Everything is wrong with me
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
wedding etiquette
Many, many months ago, after answering some emails I had gotten, I asked you all to send me some topics that you'd like me to discuss, because I was completely running out of gas (thankfully, after taking up cocaine again, I'm still at it).

Though the responses were varied and thought-provoking, many times I tried to write about them, and I just couldn't do it. I'm a very lazy man, and each time I tried to write about one of the suggested topics it felt like work - you know, what I'm trying to avoid when I write this.

But I remembered a particular email that has since become very relevant. The incomparable Brian wrote back in April:

Weddings - I have to ask you a wedding etiquette question since I think we'll have to go to several dozen of these god-awful affairs in coming years. I was at this wedding in Trenton on Saturday and there was a lot of BC people there, most importantly Drunk Bill who I'm sure you know from the time freshman year when he skied from upper campus to the Chi's Chi's stand and then stole a taxi with ski boots on. Long story short Drunk Bill was super drunk before the salad was even served at dinner. Italian dressing is difficult to get out of a bridesmaid's dress by the way. He later passed out in the hotel courtesy shuttle. Now everybody gets drunk at weddings, but at what point is being drunk acceptable? Certainly salad is way too early, but are you alright at dessert? Also, how drunk can you really get? For example: shortly after the father of the bride dance at Tom's wedding last year Roger was vomiting SoCo shots on the side of the dance floor. At the wedding this weekend some dude fell into the 17 piece orchestra. I'm not looking down on it since I was pretty wasted, but I held my shit together. Also, is wedding bartender the worst job in the world? I think the guy made like $7 in tips. Alright, if you run out of ideas please address all aspects of this wedding phenomena in your column.
Ah, weddings. The most holy of sacraments and one of the most important moments in a person's life, built around the three most powerful words in the English language: free open bar. Yours truly has either a wedding or a wedding-type function three of the next four weekends, so I figured the wind was right to tackle this most precious of subjects.

Weddings mean different things to those who are involved. For the bride, it's the biggest day of her life. Ever since she was ten and felt that strange feeling in the pit of her tummy while watching nancy-boy Jordan Knight prance around, she's waited for this moment. Finally, she has her man, and has him forever. [That is, until he gets caught catching a beejer from that whore with the giant hair who always comes in the bar all fucked up at 2am asking for cigarettes. Sorry, that was just what happened with my roommate Brian's parents. My bad.] The man she loves has asked her to spend the rest of her life with him, and she quakes with anticipation for the wedding day.

For the groom, weddings are a necessary evil. Sure, the groom understands the importance of the event, but the adjectives that come to mind first are probably not "beautiful" and "resplendent", but rather "nerve-wracking" and "trying".

For everyone else, it's an opportunity to catch up, try to have fun, and get really, really drunk. I've only been involved in this third group. And, since it may take a while for my e*Harmony profile to get approved, it looks like I won't be worrying about being on the participant side of the wedding for a long time. So using Brian's email, let's discuss proper wedding etiquette.

We'll take the questions out of order and start with, "How drunk can you really get?"

The answer: as drunk as you want. People, we are talking about OPEN BARS here. That means free booze, all night. Being a guest at a wedding is a costly enterprise: there's the transportation, the hotel, the gift. This could easily cost as much as $500, depending on the wedding (and even more if you bring a date, something I don't really have to worry about, since as of last night the Taco Bell girl is no longer even serving me because I've creeped her out by repeatedly offered her my very own "special" burrito, then sobbing, then eating some napkins).

For this reason, it is your duty to get as drunk as you'd like. The last time I was at a wedding, I had previously had a hopeless crush on one of the bridesmaids, and, of course, it ended badly. I hadn't seen her for quite a while until that wedding, and I responded like any other gentlemen would: got rocked off my ass off cranberry vodkas and got very, very depressed. While everyone else was out dancing, I sulked at the table with my buddy Pat, who was so drunk his eyes were closed through 85% of the reception, occasionally yelling at passers-by to get me another drink ("damn it!"), softly singing Don Henley's "Last Worthless Evening" to myself, and fighting off all those who came over to try to get me to dance. Still, I had a great fucking time.

The wedding before that, I had my cousin Michael's wedding. I was taking it a bit easy at the reception, which was filled with family members asking me, as the second oldest cousin, when I'd be getting married (hilarious). Also, I was there with a girl I had sort of been seeing and really liked, so I didn't want to mess it up. Everything was going well until I realized that there was only an hour left of the open bar and I was only mildly buzzed. One hour and fifteen or so vodka cranberries later, back at the hotel in a drunken stupor I wanted to take a quick shower before settling in with my lady friend. While in the shower, naturally I began to get tired, so naturally I decided to lay down for a little cat nap. By the time I woke up and came out of the bathroom, the girl was fast asleep on the bed. Good thing I didn't "mess it up" (three weeks later we were through).

It seems to me that the better question is timing: when is it appropriate to be wasted? C'mon - this is a simple question. Obviously, you don't want to be passed out before dinner is served, because shit - you paid to be there, so you should get a decent meal out of it. I'd say that dessert is fine, since you want to be nice and loose to get out on the dance floor to do your thing.

The main point is to try to follow the lead of most others' drunkenness. This is especially true if you're looking to score, which I've heard is fairly easy to do at weddings (we'll see about that in the next few weeks, but let's not get our hopes up). If most people are relatively sober, dancing very safely, and being very civil, and you stray too far from this norm by pulling down your pants and shouting, "Look at my mons pubis! It is a veritable mountain of pubes!", then you're not going to get any (unless you're really good-looking). However, if it's the kind of wedding where the groom is walking around with a bottle of Jameson and throwing empty beer bottles at his pill-head brother, the bride has left because she's so upset and is contacting an attorney for an annulment, the best man, a groomsman, and three guests are dead from alcohol poisoning, and eight people (six guys, two girls) are having sex on the lawn, then by all means, show the world your pubes. Because, honestly, they are lovely.

And as for the wedding bartender...yes, this is a crappy job. What I do right away in these situations, and yes, I know it's pretty cheesedick, is I chat the guy up on the first drink I order, and give him a big tip. After all, you're going to be boozing for free all night. What's a $20 tip when you're going to drink what in New York City would cost you $300? Plus, it's good karma. I'm a big believer in karma, and look how far I've come (please don't comment on that).

This Thursday morning, I am flying to the Bahamas for my cousin Lindsay's wedding. For five days and four nights, we'll be staying at an all-inclusive resort on the beach. "All-inclusive" means all food, booze, and tips are already paid for. When my mom told me this, I had to ask her to repeat it.

For five days, I'm going to be on the beach, drinking and eating as much as I want, for free.

I don't know if I'm going to be able to handle this. Free food and free booze for five days? Good lord! I don't even have a joke here because my mind is spinning, and it's very difficult for me to type because my body is going into convulsions thinking about it. Five days? Everything free? I think I'm going to faint.

My flight arrives in Nassau at 11:30am on Thursday. I should be dead by 2pm. I would like everyone to remember me as a hero, and know that I love you all. Sure, I would have liked to have accomplished my all-time goal, sleeping with eight women at once, but some things are just not meant to be. Thank you for your support and love over the past twenty-five good but not great years, and I promise to haunt the shit out of you. Especially when you are on the can. Or, if you're hot, in the shower. Or if you're getting it on. Or watching porn.

I should stop now.

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