Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Church Wedding Is No Place To Clown Around

Dear Tazi:

Ever since I was a child, I have had a desperate fear of clowns. I do not usually talk about this phobia, since it rarely pops up as a cause for concern in my daily life. So, why am I writing to you about this issue? My sister, who is an honest-to-God circus performer is getting married to one of her co-workers who is - you guessed it - a clown.

My sister is aware of my phobia, and has blessedly kept it to herself. She is in the process of planning her wedding and would like me to be her Matron of Honor; unfortunately, her husband-to-be wants to get married in full makeup, complete with white-face groomsmen. Just the thought of having to look across the aisle at a row of clowns is enough to make me pass out from fear, so I cannot imagine how I will work up the courage to face them in person on my sister's wedding day.

Obviously, I want to be there for my sister, but if the wedding turns into a circus - literally - I am afraid I will have to bow-out of my duties and decline any invitation to the wedding itself. I do not wish to be cruel to my sister and future brother-in-law, but I also do not wish to cause a scene and steal the attention on their big day. Please do not suggest counseling, Tazi, I have tried and tried and it just does not work. My fear of clowns is deep-rooted, and I have made several attempts to overcome it.

My sister is trying to convince her future husband that they should take their wedding plans in a different direction; that a wedding should be an elegant and formal affair and that she plans on reciting her vows to him, not his alter-ego. So far, he will not budge on the matter and my sister does not know how to go about changing his mind - after all, the circus is a big part of who they are; and she is unable to explain her reluctance to go with this theme without outing me as a clownaphobe. My future brother-in-law is a huge practical joker, so my sister and I both fear how he might use this information to his advantage and my humiliation.

Tazi, do you have any suggestions on how to keep this train wreck from happening? It is to be a church wedding, if knowing this helps at all.

Matron of Honor?

Dear Matron of Honor?

First, let me offer my best wishes to your sister! She sounds like an absolute peach to want to accommodate your coulrophobia - the correct term for the fear of clowns - and keep your confidence in the process. You sound like a wonderful sister, too, for wanting to give your sister the best of both worlds on her wedding day - an elegant affair from which you do not run screaming.

Your sister's argument that a wedding should be an elegant and formal affair is a sound one, and I am hoping that she will be able to convince her fiancé to accept a toned down plan for their big day. Her argument that she is marrying the man and not the man behind the mask is also excellent. I am not certain as to the laws in your state or place of worship, but there are many who will refuse to marry those who are hiding their true face. Therefore, the whole idea of clown makeup may be a non-issue after all.

You must remember that a wedding is about two people, so compromise on both sides may have to occur. The first suggestion that comes to mind is to have a clown-themed bachelor party, where your future brother-in-law and his groomsmen can clown around all they like while keeping the wedding ceremony a clown-free event. Your sister would do well to gently remind her fiancé that not everyone likes clowns. Although there are no hard and fast statistics to be found, according to Discovery Health approximately 9% of Americans suffer from phobias, including clowns. It would be a shame for you to miss your sister's wedding because of this phobia, but it would be a catastrophe for wedding guests to run screaming from the church when they catch sight of a gaggle of clowns on the alter. Your sister could present this situation to her fiancé as she puts her foot down for a clown-free wedding. As for the reception...

Many wedding receptions have slide-shows or PowerPoint presentations of the lives and courtship of the bride and groom. If your sister and future brother-in-law are planning such a show, you will have to understand and accept that it will probably feature pictures of clowns. Know this in advance, and plan accordingly, as you may need to excuse yourself during this part of the festivities.


P.S. It is one thing to be a practical joker and another thing to be sadistic. Is your future brother-in-law truly the type to find humor in a person's phobias? If so, this is an entirely different issue. --T.K.

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

No comments:

Post a Comment