As always, the advent of a new year means a shift in the collective topography of romantic relationships: A number of couples get engaged each year.
A number also break up or get divorced, but don't worry -- that will only happen to 50 percent of you newly betrothed folks.
It seems that somebody in Hollywood _ the land of make-believe tans, hair color and relationships _is harboring yet another delusion. And this time, unfortunately, we can't contain the damage to the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. This time, the whole country's being suckered into believing a big, princess-cut, tulleswathed lie: Namely, that otherwise bright, compassionate women are incapable of getting married without turning into callous, shallow, cat-fighting versions of themselves.
The imaginary cultural phenomenon known as "Bridezilla" has spawned myriad books, various basic cable programs and, perhaps most regrettably, a new movie called " Bride Wars."
This altogether unfunny attempt at comedy stars Anne Hathaway, from whom we have come to expect more, and Kate Hudson, from whom we have come to expect absolutely nothing, as Emma and Liv, best friends planning their long-awaited, meticulously researched nuptials to men whose middle names they probably couldn't recall at gunpoint.
Because Emma and Liv are Bridezillas, their BFF status is seriously threatened when they learn that The Plaza Hotel, aka their Dream Venue, can't accommodate both of their Dream Weddings, and that one of them must compromise and get married at a Less Than Ideal Venue, which will of course doom that unlucky bride to a loveless marriage defined by penury and consistently disappointing offspring who will be rejected from their first-choice colleges.
Thus begins a volley of insults, diatribes and pranks designed, one assumes, to entertain the movie's audience but that in fact simply underscores the malicious idiocy of the premise: wave a Tiffany box in the presence of unmarried women and you might as well throw bloody chum into a shark tank. Toss in The Plaza in June and get ready for color-coordinated Armageddon.
This is ridiculous on at least two levels. First of all, no one in their right mind has any interest whatsoever in getting married at The Plaza. Why?
Please. What ruins a wedding faster than a drunken priest? Children.
Readers of children's literature will recall that The Plaza is famous for letting them run around, order room service and press all the elevator buttons.
Second: Bridezilla is a myth. I'm not sure who these women are supposed to be, or where they live. I have never met them. I have never so much as seen them, except in very bad movies. In fact, in the course of my rather prolific wedding-attending history, I've never witnessed a single behavior to suggest a bride is primed to transform into a giant lizard and storm through the streets of Tokyo.
Certainly, in the long history of wedding planning, there have been a few women who have responded to the frankly obscene pressure to be The Perfect Bride while hosting The Perfect Wedding with Perfect Flowers and a Perfect Menu by snapping at a few people. This strikes me as Perfectly Reasonable Behavior.
However, since it seems to have unnerved our cultural arbiters to the extent that they have given it a Name, I have a proposition that I hope will end this idiocy: Let's hand the whole wedding thing over to the grooms. It seems fair: Guys, you (probably) popped the question. So why don't you go ahead and plan the party?
We know you'll probably order a couple of six-packs of beer, obsessively burn an iPod playlist and then forget to do everything else. We're fine with that. We'll even be there to support you when those six-packs aren't refrigerated properly, or someone loses the bottle opener.
We may have to be out of town, however, when Aunt Stella starts calling you four times a day because she really doesn't want to sit at the same table as Aunt Irene, and also, can you possibly arrange for a baby-sitter for your cousin's colicky baby, and aren't you looking a little underweight these days and wait, while she has you on the phone, could you make sure there are dinner options for vegans, vegetarians and people who don't eat mammals but love shellfish?
But we have faith. We know you can handle it. In the meantime, we'll be in the living room, relaxing and waiting for "Groom Wars" to hit the big screen. It's just a matter of time.
Tribune Media Services Specialty Products