I couldn't help it. I flipped through the entire magazine. 2E's discovered me at 1AM, passed out on the couch, a couple of pages into the spread on signature cocktails. Resuming the task this morning, I realized the significance of the page I was on when I dozed off (pg. 376): the personalized beer bottles from My Own Labels. I now understood what had happened. I'd collapsed from the sight of the first man-friendly image in the entire magazine. 376 pages in.

How can we -- the men, the grooms, the ones often charged with lack of interest in the wedding process -- how can we get interested when there's nothing that piques our interest ... aside from the occasional Mikaella Bridal model or the Virginia Ham cocktail biscuits (p. 369).

And no, the 8-page, outdated Men's Wearhouse formal(wear) education ad isn't going to cut it. Who actually wears a red pocket square with a black and white tux? "Geometrics mermaid" is a hideous accent color. And a personalized harmonica is never an appropriate groomsmen gift (pg. 286). The "choose a fun accent color for the tie" method just doesn't cut it in 2010. These aren't class portraits! Guys want style. Grooms need a little freedom to think and dress outside the box. Call it what you will. Call it taking an interest.

Sure, there are a couple things I can pick out from the real wedding Love Stories, like Indira & Nevin and their garden gnome centerpieces and Punk Your Chucks sneakers. Or Pamela & Derek and their vintage typewriter-as-guest-book and rock candy mason jars.

I can skim through the bridal experts and pick out some relevant words of wisdom -- like stay together for the first 15 minutes of your cocktail hour to help the photographer capture candid shots (c/o Maribeth Romslo) amongst others.

As for the rest of the 400+ pages in this tome ... well, we're from different worlds, aren't we? You don't know what I want, and I don't know what you want. And no, I don't want this to feel like a break-up because -- well -- we were never really an "item," were we? But maybe in another time ... a time when I'm more feminine and you're more masculine.

Oh forget it. Pass the Virginia Ham biscuits.

January 8, 2010

Damn you, South Carolina, and your ... liberal ways

In some ways, South Carolina is still behind the times ... but when it comes to marriage requirements, these Southern Carolinians know how to roll.

The NYC Marriage Bureau, on the other hand, is a total buzz kill. You think one of the most liberal cities in the union would be a little more laid back when it comes to marriage. Hell, you think they'd allow Ernie the Keebler Elf to register as an officiant if he filled out the right paperwork...

...but I can see the Union Square demonstrations now. Signs reading, if that dang elf can marry someone, so can a squirrel! Well, little do they know that Ernie is infinitely more qualified than a squirrel. He wears formal attire, comes travel-sized and is apparently a billion years old. He's hella wise. And he brings cookies. When's the last time you saw a squirrel bring cookies to anything.

For once, I wish New York would take after the great state of South Carolina, where a notary public is permitted to officiate a ceremony. Becoming a notary, thanks to all of the e-courses available, is so much easier (and so much less complicated, and less controversial, and less of an ethical conundrum) than becoming an ordained minister online.

Ugh, now I'm stuck on this elf thing. And I need a cookie. Damn you, Ernie.

Groom Points via The Man Registry

Check out my "Groom Points" guest blog post on The Man Registry, the go-to resource for all things man- and groom- and man-groom-related.


Inspiration #62: Some Traditions Are Awk-ward

Bowling Below Average

Tonight the Best Man and I went bowling. Sometimes that's what needs to happen. A groom needs to get out of Wedding HQ, pull on a pair of rental shoes and get some man time. It's a health issue.

It wasn't until we'd come to the devastating end of our second match that I realized that Justin was throwing the games. He was bowling below average -- aiming for 6's and 7's, ne'er a spare in sight -- just to keep his Groom on the up. When I mentioned soon after what a "nail biter" this was, he began throwing with his left hand. This man knows his roll well.

And brides -- feel comforted. A Best Man who takes a dive on the lanes is the same Best Man who will keep us grooms sober, in-line, buttons aligned and laces tied when the time comes.

According to Wikipedia, above is a "Bride kidnapping in Central Asia, circa 1870."

Too, know that a well-trained best man with worldly training can possess these qualities taken from traditional best-man-hood-dom:
  • defend the groom from would-be kidnappers
  • defend the bride from would-be kidnappers (much more common)
  • cough up the ransom should the bride (or groom) be kidnapped
  • entertain the guests, sometimes for several hours, with jokes, riddles and haikus while the ransom is being collected
  • restore order
  • remind the bride how right she is
  • remind the groom how little he matters in the big picture
I'm not saying that you couldn't accomplish these tasks single-handedly, ladies, because you absolutely could. In fact, we're hoping that you will. Your successful handling of things means that we can book out the third tier on the Chelsea Piers driving range and knock some balls into the Hudson River before the big moment. I suppose we men like to bond over games with balls.

