I asked my wonderful wife, Tara, to marry me on October 19, 2004, in a tiny black box theatre in Brooklyn, New York, where we first met. I took a knee in that ugly little room because of its sentimental significance for both of us—and because the swirling sky was spitting bullets of freezing rain in the park under the Brooklyn Bridge, where I'd originally planned to do it. But everything turned out great in the end. She said yes; she cried; she called her mom. And now, when we tell the story of our engagement, it seems as though I had planned to pop the question in that dank, windowless room all along.
Adapt. Compromise. Breathe. Don't hold on too tightly. Everything will be beautiful and wonderful. Everything will be exactly what it should be.
It's too bad no one shared this lesson with me when I was caught up in the whirlwind of my wedding planning, but I probably wouldn't have listened anyway. I was too busy coveting designer suits, snarling at my in-laws, and generally trying to muscle every single detail of the event with all the gruesome effort—and all the success—of a man trying to steer the planet Mars into a compact parking space at the mall.
Groomzilla doesn't get the same press as his twin sister, Bridezilla. In fact, some people still don't know he exists. But believe me, he's out there. According to Bridal Guide magazine, an astounding 80 percent of grooms are now full planning partners in their weddings. And the results are unsettling.
Today's groom has scales—and an entire niche industry has popped up to cater to his expensive, effete whims. Salons like Exclusively Male in Cincinnati advertise a "Groom and Groomsman Special" that includes hair, manicure, and pedicure for $90 a person. Exclusively Male's owner, Marie Stokes, told Time magazine, "If you're wearing a tux and have a nice shoe on … bad hands stand out." Personally, when I'm sizing up another man, I check for nice teeth, firm chest muscle implants, and then bad hands, in that order. But that's just me.
Clearly, something's up. Something's happening to men from all walks of life—men with nothing in common, save the fact that they are getting married.