The Staggers 7 August 2009 Pointless act of the week Why do people do these things? Sign UpGet the New Statesman's Morning Call email. Sign-up It's Friday, the day of pop psychology, of searching questions. What compels a man, I ask you, to make a 2,162-metre-long wedding dress for his bride-to-be? The Guinness Book of Records, is the short answer. But there's more to it than that, isn't there? Was Zhao Peng, the dressmaking groom, neglected in childhood; did he suffer a wedding-dress-related trauma in his teens; did he watch American Beauty too many times (Peng pinned 9,999 red roses on to the train of the dress)? I don't know. I do know that Xinhua definitely walks away with the Quote of the Week trophy. It has two absolute corkers. First, from the groom himself: "I do not want a cliché wedding parade or banquet, nor can I afford the extravagance of a hot balloon wedding." And then his mother: "It is a waste of money in my opinion." Oh, mothers! Must they crush our dreams? Your son opted for the giant wedding dress, not the expensive hot balloon option - you should be grateful. (A hot balloon wedding? I know he means hot-air balloon, but I'm just imagining lots of little party balloons, strangely warmed.) Anyway, on reflection, I'm on Peng's side. He's romantic with a capital R. He knows a gesture when he sees one. It might be utterly pointless, but hell, everything's pointless once you start thinking like that. Ah, Friday, it gets me every time. › Does supporting Israel make you a friend of the Jews? Sophie Elmhirst is a freelance writer and former New Statesman features editor. Subscribe For daily analysis & more political coverage from Westminster and beyond subscribe for just £1 per month!