I should've known free will would be a moot point once my wife saw the wedding invitation.

It was my friend's wedding we'd been invited to, but I had a possible conflict that night. I was still considering a course of action when the woman whose email handle was once "DiscoQueen" saw what was going on.

"A wedding?" she asked.

"Yes," I responded. "But I may have that other thing going on that weekend."

"Oh, we have to go to the wedding. It'll be fun. We'll get dressed up and have a great dinner and dance and leave the kids at home."

Sold.

It was only after she started wondering what she'd wear that my wife bothered to ask whose wedding we were attending. It didn't matter, for a couple of reasons.

A people person

First, she is simply one of the friendliest people on the planet, and she's never awkward around people she doesn't know. People like her. She could be getting robbed, and before it all ended, the thief would give her back her money and they'd be comparing schedules to see what day was good for lunch.

The second reason is pretty universal among people who have kids at home: We have kids at home.

Like many parents, we love our children very much. But that doesn't mean we're not looking for reasons to ditch them. When a group of friends gets into their 30s and starts getting hitched and making little people, suddenly, there's very little getting together for the sake of getting together -- especially once the kiddies are old enough to have sports and parties and bedtimes. You can't just toss them on someone's bed like an old coat and continue the evening.


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Built-in excuse

No, you have to have a reasonable excuse. Birthdays and holidays are obvious -- our Arbor Day party usually gets out of hand pretty quickly -- but you usually have to take the kids. Weddings are great, because, unless it's a family member taking the plunge, the kids stay home. In the adult world, there are no more proms and few occasions to get dressed up and go dancing. Even a guy like me, who wears long pants about once a month, can get into looking good once in a while for an occasion that doesn't involve paying tribute to someone in a pine box. The trade-off in comfort is looking at my wife looking awesome all night.

So my wife danced while I made foolish faces and twitched spasmodically. As usual, that frightened a few people who thought I was in the throes of a seizure. The food was great, as was the company. My wife likely made a few new BFFs. I probably embarrassed myself and prompted someone to wonder what a woman like her was doing with me. Typical stuff.

It was a night we needed. Life is too short and stressful not to blow off some steam and remember why you married this person and started making all those screaming little people. But best of all, we have another wedding coming in a couple weeks.

If you can baby-sit, give me a call.

Contact Tony Hicks at thicks@bayareanewsgroup.com or at Facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.TonyHicks. Follow him at Twitter.com/insertfoot.