There’s an internet comeback that’s been refusing to die for several years now. It’s taking even longer than “well played,” which died sometime around 2013, right around the time society was learning that taking part in nerd culture did not automatically make one smarter and more decent a person than everyone else.
The way it goes, is someone says something obnoxious or serious. Or obnoxiously serious, or seriously obnoxious. Someone immediately responds, “You must be fun at parties.”
This, I believe, is just not accurate. Yeah, I get that you needed a ready-made response to your friend’s “friend” from high school who named her dogs after cryptocurrencies, but it’s not fair to the rest of us exacting types. I would like to set the record straight. Yes, I’m risk-averse, picky, and pedantic. I’m painfully pragmatic and eternally anxious. I’ve been accused of being obnoxiously serious and seriously obnoxious. But I am fun at parties.
Never is this more clear than at a wedding. Close friends’ and family’s weddings are the best, but I have teared up at weddings where I knew only a groom’s sibling. There’s free food, free drinks, and as a friend put it, “judgement-free dancing.” I love it. I love the flowers, the string quartets, the little niblings in their tiny tuxes and dresses. The vows, no matter how corny. The somehow ending up ballroom dancing with one of the couple’s parents. The cake! Getting social acceptance for dressing up, dancing terribly, and emoting openly? That is the deepest desire of my Theater Kid heart. I have never once had a bad time at a wedding.
I’ve been to two weddings this summer. One was for a college friend and a former roommate, and was wonderful: the bride complimented me on my dress and we high-fived during a speech! I had a fascinating conversation about Russia! There was an ice cream truck! It was practically perfect, despite being in Connecticut. The second one was this past weekend in Monterrey, Mexico, for my friend Annie. (If you’ve read my book, she was the one who ended up playing Dulce in my backstage screwball sex farce play Thank You Ten, and did so amazingly.) I’d never been to a wedding outside of the United States before. The closest is when my friend Jessie got married to a man from the UK four years ago, and all his friends and family came over for it. Being a bridesmaid, I had advance knowledge that the (all very cute) British groomsmen were likely to be piss-takers, and tried to prepare myself accordingly. (That was when I learned that “excuse me,” something I said approximately one hundred times a day in New York City, mostly means “excuse me for farting” in British English, and started saying “pardon me” instead.) I was still no match for them, though. The first night we all met, it was the middle of January, and I put on a very warm but slightly too casual green and red patterned sweater. As soon as we were introduced, one of the groomsmen looked me up and down and said, “What’s that? A Christmas jumper?”
Anyway, if Annie’s wedding was any indication, and apparently it was, Mexican weddings are fantastic. At the rehearsal dinner, Annie said she “didn’t want it to go too late,” and then clarified, “Probably only until about three in the morning.”
“Three?” I said.
“Yeah,” said one of her friends from Monterrey. “Usually they go until like six. There will probably be breakfast at the end of it!” She also told me that it would “probably be a lot like prom,” and that the band would be “giving out props.”
The band did more than that. The band went all-out. Yes, there were sunglasses, headbands, and balloon animals, but I did not think I would be hearing a beautiful Mexican love song followed by a song from Hamilton followed by The Killers. (I can now confirm that it is not just white Americans that lose their shit at weddings when they hear Mr. Brightside.) Neither the band nor the guests were afraid to get over the top and cheesy, and I guess I should have not been surprised when, around midnight, childhood friends of Annie’s came to me gushing about how much they’d loved Matilda and asking to take photos with me.
At the wedding in Connecticut, I’d danced in stilettos for the first hour, then tossed them aside to dance barefoot. (My shoes are always the first to go. I’m sorry, I know it’s often inappropriate. Blame my Southern Californian upbringing.) No one minded, but at the wedding in Mexico, someone immediately came up to me and asked if I wanted a pair of slippers. They were also giving out thermoses so people could drink on the dance floor without injuring themselves. It felt so hospitable, almost parental, and I loved it. When I tweeted about it, everyone from American responded with surprised delight, and everyone from Latin America responded basically saying, “Yeah, we do that. Good idea, right?”
The party ended at three in the morning with breakfast chilaquiles, and all too soon (and not just because I had a hangover) I had to fly back to the United States. As soon as I got home, I did something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I took five minutes and did something that will, fate willing, get me invited to even more weddings.
I GOT ORDAINED!
I can now perform marriages! Granted, this is not recognized by a lot of states, and probably not recognized at all in other countries. But it is a start, and it’s still a lot easier than becoming a rebbetzin.
Bottom line, invite me to your wedding, or have me officiate your wedding. But make sure they’re good. I have been spoiled by ice cream trucks, cheeky but cute British groomsmen, and Banda Metrópoli’s amazing Alicia Keys covers.
Fake BBC Show Title of the Week: Step-Mum, Step-Mum, You’re a Step-Mum! (Theme song by Tom Jones)