My South African friend Jack and his Japanese fiancee tied the knot in New York this week, Las Vegas-style. Four of us – me being a second South African, and Kris being Indonesian – went down to City Hall, where you line up, get a number and go to a counter when your number lights up on the digital screen. It felt a bit like a supermarket, except everyone was carrying bouquets and the people behind the counter were really nice, like it was your wedding day or something. You filled out a form, showed your ID, and that was it – well, almost. Couples dressed like tourists sat on sofas waiting to go from the counters to the ‘chapel’ ceremony, where the guy asks things like “Do you take this person to be your one and only spouse for the rest of your life, through sickness and health, for as long as you both shall live” and so forth. One bride arrived in a taffeta gown cinched at the waist, her hair swept up. Another came in a short powder-blue smock, white running shoes. Two men arrived, together, both in jeans. Lots of pictures were taken. Bridal parties came and left. It was like being at not one wedding but many. Afterward, pictures in Central Park, with people sunbathing in the background, joggers shirtless running by, carriages carting people on a Carrie-and-Mister-Big ride, lots of them shouting “Congratulations!” to the bride and groom. I think they thought they had caught a very New York moment – two South Africans, one Japanese, and a gal from Djakarta – and I guess they had.
About Ted Botha
Ted grew up between Washington D.C. and Pretoria. He has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, and was an editor for Reuters in Manhattan. His books include 'The Girl with the Crooked Nose' and 'Flat/White,' about living in a crazy tenement in Manhattan. His latest book is a true story of murder and movie mayhem in the 1920s that takes place in Johannesburg, London, Paris and New York. Read more at tedbotha.com