In my lifetime I have seen five men wearing a cravat. Four of them were getting married. The other one was Austin Powers. Immediately alarm bells start ringing. No man chooses to go to work in a cravat. No man even goes to dinner in a cravat. Yet on the best day of my life I, too, will be expected to sport the disreputable cousin of the necktie.
Weddings are for the bride to look beautiful, and the groom to look daft. The whole affair is effeminate from start to finish. There will be pretty handwritten invitations. There will be little girls in frocks looking like princesses. There will be flowers. Jewellery will constitute a central feature. There will be posing for photographs and no, There Will Not Be A Fun One. It will take place on a Saturday afternoon, because, after all, theres nothing else on Saturday afternoons that could detract from this special moment. A book will be passed round for sweet messages to be written to the happy couple. There will be a delicate range of finger-food. The list goes on.
Amid this the groom is an accessory. The bride list of things she needs to make this day perfect in descending order of importance are as follows: something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and last and seemingly least, something to marry. He is carted around like a doll all day. He is dressed according to her taste: silly hat, flowery waistcoat, and yes, cravat. He has to wait for the bride to pitch up in her own good time at the church. He has to give a speech telling everyone how beautiful she is and how wonderful her mother has been. Even his best friend is entrusted with the task of making him the butt of all the jokes to once-and-for-all remove any remaining shred of dignity. At the end of the evening, he has to be dragged around the floor, counting 1-2-3 in his head, while the bride shows off her dress to the guests during an activity optimistically labelled the Waltz. Finally, since he has to drive away, he has not had a drop to drink.
The wedding day is, in all these ways and more, the bridal special day. At no wedding that I have attended has the groom looked masculine and dignified. And yet, it is his special day too. He goes through this ritual humiliation for the simple reason that it makes his affianced happy beaming even and that, to one in love, makes everything worth it. Nevertheless, when my time comes, I�m not going to wear a cravat. Almost definitely.