But in the rare case that there's a rough patch (wherever it may be, whether it's mid-haiku or what-have-you), know that there's another someone there to provide back-up.

January 6, 2010

The Best Man Says

On the red-eye to Chapel Hill, NC, knowing I had less than 24 hours to get mom and dad's approval, retrieve her great-grandmother's ring and get back to Los Angeles ... the one thing I wasn't worried about was the excuse. 

Justin and I concocted a tale so perfectly spun that no one would question it ... even the woman who knows me best. We'd been talking up a trip to Joshua Tree for weeks. We'd drive over in the middle of the night, camp out, climb, explore, do some 'shrooms and then come home around midnight. Justin (being Justin) took it to the next level ... sending me fake itineraries via email, sharing the plans with our friends and being 100% out-of-sight on "Joshua Tree" day as to avoid suspicion. 

When my plane was delayed, it was Justin who answered 2E's frantic calls, assuring her that we'd fallen asleep in the desert, awoke in the dark, stopped at a diner and were now headed home (me sleeping in the passenger seat beside him), all without a stutter, without a hitch. So there's no question ... Justin is my best friend. And he's my Best Man.

I thought I'd take this opportunity to give him a voice on the blog, let him charm you a bit and hopefully remind me why I hired him for this gig in the first place.

Well, I have no prior experience being a Best Man (except in regional Man Competitions, i.e. Turlock and Monrovia).  However, of the qualifications I do possess for such a position, three spring to mind: (1) I know and love, and have known and have loved, both the 1E and 2E's for as long as they've known and loved each other; (2) 2E's does not hate me an unacceptable amount; and (3) I can almost recite The Big Lebowski by rote in its entirety.


Negative, but I did grow up on a block where most of the families contained someone who was married. And I have multiple relatives that have been married AT LEAST twice. 

Well, I'm not Jesus, but if I were, I think I would tell you to quit your whining and live with it cause this is gonna be hella awesome! 

I've often found the Bible to be particularly useful in situations like this. (Ha ha, just kidding.) No, as always I will turn to The Big Lebowski. And perhaps the long-overlooked, 1992 gem, Bride of Killer Nerd.

I think there are at least two, but if you're referring to the one on the actual day of the wedding ... on a scale from one to awesome...? Awesome being ten...? Eh.

Keep up that regimented practice schedule for the next year, and you should be at least acceptable in Slow, Modern, Tap, Jazz, Classical and Modern.

Oh, and Interpretive. Fingers crossed.

Absolute Beginners
Modern Love
Soul Love
Loving the Alien
Love You Till Tuesday (single version)
New York's in Love
Beauty and The Beast
Lets Spend the Night Together
I've Been Waiting for You
Let's Dance
Be My Wife
Never Let Me Down

2E's is reading this, right? Then let's go with:

Quiet night at Starbucks with pals drinking earl grey and reminiscing in a circle about how their good chap, Madman -- once a groovy single dude -- is now taking the plunge with his wonderful, wonderful bride-to-be ... and remarking how undeserving he is. You are. Of her.

(Note: Part of this answer is true. Guess which part.) 



Easy. Michelob also makes a fine brew by the name of AmberBock. I've already arranged for private, last minute distribution. If that falls through, we drink the beer I was going to use to bribe the Falafel vendor who needs to relocate his inconvenient truck for the evening of the reception.

Simple. Induce vomiting. We'll practice at the bachelor party.

Only one. Pauly is a cater-waiter and is most likely the one requesting the electric slide. I would break his legs and cut his tongue out behind the DJ booth.  I'll also keep a head of lettuce in my back pant pocket. 

Two things: (1) don't hire girls off the street, at least none with less than four teeth who reek of snapper; and (2) make sure your boy is dressed, on-time and at least sober enough to -- at the right moment -- nod and smile.

January 3, 2010

Magic Marker-Wielding Nightmares

No, I've never been to a b------- p----.

Fellow groom and longtime friend Ulises is losing his independence on March 13th in Captiva (a small island off the coast of Florida). As a groomsman, it's my responsibility not to plan or coordinate or arrange ... but rather to bug and pester him (and best man Alex) about the pre-wedding festivities.

Come the end of January, I may very well be in my '98 Sebring convertible, top down, driving through the desert to the b------- p---- capital of the world: Vegas. Made popular by Peter Berg's Very Bad Things and, more recently, by The Hangover, Vegas is where the betrothed go to bid their freedom farewell (and also to forget the hours between 11PM and 8AM). The hope is that, should we decide on the Strip, I'll be fortunate enough to document our trip--from the hotel room to the nightclub(s) to the casino(s)--and use code words where needed.

