Tuesday, 21 April 2009

In a village far, far away...

Today, I wrote a magazine article about weddings. Research led me to honeymoons.

I've turned into a bore - a sort of niche bore, in that I can only bore about one subject: the moon. Ask me about tadpoles or William Hague and chances are I'll find a moon link (his head looks a bit like a full moon). So I was chuffed to find a real, actual, living link earlier that I didn't have to manufacture. Or so I thought.

The origin of the word "honeymoon" is much-debated - by very few people, I'd guess. It's that period after marriage where the happy couple go away together and find out each other's bad habits. But it hasn't always meant unhappiness. In the past it may have meant 30 days of powerful mead and enjoyable drunkenness. Or a time of kidnapping. Or the waning of admiration. Or it's a corruption...of the Norse word for "hiding". Or it's just from those forest-dwelling Germans, the Teutons.

Please choose your favourite - and if you're stuck for ideas for an impending honeymoon, feel free to try any (though abduction these days is frowned upon):

1. I can't wait - just you and mead

The big day's over. The hairy, wild guests have retired to their wooden shacks in the next village. It's just the two of you - and you've forgotten the Champagne. Don't tell her - just start the month's worth of-- oh no, not mead: everybody's least favourite sort of wine. If there's one thing you've learned in your wild, village existence, it's that wine is best made from grapes. Not honey. As your mum always said - "Son, honey for spread on bread; grape, possibly Pinot Gris from the Alsace over water, best for wine. Never confuse two."*

But her dad's bought honey wine. It's that or a miserable first night together.

For the next month - or "moon" as you're still grunting it - the both of you get smashed on cheap mead from a plastic bottle**. "This honey wine lovely this moon," says the wife***, knocking it back. You nod - it's disgusting. But it's better than arguing. Plus, this way, you're more likely to get her knocked up, which is why you kidnapped her in the first place.

By the end of the month, the poor girl's slurring hideously. You can make out just two words. "Adifinogosog ogs on dea aaaa honey og og og ahhhh burrrrrrr moon."

"Yes, dear," you reply, holding her hair while she relieves herself of mead, "it's been a delightful honeymoon." The term sticks and all the villagers are using it soon after. You never touch mead again.

2. You, mead and a lunar month

All you can see is the moon - from the crack in the old wooden shack^. It's passing in its monthly cycle. It must be a couple of weeks since he stole you away from your folks. And he keeps plying you with cheap honey wine - like the rubbish Dad bought when you married Dave. You've got to move out of this village.

3. Wayne - it's over

You've moved village and met Wayne. He's great. He loves the moon - and it's funny because his name is "Wayne", and the moon wanes. So, yeah, you find that funny. Though it's not such a laugh when you marry each other and he gets you drunk on mead (Dad's started a winery - Mead 'Rousy). This time you're sick of it and as the moon passes through its familiar cycle, from full back to new, you tell Wayne that your feelings have changed. You don't love him any more. You've met a nice Norse man called Anders and he's teetotal. And he's promised to teach you a new word...

4. Hjunottsmanathr

It means "in hiding", he tells you after the abduction. Before he whips out the mead. Another hjunottsmanathr ("honey month"^^) for you - and another child. What are you going to tell the parents?

5. It was the Germans!

The German forests seemed the perfect escape - big, lots of trees, Black. But you hadn't heard about the Teutons and their pagan love of the moon, especially when it's full. Hans is a bit of a charmer though and this time you fall in love. On the next full moon you tie the knot (he's not good with ties). This time it all works out and - although he's only got mead - you enjoy it in his company. And he's great with the kids.


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* Although you're a savage from the Stone Age, your mum speaks with a distinctly Chinese accent and stilted delivery
** Your village is way ahead of its time
*** She's picked up the stilted delivery from Mum
^ You've remarried - and you're now the wife

^^ You Google hjunottsmanathr and find two meanings

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