Spring is in the air, and that means that pretty soon, we’ll all be overwhelmed with weddings. And more importantly, with wedding receptions, those weird affairs that see the worlds of family and friends blur into one drunken, occasionally awkward party. Now, as with all parties, wedding receptions are fraught with landmines masquerading as other people, people mines that will blow you the hell up if you’re not careful. Naturally, we here at Guyism have got you covered. If you listen to us, not only will you be handsome and virile, but you’ll also be better equipped to survive wedding season with only a modicum of scarring.
The drunk aunt is a staple of any decent wedding reception. She’s the one flopping around on the dance floor or fawning all over the groomsmen, telling them how handsome they all look while they scan the horizon like trapped animals looking for an exit strategy. The best way to survive the drunk aunt is to just laugh and nod your head, laugh and nod your head, laugh and nod your head... and then laugh and nod your head. Hopefully, you can manage to survive long enough to grab hold of a life raft – in the form of another person - and float away from danger before the drunk aunt strikes in the form of a sloppy kiss that will never wash away. By the way, also for your survival, never Google image search “drunk aunt.” Jesus.
The drunk aunt’s companion is the handsy uncle, who can be identified as the tipsy old dude who’s a little too willing to give everyone a hug. Sure, he’ll creep everyone out and he’ll basically sexually assault every single bridesmaid on the dance floor before the night is through, but everyone will just keep laughing and keep drinking and keep dancing because no one wants to be the one to make a scene at a wedding. The handsy uncle will also be the dude who makes inappropriate jokes all night long about the honeymoon. He’ll laugh the loudest at his own jokes, and people will laugh along at first until the end of the night when he’s making the same damn jokes and cackling hysterically while everyone tries to get the hell away from him. You can’t avoid the handsy uncle, you can only hope to survive him. Man, this article got creepy fast, didn’t it?
One of the chief functions of the best man is to give the speech at the wedding reception. Now this almost always goes one of two ways. First, either the dude is shy and awkward and reads a prepared speech, his eyes on the paper the whole time as he machine guns his way through it like a second grader reading out loud in class, in which case all you can do is just sort of hold your breath until it’s over and hope he doesn’t make any mistakes. Or second, the dude thinks he’s a goddamn stand-up comedian and makes a bunch of terrible jokes that cause all the drunk aunts to laugh uproariously and you to wish that he’d just get eaten by a hungry bear.
You can identify this poor bastard by the dazed, thousand yard stare he has going on. He looks more like the survivor of a World War I battle than a dad celebrating his daughter’s marriage. And why not? After all, he knows that his little girl is about to be carried off by some asshole to a tropical beach where he’ll spend a week straight [redacted for decency.] The best thing you can do is just give this dude a sympathetic pat on the back and thank god you remembered to bring condoms with you so that this poor schmuck won’t be you in 25 years.
This dude never leaves the dance floor. By the end of the night, he is covered in sweat, he has removed his jacket, his tie and anything else he can without getting arrested for public indecency, which honestly doesn’t matter because his undershirt is soaked through and you can see everything anyway. Chances are he got a little tipsy earlier in the night and then let the bad greatest hits of the ‘80s and ‘90s music drag him away into oblivion. Stay away from this dude at all costs or risk being a casualty of his war against common decency. Come too close and you will look like you just escaped a hurricane.
The awkward stranger is usually a co-worker or an old ex who somehow ended up getting invited to the wedding but lacked the social awareness to decline the invitation. He or she will be stuffed at some back table and they can be easily identified as the nervous looking type sitting alone trying to decide if they should just bolt or if they should play with their phone for another hour and pretend that they’re actually busy. Don’t try to strike up a conversation or risk having to hear their sad tale. Plus, they will latch onto you like a Titanic passenger clinging to a lifeboat and they will not let you go until you are just as sad and locked into their awkward little world. The awkward stranger will ruin your whole night. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
This asshole is the dude or lady dude who spends all his or her time complaining and nitpicking about every little thing. The flower arrangements were all wrong, the bridesmaids dresses look ugly, the food sucks, the DJ blows, blah blah blah. Usually, this person is easy to spot and therefore avoid, but sometimes this person presents himself or herself a little more passive-aggressively. An example is the “ardent feminist” who spends her time talking about how she’s happy for the couple but doesn’t understand why everything has to be “so conventional” or “ritualized.” She’ll try to come off as intellectually above the whole damn thing but honestly that doesn’t make her any different than the asshole bitching because he didn’t like the Chicken Kiev or the lady complaining about which table she got stuck at. Avoid them all.
This poor lady is a close relative of the drunk aunt, but instead of hounding you all night with booze scented kisses and sloppy invitations to dance, she’ll spend all night reminiscing about her own failed marriage. She’ll be quick to say that she wishes the new happy couple the best of luck but then she’ll sit there and undermine the whole concept of marriage and by the end of the night she’ll be half in the bag and saying things like, “She’ll be lucky if he doesn’t cheat on her with the first slut he sees on the honeymoon,” or she’ll be shouting out divorce statistics like some sort of morose, demented Rain Man. “50% of all marriages end in divorce, yeah… definitely 50%.” Stay away… unless of course you’re desperate and don’t mind a trip through cougar valley because, let’s face it, in this environment, the cougar is hungry and you, my friend, smell like fresh meat.
I’m not talking about the DJ here. I’m talking about the dude who gets his hands on the microphone whenever he can and acts like a shitty game show host. He’s a close relative of the handsy uncle and in some cases he might even be the same guy. He usually thinks he’s the funniest man alive even though all of his jokes and puns are met with weary groans and patient titters from family members who have learned to live with him. But you don’t have to. He’ll be the guy who glad-hands his way around the room, making friends with everyone, talking too closely, invading your personal space, and generally behaving like he’s hosting his own giant party and like the whole thing is about him. Just keep your head down and don’t make eye contact when he makes his rounds. Or get drunk and punch him in the mouth, but assault charges tend to put a damper on the evening. It’s your choice.
The prowler was made infamous by the movie Wedding Crashers and I know that you’ve all be waiting patiently for him to pop up on this list, so, well, here he is. What is there to say about this dude that hasn’t been said already? Not much, but I will say this: he’s not a bad dude to hang out with because he’ll keep you on your game and hey, what the hell, if you’re reading this there’s at least a decent chance that you’re up to the same thing he is at weddings. On the other hand, he’s your competition and so you shouldn’t get too close or else you’ll find yourself playing his wingman while he’s the one heading back to the hotel with a half-drunk bridesmaid pressed up against him.
Speaking of half-drunk bridesmaids . . .
Right. The only type of person more associated with weddings other than The Prowler (well, other than the bride or groom but who cares about them?) is the desperate bridesmaid who hears her own clock ticking and will settle for any half-attractive idiot with a smile and even a hint of game. If you’re reading this, my best guess is this is who you’re there to meet. I mean, I’m sure you’re all astrophysicists on the side (I myself perform brain surgery on weekends) but let’s face facts, when you go to a wedding the “hmmm, maybe I’ll get laid” bells are probably ringing in your head. My only advice to you is this: watch out for clingers. I know this sounds asshole-ish, but again, I’m fairly confident you’re not there to find your life mate and a desperate girl at a wedding is desperate for a reason and it’s not because she just wants to get laid. So do you what you gotta do man, I’m not judging you. Just don’t blame me if a couple of years later you find yourself at your own wedding, staring at that half-drunk bridesmaid who’s now your beautiful half-drunk bride.