The wedding anniversary is very important to married couples - it signifies that they acknowledge how long they've been together and how far they've made it. It's like a marriage's birthday.
Woe befall the one who forgets
If one member of a couple forgets an anniversary it's considered a very
big problem for the relationship (at least in fiction). Someone who forgets his/her wedding anniversary is either considered insensitive enough to not value the importance of a long-lasting marriage or unromantic in regards to not putting the marriage over his/her bad memory.
There are many variations on this theme:
- One of them forgets. The other sees it as pathetic, but nothing major happens, even though the other may be bitter or prone to teasing the one who forgot for a while.
- One of them forgets the anniversary and the other is so mad that he/she storms out of the house to go drink off the sorrows/storms out of the house to go back to mom/mope about it in frustration. This continues until the one who's forgotten it improvises a gift or improvises something.
- One of them seemingly forgets the anniversary and the other gets mad - but as it turns out, he/she hasn't forgotten! It's supposed to be a surprise gift or party, but now the one who's "forgotten" must deal with the ire of the other person...
- One of them forgets and is forced to do stuff by the other's whim in order to "make up for it".
- They both forget and later realize how pathetic they both are.
Oddly enough, in the one-person-actually-forgets scenario, it's usually the guy who forgets. Make of that what you will.
Usually (but not always) played for comedy. Nearly all TV sitcoms involving a married couple will fall back on this at least once in the run of a show. And it is by far more common for the husband to be one who either forgets or is pretending to forget.
May lead to some Convenience Store Gift Shopping
. For a non-marriage example, see One-Person Birthday Party
Anime and Manga
- A credit card commercial where a man at work is asked by his wife if he made any plans for their anniversary. Naturally he must scramble for an Ass Pull: "Uh, yeah...we're... " *glances at Chinese takeoutbox* "taking the Orient Express to..." *glances at stained tie* "a spot in...Thailand!" *glances out window, where a bird lands* "We're going birdwatching!" At the end of the commercial, on the trip that his credit card company was able to drum up on short notice, his wife remarks that "this is such a surprise", and he wholeheartedly agrees.
- Another commercial had a guy's wife cook a fancy dinner, dress up, and light candles. Her husband then comes in, takes it all in with a wow, and asks "What's the occasion?" His wife then takes the steak back into the kitchen, probably to throw it away.
- Another commercial (This one for the latest iPhone) has the guy at work reminded of their plans by his wife, and making a dinner reservation while he's talking to her.
- In an episode of Wedding Peach this is the central problem; Hinagiku's mother attempts to leave the house because her father forgot, but as it turned out, the father was too busy with work and had hidden his anniversary gift so he couldn't present it to her the whole day. The girls try to get him to reiterate what he wanted to say in front of her, but then demons intervene and stuff tries to get in the way. They work it out.
- In the UDON Street Fighter comic books, one issue showed Guile falling victim to the results of this—he forgot his and Jane's wedding anniversary because he and Charlie were sparring in a match that lasted days. At the end of the spar, on realizing he'd forgotten the anniversary, Guile tried to make it up to Jane, but...
(Guile shows up at home with a bouquet, but Jane's extremely pissed)
Guile: Happy anniver—
Guile: I brought you flowers—
Jane: Couch. (walks off, leaving a defeated Guile with his head hanging low)
- In the movie Family Man, when the main character forgets his anniversary, he forgets it because he hasn't technically been married to his wife yet, but she doesn't know that...
- One scene in The Sixth Sense looks like this, with Bruce Willis showing up late to an anniversary dinner with his wife at a fancy restaurant; she barely acknowledges him before leaving. Subverted, though, because he's actually a ghost and she can't even see or hear him.
- In the 1949 Milton Berle film Always Leave Them Laughing, a guy buys a watch for his wife, and she has no idea what the occasion is. He lampshades the usual nature of the trope by saying something to the effect of, "Folks, you're witnessing a historical event. Usually, it's the man who forgets the first anniversary." His wife feels bad about it for a moment, but then gives him a kiss for always being so good to her.
- The subject of the "Anniversary Song" by Da Yoopers. The wife asks her husband if he remembers what day it is, and he guesses "trout season?" and later her uncle Ernie's funeral, where she got sick. In the second verse, she fills in the details a bit, but the only thing he remembers is someone in the congregation passing gas.
- In one children's song, the singer's mother gets back at her husband for forgetting their anniversary by giving the children a bowl of ripened fruit. The father sits at the low end of a table on a slope, and Hilarity Ensues when the fruit rolls onto him.
- Mentioned in the Straight No Chaser Christmas medley "Nutcracker": "I'm watching the game but something's wrong/Staring is my wife, her face looks long/I know that look, it must be me/It's not our anniversary/I shrug, no clue/What did I do?/She stares in disbelief"
- Variation in The Male Animal: Tommy fails to recall that it's his wife's birthday, even when she meaningfully asks him what day it is, until her Old Flame shows up and mentions the fact in Tommy's presence.
- Spoofed in the webcomic PvP. The author admitted (via twitter) that he'd completely forgotten about characters Jade and Brent's first anniversary, so didn't do a strip for it. The next day, he started a storyline about how Brent and Jade had themselves both forgotten the anniversary.
- On The Lot had a short film called "Sweet" where the man makes an epic effort in getting last-minute plans together for his anniversary. Hilarity Ensues.
- Many people will testify. (Although at the same time there are many instances where both parties forget...)