I wasn't a fan of my brothers fiance from the day he met her on Myspace. Meeting someone romantically on Myspace is like finding a bucket of hot dogs on the side of the road and eating them as a mid-day snack. It doesn't make any sense, and everyone will questions your decision making. A lot of people said I needed to give her a chance and that I was being too judgemental. But, as soon as I met her, I knew my concerns were correct. The first time she came to our house for family dinner was enchilada night, and I thought I was being pranked. As people would leave the room to get more food, or use the restroom, she would say the worst things about them: “Your parents should be divorced!" "Your sister, she's a spoiled brat." Me, being afraid to leave for fear of what would be said, sat there and took it. "You do theatre, I bet you like boys.” I can usually handle my own, but don't ruin enchilada night.
And I am by no means defending my brother. He has always been one to take the easy route in life. It would be easier to put a ring on her finger than it would be to break up and start over.
Now, I should have just spoken up to my brother and expressed my concerns. I'm his little brother and should look out for his best interests, but, I’ve never been good at that. I’m incredibly passive aggressive. My entire family is. Some families have RVs and trampolines, we have passive aggression.
But, I could only contain myself so long... then I said something.
So, it was my brothers wedding day. I was standing behind him at the alter as his best man, which, on this day, felt less like a privilege and more like an unwanted obligation: like getting a root canal or helping your friends move into their new place. Both of which feel the same.
It’s not that I don’t support my brother in his search for love, I wish he’d be happily married. But, this wedding wasn’t right. And I love weddings. Always have. Ever since my cousin Barb and Tonys wedding when I was six and I got so excited during their first dance I choked on an ice cube to the point I was turning blue in the face and my mom told me, “It’s ice, it’ll melt, go play with your sister” - I’ve been hooked. But weddings should be filled with love and happiness. And this was filled with anxiety and dread.
The wedding was at the Flamingo Casino on the Las Vegas strip. The chapel was beautiful. It was all marble and filled orchids. My brother and I stood at the front of this chapel wearing black jeans, turquoise bolo ties and maroon denim shirts, which we got on sale at Mervyn’s for $7.99. People were walking by with 64 ounce glasses shaped like the Eiffel tower staring at us like we were animals.
Tourist: "Honey! Look at these poor saps. This is gonna be one of them Star Trek weddings.”
END ACT OUT
On top of my terrible attire, my feet hurt because the shoes they got me didn’t fit and, the wedding was running late because the brides family had gone missing. That's right, missing. They were at the buffet for breakfast, eating their weight in ham and tater tots, but now they were gone. So the Flamingo Casino security team was searching for them.
Feet hurting and wishing I was anywhere else, I started to get bored. And that’s when curiosity set in. I began wondering, "what would happen if I tried to talk my brother out of getting married right now?" I decided to find out:
Kevin: "Dude, I’m bored, let’s get out of here."
Rick: "Ha. Seriously."
Kevin: "I’m not kidding. Let’s go. The doors right there. Let’s go to Mexico."
Kevin: "Mexico. Utah. Wherever you want to go, it’s on me. Come on!"
Rick: "Utah? What're are we going to do in Utah?!"
Kevin: "That's not the point. The point is, let's leave!"
Rick: "We can’t right now. Everyone is here."
END ACT OUT
In the back of the room, like a bunch of criminals on Cops, walked in the missing wedding party. Apparently they don't have casinos where they are from, and they decided to take full advantage of them while they could. The brothers, who decided to dress up for the occasion, wore a collared shirt right out of the package - square fold marks decorating the front. The brides dads on the other hand decided it was casual Saturday. He was sporting a t-shirt he won at a Montana state fishing competition. He had pockets on his pants, but he opted not to use them, instead constantly clinking the chips he had won, which was thirty-five dollars in five dollar chips. It was almost as if he was bragging. Like he was going to go buy a new RV with his new found wealth.
As the brothers settled in behind me, the wedding march began. I look out over the crowd, my family looks defeated, like that scene in Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves - when Little Johns son Wulf is about to be hung before Kevin Costner shoots the rope that is stretching Wulfs neck. I try one last time:
Kevin: "Last chance, Brother Bear...the door is right there, you don't wanna do this, let's go!"
Rick: "I'm thinking about it."
Kevin: "Well, if you're thinking about, then LET'S GO!"
Ricks: "We can’t, she’s coming down the aisle."
END ACT OUT
The bride to be is now descending down the aisle as fast as her chubby little ankles will carry her. She looks like a train that's derailing. I was crushed and gave up. As she got to the front of the chapel, her dad couldn’t give her away fast enough. He was just pushed her to my brother with one hand, clinking his chips with the other. Then it began:
Priest: "Dearly beloved, blah blah blah."
END ACT OUT
I stopped listening. I looked back at the audience. I shouldn’t even call it an audience. There were more people on my soccer team when I was six. This was an “intimate” wedding. Intimate - meaning, no one came. Even my other brother skipped the ceremony because he had homework. The only person in the crowd that appeared to be having any fun was my grandmother, who had spent her morning drinking Chardonnay the same way I eat burritos - aggressively. Only she had had so much, an hour before we arrived at the Casino, she fell and smacked her head on my brothers apartment wall. She for sure had a concussion, but we didn't have time to go to the hospital, so we just gave her a couple aspirin and rolled her old bones over to the casino. So, when I looked at her all chipper and full of life, she she wasn’t AT the wedding. She was back in the 1940‘s making blackberry jam and sleeping with the milk man.
My attention came back to the wedding during the vows:
Priest: "Do you Rich, take Deb to be your lawful wedded wife?"
Rich: "I guess so."
END ACT OUT
I started screaming, in my head:
Kevin: "YOU GUESS SO?! That’s a phrase saved for when someone says, “You want chicken nuggets for dinner.” That is when you say “I guess so.” Not when you’re promising your life to a woman."
I heard chuckles come from the thirteen people behind me. I continued waiting for the priest to ask if anyone had any objections, figuring it’d be a mob scene, but he wised up and left that question out.
Moments later my brother was kissing his new brides face. This was a moment everyone should have been applauding and the room should have been filled with great joy, but instead the crowd quickly ushered out and raced over to the reception at Marie Calendars, where we celebrated with pot pies and and chicken tenders. After devouring my emotions and a piece of key lime pie, I asked my dad how he was holding up:
Dad: "I just spent $500 on dinner at Marie Calendars. How do you think I'm holding up?"
END ACT OUT
Some people say that as long as my brother is happy, that's all that matters. But I could see what was really going on right from the get-go. And sure enough, four long, miserable years later, my brother and his 'other half' got divorced. My brother even threw a Ditch the Bride party, complete with a cake decorated with a car running over a bride. That night I asked my brother how he was doing and if he felt okay with the outcome. His response: "I'm so happy to be out of that. We were terrible together. I just wish you had said something to me."
I then reminded him of my wedding day plea and promised that next time, I won't wait until the absolute last minute, but that perhaps he should steer clear of Myspace for romance.