March 31, 2004

We Interrupt This Program...

It will be a slow posting week as I work out some technical issues. My excellent hosting company just moved me to a different server and there are a few things I, a complete techno-idiot, have to work out.

Additionally, you may have noticed some comments from spammers - I hear they are called "spamments" - advertising all sorts of drugs and products for enlarging certain body parts. I'm working on blocking these jerks from the site so I don't have to spend ten minutes every day deleting them from the comments section.

Big things are in the works for next week. I'll be up and running before then, but stay tuned! Thanks again to everyone for your continued readership and support.

Posted by The Groom at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2004

Ride, Captain, Ride

Spring is officially here and for me that can mean only one thing: biking. L and I met almost three years ago while training for a charity bike ride from New York to Boston and being on my bike is something I look forward to as each horrible New York winter winds down.

On Sunday, my friend Mike and I rode on a group ride with the New York Cycle Club. It was a fifty-seven-mile, round-trip ride to Ridgewood, New Jersey from the middle of Central Park and the third ride in a ten week training program. Even though Mike and I missed one of the rides because of our trip to Las Vegas, we rode well, finishing strong and only in need of a short nap, a burrito for dinner and a plate of chocolate chip cookies in order to recover. I felt great the next day, even good enough for a personal training session on Monday afternoon. (More on that grueling but worthwhile hour soon.)

I have complained before about getting in shape, but that was back in the dead of winter when the idea of getting on my bike was as hard to imagine as the idea of Mel Gibson converting to Judaism. But now that spring is here, I'm confident my nascent pot belly will be controlled by more than just an extra tight cummerbund.

The only negative result of all this exercise? I might be too tired to go anywhere or do anything with L in the months before the wedding. See you in August, sweetheart!

Posted by The Groom at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2004

AJC AOK

The Atlanta Journal Constitution has an article today titled "Here Comes The Groom," which, coincidentally, is the subtitle of this website. It's by Helena Oliviero, a very nice reporter with the AJC whom I encouraged any Atlanta-area grooms to contact not too long ago. A PlanetGordon.com reader is, in fact, profiled briefly, which is fantastic.

What struck me most, however, is a fact mentioned towards the end of the piece. According to Conde Nast Bridal Group, the average engagement period is now 16 months, up from 11 months in 1990. Sixteen months! And that's just the average! That means that some people get engaged and then hold their weddings perhaps as much as two years later. A year has so far worked out just perfectly for me and L, striking a Goldilocks-like balance between too long and too short a time period.

Posted by The Groom at 04:41 PM | Comments (5)

In the Cards

A proof of our invitations came at the end of last week, yet more evidence that a big event is in fact being planned. It's nice, actually. Things have been somewhat quiet on the wedding front lately, and the arrival of the proof broke the relative calm that has edged out the frenzy of the first few months of our engagement.

The invitation is simple; just blue text on a mostly white background. I didn't want pink or light colors, and L deferred to me for most of the invitation's design. My mom pointed out, however, that those were the same colors as my bar mitzvah invitiation. Consistency is key, they say, so what could be more consistent than having the same style of invitation for two events seventeen years apart?

Posted by The Groom at 09:25 AM | Comments (2)

March 25, 2004

Not Emily Post, but the New York Post

An article in today's New York Post addresses the rising cost of celebrating other people's weddings. The piece, written by Mary Huhn, gives voice to the growing chorus of people who are concerned about all the money they shell out for other people.

No grooms are quoted in the article.

Posted by The Groom at 01:38 PM | Comments (4)

March 24, 2004

OUTRAGE!

theknottakenshirt.jpg

UPDATE 4:40 PM: In the comments section below, a reader pointed me to an IndieBride.com discussion thread which began on July 31, 2003. TheKnot has been selling thongs with the word "taken" across the front since at least the end of last summer. While it appears that TheKnot beat me to the idea of putting "taken" on an item of clothing, it still appears that my T-shirt came first and that their ad copy is a close copy of mine. When I searched in January to make sure I wasn't copying another T-shirt idea, I did not think to look for thongs marking a woman's genitals as claimed property. I regret the error. My original post from this morning continues below.

This T-shirt, which bears an eerie resemblence to the one I began selling in January, is listed as a "new" item on TheKnot.com's wedding shop. I found the shirt after doing a random web search today on an unrelated topic. At first I didn't think much about their shirt, figuring we had both hit on a similar idea at around the same time. But something about the word "new," listed right next to the item's name, stuck in my craw.

