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May 07 2014

The creepiest thing I’ve read today

Perhaps you are a sociopath with no social skills whatsoever, but you have decided that you love some other person, and unfortunately, that other person is marrying someone else. They must be mistaken, you think. They’ve made this big public commitment to a different person than you, but you just know that you are the love of their life. What to do? WikiHow provides a detailed, step-by-step procedure on how to stop a wedding, including everything from the prenuptial approach, in which you have a calm and collected talk with the bride and groom, to the optimal place to sit for maximum effectiveness when you raise your hand and say I OBJECT during the ceremony.

And then you get to Enjoy life with your stolen bride or groom.

Eww.

The only sensible part of the advice is in Step 7 of Before the wedding, where it says Recognize a lost cause when you see one. Yeah, I generally think the time to recognize that is when the other person announces that they’re getting married.

Further creepiness: if you are spurned in your efforts, wait until after the honeymoon and send an email or text asking to meet up. No, please don’t.

There are about 16 steps in this list. I’m imagining some hopeless person printing out the whole thing and checking items off one by one as they plan to disrupt someone else’s life.

65 comments

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  1. 1
    chigau (違う)

    Don’t you still have grading to do?

  2. 2
    PZ Myers

    Yes, but I’m in a lull — I have to walk over to the clinic shortly for a little bloody knife work, so I figured I wouldn’t get started on a big project right now.

  3. 3
    U Frood

    I hope we don’t have to start suggesting couples hire a bouncer for their wedding to throw people out when they yell “I Object”

  4. 4
    yazikus

    The whole “I object!” thing is terrible nonsense anyway. If a marriage is agreed upon by two people, why should some third party get any say?

  5. 5
    Alverant

    I guess if someone wants to play a prank on the groom or just be a jerk….

  6. 6
    Moggie

    It was quite an exciting scene in The Graduate, but, you know, movie.

  7. 7
    Inaji

    In reality though, halting a wedding from going ahead is a very delicate situation that can easily backfire on you and spoil a significant day. If you believe you’re justified in doing so, however, here are some suggestions for going about stopping a wedding with class and dignity.

    Lessons in how to stalk someone aren’t helpful, in reality. Honestly, that’s scary stuff, given that too many people are murdered on their wedding day or shortly before it, by upset exes.

  8. 8
    peptron

    @ 4 yazikus:
    I suspect that it might be a relic of the time where a marriage was NOT agreed upon by two people.

    (Reading your comment made me immediately think about a movie where a bride was used as a money of exchange in a settlement and the atmosphere was made heavy by focusing how nobody were saying “I object!” even though everybody knew they should be.)

  9. 9
    John Horstman

    I’m going to submit a new list:

    How to Stop a Wedding
    1. Don’t. People are autonomous agents who are entitled to make decisions about their own lives free from coercion. If someone has decided to marry someone else, accept their decision and move on. Do not pressure, cajole, threaten, or otherwise harass either party.

    2. See step 1.

  10. 10
    Leo Buzalsky

    @4 yazikus

    Well, in many ways it is. I’d be curious as to origin of raising objections at a wedding.

    I suppose there could be an instance where at least one person is not eligible to be married (like, they are already married and haven’t finalized a divorce from that marriage). But, even that is something that should be addressed well before the wedding ceremony.

  11. 11
    John Horstman

    Edit published. I assert that this is not wiki vandalism, but is in fact the proper guide for this topic.

  12. 12
    Crimson Clupeidae

    There’s another reason to write your own vows and/or carefully screen what the person giving said vows is going to say.

  13. 13
    Tabby Lavalamp

    I don’t understand the image in step 8. Why is that one person presenting a wig, and what does it have to do with the article?

  14. 14
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    yazikus #4
    The bit about allowing the audience to object is a venerable and now somewhat pointless tradition dating to a time when records and communications weren’t as good as they are now. Traditionally, the announcement of marriage (the banns) was posted on the door of the church and sometimes nearby ones, to let everyone know what was up, and if anyone had evidence that, say, the groom was already married to someone else in the next village, or was actually the bride’s half-brother or suchlike, they could bring it up. The officiant gives the audience one final chance to bring up such difficulties, or it goes through.

