The Adventures Of Being Engaged: Fine China

Being engaged has been interesting to say the least. It hasn’t changed much for me in terms of my feelings towards my fiancée, overall it hasn’t really changed much of anything. It is what it is, when I asked her to marry me and she said yes, I accepted everything that entailed/changed at that moment. We were already melding our lives together so getting engaged and making it official hasn’t been this massive gear shift people would have you believe. Since our engagement not much has been crazy different between us, maybe I feel this way because I’m a guy, put a pin in that. What has changed, at least noticeably, is how everybody treats me and/or us.

Most people (not family members or friends even) feel inclined to push their own ideas of what life, the universe, and everything is about into our ears. I very politely – 85% of the time – discuss it with them, remind them everybody is different and we will do things as we feel appropriate, and I write it off as people pushing their anecdotal experiences on us because they have their experiences and if it is true for them then it has to be true in general style thinking. Typically I am a good boy about keeping my smart comments to myself, but a few things bother me. It bothers me that it would even bother me and it bothers me because the majority of the time whatever we are being told we ‘need’ to do is so arbitrary I fail to grasp the certainty and pressing reasoning.

What I am getting at is china. Why do we need it?

Answer: We don’t.

Various family members have gone obnoxiously out of their way to inform us why it is important to have china. The phrasing always changes, but the basic argument is the same.

  1. It is something every newlywed couple needs when starting out in life.
  2. It is used to formally entertain guests in your house.
  3. It is a tradition.
  4. It is something only a woman can appreciate, shut up you have no say in this Frank.
Those are generally the arguments, to which I reply respectively:
  1. The money spent on china would be better used on something more practical, say towards a new-ish washer and/or dryer.
  2. Nobody we would entertain would care about the plating, I rather pride myself on the fact.
  3. Tradition just means do it, don’t question. It isn’t practical, thus it is a waste.
  4. I am not the only one in my relationship that feels this way about china. It isn’t just coming from me. She doesn’t want it either.

What has sparked me to blog about this mind-boggling asininity is the grand adventure we had over the weekend. We went and registered for gifts. No, I didn’t think it was all bad, parts of it I enjoyed. It was time with the future Mrs. and it gave us a reason to get out of the house. I did, however, loathe the store we went to before hand and now I think it is a demonic cesspool of old ladies and bed skirts waiting to suck my soul out through my ears after my experience. I won’t say the name of the store, but it is a well known retailer that has, you guessed it, china.

Upon arriving at the store, we are whisked to the back for our wedding registry. What I mean by whisk is a safari through the wild and untamed boxes of various consumer goods that graze on a tile savanna waiting to be picked off by hunters. The place we are going is quite cleverly/annoyingly in the back of the store through the jungle of stuff that nobody really needs surrounded by walls of, see where I’m going?, china. We meet our tour guide/chaperon/handler and she immediately has us fill out paperwork while working through a speech.

Having listened to a speech that I didn’t want to hear that went on 44.5 minutes too long, our sales lady basically repeated our reasoning for coming to the store, the subject is moved onto china like a paraded, beaten, bludgeoned mule. I’m already somewhat annoyed because we have things to do later and would really just like to get our scanner and go zap some stuff. Before I can open my mouth and say we aren’t interested in china, my fiancée cuts the lady off, politely of course, and informs her we have no interest in it. Apparently this meant it was a tag-team wrestling match because another sales lady became involved and proceeded to show off all of the fine china that cannot be used in a microwave or dishwasher. Once again, we informed them we weren’t interested, they kept going.

Finally we get our scanners, after being repeatedly harpooned like giant white whales, we walk off to do what we had set out to do an hour ago when we walked in the door. We make our way back around to the counter, turn in our scanners, but again forced to listen to another china speech. This ladies reasoning ranged from if I came home and was having a bad day, break out the china to having a his and hers set so we can keep track of who eats off what. Just to get their parasitic mandibles out of our hides, my fiancée concedes and says she likes only one set. Big mistake.

When she found out that it was 90 dollars for only four pieces, she respectively said no. We would just get some casual dinnerware. Our sales lady, in a hail mary pass, said that the casual stuff wasn’t as good because it heats up and can burn your hand, the china that cannot be microwaved won’t. I laughed and said it probably had something to do with the fact it can’t be microwaved. The lady said we should get another sets for eight people, that is 90 x 8.


Finally we make it our alive with our flesh attached and most of our sanity. We get home and my mother calls. Without even saying anything about our day, she informs us that we need to pick a china set we like because people will be wanting to buy us pieces of it. After, calmly, going through our reasoning of not wanting anybody to spend 900 dollars on china and that we would rather it go to something useful, another 45 minute conversation over china in which the person ignores what we are saying ensues. She concluded with a “We’ll talk about it more later.”

We won the battle, but the war still wages.

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6 thoughts on “The Adventures Of Being Engaged: Fine China

  1. You know, I was in your shoes when I was getting married. I’m a simple girl from a small town who is lucky to know which fork to use. I married a guy from the deep south who did the whole cotillion thing. I saw no reason for china, but he pushed for some (and I have to admit, I really like it – blue and silver, very contemporary and simple).

    Here’s the clincher. I don’t cook. I suck at it with every ounce of my soul. So, that means he’s in charge cooking … which means I’m in charge of hand washing every effing piece of that stuff. If I thought cooking lessons would help, I’d do it just to save my hands from the burning water twice a year.

    Now for the best piece of advice given to me before my wedding: There are two times in your life when everyone you know and love gather together just for you. Your wedding and your funeral – so you should have fun at one of them. When things weren’t going as planned, I just remembered that and could feel the stress melting away. Enjoy!

    • Frank Bishop says:

      I agree, it is a happy time and it has been mostly smiles. A few things just don’t translate to me. My family has deep southern roots and I’m still at a loss as to why we need china. If people like their china, hay that is great. I have no issues with that.

  2. Well…since you don’t like it when people tell you their opinions about life, the universe, and everything, here is my take on the whole kaboodle.

    I like to think of us as one gigantic cucumber. Just floating in a sink full of dishwater and the dirty plates from last night’s dinner. For some reason you thought you could make rice pilaf.

    A lot of the times…we are seen as just a gross nasty cucumber…floating is dishwater. But sometimes we find somebody who loves cucumbers and doesn’t care where they’ve been. So they wash it off and cut it up. They probably put a few slices in a salad and then enjoy it.

    Is it still gross? Yes. Is it probably dangerous? Absolutely. Does this comment make any sense? Not at all.

    And that’s the whole point…isn’t it? Commenting and cucumbers. Peoples opinions and china.

    It’s all just dishwater.

    In a completely unrelated note: I do not use any drugs. This just happened to come out of my fingers when I wanted to comment.

  3. Nick says:

    Ahem….you mean to tell me that when/if I am in a relationship, my significant other will not like that I eat off of presidential commemorative plates or drink out of X-Men glassware? Then I shall remain single forever!

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