The more I looked at the shirt and their description on the web page, the more suspicious I got. I don't know exactly when they began selling it, but it had to have been after I started offering mine. I had done thorough searches of sites like TheKnot to make sure I wasn't stepping on anyone's toes or in danger of being sued before I designed the shirt with a friend. Maybe I missed something, but given that the word "new" is prominently displayed above the item description, I'm assuming TheKnot wasn't selling this two months ago.

Here's their description of their shirt:

Let everyone know your status -- from prewedding parties right up through the honeymoon and beyond -- with this light blue T-shirt that features "taken." in bold white letters.

Now, here's the description of the "taken" T-shirt at my shop:

Tell the world you're spoken for with this classy, high-quality tee.

"Let everyone know your status" versus "Tell the world you're spoken for." Was I ripped off? I'll let you be the judge.

womenstakenshirttwo.jpg

There are a few possibilities about how this happened:

  1. L and I have only been engaged since the end of August and TheKnot is one of a handful of survivors of the dot com boom of the nineties. They might have had this shirt in the works before I came around.
  2. It's just a big coincidence.
  3. With all the press I've received since October, someone - or someones - at TheKnot has been reading my site, thought the "taken" shirt was a good idea, and ripped me off.

I'm inclined to think the best of people, but I have the sinking feeling that option number three is the most likely. Considering my review of TheKnot's message boards, I'm just glad I didn't wake up with a horse's head in my bed or come home to find L opening a box of black roses from the Bridal Mafia.

Some advantages to my shirt? The woman's version is a dollar cheaper than TheKnot's. (Go ahead, Knotties, start a price war. I dare ya.) Their's features a "cute Knot signature" on the back, meaning you'll be shilling for the TheKnot everytime you wear it. Mine comes in versions with and without a PlanetGordon.com web address so you can buy one commensurate with your marketing comfort. The PlanetGordon.com baby doll T is made by American Apparel, an LA-based company which prides itself on providing good working environment and benefits for its employees. I can't say for sure, but I would bet TheKnot's stuff is made by kids in Myanmar for ten cents a week.

I welcome any suggestions from my faithful readers, but I'm not sure if there's anything I can do, short of making a big stink or perhaps calling the Fox 5 Problem Solvers. (I've always wanted to do that.)

Read the post that inspired my mom to suggest a T-shirt and the follow-up post in which I introduced the "taken" T to the reading public.

This isn't the last I'll write on this subject. Oh, no. I have not yet begun to fight.

Posted by The Groom at 11:10 AM | Comments (19)

Stag and Groom

stagandgroom.jpeg

Stag & Groom magazine launched last week, billing itself as "the UK's first men's wedding magazine." It may, in fact, be the world's first.

I haven't seen an actual copy, but the headlines promise articles on bachelor parties, choosing a diamond, jobs for the best man, writing speeches, planning a honeymoon, and wedding fashion. What's left to cover in their sophomore issue? Cuff links?

The magazine costs four pounds, or about $7.40 stateside. As a comparison, an issue of Modern Bride costs $5.99. I'm no marketing whiz, but shouldn't a wedding magazine targeted to people who don't usually buy wedding magazines cost less than the average wedding magazine?

I'd love to see a copy of Stag & Groom but the trans-Atlantic postal rates would make a subscription prohibitively expensive. Fortunately, I'll be in London next month for a wedding, so I'll see if I can't pick one up at a newsstand while I'm there.

Posted by The Groom at 09:38 AM | Comments (8)

March 23, 2004

Funion

How did I miss this? From last week's Onion:

Best Man Has No Idea Why He Was Picked.

Posted by The Groom at 06:05 PM | Comments (0)

Is the Giftwrap Orange?

Too many champagne flutes? Tired of terry cloth towels? Is your masculinity challenged by discussions of thread counts and china patterns?

homedepot.jpg

Home Depot launched its online gift registry today. According to one reputable source - my father - 900 people have signed up so far, although I would bet that number will increase exponentially by day's end. Here, finally, is a chance for men to take charge of the registry. That's not to say that women aren't interested in powertools or fiberglass insulation - and vice versa, that men aren't picking out pots and pans - but there have to be more than a few men who would rather talk to someone with an orange apron than deal with snooty department store employees.

Living in a second floor walkup, L and I have little use for a new lawnmower or a 20-inch chainsaw, but even urbanites might find something like this useful. (Bloomingdale's is light in the vacuum department.)

With spring wedding season coming up, I'd love to go to the first showers where Rubbermaid garbage cans outnumber Tupperware storage containers. If you have registered or will register at Home Depot, PlanetGordon.com would like to hear from you.