  15. 15
    Inaji

    Marriage Objection.

    In short, an objection requires a legal basis. Someone yelling “I object” at a wedding because they don’t want one of the parties to marry has no grounds and can be safely ignored.

  16. 16
    Leo Buzalsky

    I will say, though, I’ve seen people rush into marriage and then those marriages not lasting very long. I just saw on Facebook last week pictures from a coworker’s wedding. He’s probably about my age (30) and this would have to be his second marriage already. (I don’t work closely with him — big company.) Or, a guy I knew back in college rushed into a marriage. Divorced in a year. Also in his second marriage, which appears to be doing much better than the first. He was probably like 27 when he got married the second time.

    But in all these cases I’ve seen (which are a bit different than the “How to” linked as these were friends, not romantic interests) the best thing to do is just stay out of the way and wait and see what happens.

  17. 17
    Gregory in Seattle

    @yazikus #4 – The “I object!” part derives from responsibilities of a witness.

    It used to be (not sure if it still is) that British common law considered anyone who watched a marriage ceremony to be a witness to an act of law. As such, any person who attended a wedding could be called into court to attest that the ceremony did, in fact, take place. If a witness knows that the ceremony is invalid — one of the parties is already married, has a binding betrothal to someone else, is under holy vows, and so on — then they commit perjury if they remain to witness it.

    So to make sure that the witnesses have their opportunity, wedding rituals devised under British common law specifically include a place where witnesses can speak up. Because US law is derived from British law, it was included in wedding ceremonies here. In some New England states asking may still have the force of law, but in most states it is a tradition rather than a requirement.

  18. 18
    Geral

    @17. Very interesting. I was going to say someone who objects to a wedding may be in denial, but they may be speaking out for the law!

  19. 19
    yazikus

    Dalillama #14 & Gregory #17
    Thanks for that information. I haven’t ever really thought about it until just now, and it is nice to know the origins. I wonder how common it is nowadays for someone to object? I’ve never seen it happen.

  20. 20
    Inaji

    Yazikus:

    I wonder how common it is nowadays for someone to object?

    It isn’t. Most times, that part of a wedding ceremony is left out entirely. In most places, if a person has a legally based objection, it needs to made and filed before the wedding.

  21. 21
    Vicki, duly vaccinated tool of the feminist conspiracy

    How to stop a wedding:

    1. Take a deep breath and tell the person you are engaged to “I don’t want to marry you.”

    2. If this is a last-minute realization, you can say “No” when the officiant asks “Do you want to marry her/him?”

    3. If it’s not your wedding, and you have evidence, you can tell one party “I know you think s/he’s great, but you should know about [specific criminal history or other factual reason not to marry a person].” Your friend may or may not listen, and if they do listen still may never speak to you again.

    4. If it’s not your wedding and your friend or relative seems uncertain, it’s okay to tell them “I love you, and I want you to do what’s best for you. If you aren’t sure about this wedding, you don’t have to go through with it, we don’t care about the money for flowers and catering and all.”

    Point 4 because “we’ve already paid for the caterer” is not a good reason to get married, and I gather some people get swept up in the whole process and “but we’ve spent $x,000″ or “everyone has already bought their plane tickets.”

  22. 22
    unclefrogy

    were those suggestions collected from plot summaries from literature form the last 1000 years? Because the first thing that came to my mind was “The Graduate” followed by dozens of plot points of comedies and dramas form books, stage and screen.
    uncle frogy

  23. 23
    screechymonkey

    yazikus@19:

    I wonder how common it is nowadays for someone to object?

    In real life, I’d say vanishingly rare.

    In works of fiction, it used to be almost obligatory, though I think it’s becoming a bit of a discredited trope. Which I think has left writers of romantic comedies struggling a bit to find some other way to have a dramatic conclusion.

