Friday, June 29, 2012

Best Man: Sitting Next to the Groom

Lost?  Go back to the beginning of this series, and it should make a little more sense.  But if you don't feel like doing that, all you need to know is that this is the fourth out of four responsibilities of a best man.

4) Sit next to the groom.

This one might also come as a surprise.  Aside from handing over the ring when you are told to do so, there isn't really much you have to do as the best man except stand up at the altar and look handsome.

But that wasn't really the case the last time I was a best man.

You see, Father Chip (the priest that celebrated the wedding) had known Brian for his entire life, and was close to Brian's family.  So he felt the need to add a personal touch.

During the homily, Father Chip directed his attention towards the bride and groom.  Yes, I realize that this seems standard.  But the bride, groom, maid of honor, and best man (me!) had four special seats during mass that were behind the altar. 

That meant that Father Chip's body stood at the podium, yet his head was turned and contorted in an almost unnatural way to face us.

And he stood that way for the entire homily.

And it was a very.  Long.  Homily.

Father Chip went on and on, ignoring the congregation sitting before him and speaking directly to the bride and groom, telling them about the sanctity of marriage and about how they have their jobs that they do to make money every day, and how those jobs used to be the thing that defined them, but that they now had ONE job, and that ONE job was to be a partner.  For HIM to be a partner to HER and for HER to be a partner to HIM.  And how nothing, NOTHING, NOTHING else mattered except for them to love each other and respect one another and DIE for one another if that was necessary, because after they had said their vows and pledged their love for one another, they had NO OTHER DUTIES except to SERVE EACH OTHERNOBODY ELSE MATTERED!!

It was something along those lines.  The intensity was palpable, and it certainly felt as if we had just been the private audience to a very scary dictator.

Either way, I did my best to listen.  And I did my best to nod my head in understanding, seeing as I was one of only four people that this guy was talking to.  But it became frighteningly clear that something was wrong with Brian.

It started with him shifting uncomfortably in his chair.  Then he began kinda swaying back and forth and rubbing his palms up and down his thighs.

He began taking long breaths and exhaling in such a way that seemed to say "holy shit."

Knowing that Father Chip's ever-watchful eyes were upon us, I stole a glance at my best friend.  He was staring back at Father Chip, but something was definitely wrong.  His face lacked any sort of expression, but his eyes were wider than they should have been.  Apparently Laura also knew that something was wrong, as she took his hand and squeezed it tightly.

I tried to analyze the situation. 

One of two things was happening:

1) Father Chip's intense homily was making him feel like he was being interrogated
2) Father Chip's intense homily was making him realize what he was getting into, and he was getting ready to run out the door.

Now, Brian had never expressed any form of doubt to me.  As far as I knew, he was completely in love and 100% sure he was ready for marriage.  But when you have a priest intensely staring you down and telling you how your life was about to completely change, you never know.

Either way, I was certain that Brian was going to either pass out or run away.  And in either situation, I knew that I would have to spring into action.  And this frightened me.

Incidentally, these are the exact outfits we were wearing.
If he passed out, I would not only be the first person on the scene, but I was also the best man.  I was there for Brian, and it would be expected of me to know what to do.  I imagine, for example, that I would have to take my jacket off and lay it under his head.

Not only would I have to spring into action, but I would also be expected to say a little something.  Something along the lines of "Clear the area!  Give him some space!" and then something along the lines of "Somebody wet this handkerchief with cool water!" and then "I don't care if it is Holy Water, just get it!  Stat!"

The other, much worse scenario was if he just stood up and ran away.

If that happened, I would have to run after him.  That much I knew.

But I also knew that I would also have to say something before I ran after him.  I would have to say something to Laura.  Something like, "Just calm down and stay here, I'm sure everything is fine."

Then I would have to say something to the gasping and murmuring congregation.  "Just stay in your seats everyone!" I would yell.  And then: "I'll be right back!"  But did I have to say that with a worried expression on my face or with a comforting smile?

And I would certainly have to say something to Father Chip.  I'd point at him and yell, "THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!" as I ran away, crying.

And then when I caught up to Brian, I would have to say something to him.  And what kind of sagely advice am I supposed to give to him at that point?  "Just go back out there and pretend like nothing happened.  I'm sure nobody will doubt your level of commitment."

Holding the ring was one thing, but this was all just too much responsibility for me.

As I snapped back to reality, Father Chip was saying something about laying down our lives for the motherland, and I turned and stared at my friend.

Don't run away, I tried to mentally tell him.  Pass out, if you have to.  Just fall over.  I'll catch you.  Just DON'T run away!  I'm not prepared to handle that, so don't be selfish.

Laura rubbed his hand, then grabbed it again to comfort him, I assume.  Or to hold him back from running away.

He looked paler than he did before, and I was certain that he was going to either collapse or run away.

Pass out!  I mentally urged him on.  I am better prepared for that scenario.  Pass out!  Do it!

But he didn't pass out. 

After the ceremony, he admitted that he was very close to doing so because of Father Chip's blazing intensity.

Fortunately, he also didn't run away.

I continued to keep close tabs on the ring until it was securely placed on Laura's finger, where it remains to this day.

And thankfully, not once did I have to tell everyone to "remain calm."

Except, of course, when I busted out my killer dance moves at the reception.

*   *   *

And so, that is my guide to being a best man.

I am sorry for the fact that this guide has been no help whatsoever to individuals who think rationally.