Posted by The Groom at 10:20 AM | Comments (5)

March 22, 2004

You Can't Handle the Truth

One would think that the Weddings/Celebrations pages of the New York Times could remain scandal-free, immune from any fabricators in the style of Jayson Blair or the Ananias of USA Today, Jack Kelley. But this editor's note in yesterday's Style section caught my eye:

A report on Feb. 15 about the wedding of [Bride] and [Groom] included an erroneous account of the bride's education, which she supplied.
Ms. [Bride], a child therapist, did not graduate from the University of Pennsylvania or receive a master's degree in occupational therapy or a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Southern California. Though she attended Penn for a time, her bachelor's degree, in occupational therapy, is from U.S.C.
The Times should have corroborated the credentials before publishing the report.

(I took out the couple's real names to protect the not-that-innocent.)

While the couple probably figured this would slip by the Times' fact checkers, did they really think no one would notice this fabrication? It's pretty bold to assign yourself a degree two levels above what you actually have and then, in effect, have your resume printed in one of the more popular sections of the Sunday paper.

I've written before about my suspicions about what qualifies a couple to have their wedding announced in the New York Times. Perhaps Ms. Bride thought she'd have a better chance of getting in if she were Dr. Bride. I wonder how many other people write complete whoppers in order to secure a spot in the venerated pages of the New York Times.

My head is spinning with questions about this, but one really gets me. Who ratted her out?

Posted by The Groom at 10:15 AM | Comments (4)

March 18, 2004

Is This Any Way to Treat Friends?

My friend went to a wedding last year and wound up spending well over six hundred dollars on a dress, shawl, and shoes. Who knows how much she spent on getting to the wedding, staying overnight and buying a gift, but it was not an inexpensive endeavor.

Stories like hers are common among bridesmaids, but there's one catch. My friend wasn't a bridesmaid. She was a second-tier "attendant" who did little more than pose for pictures before the ceremony. Although she was honored to participate in the wedding of a good friend, she wasn't thrilled about spending a month's rent to stand on the sidelines for less than forty minutes.

Of the many things men might not understand about weddings, it's why anyone in their right mind would subject their best friends to tacky, expensive dresses no more likely to be used again than a paper suit after a rain storm. That's not to say that men aren't also complicit in subjecting their friends to absurd expenses all in the name of that event known as "My Wedding." I've seen grown men forced to buy matching expensive suits or designer ties that look no different than their off-the-rack Filene's Basement counterparts.

Recognizing that people alread have to fly to Wisconsin and pay to stay there - although it is considerably cheaper than staying in New York or Chicago - L and I are not asking our wedding party to go above and beyond the financial call of duty to celebrate with us. We are asking our friends to honor us and our families by participating in our wedding. Holding them upside down by their ankles to shake out loose change wouldn't be in the spirit of that honor.

My groomsmen, all over thirty years of age, own tuxes. Do I care that some of them might have traditional lapels and others will have shawl collars? Not enough to make them rent one for the weekend. I'm also not making them buy special ties or vests, and, in light of our recent trip to Las Vegas, have told them they don't need to buy us a gift.

Considering that fashion trends are shorter lived than most celebrity marriages - and I've been told bridesmaids dresses are dated before you even try them on - L isn't going the traditional route with her friends either. She has told everyone to wear a below-the-knee dress within a palette of blues easy enough to find in all types of stores. If the women want to spend four hundred dollars on a new dress at Barney's, it will be their decision to do so. But if they happen to find - or already own - a ninety dollar dress from Ann Taylor, then they are more than welcome to wear it. With friends of varying body types, no woman will get stuck wearing a dress that isnt' flattering. L got the idea from a friend's wedding in which she participated and I applaud both L and her friend for ending the madness of bankrupting one's friends and making them look ridiculous.

L and I have a simple philosophy: our friends are not props to be used in our wedding. After all, do Broadway producers ask their actors to pay for their own costumes? If having your friends wear the right dresses, ties or other accessories is so important to you, then figure out a way to either pay for them entirely or at least keep the cost as low as possible.

My friend, however, will get at least one more use out of the dress she spent so much money on last year. She's having it made into pillows.

Posted by The Groom at 12:56 PM | Comments (6)

March 17, 2004

An All-Clad Pot from POTUS?

What kind of invited guest not only won't come to your wedding but won't even send a present? A famous one, of course. While it is technically possible to invite anyone to your wedding - and sometimes it feels as if we are inviting everyone to ours - you can send invitations to world leaders, royalty and movie stars. They might not send you a pasta maker, but they will, in many cases, send you a personalized reply. Here are some addresses to add to your list.

The Honorable George W. Bush and Mrs. Bush
The White House
Attn: Greetings Office
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500-0039

The White House will send greetings from the president and first lady after your wedding, wishing you congratulations. Any invitation must include the name and home address of the couple and the exact date of the ceremony. It also couldn't hurt to include a daytime phone number. Depending on your poltical affiliation, it also couldn't hurt to wait until John Kerry takes office in January when the word "Honorable" might be a little more appropriate.