  24. 24
    embraceyourinnercrone

    Inaji@ 7. Exactly,to everything you wrote. Oh my nonexistent god, this is a stalkers handbook. I can t be objective about this either. One of my daughters former schoolmates was murdered a week and a half ago because she said no to going to the prom.she had a date for prom already…

    she was stabbed to death at school.
    I realize the person who did it might have other problems,but ideas like this are so
    common in popular culture,it encourages this kind of thinking…

    guess what if someone chooses to spend some time or spend the rest of their life with someone else, let go

    I need to go back to lurking or maybe just step away for awhile. Everything lately makes me
    want to either cry or punch something

  25. 25
    Lee1

    Someone’s modified it so “stolen” is no longer in the last (wildly improbable, highly creepy) step.

  26. 26
    U Frood

    Some weddings no longer include this phrase. Unless you are sure this wedding does it might simply be better to talk to your love ahead of time.

    I wonder how you find this out, do you approach one of the couple and just casually ask, “say, do you think the minister is going to offer the attendees a chance to object to the wedding? Just curious….”

  27. 27
    gijoel

    It looks like a blueprint for a romantic (sociopathic) comedy.

  28. 28
    Donovan

    As someone who recognizes that women get married, everyday, to men that are not me either by mistake (maybe we all look alike to women?) or just to get my attention, I can offer this advice in the unlikely event there’s another man out there as incredibly attractive as myself: eat something. Low blood sugar may be the cause of your delusions. If women are still making that horrible mistake, you may need want to seek the help of a licensed therapist or medical professional. But these love struck women that are marrying the wrong person should not be approached under any circumstances. Obviously, they’re crazy. Keep your distance and do not make eye contact. In fact, it’s best to remove yourself from their life all together, for their own good, of course. They just can’t handle the awesome, is all. It’s a burden.

  29. 29
    twas brillig (stevem)

    “I object” is the last thing we liberals people, need to object to about the wedding ceremony. No listicle here, but regardless:

    1) Priest/rabbi/* religious sacramental rituals for a wedding to be “sanctioned”.
    2) Father “giving away his daughter” to the groom.
    3) “…honor and serve…” errp; already been disposed of…

    999) “I object” option

    A man _giving_ someone to another man?!?!?!??

  30. 30
    Eamon Knight

    Seems to me that the response to the jilted ex “talking” to the bride and/or groom would be for the couple to say to those in charge of the venue: Person X is not to be admitted to the service, period. If necessary, add a restraining order and a rent-a-cop to the wedding budget (seriously, given what I have heard about weddings these days, it would be a minor expense).

  31. 31
    richardelguru

    Well that just about does it for Scott’s Lochinvar

  32. 32
    gussnarp

    How to stop a wedding:
    Step 1: “Recognize a lost cause when you see one.”
    Step 2: You have apparently failed at step 1. Start over.

    How to stop a wedding:
    Step 1: Don’t you have anything better to do with your time?
    Step 2: Seriously, take up a new hobby.
    Step 3: Apparently you need more hobbies.
    Step 4: Do you have a job?

  33. 33
    G Stewart

    Anyone trying the “I object” statement at a wedding I’m attending later this year will probably be murdered by the guests or the bride and thrown out the window. Weddings of re-enactors tend to include a lot of cutlery about the guests and it would be nice to get to use it.

  34. 34
    Eamon Knight

    @32: Any frivolous objector at the next wedding I’m attending is likely to get sued, which maybe amounts to the same thing as being decapitated. The bride is a Manhattan lawyer.

  35. 35
    cubist

    Wow. [shakes head] That thing is fractally messed up. It’s… just weird, and working at cross-purposes to itself. It includes a bunch of notes about are you sure you really want to do this? and stopping a wedding is a bad idea:

    …halting a wedding from going ahead – for any reason – is a very delicate situation that can easily backfire on you…
    You may object for some reason to the pairing, but ask yourself: does your view trump their happiness? Try to see the future from their perspectives.
    Talk this out with several others before you act. The human mind works in strange ways. Sometimes what we think in our own mind is a brilliant idea at the time might just turn out to be crazy. We all have false memories – the recollection of an event, or the details of an event, that did not occur.