Phil's wedding is tonight, so it is a good second chance for me to fail in one way or another.  If something funny, interesting, or terrible happens, I'll be sure to write about it.

-Youngman Brown

Dude Write


  1. I have a feeling you'll be amazing tonight; just like the other times. It shoes what a considerate friend you are that you go to that level of anxiety for them. Have a blast.

    PS...imagine Brian is an anxious bride, on a hot ass day in Florida, in an under cooled Greek Orthodox church in the LONGEST ceremony ever, with 12 bridesmaids, matron of honor and maid of honor (me) and watch her sway but you have NO idea what is being said in the ceremony cause it's in Greek...and you have my level of freaked outness!

    1. Haha well I am glad it wasn't at that level of scariness.

  2. "Pass out! I mentally urged him on. I am better prepared for that scenario. Pass out! Do it!"

    This is the funniest thing I have ever read. Tears. Rolling. Down. My. Face.

    Don't ever stop writing!!!!!!!!!!


  3. You are solid Best Man material-through and through. I hope you have an amazing time at Phil's wedding tonight Mike. But more importantly, I hope you meet some really cute bridesmaids. And now that you have practice, maybe get some numbers :)

    BTW- the priest that officiated my ceremony was bi-polar and went off his meds the day of my wedding. It was a disaster. If your interested, I posted all about it in "My Big Fat Italian Wedding" Friday Fact or Fiction post.

  4. Well, this was worth the wait. Definitely the grand finale and of course made me laugh throughout. I love how you saw yourself acting out the heroic moments if things went wrong ;-)... I'm sure you would have been very brave and would have handled things beautifully - especially the fainting scenario.

    Good luck with this evening - presumably something entertaining will happen so I'm looking forward to hearing about it.

  5. Well, good luck to Phil and hopefully you've properly prepared yourself this time with first aid and cpr training, as well as a course in apprehension and detention tactics. Although, with the way your fancy brain works, I'm not sure you could ever be prepared enough for every scenario your imagination creates :)

    1. I was CPR certified, but didn't need to use it!

  6. As someone who was married before, I had that feeling too. Now that I'm divorced, I could easily say I should have ran away...

    Good for you, being ready (and willing) to tackle him if needed.

  7. Was it a Catholic service? Those weddings ARE intense. I was in one for my sister and it was brutal. It was only helped by the fact that we had written, "Save me" on the bottom of the groom's shoes so when he had to kneel, the whole congregation started laughing.

    1. Friday's was not a Catholic service, and was very quick. Although it was outside, and it was 95 degrees.

  8. I think you make an awesome Best Man! You're thinking logically if you ask me. Passing out is waay better than running. Have a great time tonight!!

  9. Oh, man. That sounds pretty intense despite my laughing throughout the entire post. I probably would've passed out in that situation. But, on the bright side. If Brian did pass out and the ceremony was being videotaped, you guys could've been on Good Morning America or Tosh.0 or something.

    1. Haha true, but that is not how I want to get my fame.

  10. Laughed ALL the way through this! My first thought was that the Groom realized he had a pressing issue to drop friends off at the pool.

    I'm sure all will go well tonight, have fun!

    1. HAHA I read this right before the ceremony. Good shit. Pun intended.

  11. I've never been to a friend's wedding before, but now I know that I should be Girl Scout prepared for just about any situation. First aid kit, fainting chair, a good pair of running shoes...

    1. It is important to be Girl Scout prepared.

  12. Wow. I hate it when priests do ridiculously long homilies. I hope Phil and Brian realize how awesome of a best man you are. I'm sure you're in line to be many more. Have fun tonight at the wedding bud. Can't wait to see pictures!

    And good luck catching Phil if he faints. I hear he's one tall dude... :-P

    1. Phil was just about as un-nervous as anyone could be.

  13. The man I finally trap, I mean marry, will not ever hesitate. Nope.

  14. If I ever became a priest, I think I'd like to be called Father Chip.

    1. Father Chip is not his real name, but it is close enough. And preferable, according to Brian and Laura, who read this post.

  15. Isn't it usually the bride who passes out because she doesn't know what's going to happen at bedtime? "I saw that thing and had no idea what he was going to do with it and then he told me to spread 'em and I yelled, Spread what?"
    And so it goes and so it goes.


  16. I too would have voted for a "pass out", running in those shoes is hard on the feet and knees...

  17. Haha, excellent read Mr. Brown.

    "Pass out! I mentally urged him on. I am better prepared for that scenario. Pass out! Do it!" got a snort out of me. Hilarious!

    There was a 3rd option that you failed to mention. It could have been that he had a turtle head poking out.

    Just sayin'...

    Michael A. Walker
    Defying Procrastination

    1. Hey, that's what I was thinking, too, but's that's just where my mind has been lately.

    2. Haha I love how you guys all think he had to take a crap.

      Maybe he did...

  18. Dude, I wish that priest had been at my wedding.

  19. When you mentioned he'd frozen and his eyes were wide, my first thought was that he'd crapped his pants. This would have been an even better scenario because at least you wouldn't have to do anything about it.

    1. Lol four people have thought this so far. I love it.

  20. Laughed out loud, more than once.

  21. Looks like you got your best man duties down to a science ;) Like literally!!! lol

  22. Oh holy crap that was funny. For some reason I was thinking "but if he passes out, he'll have to give him mouth to mouth". I know, I know. Completely inaccurate but it made for quite the mental picture.

  23. HA! I love the thought of you mentally urging Brian to pas out and not run away. I'm glad he didn't do either.


When you comment, I vibrate.