The Secretary to Her Majesty
Queen Elizabeth II of England

Buckingham Palace
London, England
SW1A 1AA

Proper etiquette dictates addressing the outer envelope to the queen's assistant since all mail to Buckingham Palace is first sorted before making its way to the throne. American citizens are out of luck, however, as only royal subjects will receive a response. Instead, Americans can send invitations to our queen.

His Holiness John Paul II
Prefettura della Casa Pontifica
00120 Vatican City
Italy

In a gesture of interfaith goodwill, the pontiff formerly known as Karol Wojtyla sends greetings to Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Forget about limos; L and I want to arrive at our wedding in a Popemobile.

If you have a favorite celebrity you'd like to invite to your wedding, you can find his or her address - or at least the address of the management company handling fan mail - online. Big Law & Order fans, L and I have discussed inviting S. Epatha Merkerson to our wedding, although we doubt the no-nonsense Lieutenant Anita Van Buren will want to spend her summer vacation in Wisconsin. I don't know if she's married, but as a courtesy we'll include her on our wedding list as a "plus one."

Posted by The Groom at 12:40 AM | Comments (4)

March 16, 2004

Calling all Atlantans

If you are a newly engaged groom who's involved in the planning and you live in the Atlanta area - as I used to - a reporter from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution would like to talk with you. Helena Oliviero, a features writer, is doing a story about men taking bigger roles in wedding planning. Email her for more information.

Posted by The Groom at 03:31 PM | Comments (0)

Viva Las Vegas

That my bachelor party was held five months before my wedding caused no small amount of confusion for just about everyone my friends and I met in Las Vegas. Dealers, waiters, fellow gamblers and others enjoying their time in Sin City all had the same bewildered looks on their faces when I answered their questions about when my wedding was happening. "What? Not 'til the summer? Why are you guys here," asked one dealer. Most people I spoke to envisioned a bachelor party as one final blow-out before the big day and therefore couldn't get a handle on why a group of seven guys came to celebrate their friend's bachelor party a full season before the wedding.

It even started on the plane, where even the flight attendants couldn't resist the "ball and chain" jokes. "You're getting married?" asked a young woman as she served me my microwaved snack. "I'm sorry." It was a comment I'd hear numerous times over the weekend, each person thinking they were the first to tell it to me.

We practiced Blackjack basic strategy during the flight, so much so that we could have opened our own airborne casino, albeit one that did not collect money. Every person who passed us on their way to the back of the plane offered their advice on our dealt hands. "Hit that, buddy." "Ooh, you're still gonna want to hit that sixteen." The energy on the plane was infectuous as visions of plastic chips danced in our heads.

luxor1.JPG

Some of that energy carried over into our time at the tables, as a good number of my friends were ahead during the first part of the weekend. Although, typical of gambling, fortunes changed quickly. After losing a significant amount during a particularly long run, my friend Spot (all names have been changed to protect the innocent) announced that he had found a way to beat the casinos. "All I have to do is drink fifteen hundred dollars worth of alcohol."

There's only a three hour time difference between New York and Las Vegas, but despite this fact, we never really adjusted to the new time zone. In most situations, if you landed in a western time zone you would push yourself to stay up a few hours later just to get on track. But instead of adjusting to Pacific Standard Time, we adjusted to Las Vegas Standard Time, which is located somewhere just outside the Twilight Zone. It involves staying up until the wee hours of the morning and then waking up barely five hours later, ready to hit the tables again in hope of a big win.

On Friday we tore ourselves away from the casinos and headed to the Hilton Hotel for the Star Trek Experience. The ride was fun, although my friends, a few of whom are single, wrote their own imaginary tour book entry for the attraction: "Not a good place to meet women."

After attempting to take a nap, I was given simple instructions by my friends. Meet downstairs in the lobby at eight o'clock, dressed nicely for dinner and a night out. When I went down to meet everyone, we went outside where a limo driver stood holding a sign that said "Gordon." Now, Gordon is a fairly common name, but I had caught up on sleep enough to figure out that my friends had a great evening in store for me. The eight of us piled into the limo and made our way to our first stop, In-N-Out Burger. We must have been quite a sight, with our black limo pulled up next to the retro-style fast food joint, wolfing down burgers, fries and shakes under the glow of a neon sign.