    This bit is particularly interesting:

    Someone who is likely to walk from a wedding may be afraid of commitment, and insecure in relationships. This could pose problems for your relationship.

    But in spite of all the bad idea and are you sure about this? notes, you can’t get away from the fact that this thing’s direct, explicit purpose is to tell people how to go about stopping weddings. Like I said, working at cross-purposes to itself. I could almost believe that the author wrote this thing in an attempt to dissuade people from trying to stop weddings. But if somebody’s decided they’re going to try to stop a wedding in the first place, how likely is it that they’re going to read, and heed, something on WikiHow..?

  36. 36
    Chaos Engineer

    #30: I loved the “Lochinvar” poem when I was in school and I after I read the Wikihow, I was worried that it would turn out that Lochinvar was a creep. But I just re-read the poem and he’s in the clear: He didn’t try to stop the wedding; he just showed up and waited to see if the bride would change her mind. He did use a bit of reverse psychology on her:

    “So boldly he enter’d the Netherby Hall,
    Among bride’s-men, and kinsmen, and brothers and all:
    Then spoke the bride’s father, his hand on his sword,
    (For the poor craven bridegroom said never a word,)
    “O come ye in peace here, or come ye in war,
    Or to dance at our bridal, young Lord Lochinvar?”

    “I long woo’d your daughter, my suit you denied;—
    Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide—
    And now I am come, with this lost love of mine,
    To lead but one measure, drink one cup of wine.
    There are maidens in Scotland more lovely by far,
    That would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar.”

  37. 37
    imthegenieicandoanything

    I get my lessons from classic “romantic comedies” so that,. however creepy my actions may be, it really turns out I AM the one the girl loves. And I can dance like Fred Astaire.

  38. 38
    U Frood

    If I remember after that iconic scene from the Graduate, they’re just sitting on the bus not talking to each other and you don’t get the feeling that this is headed for a happily ever after.

  39. 39
    robinjohnson

    Note that in a traditional Christian wedding (or one based on it), “S/he’s really in love with me!” doesn’t count as a reason for the marriage not to go ahead, since that question comes after the bit about “forsaking all others”. Tough luck; you’ve just been officially forsaken.

  40. 40
    screechymonkey

    If I remember after that iconic scene from the Graduate, they’re just sitting on the bus not talking to each other and you don’t get the feeling that this is headed for a happily ever after.

    There’s a funny scene in Barcelona where Fred, Chris Eigeman’s, character complains about the ending of The Graduate:

    Fred: You think wedding vows are going to change everything? God, your naivete is astounding! Didn’t you see “The Graduate”?

    Ted: You can remember “The Graduate”?

    Fred: Yeah, I can remember a few things. Apparently you don’t. The end? Katharine Ross has just married this really cool guy – tall, blond, incredibly popular, the make-out king of his fraternity in Berkeley – when this obnoxious Dustin Hoffman character shows up at the back of the church, acting like a total asshole. “Elaine! Elaine!” Does Katharine Ross tell Dustin Hoffman, “Get lost, creep. I’m a married woman”? No. She runs off with him – on a bus. That is the reality.

  41. 41
    Bronze Dog

    I had a friend mention that in Amazing Spider-Man 2 that Peter essentially stalked Gwen, and his stalking was used as evidence of his love. That friend was disturbed that “stalking as love” seems to be creeping up more often in Hollywood, attributing it to Twilight’s success. My response was that “creeping” sounded like a very appropriate verb to use.

    And seriously, if you love someone, your priority should be their happiness, not having them to yourself. You should also respect their autonomy.

  42. 42
    iankoro

    I would think that if you’re writing a WikiHow article, you’d want to have actually successfully carried out the thing you’re writing instructions on doing… basically, I really want to know if the author has succeeded in stopping a wedding, and hooking up with the bride or groom they prevented from getting married.

  43. 43
    anuran

    Creepy but in a bathetic way. It doesn’t even rise to pathos.

    If you have real objections like “He’s married.” or “I don’t care what she told you. She’s 16″ you really need to address those before the ceremony.

