To Live And Die By The Open Bar

Surviving a night at a friend's wedding.

Forced conversation is a funny thing. I should amend that. Forced sober conversation is a terrible, awkward thing. This statement goes double for me, as I'm about as misanthropic as one can imagine without having a diagnosed social disorder.

Weddings are an event where you inevitably find yourself in a sort of lobbing of back and forth pleasentries with people you barely/don't know. Oh, you work there? I drive by there all the time! Two kids? That sounds tiring. Uh, no, I do not know why the timing belt keeps falling off your Chevy Astro Van.

On the other hand, weddings are also an opportunity to dress like you are in a much better financial class and dance like nobody is looking, in spite of the fact that, I can assure you, everyone is looking.

What is it about alcohol and weddings that make people think they are Fred Astaire every time the Electric Slide comes on?

On Friday, in commemoration of my friend Donna's wedding, myself along with my brother and our buddies Ricky Business and Dollar Bill (that's what they are referred to as in real life and will be referred to in this article. Real names are for people with business cards) trotted out our best clothes, put on our dancing shoes, and prepared to drink like the world was about to end.

That moment that you realize that unless you are prepared to go to a wedding dressed like a homeless person who robbed a Goodwill, you have nothing to wear. 

We loaded up and went to Macy's, because that's about as classy as our financial range can handle. I'd like to wear a proper suit but I have this issue with being 6'3" but often walk with a super villian henchmen type of loaf. Suit jackets aren't made to fit me properly. That's why I prefer just to go with a dress pant/vest/tie look. The looks means "hey, I'm classy, but this tie may still wind up tied around my head before the night is over.

Now, most of you would stress out in preparation for a wedding. Not us. Instead we started drinking, in the same way that most people like to stretch before a long run. 

Them: "Oh my god, where are the car keys?" "No, you were supposed to call the sitter." "Yes, I regret marrying you." "No, that tie looks terrible on you. It hasn't looked good on you since 1988." "Just wear non matching socks. WHO IS GOING TO NOTICE YOUR NON-MATCHING SOCKS?"

Us: "Yeah, I'll have another shot." "Oh, we're out of Svedka? The Southern Comfort is on the top shelf."

Yea, we are more relaxed than you.

My biggest problem of the night was realized approximently 8.2 seconds into my evening. I got dressed and realized that the vest I bought was a size too small to fit my generous stomach. No worries; I could hold my breath in for one night and just hope that one deep breath wasn't going to cause my vest to explode like a grenade, sending buttons out at the horrified masses.

Here is the key to a good evening: Proper transportation that doesn't involve you.  We got our buddy Nate to drive us, all it costed was a 12 pack of Bud Light. Now that's service! 

The other key to a good night of drinking: Ricky Business was my date to the wedding. Dollar Bill was my brother's. We both have girlfriends. They weren't invited. Not because we don't want them around, not because they would have somehow impeded our night, but to get maximum value out of trying to bankrupt the William Tell Banquet Hall, we needed two more professional drinkers in our midst.

When we got to the wedding, there was a bottle of wine and 4 strangers at our table. In roughly 11 minutes, there were still 4 strangers, but the wine was gone. Good job, Ricky. Set a solid precedent for the evening.

The line to the bar was long all night long. At one point my brother and Dollar Bill actually went to the main William Tell bar and bought drinks, and later Bill snuck into a conjoining wedding which had a shorter line. But that doesn't scratch the surface of tactful Bill and his merry drinking ways.

Have you ever seen someone pull the cell phone trick? Of course you have. They act like they are on their cell phone and cut in line at a movie, the post office or in this case, an open bar at a wedding. Dollar Bill has perfected the act, as he even goes so far as to gesture wildly with his hands as if he is completely invested in the conversation he is having. Then, 15 seconds later, he has a handful of drinks.

As the night continued on, thoughts faded into memories, memories faded into the night sky. Life becomes easier as you drink. For me, I become more socialable. I find the dance floor to be a respectable outlet for my pent-up energy.

The dance floor at weddings is a particularly odd scene of lowered inhibition. Not to go all Def Jam comic on the proceedings, but white people dancing at weddings singlehandedly sets the art of dancing back 50 years.

And not to go off on a rant here, but whoever invented the chicken dance, if he/she is still alive, should be locked in a rocket and shot toward the sun.

The Electric Slide and the Cha Cha slide and all the other slides that we find ourselves so rhythmically attracted to turn not into a celebration of dance moves, but instead a battle of attrition. We may be informed to slide to the right, then oh so casually slide to the left, but what happens when you decide to criss cross and accidently spin kick the flower girl?

And what happens when one of the bridesmaids trips over themselves trying to do the instrumental cha cha, sending her high heel up into the air, with the evil mistress known as gravity to cause that high heel to come back down towards the dance floor like a lawn dart?

I mean that didn't happen, but what if it did? The horror, the horror...

Not to go on a rant here, part 2: Why would the DJ play "You Make Me Wanna Shout" as the third song of the night? Come on, that's grade one stuff right there. Any good wedding would have that song be that epic crescendo of the evening, the point where everyone knows it's not going to get better from here, so you'd better just get out on the dance floor and give it all you've got.

"You Make Me Wanna Shout" is the quintessential wedding song. Thanks to "Animal House," ANYONE can dance to it. You don't have to be particularly coordinated to do it. Plus, it's the best song from a movie that John Belushi ever danced to. Well, maybe second best...

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Moves were busted, rugs were cut. Drinks were imbibed. And all involved had a good time.

We didn't succeed in bankrupting the William Tell Banquets. I'm not even sure they ran out of whiskey. Maybe we are just getting too old to try to handle the amount of alcohol we used to be able to handle when we were younger.

Age has a funny way of making you less invincible. I can't drink as much, but I am smarter about how I drink. My days of drinking a King Cobra out of a beer pong are probably over, and I find myself not even being able to drink caffeine at night if I want to make it to work in the morning.

At the end of the night, the girlfriend, who is a saint for making the drive out and getting the trainwrecks occupying our bodies, came and got us, and taxied us home.

Frank Sinatra once said that he felt sorry for people who didn't drink, because when they woke up in the morning, that's the best they were going to feel all day.  Man oh man did he have that right, at least when it came to the next day.

Gah, look at me getting all sentimental...

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