From there it was on to

[SECTION REMOVED BY SPOAR (Society for the Protection of Adult Reputations)]

and then I headed up to the hotel room and went to bed.

stripblur.JPG

Some of us spent Saturday afternoon by the pool. It was a welcome respite, not only from the din of the casino, but from the winter back home in New York. Now two days removed from reality, Pike, Marlie and I sat in the hot sun and wondered why on earth anyone would choose to deal with temperatures in the teens and freezing precipitation.

But I kept reminding myself that Las Vegas is not reality. Back home I wouldn't eat at Nobu if I had accidentally lost my wallet on the street on my way to the restaurant. But in Vegas, I would gladly do that even if I had lost two hundred dollars before dinner. (I didn't. In fact, I won two hundred bucks before dinner and then lost it at the Blackjack tables at the Hard Rock before winning it back again at the Luxor.)

The next morning the entire group had our last meal together, the $9.99 Pharaoh's Pheast breakfast buffet at the Luxor. Remembering an old Vegas axiom, I reminded my friend Ray, "It's not all you should eat, it's all you can eat." Greasy food and bottomless cups of coffee sated our alcohol soaked stomachs.

After saying goodbye to our Boston-bound companions, the New Yorkers among us headed back to the Hard Rock to finish out our trip. My luck increased exponentially, as I pulled myself away from the table fifteen minutes before having to leave for the airport with an extra four hundred bucks in my pocket. I realized I hadn't bought a present for L yet, so I went to the gift shop and found confirmed what I already suspected. There isn't much to buy in Las Vegas besides, well, crap. I opted for a magnet for the sole reason of getting to hear L say, "You won four hundred dollars and all you got me was a magnet?"

We headed to the airport and, after a one hour delay, we were headed back to New York. As if extending our trip by seven hours, our cab driver demanded an extra twenty dollars over the agreed fare from our Brooklyn-based crew after reaching our first stop in Park Slope. Had the driver been upfront about what he wanted at the start of our ride, we might have felt generous enough to just give it to him. At least in Vegas you know you're going to be taken before you sit down. Still, I'll take New York, NY over New York-New York any day.

I returned later that night and, sure enough, L and I joked about the magnet. For as much fun as I had, it was great to be back home with her again. She even finished all the thank you notes from the showers and had sent most of them out while I was gone.

Posted by The Groom at 11:15 AM | Comments (4)

March 15, 2004

Keep The Customer Satisfied

At the suggestion of a reader, I've added a couple new products to the PlanetGordon.com online store. You can now get the famous "taken" T-shirt without the web address on it, if that's your preference.

newtakenshirt.jpg

Thanks to everyone who bought one. It's like a mini revolution, finally giving engaged men something to show their status. MGA (as coined by another reader: Maligned Grooms of America) unite!

Posted by The Groom at 09:32 PM | Comments (0)

Back in Black(jack)

I'm up about $400 for the weekend as a result of some successful Blackjack sessions, but I'm down about twenty hours of sleep as a result of simply being in Las Vegas. My flight was delayed last night, so my friends and I didn't get back to Brooklyn until three in the morning.

More good news, though. You can read this story in US News & World Report about the growing involvement of grooms in wedding planning. I was interviewed by the reporter, Vicky Hallett.

I'm heading back to sleep and then to the bank. I can't promise a full report tomorrow, but I'll have a few stories to share.

Posted by The Groom at 11:14 AM | Comments (1)

March 11, 2004

Mothers, Mothers-In-Law and other Sensitive Readers SHOULD NOT Read This If They Wish to Preserve Their Idea of Me as The Perfect Son/Son-In-Law/Groom

I recently introduced some of you to the message boards at IndieBride.com, a relatively calm oasis of reason and support in the landscape of online wedding sites. If you go there and click on the board devoted to Bachelor/Bachelorette parties, you'll notice a common thread among the posts. "His upcoming bachelor party is tearing us apart!" declares one post, which, as of today had 97 replies. Forty seven people replied to one titled "Call of [sic] wedding because of bachelor party?" For a board devoted to both bachelor and bachelorette parties, hardly anyone is talking about bachelorettes.

Most of the posts share a similar concern: women's varying degrees of comfort with strip clubs - ranging from ambivalence to downright disgust - and the men who, frankly, don't give a damn.

glittergulchgirl.jpg

A few months ago, when talking about plans for my bachelor party to an acquaintaince, I was practically ordered to go to a strip club. "Dude," this acquaintance said, "you have to go." Really? Is strip club attendance mandatory for all grooms-to-be? Do Las Vegas airport officials not let you on the plane home unless you can prove you saw a naked breast during your trip? My acquaintance explained the reasoning behind his insistance: "Dude, you have to say goodbye to all that." Say goodbye to all what? Breast implants, bleach-bottle dye jobs and sequined G-strings? When have I ever said hello to any of that? If I really needed to say goodbye to something, I'd go to a bar on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and get rejected by short, curly haired girls carrying Kate Spade bags. That's something to which I am happy to say buh-bye.

