I realized I haven’t written many pieces (or any for that matter) from a guy’s perspective, so this week I gave it a go. The setting is a wedding. It might be a bit of a stretch, so let me know what you think. Happy Wedding Season!
“What Doesn’t Kill You”
Before you ask someone to be in your wedding, you should administer a “line up” test. A test of simple geometry. Can you, oh bridal party, create a line that will continue on into infinity? Weddings are all lines. Lines for photographs. Lines flanking the bride and groom on the altar. Lines for greeting more lines of people. Lines to walk into the reception. Lines at the dinner buffet. Lines at the open bar. Lines for that awful Macarena dance that you say you won’t dance but you totally do. Maybe it should be a line segment test?
This bridal party is failing. Hard. The lines flanking the bride and groom looked like an ant farm. The line for greeting guests after the ceremony was more glob and less line.
And now we’re taking photos, which involve, yes, more lines. Or we might not be. I wouldn’t know. I’m hiding in the bathroom. A groomsman. Hiding. From pictures.
But I have an amazing excuse. Do you want to hear it? Bianca. Oh, I’m sorry, I’m mispronouncing it. Beeeee-ank-KAAAAA. The spit that shot from the corner of her mouth as she told me her name last night made sure I would never forget how to say her name. Or her for that matter.
She is the maid of honor, and I, the best man. So when it comes to photos, and Bianca’s presence is requested, guess who can’t be far behind. It wouldn’t be so bad if she wasn’t so loud. Or so touchy-feely. Or acting like it was OUR wedding. Or taller than me.
It’s ridiculous, I know. Afraid of a girl wearing cyan taffeta? C’mon, man. ESPN-style.
OK, I’m walking out of the bathroom. I am in the vestibule. I am by myself. Let’s take a peek at the altar. OHHH dear God, they are taking photos. And they look like they’re just waiting. For me? Nahhhhhh.
I walk down the aisle and hear,
“OH MY GOD THERE YOU ARE, HUNNY!”
Hunny? Is this girl for real? She met me yesterday and told me her life story over chicken cordon bleu. She talked and I pushed it around my plate. She talked and I drank five beers. She talked and I almost peed my pants from drinking five beers.
She walks up to me and puts her arm through mine and waltzes up to the altar. I stumble to keep up with her. She waltzes. I see the photographer. Oh, please, God, no. Please don’t let us have to be first. If you have any mercy, let there be a slow build to this. Prolong! Prolong!
“OK, we’ll start from the end of the bridal party,” the photographer says.
There is a God. I wrestle Bianca’s arm out of mine and smoothly slink a few pews back. I sit there with my arm over the pew like I’m sitting next to an invisible girl and watch the train wreck taking place on the altar.
First up is Kelly and Dan. These two have quite a history, if Dan is telling the truth. Even if I only believe half of it, these two still have a pretty messed up relationship. Apparently this wedding for Henry and Gia prompted a bit of a battle between Dan and Kelly. Kelly wanted to know where her ring was. Dan wanted to know where his clean laundry was.
As they stand on the altar for bridal party couples poses, they live up to their tension. It’s awkward city. Kelly’s eyes are down the entire time the photographer arranges them, pretending there’s something wrong with her bracelet and bouquet. Dan’s told to cup the crook of Kelly’s elbow, simple enough, but he grabs her wrist instead and the photographer has to move his hand for him. The photographer steps back to look at them and decides to move Kelly up a step so the height differential isn’t as much.
“There,” the photographer says, walking backward into the aisle. “You can do whatever you want with your other hand,” she says to Dan.
And that’s when Dan’s serious face fell. Oh, the innuendos that photographer unleashed in his head. Dan face tries to consume the “guffaw” he just let out as he turns to give Henry a goofy grin that says, “can you believe she just said that?” You can hear Henry under his breath whisper,
“C’mon, dude. Be serious.”
Kelly finally looks up and the photographer releases a series of flashes. They instantly leave their pose and walk in opposite directions. It would appear they have not yet made up.
Next are Neil and Trisha. These two just met yesterday too. You can tell Neil was paying attention during Dan’s schooling because he knew precisely what was expected of him. Not a step out of place. They couldn’t have looked more different, Neil a tall guy with dark hair and Trisha short as can be but with tremendous blond hair, poking out in every direction. They both had the same business-like look on their face. The trio was next.
Stella, Renee and Rob. Stella stuck her phone in her bag and sighed a sigh of annoyance. It made me feel bad for making fun of her name and reminding her about a dozen times last night that she shared a name with a great beer. She had apparently heard that before and was not impressed. She was pretty when she didn’t look angry. Renee was supposed to have her own groomsman, but he had a “family emergency” and couldn’t make it, aka won tickets to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals and was out. I wished I was as “unlucky” as he. So Rob took double duty, and he was definitely not the guy for it. Renee and Stella paid him no attention. He was built like the guy from the the Old Spice commercials but had the personality of a mouse. Standing between the two of them on the altar he looked equally terrified by both of the girls, but for different reasons.
“Ready? Smile you in the middle!” the photographer shrieked.
Not happening. Rob has one look and that’s horrified forest animal. Their first photo had glimmers of petrified rabbit, but the second frame moved into deer in headlights and ended with wide-eyed chipmunk.
“OK, last bridal party pair,” the photographer says.
Shit. Shit. Shit. There had to be more people before us. HAD to be. I go to stand up and I can’t. I’m glued to the pew. What a shame. Guess I’ll have to stay here.
“GEORGE!!! C’MON, DEAR.”
Guess who. She really needs to lay off the terms of endearment. I don’t even use those when I have a girlfriend.
I stand up and give a smile that says, “oh it’s our turn? Silly me,” and met Bianca at the altar. She grabs my hand like she’s dragging me to jail and puts her hands on my shoulders and positions me two steps up from her. Two! How much taller does she think she is than me? And isn’t that the photographer’s job?
“Maybe we should let the photog …”
“THERE YOU GO! NOW WE LOOK THE SAME HEIGHT! IT’S PERFECT!”
Oh. God. I feel my jaw drop. I stick my finger in my ear to see if I can still hear anything. I just stare at her absolutely beaming face, which is looking at my face, which isn’t doing so well right now. Not only is she loud, but she’s bouncing. This girl doesn’t sit still. She bounds. Sometimes on one foot … like she’s doing right now.
“Perfect!” the photographer says, “You’ve been practicing!”
Don’t encourage her!
The photographer, who now has my enduring gratitude, takes the quickest five photos I’ve ever seen. But as soon as she says, “done!” Bianca whips around to face me. She’s in slow motion. She’s got her arms spread out like that dame, Maria in the Sound of Music when she’s singing on the top of the mountain. I feel the back of her hand smack my cheek and it sends me falling backward. You would think my proximity to the ground would help, but I lose my balance and I slip back, back, back. I see myself flailing in the air in my mind’s eye. My feet are in the air. The back of my head strikes the corner of one of the higher steps. I’m dead. Bianca has killed me.
If only she had. I play this scenario out in my head as she spins around to face me. What if she had killed me? Wouldn’t she feel sorry. She has the look of a clown infected with rabies on her face. Her eyes popped open, mouth wide open ready to say something else excruciatingly loud. What could she possibly have to say now??
“SEE!!!! THAT WASN’T SO BAD! IT DIDN’T KILL YOU, DID IT!”