While in Miami, Ulises confessed that he'd been to one "gentleman's club" b------- p---- that still gives him nightmares; the throng of under-dressed women pulled the groom onto the stage platform, stripped him of his clothes and drew concentric circles around his unfortunate man-breasts (now prominent with hot pink magic marker), at which point he was forced to dance and frolic about the stage. His gentlemen guests sat around the stage, troubled, disgusted, dreading what might come next, knowing that there was no hope in saving this evening.

And my only question is, What the hell?

What kind of twisted send-off is that? What groom would actually enjoy that? I humiliate myself plenty already ... I certainly don't need a team of magic marker-wielding exotic dancers to do it for me. Rather than disrobe the man and accentuate his man-boobs, how about:
  • inviting him to participate in a group improv 
  • teaching him a useful vocational skill
  • paper mache/crafts
  • staging a demonstration on harassment in the workplace
  • acting out that Matt Damon/Minnie Driver scene from Good Will Hunting 
I guess I wouldn't call any of those Very Bad Things -- unless someone were to totally murder that bedroom scene -- but it would be an educational evening. And isn't that what a b------- p---- should be?

Oh well. Take us out, Minnie:

You're the one that's afraid.

What the fuck am I afraid of? 

You're afraid of me. You're afraid
that I won't love you back. And guess
what? I'm afraid too. But at least
I have the balls to give it a shot.

(Will begins to cry in a South Boston accent.)

You think you're so good, Will.
Will Hunting. Good Will Hunting. But 
you're not! Ha! I said it!

(She exits. Scene.)

Inspiration #59: Compensating Groom

January 2, 2010

Seg This Way

2E's and I have been thinking for some time that we would ride off on a Capri blue, Vespa LX 150 Scooter after our reception. Here are our Top 5 reasons:

  1. We've nixed the car idea. We attended a wedding where the groomsmen had filled the car with balloons -- both front and back seats -- and it didn't work out. There was a lot of popping. A lot of latex. A lot of pain.
  2. Rollerblading down Dumbo's cobblestone streets might not work either. 
  3. Walking seems wrong. 
  4. Scooter rental is cheaper than we expected. 
  5. Riding a Vespa across the Brooklyn Bridge might be the closest I come to being cool.

But wait a moment -- what about the Segway? 
    We've seen Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak riding his in our LA neighborhood ... we've even test-driven a pair at the Epcot Center in Orlando without causing serious injuries.

    True, it's not at all vintage, doesn't come in Capri blue and would appear TOTALLY out of place -- but how cool would it be? And how cool would WE be?!

    Thoughts readers?

    Inspiration #58: classic groom goodness

    January 1, 2010

    You are not Lord of the Rings. You aren't Lord of anything, really.

    You may be the exception. You may be that groom who actually cares about wedding rings. If that's the case, you may not find this at all helpful. If you're the groom who has browsed, bookmarked and memorized New York Magazine's Who's Who of Manhattan Jewelers, then this post may not be for you.

    Rather, this post is for those men who would consider purchasing their wedding band out of the back of a van before considering Van Cleef & Arpels.

    "No, I like it, I do ... I just think it sends the wrong message..."

    Gentlemen: Let's start simple.

    You won't be buying your bands out of the back of a van
    The fruit might be alright (edible, even), but you should accept the fact that this purchase will be made with a retailer. Of wedding bands. Not fruit.

    Best supporting actor
    The common misconception about wedding bands is that this is a dual decision. But like that other common misconception -- that your opinion matters -- this is simply untrue. Think of your band as the appetizer to her main course ... the Pluto to her Saturn ... the boutonniere to her bouquet. You will very likely choose your ring months before she decides on hers. And yes, you'll still be responsible for accompanying her even after you've made your decision. Bring a light sandwich and cue the moral support music.

    Playing the field
    2E's and I have visited two jewelers thus far: one in the hectic diamond district in Downtown LA, and another in a high-rise in Beverly Hills. In both instances, I made my selections quickly and easily, tapping the display case and saying,

    "Um, I like the really plain one. No -- the even more plain one right next to -- Yes, that one."

    Meanwhile, 2E's had pared them down to perhaps 5 or 6 top picks at both locations, all in a moderate price range. But it's no matter. We're currently on a break from the wedding band hunt. Things got awkward. Things were said that weren't ... well, we're moving past it.

    Staying calm
    Be prepared for the unfamiliar, gentlemen. Words will be tossed around -- words like "pavé" and "beveled" and "appraise" -- words that they've ripped straight from the pages of Jane Austen novels. You'll be asked to differentiate Tungsten and Platinum. Don't be fooled. They are EXACTLY the same. They may even ask if you know your ring size. For god's sake, you don't even know your shoe size.

    The key is to stay calm. Squeeze your 2E's hand and she'll cover you. She'll cut in with, "He's probably an 8," or, "He may actually prefer the white gold."

    And when she does, the best response (as always) is a nod, followed by a smile.

    Inspiration #57: And right on time, too