  44. 44
    HolyPinkUnicorn

    The illustrations make it look like the storyboard of some insufferable rom-com, and I’m imagining Owen Wilson as the lead–Wedding Stopper, coming to theaters this summer!

    That being said, the illustration for #8, “Be graceful,” looks particularly disturbing. Oh, and there’s nothing graceful about attempting to stop someone else’s wedding.

  45. 45
    David Marjanović

    a sociopath with no social skills whatsoever

    That must be a very rare combination.

  46. 46
    MJP

    Perhaps you are a sociopath with no social skills whatsoever

    I thought one of the defining characteristics of sociopaths is that they do have social skills, and use them to manipulate people.

  47. 47
    anuran

    @45 MJP
    The successful sociopaths do. The less successful ones are … less successful

  48. 48
    WhiteHatLurker

    “wait until after the honeymoon and send an email or text asking to meet up.” No, please don’t.

    Um, don’t wait until after the honeymoon? Begin at the ceremony? That is creepy, PZ.

  49. 49
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    You know, I’m happily married, but there’s one other person in the world with whom I was once as deeply in love with as I am with my wife. Our relationship didn’t work out through bad timing and random interfering life circumstances, not any lack of love on either side. But do you know what? If I were single and she were getting married I wouldn’t try and stop it. Because I care about her. How fucking hard is that to understand? She gets to make her own choices about her own life and unless she chooses to include me in those decisions they are none of my fucking business. My emotions are not her prescriptions.

  50. 50
    davidgibson

    i’m sure the role of Best Man as sort of a body guard was developed to keep the unwanted out of the ceremony. this struck me as a hand book for conservative control operatives.

  51. 51
    unclefrogy

    OK we do seem to like these kinds of things in stories they are very popular and have been for ages.
    The Taming Of The Shrew is a wonderful play and full of lots of what can be seen as awful behavior. The central “romance” smells of the Stockholm Syndrome the secondary romance is also questionable but it is not a horror show and ends happily.
    why do we like them? How does the fact of the pervasiveness of these ‘suggestions” in our literature influence real peoples behavior?
    When I was young I understood things differently and acted differently.
    I still like the song Matty Groves
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1it7BP5PckI

    what is it that we like about the stories with these kinds of elements that in real life can sound not romantic but creepy?
    uncle frogy

  52. 52
    raven

    I can see similar articles in Wikehow’s series, How to Ruin Your and Other’s Lives.

    1. How to let your drug and/or alcohol habit destroy your life.

    2. Why gun control is a bad idea and why shooting people you don’t like solves problems.

    3. Hepatitis, what it is, where to get it.

    4. Get fired from your job!!! Ten easy ways guaranteed to work.

    Yeah, this is pathetic and rather stupid. There comes a time in some relationships, when you stop being afraid someone will marry someone else, and start devoutly hoping they do, in fact, marry someone else.

  53. 53
    U Frood

    Some of those ideas must surely already exist on Uncyclopedia’s how to sections.

  54. 54
    hyphenman

    PZ,

    If more people did this thoughtfully, maybe, just maybe, we might reduce the divorce rate and the resulting trauma to children, families and friends.

    Jeff Hess
    Have Coffee Will Write.

  55. 55
    gussnarp

    There is, of course, one legitimate situation in which you should try to stop a wedding: when you see signs of abuse. That doesn’t make an amusing listicle though, so they couldn’t discuss that real issue: what to do when your friend is about to marry someone you think is abusing them.

  56. 56
    mildlymagnificent

    The “I object” call from the attendees/witnesses doesn’t happen – except as a deeply stupid joke – at weddings nowadays.

    But there is one person who can and will put a stop to the proceedings before they even get started. The celebrant. The woman who officiated at daughter’s wedding made it very clear to the groomsmen and the bridesmaids that part of their duties on the day was to keep the bride and groom sober. If either one of them turned up to the ceremony drunk (or stoned) she would refuse to perform the ceremony. To drive the point home she said that this had been done more than once since she’d become a celebrant.

