Among the regrets that I canít get past is the fact that I didnít have a true best man at my wedding. How this most unfortunate of circumstances came to be is a strange and twisted saga.
Growing up I had a best friend named Matt. Our personalities complemented one another well. He had integrity galore where I had none. I was outgoing and adept at chatting up strangers where he was somewhat shy and retiring. We were constant companions. Once he took a vicious licking from a bully whoíd been harassing me. Another time he risked taking the rap for me in a caper that could have landed him in prison for a long time. Those are the kinds of heroics you never forget.
When he got married, I was his best man even though he had a brother. I threw him a memorable bachelor party complete with a trashy stripper, champagne and heaping mounds of cocaine. Not long thereafter I, my then girlfriend and the happy couple moved in together. The usual group house tension over chores, unpaid bills, use of coasters and stolen beer soon cast a pall over the fledgling household.
More vexing still, his young bride was quite the flirtatious hussy. Watching TV, sheíd put her feet in my lap and ask me to massage them. Sheíd situate her bathrobe in a way that made Sharon Stone seem modest. (Oh, pull your pants back up---she looked more like this.) All of which went on right in front of her husband. Naturally Matt began to suspect that something was going on between us. And though Iíd always rebuff her advances for obvious reasons, he became more and more convinced that I was the cause of their deteriorating marriage. They moved out and were soon divorced. Matt became understandably embittered.
(I believe the cause of their breakup had more to do with his fastidious nature and her sloth. He was forever wiping surfaces and straightening up while her pantyhose were strewn everywhere. Something to consider when choosing a mate.)
Though we ran in the same circles, for years we avoided one another. Both of us were either too stubborn or too proud to approach the other. In the meantime I hooked up with my wife. I asked her to marry me and surprisingly she accepted. She set about making the myriad arrangements a full-scale wedding entails.
As the big date fast approached I realized I had no suitable best man. Talk about a nightmare scenario---all my life the best friend role had been filled by Matt. Given the freeze between us, asking him would have been out of the question. My own brother is dead to me. Roger, who Iíve posted about, is too unpredictable. Besides my wife hates him. So my best man turned out to be my roommate, whom Iíd met a year earlier via a newspaper ad. He didnít even bother to throw me a bachelor party, which was just as well. I havenít seen him since. When I look at my wedding photos, itís as if thereís a stranger whoís been inserted next to me in the group shots. Even though Matt and I eventually patched things up and my marriage is a blessing that literally saved my life, the best man thing remains a sore spot with me to this day.
I suppose the moral to this sordid tale is: If you have a best friend, guard your relationship more fiercely than a lioness does her cubs. Donít let anyone of the opposite sex come between you. And should a rift develop, hasten to swallow your pride and apologize---even if the accusations are unfounded as in my case. Itís worth it, because one day youíll want to get hitched and you donít want a rent-a-best-man or maid-of-honor.
(Donít laugh, there are companies that will provide stand-in mourners in case you die and no one cares enough to attend your funeral.)
If you donít have a best friend I suggest you see about horning in on someone elseís. But donít expect it be easy. Fact is itís a lot simpler to replace a boyfriend, girlfriend or hook-up buddy than it is to cultivate a best friendship---for potential mates abound whereas all the best friends are already taken.
Flash forward to the present. Nancy and I will celebrate our fifteenth anniversary next month. Yet even after all these years, this still sticks in my craw. And itís not the only time Iíve been blamed for a major transgression I didnít commit. (The reason is hidden elsewhere in this post.) As the accusations persist, they become quasi-facts. Self-doubt begins to creep in. For all the believers in your repeated denials, you might as well have done the deed. Youíre Bill Clinton only without the tacky lipstick smeared all over your dick.
I count myself very lucky that not only is mine a wonderful best friend-been there through thick and thin, bitchy and beastly, but she is also an amazing sister that I am proud of.
by Shannon at June 11, 2003 12:16 PM
Sometimes your ex-best friends deserve to stay that way, though. I think all my ex-bests are out of my life for good reasons. Although, I do have new best friends and they are definitely worth keeping. Here's hoping I don't do anything to piss them off...
by jean at June 11, 2003 4:34 PM
All I know is that I miss mine. We still see each other once in a while to party or play tennis or whatever, but it will never be quite the same.
by anna at June 11, 2003 6:35 PM
Would love to play tennis with you someday, anna. I have buddies too, but its my porcelain doll that has seen my rise and fall in NYC. And it will be my poor fiancee who sees me rise from the filthy ashes, oh, I will rise, but I will no longer be compassionate, I cannot afford to be.
by lockheed at June 11, 2003 9:51 PM
Yes Lockheed, but can you afford NOT to be compassionate?
by jean at June 12, 2003 12:09 AM
Oy! That came off sounding really prissy! This is because I put "Stepping off soapbox" in brackets, and they must have been the wrong kind, because it got stripped. So...
*Stepping off soapbox*
*Note to self: never use brackets when commenting*
by jean at June 13, 2003 2:54 AM
I knew that. The email version survived intact.
by anna at June 13, 2003 7:39 AM