I'm probably better off not taking the advice of a guy who a) isn't married and b) starts every sentence with "dude," but, still, the question is out there. Will we go to a strip club in Vegas? To be honest, my group of friends has given more thought to where we are going for dinner on Saturday night - Nobu - and what time we're going to the Star Trek Experience than to whether or not we'll go to a strip club. Still, when in Vegas, one should do as the Las Vegans do, or something like that, so a visit to a strip club is definitely in the cards. (Sorry, mothers, but I warned you not to read this post.)

The tendency for men to visit strip clubs is understandably confusing for women. A female friend of mine who has no problems with strip clubs still wonders, "What's so great about seeing other people's boobs? People in couples have constant access, so why is it necessary to pay to see more?" I'm afraid there's no definite explanation. To paraphrase Sir Edmund Hillary, men go to strip clubs because they're there.

Is a culture that allows women to take their clothes off for twenty dollar bills degrading to those who work in strip clubs? It would be hard to answer no, but I'll save the sociological debate for another website. The fact of the matter, based on even just a few posts on IndieBride, is that for some couples bachelor party related activities can be the biggest wedge issue of the entire wedding. Yes, even bigger than picking flowers.

Couples in trusting relationships should have what I would call a "Do Ask, Do Tell" policy. A woman should feel comfortable asking her husband about everything without wondering if he is going to hold back or, in some cases, lie. And both people should expect the other to do the right thing no matter the circumstances. I would suspect that people who feel they have to police their partners' behavior have bigger problems than just a few lap dances.

L hasn't issued any decrees prior to my departure today. She knows I won't be having any women back to my room to "party" with me and my friends and that I won't run off to the Little White Chapel to marry a dancer named Bambi. I will, however, come home to L and tell her all about my trip - all of it. We have our own "Do Ask, Do Tell" policy, but we also have one called "Look but don't touch." Luckily for the women worried about their fiances, the strip clubs have the same rule.

Posted by The Groom at 12:04 AM | Comments (11)

March 10, 2004

The Day After

One of the side benefits of getting married? Double the birthday greetings! I'm used to the ceremonial call from my parents, but I also received well-wishes and cards from L's parents, sister and aunt and uncle. It's just another item to add to the list of things to look forward to in the years to come.

I'm happy to report that my teeth are clean and cavity free. At the end of my appointment, my dentist wished me a happy birthday and handed me a free toothbrush. Of course, I realized that everyone gets a free toothbrush at the dentist, birthday or not. Did she mean to pass the free brush off as a birthday present? Realizing that the next time I saw her she'd have a lot of pointy objects to put in my mouth, I quieted my inner Larry David, thanked her and left.

Al Di La is closed on Tuesdays, although I didn't know that until I showed up at the restaurant. So we traded in our Italian and went across the street to Moutarde for some delicious French fare. If at all possible, have your birthday on a Tuesday. The restaurant was quieter than normal and the wait staff was eager to serve us.

But now it's back to reality. I'm in my post-twenties, as I am more comfortable saying, and there's work to be done and only five months to go before the big day. Today I have to clean the apartment. The gifts from our wedding showers arrived via UPS yesterday and I have to find a place to put the wine glasses and other presents we've agreed not to use until after the wedding. Maybe a good project for my 31st year on earth will be finding a bigger place to live.

Thanks to everyone who left comments or emailed me wishing me a happy birthday. It was a great day, one that I hope to do again next year.

Posted by The Groom at 08:58 AM | Comments (4)

March 09, 2004

I Say It's My Birthday

birthdaycake.jpg

I turn 30 today. How am I celebrating? By sitting in a dentist's chair getting my teeth cleaned because I forgot what day my own birthday was when I made the appointment. L and I will have a nice dinner at our favorite restaurant in Brooklyn, Al Di La, to ring in my thirties. I have no idea what my present from L will be, although she got proposed to on her birthday so it better be good!

In the meantime, here's my gift to you, a funny, but true story I found online. Enjoy.

Unruly passengers kicked off Chicago-bound plane in Bangor
Associated Press
February 26, 2004, 8:22 AM CST


BANGOR, Maine -- An American Airlines plane made an unscheduled stop in Bangor to let off a group of unruly passengers during a flight from London to Chicago.

The plane landed Wednesday at Bangor International Airport after the captain said about 20 men on the plane were unruly. The misbehaving passengers got off the plane without incident.

They were questioned by federal transportation officials and told to wait for another flight to Chicago, Bangor police Chief Don Winslow said.

