Of all the sub-groups, cadres, interlocking networks, and random affinities at a wedding reception, I think my favorite is the little knot of 14-year-old boy cousins who seem completely removed from the proceedings and utterly devoted to making their own fun. You know the ones I mean, the middle schoolers in khaki pants and button downs with a mix of hairstyles ranging in shagginess and trendiness as a reflection of the values and parenting styles of their various parents, all of whom are either siblings or first cousins. The cluster of kids doing weird dances to amuse themselves in a circle that is occasionally widened to include a tipsy aunt or uncle, a grandparent, and sometimes the Very Fun Work Friend of one of the people getting married. Though they might be polite or bored or whatever adolescent weirdsies their capricious brains decide on during the ceremony, at the reception the steady flow of sodas from the open bar and frequent trips to the dessert table launches them into a heady sugar high that only gets more bizarre as the hour gets later. I’m obsessed with this random occurrence that requires a) a wedding budget that includes kids, b) a family tree big enough to produce multiple kids of the same age related closely enough to sort of know each other, and c) a fun reception with a lot of space for roaming.
In the movie My Best Friend’s Wedding, such a group exists in the best way possibly: randomly and only on the periphery. Dermott McThermott’s character has a younger brother who shows up in a few scenes, most crucially in a completely contextless scene on the morning of the wedding singing “More Than Words” with a friend or cousin after sucking helium out of a balloon. Why is this happening? Teenage shenanigans. Why is this happening in this movie? Unclear at this time. It’s such a random scene that I can’t even find it on YouTube. I thought about queueing up the DVD and recording the scene with my phone but then I realized that nothing in my house plays DVDs anymore and now I’m sad about the present. Take me back to being a weird teen who is about to blast off into space from all the free Coca-colas he’s gotten!
I should point out, I have never actually been one of these teens. We all need to make peace with the truth that I was a) very shy and b) NOT COOL. So, I am talking about a hypothetical teen past and not an actual teen past. I can only recall going to two weddings during my adolescence. One was my cousin Martin’s in which I was a groomsman. There are only 6 cousins in my immediate family, Martin is the oldest and the nearest one to my age is four years older. That cousin fainted during the ceremony, which is neither here nor there but I felt the need to include it because it’s all we talked about for about a year. I bet if I mentioned the wedding now somebody would be like “Remember when Craig fainted?!” Yes. We do. It is in the Family Lore. Someone chiseled it into a rock. Quite a thing! So, that was a yes on fainting but a no one a clutch of teens cutting up on the dance floor. I definitely wasn’t interesting enough to attempt or even know any weird dances, so I just did what I will always and forever do at weddings: ate, observed, and had extra dessert.
Last night, I went to a fabulous wedding at which I got to do all of those things plus I kept spotting a group of such kids, which is why I am writing all of this to you now. It was a big wedding, probably 200 people or more. I do not know who this kids were, per se, so I can only assume they were cousins of one of the grooms. But there was a cocktail hour before the ceremony with an open bar and passed duck confit mini-tacos and roasted Brussels sprouts, so I was really busy chasing banquet servers around and didn’t have time to be constructing a family tree. I always want to construct a family tree at every wedding, though. A wedding is like 99% subtext and backstory, which are both strong narrative tools and also perilously close to drama and so align with my two favorite subjects.
Hanging on the side of the dance floor, with a Bluecoat martini and the freshest fish taco I’ve ever had, I tried to figure out how to gerry-rig my family structure so that a future wedding could produce such a group. This was a benevolent thought; we’re going to have a kid eventually and we already have a nephew and a niece. They deserve to have their little group of weirdos that is occasionally interrupted by Uncle Eric beelining to the make-your-own-sundae bar. I got stressed figuring out how all of it would work, though, because David is an only child and I only have two brothers and I feel like you need a larger family to get critical kid cousin mass. Then I was like, “Oh, maybe they can invite their friends!” And then I was like, “Wait, whose wedding are they going to? Who paid for it? Is there more tuna tartare in the back?” STRESSED. ABOUT A HYPOTHETICAL TEEN FUTURE.
I look at this video and I don't even know where to begin. It's like a joy buffet. Am I dead? Is this Heaven? Where else do you expect to find beautiful, buttery bearcat Zaddy Goldblum wearing two different animal prints in the middle of the day? He's giving you cougar on top and zebra on bottom like some sort of Zoobilee Zoo double entendre.
It's almost fall, which means it's almost sweater-weather, which means it's almost decorative gourde season ,which means it's almost sexy ghost season, all of which means we are so close to Mariah Carey Season. Close, but not there yet, according to the diva who invented festivity. Mariah Carey has heard your calls about breaking out the tinsel and cranking up the Christmas Spotify and while warm temperatures may be Vanishing, Mariah wants us to know that the holidays, like Love, Takes Time.
Let’s Hang Out!
Hosting the Moth StorySlam Philly — Monday, September 9 — World Cafe Live
Hosting the Moth StorySlam DC — Monday, September 16 — City Winery
Random Thing on the Internet
Okay, I am uncomfortable with how quickly my social media feeds pivoted to sports this weekend, from US Open tweets to football games today to Antonio Brown drama—apparently sports continues to be a thing, which is weird because I definitely forget about sports any time there is not an Olympics. However, I did come across this heartwarming and delightful story about a young fan of the Tennessee Volunteers and some merchandise he inspired. So, I guess what I’m saying is, go sports! Win.
Very Fun Work Friend (Emeritus),