So if we could all raise our glasses… January 10, 2006Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
Quick! Someone write me a speech! Very naughtily, and only once the groom in question was sure I was making my way to the other end of the world in the most extravagant concession to marriage I’ve ever made in my life, I have now been informed that I am to be best man. What an utterly inappropriate epithet. Now I had worried I might be given the ‘honour’ of making sure I would do nothing at all for weeks but fret about having to make a hilarious speech in front of a group of strangers and had even suggested suitable alternative candidates for the job to the groom just in case he got any odd ideas. Well, those suggestions have been flagrantly ignored and I have been informed that it falls to me to not only bankrupt myself by flying to the other end of the world when I have a Russian and, er, no children to support but will also have the ignominy of losing the rings and humiliating myself by making poor jokes with a big piece of lettuce sticking out of my teeth, a dodgy suit and a ludicrous haircut. And I’ll probably have a sniff. Or trip as I get to my feet. Or be drunk. Oh woe is me.
Not that I’m getting flustered about this, you understand. Well, I have been worried someone would ask me to be their best man for about 35 years. Oh god, I suppose there’s even a chance gay friends can ask now. Haram! Oj gevalt! Neeeeeeiiiiiin! But then what if I like it? What if I get up, discover it’s actually bliss speaking in front of a captive audience, culturally obliged to laugh at jokes I make about the utterly unknown sexual past of the groom and amusing little anecdotes about the bride’s idiosyncrasies – I don’t suppose New Zealanders will be that amused with stories of how amusing I find her accent. I know no other idiosyncrasies – and get into a roll and speak for 45 minutes and decide to take up a career in stand-up comedy? (Is there English-language stand-up comedy in Berlin?) And then all sorts have been best men. I’ve witnessed some pretty appalling speeches in my time and could hardly imagine I’d do far worse. I definitely won’t mention prostitutes or masturbation, as I’ve heard done more than once. I don’t think I’ll go down the ex-girlfriend route. (I only know one, and she’s still a good pal.) So what else is left? Reading out telegrams? (Do folk still send telegrams?) (By ipod, perhaps?) Thanking the bridesmaids? (If there are any.) Thanking the person playing the Bontempi organ? Thanking everyone for coming and subtly reminding them all how far I’ve travelled? Or does the groom do the thanking?
Knowing I might girl’s-blouse out, the groom has told me it’s all going to be such an informal affair that I don’t even HAVE TO make a speech, but that would be wank, wouldn’t it? And I’ve seen the role carried out well. Our Germanic cousins are the best at wedding speeches in my limited experience. I’ve been to weddings in Finland, Denmark and a half-German affair in Belgium and even though I could hardly understand a word of what was said at the Scandy-unions, you knew the speeches were good and there was not a sniff of onanism or paying for sex anywhere. And, anyway, Germanic weddings are a free-for-all on the speech front, so it’s no big deal. Old friends get up and say a few words, or even do a bit of a sketch. The only French wedding I’ve been to was speech-free. No, only ‘Anglo-Saxon’ – to be French about it – weddings seem to have formalised the speech-troika of bride’s father, groom and best man.
So all suggestions gratefully accepted. Both for content and style. And length. And everything else. I suppose I should be thankful that I’ve only got to worry about this for a little over two weeks. It should also be enough time for you life-rich bloggers to save my bacon and tell me PRECISELY how to behave.