Last night, just as I was about to leave work, my father messaged via Yahoo! Messenger (Yay for the connected family!) and asked me to be the Best Man at his wedding. He said, and I quote, "I'd be proud to have you as the Best Man at my wedding."
I never thought I'd be anybody's Best Man. I don't have any siblings. Most of my closest friends are women. I've got a much better chance at being a bridesmaid than anybody's Best Man and I just don't think I'd look good in a frilly gown. On top of all that, I have a really terrible habit of not keeping in very good touch with my male friends which suggests to me that, given the opportunity, they would choose somebody who has been a much better friend than I over the years.
So when my father asked me to be his Best Man, I was surprised. It came as no surprise to me that he had asked his girlfriend to marry him. Even given the short amount of time that they've been dating, or the 20-year age difference between the two of them. They're a cute couple, and they're obviously very happy together, so it's a no-brainer, right? But me? As a Best Man?
Being a Best Man carries with it a great amount of responsibility beyond the normal, everyday logistics of planning and preparing a wedding (if that could ever be considered normal and everyday). Beyond presenting the ring to the groom during the wedding ceremony, beyond running the festivities at the reception, beyond making a humorous, yet heartfelt speech at the appropriate time. A Best Man must also be a Best Friend.
Cue the flashback. I think back to when I was just a little kid. My father, by trade, was a truck driver. He delivered the Goods of Northern Maine, primarily paper or potatoes, all over the Eastern Seaboard, and I went with him every chance I got. In Kindergarten, my class made a book. Each page had a student's picture, a drawing, and a little blurb saying what they wanted to be when they grew up. I said that I wanted to be a truck driver, because that's what my dad did, and at 5 years old, my father was the coolest guy in the world.
Cue the second flashback. I think back to when I was in a high school play, Symbilene. It was a Halloween play, a monster-flick on stage, and I was playing the part of the extra-dimensional monster. It was a horrid costume that I tromped around in, screaming my lines into a voice box that would amplify and change the tonal quality of my voice. I could barely hear the lines that other people were saying on stage, but I could hear my father in the audience, screaming like a little girl every time I came on stage. At 15 years old, with my father backing me up in my theatrical aspirations, he was the coolest guy in the world.
Cue the third flashback. I think back to when my father was diagnosed with Hepatitis C. He had to come down to Boston General to get a liver biopsy to determine whether or not he was eligible for treatment. They had to put him under to take a chunk out of his liver for examination. After the operation, a nurse came and got me and said that I could sit by his side, if I wanted. I remember sitting there that morning watching my father sleep in the hospital, listening to the beep of the heart monitor and examining every crease and wrinkle that the years had worn into his face. I remember sitting there and, probably for the first time in my life, praying with earnestness to whatever might have been listening that my dad would be okay. At 25 years old, with my father laying helpless in front of me, he was the coolest guy in the world.
Best friend? How could I be anything else? To the man who has seen me through every trial and tribulation I have ever had in my life? To the man who brought me into the world and around it to the best of his ability? To the man who put me through college and supported me after I graduated and was just a poor starving artist wannabe?
There's nothing else I can say. He is my Best Friend. Dad, I'd be proud to be your Best Man, because to me, you're the coolest guy in the world.
IF YOU LIKED THIS COLUMN...
11.5.02 @ 3:21p
Does this mean you have to hire him the
Or is that not really the point of the article?
11.5.02 @ 3:26p
Oh, I hadn't even thought about that. Is that part of the Best Man's responsibilities?
11.5.02 @ 3:32p
Well, often the organization of the bachelor party, assuming there is one, is a best man thing.
11.5.02 @ 3:35p
See? I'm not even sure of the job description.
11.5.02 @ 5:40p
I'm just impressed that I figured out how to get html code to do a strikethrough.
11.5.02 @ 6:03p
Yeah, that was cool. How do I do it?
11.5.02 @ 8:54p
This article is really a nice tribute to your father. Very cool article. Uh, and I don't think you would look good in the frilly bridesmaid gown. It gives me one of those scary thoughts.
Your dad is lucky to have a son like you, and it sounds like you were luck to have a dad like him.
11.5.02 @ 9:03p
Well, I have no doubt you'll write a pretty good reception speech/toast.
11.6.02 @ 6:46p
This is so sweet, Erik.
My daddy was a truck driver too. Good memories. You'll do a great job, I'm sure.
11.7.02 @ 1:15p
Wow. What a wonderful father/son relationship.
11.7.02 @ 4:11p
Consider yourself to be the luckiest man in the world. At least you still have your dad with you. I lost mine when I was 12, and he was my best friend. And still is. But life would be so much better if I had him. So congratulations, may the Best Man win.
