Sunday, January 6, 2013

The REAL Duties of a Best Man

Hey, you’ve been asked to be your buddy’s Best Man at his wedding! Congratulations, it’s a thankless job and you’ll be miserable. Whether you’re his oldest friend, his brother, or someone the bride’s family forced upon him, you probably think your job is to look good in a tuxedo, carry some rings around, and try not to vomit all over everyone at the ceremony after spending the night before in some vague debauchery you’re already imagining.

You are: So very wrong. Well, okay, half wrong. Because you must do all of those things, plus a few other unsexy things like helping the Groom to organize the tuxedo fittings and the toasts and such. But that’s just the tip of this iceberg. Getting married is serious business and you’ve just been handed a huge checklist of things to accomplish before the big day:

1. Therapy. The Groom is going to have, on average, fifty or sixty existential crises. These are not always the same. Aside from the old standby anxiety about being with the same woman for the rest of his life, there’s also: Insecurity about whether or not the bride’s family likes him, stage fright regarding having to dance in front of everyone, body image issues after that first tuxedo fitting, and possibly remorse over huge and complex lies he’s told his bride-to-be, possibly regarding secret identities, previous marriages, and love children.

2. Image Control. Whether your Groom is a wild man-child who spends the months leading up to his wedding barely escaping arrest or a pensive and serious young man who spends hours staring out of windows as if he imagines he’s being filmed, your job as Best Man includes making him look good. This might involve a few muscle relaxants and some pancake makeup on the Wedding Day, it might involve copping to crimes you didn’t actually commit, or it might involve outright lying to people’s faces.

3. Dance Lessons. You think you’re the first Best Man asked to help a Groom learn steps in order to surprise his wife with his dancing ability? You poor, innocent fool.

4. Wedding Party Control. The Groom has other problems, and the Maid of Honor is going to be spending a lot of time locked in rooms with the Bride, so crowd control falls to you. You’ll be the General of the Wedding Party, which means you get to organize everything and relay messages from the Groom.

5. Speeches. There are a lot of speeches involved with being a Best Man. You can go exactly two ways with your speeches: Emotional or Funny. There is no Third Way, unless you count a hybrid of emotional and funny, which is acceptable but very difficult as you don’t want to be perceive as laughing about that time the Groom got hit by a car. Do not try for Philosophical. For god’s sake don’t let your own opinions about marriage invade your speech. Make them cry or make them laugh, and get the hell out.

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