Melissa’s wedding pictures! (And my commentary)

Melissa’s wedding pictures! (And my commentary)

I did not cry at Melissa’s wedding because I cried when I met the guy. I knew right away that he was the one. He was way too sane and stable for Melissa to ever let go.

So I let go of Melissa, right there, when I met him. I said some bossy things, like, “You better be really reliable because that’s what she needs.” And I said things you’d never want to hear from anyone like, “You better hurry up and have kids because Melissa’s eggs are dying.”

Wedding cocktail hour

He did not say, can you shut up because I have lived my life just fine without your advice. Instead, he reassured me. And he hugged me when I cried. Not the when-is-this-going-to-be-over hug that I get from my kids. It was an I-think-we’ll-get-along hug.

Wedding portrait

My experience of the lead-up to Melissa’s wedding was like being with the most competent wedding planner handling all aspects of her own wedding and getting rid of less competent people at every possible moment while still being on a diet so strict it did not include food.

Wedding planner

My sons were in the wedding. They did not jump for joy when they found out. They thought it was their natural place.

As the moment got closer they asked, “What do we do? What will happen? What’s our job?”

I told them, “It’s Melissa’s wedding so you do whatever she asks.”

I have never seen them look more loyal and reliable as they stood under the huppa next to Melissa. And I have never seen Melissa look so sweet and doting as she did, surrounded by the boys and her brand new husband.

For most of the wedding it was my job to hug Melissa and tell her I love her.

Post-speech hug

And to make her take off her 5-inch heels for the hora. And it was also my job to make a toast.

Melissa’s husband’s job is to assess risk. He decided that the other person making a toast was a sure bet — he’s always good. But I would either be amazing or horrifying, so they had the other person go second in case he needed to repair damage.

I was great. Of course. Even though Melissa made me wear that feather thing in my hair.

Wedding speech

You might notice my son hunched down, covering his ears. He was scared to hear what was coming next. But all good toasts make the listeners a little bit nervous.

You can listen to me giving the toast on Patreon. Which means you will have to pay at least $1 to see it. Which means I’ve monetized my best friend’s wedding. You’d do the same thing if you had to wear those feathers.

28 replies
    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Melissa edited all the photos herself. I just assumed black-and-white photos were a millennial thing.


  1. thatgirl
    thatgirl says:

    What is this crazy, brutalist space in which they got married? It looks quasi-Soviet-era. But maybe that’s driven by the black and white photos.

    That thing in your hair is crazy. Have to confess—after standing up to my fair share of weddings in the ugliest bride-prescribed dresses possible, I swore I’d never do that to someone I call friend. If one is truly trusting, isn’t it good enough to simply ask them to show up, wearing something appropriate? Anyone you trust will do just that. Granted, I only asked one person to stand up for me, and I’m pretty sure I liked her dress more than mine, after it was all said and done.

    On that subject, did Melissa’s husband refuse to wear socks and polish his shoes? If she micromanaged all the details, either she: a) Trusted him so much to show up in whatever he felt appropriate; or b) was simply more focused on her look, that thing in your hair, and the order of service. Inquiring minds, and all that.

    I have to ask, dear Penelope: Are weddings at all triggering for you? Did the day’s activities see you reflect upon your own marital experiences? It’s clear your post was intended to celebrate your joy in Melissa’s nuptials (and that speech I’ve yet to hear), but as an O.G. Penelope reader, I have to ask if there are any reflections you can share about marriage, partnership.

    You looked pretty, at any rate. Mazel tov to Melissa and her man!

  2. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    An OG Penelope reader. I love that.

    I spend a lot of time studying other people to figure out what to do. I did that at the wedding.

    Also I’m always among people who are married, and I’m always conscious of making sure I don’t hold onto my kids in social situations as a stand-in for a spouse.

    This is not my imagination: White, educated women who get divorced do it early, and remarry. Less than 1% stay single and raise kids alone.

