The Oracle That Is Mean Gene

Sunday, March 5th, 2006, 4:25 pm

While telling yinz how to live a more happy, satisfying life isn’t the prime directive of this blog, I like to help out when I can. So here’s a wee bit of advice.

If you’re thinking about getting married, whether that day is tomorrow or 50 years hence, do not, DO NOT, register for fine china. There is no bigger waste of money in the world (outside of your typical governmental and corporate graft) than otherwise blissful couples burdening themselves with 100 pounds of pricy, fragile, useless china. You won’t use it. You might THINK you’ll use it–as the big day approaches you’ll imagine you and your spouse hosting dinner parties with elegant people in gowns and tuxedos making oh-so-witty conversation. Forget it. Never happen. Don’t be gulled by Martha Stewart–the only bon mots that will be exchanged over your china will be “Aw, shit!” and “I TOLD you we needed more goddam bubble wrap!” as you naively try to safely pack it all away before moving day.

China looks great in the store, doesn’t it? When I got married I was the one who picked out our pattern, and it looks fabulous. Elegant, subdued–yet confident in its own unique beauty. Now imagine it with a big sloppy glob of chicken cacciatore staining its porcelein face. I have never eaten off our china. Not once. I once bragged that when I got back from my honeymoon I was gonna make a big batch of Chili Beef (my favorite disgusting comfort food) and eat it off our china. Never have. I had Chili Beef yesterday and five seconds too late I realized I should’ve broken out the china. Next time, next time.

You can’t stick your china in the dishwasher–it might break! Or get chipped! Or the hot water might strip away the gold filigree or leave scraches on the pattern or…oh God, let’s just seal it in a vault pumped full of argon gas!

If you host a dinner party with eight guests, you are gonna have a shitload of dishes to do by hand. And as you scrub your significant other is gonna be watching you like a hawk to ensure you don’t use too much elbow grease and ding the dishes. So that makes for a fun end to the festivities. Plus the recriminations and bickering that will ensue when one of her dimbulb sorority sisters gets a snootful of Chardonnay and drops her goblet on the hardwood floor. A goblet that MUST be replaced–you can’t have less than a full set of 12, can you? How will you sleep at night?

It isn’t just that china is expensive–once you accumulate some, you must double down and buy a china cupboard or hutch or whatever the hell they’re called. A big wooden monstrosity with glass windows (again, adding exponentially to the misery of relocating) will run you a tidy sum and will take up a third of your dining room. If you’re thinking of hosting a poker game in your dining room make sure at least 40% of the participants have builds that could be described as “skinny” or, better yet, “emaciated”, so everyone isn’t sucking in their guts the entire night.

China is a traditional wedding gift. It makes life easy on your guests–they can go to the inevitable department store where you registered, pick up a place setting, and five minutes later they’re heading to TGI Fridays or someplace to eat their goddam dinner. People, your wedding day is about YOU. You and that other person who’ll be stapled to your hip and hogging the spotlight and driving you up a freakin’ tree before all’s said and done (I’ve always imagined that when many marriages are consummated there’s some angry, spiteful sex going on). Your wedding day is a day to be selfish. Really selfish. So go for the gusto and don’t make things easy on your guests.

Forget the china. Register for stuff you actually NEED and will actually USE. You need good everyday plates and bowls and silverware–register for THAT. You need pots and pans and bakeware. But most people register for that stuff anyway. So either get creative or, if that’s too much work, put the ball in your guests’ court and don’t register for ANYTHING. Do that, and you’ll hopefuly get the one gift all newly married couples need–cash. Lots and lots of cash.

I hope I have been of some service. If in the next few days a brick gets thrown through my window (a brick edged in gold leaf and a bird in flight etched on each side) I’ll know the people at Mikasa are well and truly pissed.

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3 Responses to “The Oracle That Is Mean Gene”

  1. Ken Says:

    This has nothing to do with the topic but it does bring some light on P-burgh resident–present company excluded…

    http://www.theregister.com/2006/03/06/drug_test_fraud/

  2. Drizztdj Says:

    I remember registering for China, then crossing it off and put on extra boxes of Triscuits instead.

    I enjoyed the 12 boxes of whole wheat goodness more then any gold leafed gravy train would have brought me 🙂

  3. Mr. Parx Says:

    Gene, this rings so true to me for so many reasons, and it brings up so many stories. The Mrs. and I did not have a wedding. Too much trouble. She suggested we just go to the courthouse (after our Thanksgiving Surprise Priest-in-a-box fell through). I jumped at the chance. No gifts when you do it that way, though.
    We INHERITED our super-expensive crystal, and my mother gave us CHRISTMAS CHINA the year we moved into our house. I kid you not. To the couple who wouldn’t have a wedding. She gives Christmas Freakin’ China. She then poured salt in our wounds by telling us she almost got us a karaoke machine. But she always wanted someone to give her Christmas china. I wish she had just asked. The next year she sent us a couple’s PajamaGram. Matching pajamas. Gay ones, too. As Patton Oswald would say, “Gayer than eight guys blowing nine guys.”

    I’m mad all over again. Sorry to rant. Great post.

    Best,
    Mr. P.

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