11.8.02 @ 10:56a
Sounds to me like your dad was always your "best man" and I think it's wonderful that he apparently thinks the same about you.
11.8.02 @ 11:05a
Okay, so I haven't posted anything, in response to these yet because I didn't want to seem trite, but.. well.. thanks, everyone.
I think my dad's great. And rest assured that there will be a follow-up column next July to let you all know what a bi-national wedding (his fiance is French Canadian) is like.
11.8.02 @ 1:18p
I, too, think that your father is one of the coolest guys in the world.
What does an extra-dimensional monster look like? Sounds a tough one to pull off convincingly...
At my father's wedding he didn't invite me to be a bridesmaid. So I still haven't been one and probably won't. I think it would be more fun to be a Best Man though.
Wow, organizing a stag do for your Dad. That would be tough. You'd have the whole of Aroostook County knowing every detail of the plans. How could any plan possibly be kept a secret from your Dad?
11.8.02 @ 1:20p
What does an extra-dimensional monster look like? Sounds a tough one to pull off convincingly...
There was a lot of foam and a lot of duct tape.
How could any plan possibly be kept a secret from your Dad?
I don't know. The fact that he knows everybody in the Nothern half of the state does seem like a rather insurmountable difficulty.
11.8.02 @ 2:13p
'Course that's only, like, 12 people.
11.8.02 @ 2:15p
But those 12 talk, man. They talk.
11.8.02 @ 2:34p
Never a bridesmaid, Eloise?
I'm more likely to never be the bride. I'm just waiting for the slew of inevitable friend weddings that will soon come. I anticipate years of god-awful dresses and bridesmaid duties.
11.8.02 @ 2:40p
I'm lucky in that the only friend I have getting married has a fun taste in clothes and knows I won't ever wear fuschia.
11.8.02 @ 2:49p
Oh, but the colors at my dad's wedding? Lilac and silver. Oh yeah. I want a lilac tux.
11.8.02 @ 2:55p
Your uncle's wedding was pretty tasteful.
11.8.02 @ 3:04p
And I have no doubt my father's will be, as well. Latest news: Outdoor evening wedding in the States, reception in Canada at St. Jacques. No meal. Just fun, fun, fun.
11.8.02 @ 3:26p
That's smart. I don't like receptions with sit-down 4 course meals.
11.8.02 @ 3:27p
Or filet mignon the size of your head?
11.8.02 @ 3:30p
Yes. In fact, I'd be interested in other people's opinion on sit-down vs. no-meal or light food wedding receptions. I've seen both, and I really like the wander and eat kind better.
Michelle? Joe? Married People?
11.9.02 @ 10:43p
I like food, no matter how it's served (and will happily eat a filet the size of my head.) I don't like "cocktail party" receptions -- I don't drink, plus I hate trying to talk to people while balancing a plate of food in one hand and a glass of Coke in the other. On the other hand, if someone gives me a fork and lets me stand by the buffet and eat out of the chafing dishes, that's OK by me.
11.13.02 @ 1:02a
One of my friends once asked me to be like the third groomsmen, or something like that cause the wedding party was becoming larger. Of course this was after I had already decided I would never attend another wedding. I was in my radical-political phase then. I also didn't want to deal with a pastel green tux jacket. Oh, I would've looked good, but the whole wedding thought was just evil back then.
And Sarah, from a guest perspective, I like the pre-sitdown buffet, a nice soup or salad, anything but rubber chicken main course, and the Viennese table for dessert. Wedding cake is okay, but chocolate covered cannoli, or those little cream filled pastries shaped like swans are so cool.
11.13.02 @ 9:49a
Oh, there has to be food at a wedding, but I think it depends on the type of wedding. We had an afternoon wedding, so we had snacks-meats, cheeses, fruit, etc...afterwards. Our friends and family would have been shocked had we had a really formal sit-down affair.
Alcohol is optional, but I think the least you can do is feed the people that share in the experience.
I've been a maid of honor, a bridesmaid ... AND a best man. Fun, fun.
11.13.02 @ 10:27a
I went to a traditional Chinese wedding once that had a 9 course meal. I left 3 and a half hours into the reception and we were only 4 courses into it. The squab course. Good lord.
... AND a best man.
So, there's a story there waiting to be told.
11.13.02 @ 10:51a
I had a friend that was one of his sister's bridespeople. Luckily for all of us, they didn't make him wear a dress.
11.13.02 @ 11:08a
I'm having my first bridesmaid experience in July. Dana insists we "will be able to wear the dress again." Believing it when I see it.
11.13.02 @ 11:11a
"I swear you can wear this dress at any prom you'll go to."
