I love weddings.
Not because I’m a sap addicted to rom-coms who likes nothing better than a good cry when love conquers all. (Superbad’s a rom-com, right?)
I love weddings because they’re often freak shows.
I once went to a wedding where the bride and groom’s first dance was to Please Release Me — a song about divorce.
One wedding, the bride’s side went after the groom’s with fists and broken bottles. At a pre-wedding stag, they raffled off the stripper … won by the father of the bride. Who did not turn down his prize.
I’ve been all-in on weddings from the time I was little. You get to stay up late. There’s cake. Music and dancing. Chances are that when the adults are up dancing, you can steal their cocktails and hide in the cloakroom and get kid-drunk.
When I was about 18, my buddies started getting hitched. They were the ones raised by stay-at-home mommies and were desperate to get out of the house because when you’re 18, last thing you need is your mom hovering over you.
Problem was, because they’d been raised by traditional mommies, these guys had zero life skills.
Couldn’t cook. No concept of the process by which they dropped their dirty gonches on the floor and that same underwear appeared — folded and lightly starched, for crying out loud — in the top drawers of their bureaus.
So to get out of the house and not starve and continue to get clean laundry, they got married.
My own wedding came next.
Beautiful service, despite my best efforts.
My bride floated down the aisle of the church wearing the wedding dress in which her mother had been married and it was faded by age to a beautiful ivory from its original white and when she took her place beside me I looked deep into her eyes.
And I leaned close and whispered the following into her ear: “Um … when it comes to this being faithful thing, do other guys and farm animals count?”
She delivered a short, sharp right jab into my ribs, expertly delivered so that no one in the pews could see. I grimaced and then grinned, thinking: “I did not make an incorrect bride choice.”
She claims to this day not to remember this.
I suspect her convenient amnesia is the reason our marriage has lasted.
One of the best weddings I ever went to was that of a relative of my wife’s I’ll call, “Bob.”
My relationship with “Bob” is such that I once felt compelled to grab him by the throat and the front of his belt and throw him into a river.
Because I had just watched him push an elderly man with a heart condition to the ground.
The man “Bob” pushed to the ground was his own father.
Unfortunately, “Bob” knows how to swim.
Now my grandma always used to say, “There’s a lid for every pot.” Which translates as, “There’s a true love out there for every human.” Although when it came to “Bob,” I thought a more accurate translation was, “Even Hitler had a girlfriend.”
Here’s how “Bob” met his wife.
Two girls in university needed a roommate. “Bob” was handsome, with pretty good first-impression skills. The girls let him move in.
Then “First Impression Bob” disappeared and “Genuine Bob the D-bag-loser-asshat” took over. His behaviour was so awful — no lie, he saved his toenail clippings in Mason jars — the girls started running tours through their apartment so they could show all their friends what a D-bag-loser-asshat they were living with.
The college girls would display “Bob” like a two-headed goat in a low-rent county fair and then they’d go for a beer and laugh at him and try to come up with a plan to get him to move out. It was a joke. He was a joke.
Until one of their friends fell for him.
Flash forward and she’s about to marry “Bob” and my wife drags me to the wedding.
Which I wouldn’t have attended in a million years because of those two words guaranteed to make a man miserable.
Behind the church, in the graveyard, these girls in awful teal dresses designed to make them look awful — obviously bridesmaids — were sobbing. The maid of honour and one other were the two responsible for “Bob” meeting their friend. And they had the guilts. Bad.
When they saw my wife and I, they glared. They were angry at us just for knowing “Bob.”
When I figured this out, I said: “Don’t be mad at us, ladies. We don’t like him, either.”
My wife put in helpfully, “Ian once threw him in a river cause he’s an asshat.”
The maid of honour’s eyes lit up and she wiped away her tears. “Oh, that sounds wonderful,” she said. “Why don’t you tell us all about it at the reception?”
“Talking can be thirsty work,” I said.
The maid of honour smiled. “What do you drink?”
Guess who drank for free all night long? And got to be a hero to four sad young women?
I told them: “Don’t worry. No way this lasts.”
I think the asshat and his lady just celebrated their 25th or something.
Oh well. It’s important to remember the important thing.
I got to get drunk for free.
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