In Wednesday's incident, the plane carrying 207 passengers and 14 crew members made an unscheduled stop in Bangor after a group of British passengers became boisterous, walking down the aisles, standing by the bathrooms where they weren't supposed to and causing a commotion, said Jim Osterrieder, FBI supervisor for Maine.

One of the passengers refused to take his seat and was confronted by a purser. The two exchanged words and the flight crew decided at about 11 a.m. to divert to Bangor. Osterrieder said he did not think alcohol was involved.

The 20 passengers were all ultimately headed to Las Vegas on vacation and to celebrate the pending marriages of three members of their group.

Osterrieder said that none of the men was charged but the incident remained under investigation.

The 20 men were processed through customs and allowed to go to the airline ticket counters or to a nearby hotel.

Posted by The Groom at 12:01 AM | Comments (9)

March 08, 2004

Too Many Questions

Message boards abound on the Internet and it's no suprise that, for the bride-to-be looking for answers to her biggest question, there are a number of sites that offer women a place to share advice. One such site, The Knot might just be the largest of its kind in the world. Despite its large size, however, a recent search of the site yielded few posts by men.

Part of the reason for this might be that The Knot seems too big for the uninitiated. Perhaps the question is not whether people have that many questions about weddings, but rather whether their questions are that much different from any of the hundreds or thousands that have been posted before. It's hard to tell. On The Knot, posts whiz by at such a rapid clip that something you read in the morning could easily be buried beneath thousands of newer questions by lunch.

The Knot is a veritable alphabet soup of acronyms, practically warranting a Wedding-To-English dictionary before any attempt to read the site. Apparently, Knotties - as regular users call themselves - in the middle of wedding planning are so busy that they need to abbreviate everything. Instead of typing "Is your future husband sending save-the-dates to your out of town guests," try "Is your FH sending STDs to your OOT guests" instead. With enough abbreviations, you'll have more time to devote to charity and learning that instrument you've been meaning to pick up since grade school.

There is even a whole category of posts on The Knot that are "NWR": Not Wedding Related. A random sampling of today's NWR topics found people who just had to ask, "How much is gas where you live," and "What color shutters go well with light brown bricks?" Talk about sorting the wheat from the chaff. Where is someone supposed to go if they just want a quick and easy answer to real questions about getting married?

My visit to The Knot reminded me of a passage in the 2001 book Emergence, by Steven Johnson. In an incredible book on emerging intelligence, online hierarchies and virtual communities, Johnson writes this about the types of people who tend to have a disproportionate influence over online conversations.

If the cranks and obsessive-compulsives flourish in a small-scale online community of several thousand members, imagine the anarchy and noise generated by a million community members. Surely there is a "climax stage" on that scale where the online growth turns cancerous, where the knowable community becomes a nightmare of overdevelopment.

I doubt Johnson spent much time on The Knot, but it was hard to read that paragraph and not think about the chaotic discussions one finds on most wedding-related message boards. It's not surprising that posts by men were few and far between. What man in his right mind would willingly enter such chaos? You could risk losing an eye or a finger just by trying to keep up with it all.

Thankfully, there is at least one site I've found that injects some sanity into asking questions about weddings. The message boards at IndieBride are neatly organized and feature one of the only grooms-specific message boards I've found. Don't let the "IndieBride" name scare you as there are plenty of "IndieGrooms" who post questions and comments. The atmosphere is polite, respectful and calm and a far cry from the cacophony of The Knot. While sites for grooms, especially ones for the progressive-minded male, are still few and far between, you won't be disappointed if you take your questions to IndieBride.

Post any questions you might have below. I'll answer them in future posts.

Read more about The Knot in Jamie Levy's excellent article in the Charlotte Observer.

Posted by The Groom at 11:13 AM | Comments (12)

March 05, 2004

Sin City, Here We Come

This time next week I'll either be counting my winnings at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino or drowning my sorrows in Romulan Ale at the Star Trek Experience after losing big on black at the Luxor.

vegassign.jpg

Yep, I'm heading to Las Vegas on Thursday with my friends for an early bachelor party. Busy schedules this spring and Inferno-level temperatures during the summer made a trip closer to the actual wedding an impossibility, so the guys decided to head out there nearly six months before the big day to celebrate.

After speaking about it with L, I told the guys who are coming to Vegas - many of whom are also my groomsmen - that they should not also get us a wedding present. Honestly, do I need bath towels and a gravy boat from my college buddies? Isn't a weekend of memories and time together - so rare in these post-college years - more significant? Participating in a wedding and all its side activities is a big commitment of time and money and I'm grateful for my friends' involvement.