11.13.02 @ 11:46a
I've never seen a bridesmaid dress that I'd wear again. Even if the colour is good, the style still screams "wedding".
11.13.02 @ 11:48a
You could always wear them again for Halloween. I'm surprised more people don't dress up as bridesmaids.
11.13.02 @ 12:17p
If the bride keeps it simple and has no desire to make it look like a bridesmaid dress, there's a chance.
I went to one wedding where the bride just chose a color and allowed the bridesmaids to pick out their own dress. It turned out looking really nice.
11.13.02 @ 12:37p
Although that has problems of its own. I spent hours with a friend of mine at the mall trying to find her a green dress to wear as a bridesmaid. Do you know how hard it is to find a solid green dress?
11.13.02 @ 12:59p
Well, mine will be black. So the color's not a problem. But yeah, I think Halloween recycling will be the most likely Encore Appearance.
11.13.02 @ 12:59p
At least black tends to flatter most people.
11.13.02 @ 1:01p
Yes, sometimes brides get this silly idea in their head that the one dress they choose will be flattering on the differing body types of all their bridesmaids. BIG mistake. Huge.
11.13.02 @ 1:03p
Very huge. So Heather, what colour was the themed wedding you went to?
11.13.02 @ 1:33p
Like a maroon/wine color. It worked out well, but it's a relatively easily color to deal with.
Personally, my first wedding is going to be RED! I'll be sure to share pictures.
11.13.02 @ 1:37p
"My first wedding..."
What about your second one?
11.13.02 @ 2:00p
I've never been in a wedding and unless a friend divorces and gets remarried, I never will.
11.13.02 @ 2:05p
That's odd. Why didn't you go to the original ones?
What if they get divorced from their second spouse and then get remarried again?
11.13.02 @ 2:11p
Well, most of my long time friends either a) had a million brothers who superceded me in the wedding party, or b) decided to have just one best man and that was it.
My best friend got married spur of the moment, so I didn't even get a chance to attend his wedding.
And all my other friends whose weddings I went to, they all chose long time childhood, high school or college friends.
11.13.02 @ 3:02p
Yeah.. see? That's the kinda thing I'm gonna get.
I think it's awesome that I get to be my dad's Best Man, but it's a total fluke.
I'd better enjoy it while it lasts cuz it's not gonna happen again.
11.13.02 @ 3:08p
Halloween is the perfect time to reuse that ugly dress. This year I went as "The Princess Bridesmaid". I wore my $280 sage green silk taffeta bridesmaid dress (complete with crinoline), a tiara, a bunch of costume jewelry, and i was all set. I was tempted to go as Carrie and splatter the dress with fake blood, but I think my friend who picked out the dress would have been a wee bit offended.
11.13.02 @ 5:04p
Does anyone rent bridesmaid's dresses? Guys rent tuxes. Why not rental dresses for the ladies?
11.13.02 @ 5:20p
NO! Are you insane? I mean, we just NEED those gawd-awful bright taffeta things that we'll never wear again hanging in the back of the closet.
I think that mainly doesn't happen as the bride attaches sentimental value to the gowns.
11.13.02 @ 5:21p
Women? Waste money on clothes they never wear? Never!
11.14.02 @ 10:05a
Not only women. I have a ton of clothes that I never wear.
I'd even go so far as to say that I'd probably buy a tux because at some point I might wear it again.
For me, it's because I'm cheap.
11.14.02 @ 9:34p
I used to direct an art gallery, and we needed tuxes about 3 times a year for big events, so I went out and bought a vintage tux jacket, a nice pleated shirt, and some black tux pants. About once every two years or so, I'll need an outfit for a black-tie affair, and I don't have to rent. As long as I can keep my boyish figure, I'll never have to rent again.
It's worth it. Rental monkey suits are gross, unflattering, and often smell like dry-cleaning fluid and sun-baked vinyl. Bleah.
11.14.02 @ 9:56p
Yeah, Matt* finally bought a tux a couple of years ago, because we have the need for formal wear from time to time.
Much more economical.
Funny - as judges for the pageant, we won't. But then again, we're not Bert Parks and (fill in the buxom model here.)
Yeah, bridesmaids buying gowns they'll never wear again. True test of loyalty.
11.14.02 @ 10:22p
I've never had to wear a tux either. Lucky me.
11.15.02 @ 11:17p
Jael, if it's a black dress, no matter what it looks like, it'll be in style and easily altered to be fashionable.
Um, speaking of theme weddings, one of my friends did a Camelot theme wedding. The whole wedding party was dressed in Medieval attire. It was actually a really nice event, considering I don't believe in marriage of any kind.