    I am starting to think all white, educated women who are raising kids as a single parent instead of remarrying have Aspergers. It’s too difficult a path for anyone to choose otherwise.

    These were the things going through my head at the wedding. I had to work hard to feel like I fit in. And Melissa took a lot of extra steps to make sure I fit in. Which she always does.

    Even with all this going through my head, I had a great time. I loved being there with my kids. And guess what? My ex was there. Melissa has been friends with him for a while because he’s at our house/apartment so often. That was fun, too.


    • thatgirl
      thatgirl says:

      Emulation has always been my go-to, as well. There’s a range of social cues I missed learning (I flirt with the spectrum, never diagnosed), and you can never go wrong with the flow of what’s around you.

      Weddings tend to bring up past relationships to the front of my mind. They’re supposed to be hopeful events, but like Thanksgivings, Christmas and all those other events that are supposed to be “joyous,” they almost never live up to the buildup/hype. When I’ve attended them as a singleton, I had to work hard not to blurt that out in front of others, awkwardly. This is why I ask.

      Your kids aren’t a stand-in, but they are a huge part of your life. I think it’s totally okay to have them about you when you’re interacting in such situations. They’re a great source of discussion topics, at the very least.

      And you know it’s always our impression that we’re surrounded by all these happy couples, but behind all the sequins and badly-tied ties, there are myriad ways to be; no one should feel weird, really.

      I divorced early, remarried later—and sandwiched a series of somewhat satisfying and sometimes terrifying relationships in between them. Being married can make being single look very attractive—and vice-versa. In hindsight, I’m glad I took some time before I committed to sharing my entire/particular freak flag in a domestic relationship again. It was somewhat intentional.

      It seems to me you’re actually making a conscious decision to not couple up—perhaps not owing so much to Aspbergers as, deep down, you know you can be self-reliant—or are better off that way, however it’s defined. Not puting another partner into the mix has allowed you to focus on your kids’ needs—and with some extraordinary results to that focus, no?

      Life is weird, and you never know how or if you’ll meet someone who’ll change your mind about all of that. I have friends who divorced early and stayed unattached until their kids finished high school—or thereabouts. There’s only so much bandwidth for most people. Most of those friends express a real desire to be able to give another partnership more attention than they could while raising kids—because we all know so many somethings have to give when you’re doing that.

      So nice your ex was there, and that it was fun! Do you ever think there’s another way to “be” with him in raising your boys—even if that merely means you live closer to one another, such that he could be more hands-on? Because you do have so much on your shoulders, would that be helpful?

      Looks like you had fun—and that it was rather glam!

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      People have asked me that before, so I think about it a lot.

      ENTJs are very pragmatic and able to reach any goal they set. No ENTJ — male or female — would decide that raising kids alone is the best idea. Even if you have a team of nannies, it’s not as effective as having two parents. It’s lonely to be the only parent, and nannies can’t stand in for every parent activity. Also, the co-workers inadvertantly penalize men if they are not married. And the workplace never assumes single moms can work as hard as other people. So it’s a bad career decision to be a single parent, and ENTJs don’t ever make bad career decisions.


  3. harris497
    harris497 says:

    Please convey my best wishes to Melissa.
    I am happy that the entire situation seems like a good fit for everyone since you and Melissa obviously love each other and her new husband is man enough to be comfortable with that. This speaks volumes of him.

    I wish you all peace.


  4. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    Congratulations Melissa. Penelope, you did a great job with the toast. Thank you for sharing it. Thank you, Melissa, for sharing your wedding photos. I get the impression Melissa’s husband is much more than just sane and stable. I will guess he’s comfortable with himself to the extent he will not try to change Melissa. He enjoys her company and their relationship. And I think both of them know that and how important it is to have a very long and happy life together.

  5. Lynn-INTJ
    Lynn-INTJ says:

    “I am starting to think all white, educated women who are raising kids as a single parent instead of remarrying have Aspergers. It’s too difficult a path for anyone to choose otherwise.“

    I felt this in my soul.