In the meantime, my friends will spend this weekend practicing their Blackjack skills so they don't lose all that money they're saving by not buying us a gift.

For more information on booking your Vegas vacation, visit Vegas.com.

Posted by The Groom at 12:22 PM | Comments (2)

March 04, 2004

Not-So-Great Expectations

I'm not sure who handles the direct marketing for Great Expectations, a matchmaking service, but they might want to consider purging their mailing list. After all, L is officially off the market. Then again, given what was printed on the envelope below, who knows what their strategy is?

singlesenvelope.JPG

Posted by The Groom at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2004

My Changing Attitude About Gratitude

You might remember an entry in which I said, "I actually had a lot of fun writing [thank you] notes." You might also remember that L and I agreed that we wouldn't let a week go by between receiving a gift and sending out a note of appreciation.

Well, that was before this past weekend. With everything we received in Chicago - plus three more packages that came via UPS on Monday and Tuesday - we now have over 40 notes to write. Getting them out in a week, especially if we want to make each note personal and not develop carpal tunnel syndrome in the process, may not be possible.

You might also remember that L was nervous that my efforts in writing thank you notes in December would be used against her at a later date. Well, L, warm up your writing hand! We're splitting the list this time.

Posted by The Groom at 10:16 AM | Comments (1)

March 02, 2004

Extra! Extra! Read All About Mus!

If you live in Massachusetts - specifically, the Merrimack Valley - you can read all about PlanetGordon.com in today's Lawrence Eagle Tribune. Kristi Palma, a reporter for the Trib, interviewed me and some other men for the story which focuses on the changing involvement of grooms in their weddings. The story isn't online yet, but I'll put a link up here when it is.

Pick up the Lawrence Eagle Tribune at newstands and drug stores. If they are sold out, it's probably because my mom is buying as many copies as she can fit in her car.

UPDATE 3/3/04: Here's the link to the Eagle Tribune. Click on the "Lifestyle" tab and then find the article titled "Here Comes the Groom." The link will probably be good for the next 24 hours, so read it while you can!

Posted by The Groom at 04:46 PM | Comments (1)

Shower The People

As I thought about our weekend in Chicago, I kept thinking of some good advice I could give to grooms attending their first wedding showers. Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Before you go, find out where the nearest packing peanut recycling center is located. You can call the Peanut Hotline at 800-828-2214. If you don't find somewhere to recycle them, you'll probably have enough styrofoam peanuts for an entire year's worth of nursery school arts and crafts projects.
  2. Propose that everyone wear name tags at the showers. I'm not particulary good with names, especially when I have to remember who goes with who. Color-coded tags, such as red for blood/legal family and blue for friends, would be helpful. Even a wedding facebook which you could study before a party would help you prepare. I would also propose hanging a giant family tree on the wall so everyone can reference it during the party.
  3. Buy stock in UPS before you go. If you are travelling out of town for showers, you will inevitably have to ship things back. I'm on a first name basis with our UPS guy and might invite him to the wedding at this rate.
  4. If you're the type of guy whose many responsibilities include the wedding registry - I'm the cook of the two of us - review your potential gifts before the shower. At the women's shower on Sunday, L pulled a souffle dish out of a box and said, "Oh this is, um, something! D will know what it is."
  5. Build runs or excercise breaks into your schedule. I went for a run with L's brother-in-law and it was a great way to blow off stress and fight the Battle of the Bulge.

Wedding showers are good prep for the wedding itself. It might seem strange that someone who keeps a blog doesn't love being the center of attention in a room, but the weekend was good practice for August, when people will toast us at a rehearsal dinner, watch us kiss, and see us dance. As a number of people reminded me and L, "It's all about you guys."

Posted by The Groom at 01:33 PM | Comments (2)

March 01, 2004

Dazed and Confused

After an early wake up call at La Casa De Los In-Laws and a long delay at O'Hare, we are back safely in Brooklyn. We're too tired to talk, too stuffed to eat - I had an apple for dinner, L might have some water with a side of ice - and too amazed at the overwhelming generosity of our friends and family. I'm so wiped out that I don't dare try to describe the weekend and will save that until I'm better rested tomorrow.

Despite my exhaustion, I did want to express my gratitude to our hosts at the wedding showers this weekend. In addition to being great friends of L's family, some of them are regular PlanetGordon.com readers. Our Saturday night hosts D, S, E, M, and D and the Sunday afternoon ladies L, A, D, K, J, and E, treated us like royalty, feting us with food, stories and gifts. (Unfortunately, not enough of your names start with vowels, so I couldn't come up with any good anagrams of your initials. Sorry.)

True to form, thank-you notes will be sent post-haste.

Posted by The Groom at 08:46 PM | Comments (1)