Who’s that Guy?

I was recently at a wedding as the plus one of an invited guest. The bride was American, the Groom Czech. It was held at a little villa outside of Prague, far off into the Bohemian countryside. The villa consisted of a few quaint buildings and grassy grounds that went for a few hundred yards.

By every measure, the wedding was lovely. The people were friendly and welcoming. The hospitality was overwhelming, beer flowing like wine, enough food to almost satisfy a Galeone. The locale was idyllic.

Though there were some seats open, I stood in the far back during the short ceremony. I think I was having a little Plus One Anxiety. That is, I was afraid of overstepping my bounds or being too familiar. Aside from my date, I had only met the bride and groom once, and one of her bridesmaids once. Otherwise, I didn’t know anyone. If you have experienced POA, you know that it is in no way a reflection on the hosts, who in this case were extremely welcoming and generous.

The ceremony was very pleasant, very formal. If you have ever been to a Czech wedding, you know what I’m talking about. The language at a Czech wedding is worded as though a contract is being drawn up at city hall, which is exactly what’s happening. While we Americans get all gooey (love love love!) and religious (don’t you dare even think of fucking someone else!), the Czechs are very technical and formal.

I, as minister and overseer of the proceedings, verify that both applicants are of sound mind and that they are hitherto entering into this agreement under their own volition. Further, I have weighed and considered your application for the confluence of your properties and have decided that it is acceptable.

It’s awesome.

After that, they did about two minutes of mushy lovey dovey stuff (Do you? Do you? Kiss) and then they instantly got right down to the paperwork, signing, stamping, and notarizing.

We were back to drinking and eating about twenty minutes after the ceremony began.

Czech weddings are difficult to beat in terms of food and drink. There is usually lunch, a constant flow of booze, and then a variety of buffets throughout the day and night. This is because the Czechs know that to keep people drinking and having fun, you also need to feed them. This wedding was no different and, after lunch, I found my chubby fingers filled with a glass of some sort and some kind of food.

It was great.

My POA acted up during the speeches, which were emotional and heartfelt and left me feeling as though I was witnessing something I shouldn’t have been. But soon the atmosphere was light and carefree, and with alcohol as social lubricant, the loosening up of guests was inevitable. Both Czechs and Americans were soon chatting eagerly, dancing, and enjoying themselves. Myself included. My POA abated and I relaxed.

As with most weddings, a photographer was perpetually snapping pictures. This posed a problem for me, as I have a way of accidentally ending up in pictures. I have a natural tendency for photobombing. Once when Collin and I were in Chicago in line at a hotdog shop, Collin was asked to take a picture for the three people in front of us. I stood back and away, Collin snapped the shot. It was one of those new Polaroid cameras, so the picture came zooming out of the bottom. One of the men thanked Collin and shook the picture. Collin and I got back to talking about our hotdog choices (I was going for rattlesnake, he was going for aardvark or something). Then picture had since developed, the man considered it, then handed it to me. Not only was I in their photo, but I was somehow the main subject of their photo. I was the eye candy lead singer on an album cover and the three others my disgruntled unappreciated band. I am no doubt in pictures all across the world, on fridges and in photo albums (when they existed), now on Facebook.

And everyone who knows those people is pointing to me saying: Who’s that guy?

This evening at the wedding, I know I ended up in several pictures with family and friends on both sides, dancing with someone’s Grandma, in the background during the sparkler song, and probably in the cake cutting picture. Though I gave their wedding party’s official pictures a wide berth, I am sure there’s a picture of me in there somewhere behind the groomsmen and bridesmaids, near the damp with emotion parents, and in both family pictures. I’m like an unthreatening version of that girl in The Grudge.

And for the next many years, both families will scan through, see Grandma, family members, wedding participants with their arms across the shoulder of some guy eating a fried steak with his bare hands and they’ll say: Who’s that guy?

It’s my wedding gift; the gift of confusion.

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