    • Yael
      Yael says:

      I am white educated (Jewish) woman without Aspergers who raised 4 children from the ages from the ages of 4, 6, 8, 10 on my own in a different state from my ex. I got divorced following 15 years of marriage.
      It was REALLY hard.
      It was really really hard.
      I was lucky and blessed with a great deal of love and support from my family and from the therapeutic and pharmaceutical industry.
      I only remarried this past August and the youngest of my children is now a senior in high school and the 2 oldest have graduated from college.
      Penelope, you, too are a survivor, a role model and a brave strong soul.
      Thank you for continuing to write, inspire, expose, and coach us all!

      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        I like hearing that a neurotypical person has raised her kids alone. Makes me feel not so incompetent for getting into this situation. And I like that you are confirming how difficult it is.

        I just realized: you know how people tell you having kids is totally impossibly difficult, but you could never imagine how difficult that is until you have your own kids? The same is true about raising kids alone. It is ridiculously difficult, but it never seems like it would be that hard when you imagine parenting on your own — like all aspects of the human experience, we tend to overestimate the good and underestimate the bad. And maybe that’s a good thing. How else would anyone ever have kids?


        • thatgirl
          thatgirl says:

          I hope you can both one day step back, look at your (mothering) work, and feel good about what you’ve endured. Raising good and independent human beings is probably the hardest job in the world.

          Love yourelves, forgive those imperfect moments, as they be many.

          My mother loves to hold forth at family gatherings, talking about what joy it all was raising us. Compared to some of our more hair-raising childhood moments, it smacks of revisionist history. But like labor itself, it’s so far in her rear-view mirror. She’s completely entitled to feel that way.

      • JB
        JB says:

        I also have 4 kids that I am raising alone after a long marriage, and am neurotypical. I can tell you exactly why someone would do this versus getting remarried… I have an incredibly bitter ex-husband who made the divorce and post-divorce process traumatic. And I make enough money that I can hire a bunch of help and not feel financially stressed out (I recognize this may be a reason many people get remarried because they need a financial partner). The fear of ever having to live through that kind of divorce again is what will likely keep me from getting remarried until I know the kids are grown and wouldn’t be impacted by it (financially or emotionally). Our legal system does not make it easy to exit a marriage with a very bitter party on the other side.

  6. Sophie
    Sophie says:

    What fellow INTJs really want to know: what’s his MBTI type and how did she find him?
    Relatable role models are hard to find and Melissa is like the big sister whose experience we can all learn from. We’ve been following her journey for so long.
    (NF friends are adorable but their advice only applies to, well, other NFs.)
    Share the knowledge!
    And congratulations, of course. The pictures are stunning.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Like all marriages, Melissa’s is difficult and disappointing but also way better than being alone. Personal growth is pretty difficult when you’re alone. You repeat the same patterns over and over again as you being new relationships, or you hide from yourself with no mirror reflecting yourself back to you. Melissa is growing for sure. And maybe that’s what makes a good marriage. And that’s why we all like watching Melissa do her life — she forces herself to always be growing.


      • Vanessa
        Vanessa says:

        Only a few weeks from the wedding, you posted that Melissa’s marriage was already “difficult and disappointing”?
        They had had a substantial engagement period (more than a year), if I remember correctly… what could be deemed “disappointing” so quickly after the actual ceremony?

        I’m so glad for her that she met a nice guy and got married to him!

        Also that she has a job that she likes and is successful at, in the place she wants to live!

        These things are not easy to bring about.

        …It seems like yesterday when you posted the photos of her and that kinda-jerky guy who was staying at your farm for an extended period in order to hook up with Melissa and then he buggered off and ghosted her.

  7. Jenni
    Jenni says:

    Hey .. great to read that and congratulates to Melissa ..why you haven’t posted the real pics with clear face. My big day is next week and I my eyes crawling every single dress.

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