Last week was my final week in Virginia Beach and Charlottesville before heading off on my road trip to Los Angeles. My best friend Anne was getting married on Saturday, the day before I was to leave. I was a bridesman in her wedding, which I don’t think exists since my computer just autocorrected it to bridesmaid. She originally wanted me to be an usher, but I told her to make me a bridesman instead. I asked her who I was gonna walk down the aisle with.
“Maybe Na-ma,” she said.
“Who is Na-ma?” I said.
“I don’t get to walk down with a Groomsmen like the other Bridesmaids? That’s really heteronormative.”
“Well I don’t know what that means. You’re walking Na-ma.”
I spent the week doing various pre-wedding activities, such as the rehearsal dinner and a cookout with the whole bridal party. First, however, came the bachelorette party. My friend Carter, who was also a bridesmaid, and I went to Spencer’s at the mall and immediately proceeded to buy everything penis related. We got a penis cake, penis lollipops, a penis garland for the wall, and a penis shot glass. Once we were all penised out, we set off to decorate Carter’s place for the party that night. As we cooked the chocolate penis cake, Carter’s roommate was eating dinner with her mother.
“It’s so awkward having my mother here while you’re baking a penis cake,” said Carter’s roommate.
“I don’t feel awkward at all!” her mother said as Carter and I frosted the giant chocolate dick.
When Anne finally arrived, we gave her our presents and ate pizza and penis cake.
“This is the best party ever!” Anne said as we sat eating the dick cake in silence. We then watched Bridesmaids and told each other secrets from our childhood. All in all it was a pretty solid night. The only thing missing was the male stripper that we tried to order, but the company told us that we needed more than just three people at an event for a stripper to come. I guess that would have been pretty awkward with just the three of us watching a man take off his clothes for money, although I imagine it would have been awkward regardless of how many people were there.
I went home for the next two days to pack up the rest of my things and say goodbye to my family. My parents gave me a going away gift basket, which included a tumbler with crabs on it.
“It’s a Tervis tumbler,” my mother said. “I also have one with fish on it if you don’t like the crabs.”
“I’ll keep the crabs. It’s a good reminder to avoid Venereal Diseases,” I said.
I had dinner that night with a family from my church that has two small girls. Their parents told them I was leaving for LA.
“When are you leaving?” the oldest one asked.
“Tomorrow,” I said.
“I don’t think I can be packed by then, You go ahead and I’ll catch up on my scooter,” she said.
The next morning I had lunch with my Youth Leader from high school. She gave me a going away present, which included a UVA tumbler.
“It’s a Tervis tumbler,” she said. “It has a lifetime warranty. Remember that.”
The next day, packed with everything I own in the world and two Tervis tumblers, I headed for Charlottesville. The rehearsal was Friday at 5 at the Catholic Church of The Holy Comforter, which I enjoyed because it sounded like Jesus’ blanket. I showed up half an hour early in the pouring rain, so it was just me sitting in the pews with my umbrella as the lady organizing the rehearsal set up. She asked me who I was, and I told her I was a Bridesman.
“Oh, you’re a Groomsman?” she said.
“No, I’m a Bridesman,” I said. “I’m on the Bride’s side.”
“Sides don’t matter at this point,” she said cryptically.
“Okay.” I said, praying for someone else to show up.
The rest of the people showed up, and we walked through the rehearsal.
“It’ll be the girls in the front and the guys in the second row,” the lady said.
“If this woman sits me with the Groomsmen I will burn this church down,” I said to Carter.
When we got to the rehearsal dinner at Basil, I stuffed myself with appetizers until I was uncomfortably full. I then spent the rest of the night wishing I had eaten less as I sat there watching the remaining courses being brought out.
“If I shit myself during this wedding tomorrow it’s sure to ruin it,” I thought.
Thankfully, my fears were unwarranted. I showed up to the church, and got in my tux. We waited in the chapel with for the Bride to show up and change into her wedding dress.
An older woman walked in.
“I’m Na-ma!” she said.
“I’ve heard a lot about you,” I said.
Two women were taking pictures of us getting ready to document the process.
“Where’s the Bride?” one of them asked. “She’s not getting cold feet is she? Haha just kidding!”
Na-ma and I were not amused.
Finally, Anne showed up and changed into her wedding dress. They called us into the hallway to get ready to process into the Sanctuary. As the first Bridesmaids began processing, I watched with tears starting to form in my eyes.
“You’re not gonna cry, are you?” the organizer lady asked me.
“No,” I said defensively.
“You left your umbrella here,” she said.
The wedding turned out beautifully. Anne looked amazing, nobody got cold feet, and everything was wonderful. As we took pictures outside, Anne said “Let’s get one with just the girls, so we can show off our dresses! Sorry Joe, we have to be heteronormative for at least one picture.” I’m just glad she finally knows what heteronormative means.
We went to the reception, when I realized I’d forgotten my umbrella again. Before I could go back to get it, one of the guys I’d seen at the wedding came up to me.
“Joe,” he said. “I found your umbrella. I wanted to bring it to you before I had too much to drink tonight.”
“Thanks,” I said. I put it under my chair so that I wouldn’t forget it.
Throughout the wedding, I couldn’t help but have this nagging thought in the back of my head.
“You’re not getting enough attention,” the voice said.
“But this isn’t my day. This is my friend’s wedding, I don’t need attention,” I thought.
“Yes you do,” the voice said.
“Fair enough,” I thought.
Eventually it came time to make toasts. Here was my time to shine. I had a few anecdotes about how I met Anne, threw in a couple jokes here and there, and had a killer punchline. People ate it up. My need for attention sated, I could finally rest easy and enjoy the night. I danced with Anne, until her tiny nephew came up and tried to touch the disco ball.
“Will you dance with him?” she said.
“Swing me!” he said.
I spent the next four minutes swinging a small child around on the dance floor as Sia’s “Chandelier” played in the background.
As the night winded to a close, I figured it was time to leave, so I approached Anne to say goodbye.
“This was the perfect send-off for me moving to LA, Anne” I said, hugging her goodbye.
“I’m glad that my wedding was able to serve as that for you,” Anne said sarcastically.
“Fair enough,” I said.
As I sit typing this in my car as my friend Jon drives us off into the unknown, I realize that I’ve said goodbye to everyone that I’ve ever known, except for Jon. It’s crazy to think that in just one week I’ll be in a new place with no one that I know. At least I have my umbrella. Actually, now that I’m checking the backseat, I realize that I’ve forgotten it. Shit.