Sweeping Statement #1: There are very few social situations that I cannot rock. Moreover (what a fucking terrible word…we should just replace it with ‘WHY YES. AS A MATTER OF FACT, I HAVE TAKEN A INTRODUCTORY-LEVEL ENGLISH COURSE’), the ones that cause me any level of anxiety are typically ones in which I know I will never find myself. Like orgies*. Or murder plots**. Or cover-ups after someone accidentally dies during an orgy and you’re the only one who wants to go to the cops about it***. Or basically anything that has to do with anonymous sex or death.
Sweeping Statement #2: Despite my mastery of social circumstances save murder and sex parties, it has recently come to light that weddings are shockingly not among my social repertoire. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that I am one of the worst wedding guests of all time, made worse considering that people (myself included) generally don’t see this coming until the big day when suddenly I’m all up in your family’s business making everyone uncomfortable. My role as Ill-Equipped Conversationalist should be right up there with Depressed Single Sister and College Roommate Without A Filter.
I really don’t know what it is about weddings that makes me turn into a backwoods hermit whose only social experience played out on Geocities discussion boards, but it was a major problem during some New Year’s Eve nuptials just last week. The only–and I do mean *only*–phrase I could muster up for the bride was some variation on how gorgeous she looked. Nice the first few times, weird when I literally cannot find other words. Likewise, the only offering I had for the groom was, “I hope you’re actually getting to enjoy your day! Weddings be crazy, yo!”
Guys? I do not know how weddings be. I’ve only been to about four in my entire life.
I also have no business ending declarations with, “yo!”
My first foray into the world of weddings was as an infant buckled into whatever child seat contraption has since been deemed devastatingly unsafe for use among babies. My parents tucked me underneath a banquet table to sleep while they partied. When pressed, their excuse is a simple, “Hey – that’s just what people did in the eighties.” And while that excuse might work for cocaine and big hair, I remain unconvinced of its legitimacy in the case of my clearly traumatic upbringing. As for the wedding? It was about as good as one can be before you’re old enough to get inappropriately drunk and grind up on the bride’s great aunt Doris.
At age five, I was one of the ring-bearers at my uncle’s wedding. My fat cheeks weighed about as much as my entire body does now and I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing. What I did know was that it would be the start of my own lifelong romance with tuxedo vests, bowties, and having people watch me walk. I can’t be 100% sure, but I like to believe I invented the Tyra Banks that day. I worked that shit out, y’all.
With such a strong showing as a toddler (are five-year-olds still toddlers or just smaller, stickier children?), I honestly never saw my New Year’s Eve disaster coming. But people…what are you supposed to talk about at weddings?! I mean, as nice as a ceremony is–and this one was truely carved out of my very champagne-filled dreams–I just don’t have enough to say about it to last through the night!
Without a script, or talking points, or even the faintest reference point for social cues in these circumstances, and much to the dismay of anyone who got stuck talking to me, I just spent the night awkwardly asking Big Life Questions. For hours, I rotated through these three sentences, sometimes using them more than once on the same horrified people:
– “So…when are you two tying the knot?” (often said to married people.)
– “So…are kids in the plans?” (honestly, guys. I was awful.)
– “Well, I guess that’s marriage…amirite?” (the. worst.)
Two hours into the reception I looked desperately at the newf in a blind panic, wishing that he’d forcibly remove me from the building or at least punch me hard enough to black out for the rest of it. Of course, he was hammered and found it hilarious to watch me leave a trail of uncomfortable people in my wake.
Which brings us right to my strategy for the next time. At least then I’ll have the drunk excuse.