  57. 57
    jesse

    It’s been gone over already, but there have been occasions I have herd of where someone objected, though it’s really, really, really rare these days. The one I was told of was a very sticky situation, in which the person involved was, as I remember, actually married. That is, the marriage was going to be illegal anyway. For some reason nobody got to the couple beforehand, but in this case at least one of the parties wanted to keep it under wraps, so not a romantic comedy situation but one of a con man (or woman, I suppose) being stopped.

    But again, that’s a VERY rare thing. And at that time there was no Internet. And as to the origins, well, we forget that less than a century ago being a bigamist was a lot easier since there weren’t even any telephones to speak of outside of large cities, and the sheer amount of info you would have about people was a lot less.

    But yeah, the whole how to stop a wedding thing is just dumb.

  58. 58
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    It’s usually quite possible to stop a wedding, but the approach depends on its initial velocity, what you have available, and whether air resistance can be neglected.

  59. 59
    carlie

    It’s not even necessary – a wedding ceremony does not make a person married. They’re not married until the signed paperwork is filed at the local county government office. A friend of mine told me once about a friend of his, who had officiated a wedding of a couple of mutual friends of theirs. A few years after the wedding, said officiant discovered, to his embarrassment, the form sitting in a desk drawer, never sent in. He didn’t know what to do, so didn’t say anything. A year or so later the couple told him they were going to get a divorce, and he said “Do I have some good news for you…”

  60. 60
    skeptifem

    I thought one of the defining characteristics of sociopaths is that they do have social skills, and use them to manipulate people.

    Charm is optional. Some sociopaths enjoy being unceasingly abrasive. It boils down to what they want. It is the same reason that not all sociopaths are criminal despite their capacity for committing crime being much higher than non-sociopaths. If they want something that doesn’t require charm then why bother? Martha Stout’s book on sociopaths has a pretty good example of a person who enjoyed being horrible to her neighbors just for the hell of it. Everyone hated her but you can’t force someone to move so they just had to deal with her.

  61. 61
    The Countess

    Part 1 of the article includes this statement: “Talk this out with several others before you act.” Good idea. Those people you talk to can tell the bride and groom in enough time for them to get a restraining order out against you.

  62. 62
    numerobis

    They’re not married until the signed paperwork is filed at the local county government office.

    Depends where. Lots of jurisdictions count you as some fraction of married (sometimes all the way) if you’ve lived together long enough and acted like you were married. In my jurisdiction, next time I file taxes I’ll be married for the purpose of determining my taxes and benefits, but I won’t be married for purposes of determining alimony if we break up. It’s complicated.

  63. 63
    twas brillig (stevem)

    They’re not married until the signed paperwork is filed at the local county government office.

    QFT. That aspect has always puzzled me about the Conservopod insistance that marriage is a religious sacrament, and if the Church doesn’t think gheys can marry, then no marriage for gheys. Aaand The 1st Amendment says gov can’t tell Church what to do. Fractally incoherent, boggles my mind. But 1st observation of mine, is that at the finale of every marriage ceremony, the priest declares, “By the power invested in me by the state of X, I declare this couple married!”. I always ask, “Does that mean the priest is just a proxy for the legal authorities?” Leading to ,”If the marriage is just legal, why does the law defer to religion for the definition of marriage?”, “Doesn’t that deferral violate the 1st Amendment?” and then I start to extrapolate that concept to the question, “Why can’t the state simply define marriage as the commitment of 2 people to each other? Why must they specify the particular sexual combination, why not leave it as ’2 persons’?”
    aaaaaarrrrrrgggghhh…rambling….sorry for the rant….

  64. 64
    twas brillig (stevem)

    Lots of jurisdictions count you as some fraction of married (sometimes all the way) if you’ve lived together long enough and acted like you were married.

    IE “Common Law” Marriage, correct? where accepted, I have no idea, just heard the label somewhere….

  65. 65
    ernezabet

    Actually the answer is religious control. In the old days a couple could vow to each other with only a witness. But as to control the situation the very new church wanted to make sure who was getting married. And thus began formal ceremonies and the question (just in case some lusty moment two people made the vow to to have a good time, but later decided no not really do I want to be married to this person). There are court case in England documenting this. Church must have control of all sex you know!

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