Bowtie


It’s about a half hour before my brother’s wedding and the wedding party is going through its last pictures and rehearsals before the big show. I was in a musical once in high school and opening night was a lot like this, retouching makeup, shouting orders, tears.

This wedding is set outside in a wooded cove on an early Friday evening. Late September, the sun was still out, the air was a friendly warmish coolish. The wedding party is dressed to the nines and covered in clammy shrubbery going undercover as corteges. Though I have never been one to extol the aesthetic values of a wedding (ooh it was soooo beautiful), I must say that this setting is as ideal as it can be without aid of a bourbon fountain surrounded by HoHos.

Also, we are ebullient. This might be due to the fact that we are about to celebrate a wedding. But for me, and I suspect a few others, it’s due to the fact that we are about to celebrate a short wedding.

Any dragged out church ceremony makes me want to join a cult of Lefty Communist Satanists out of spite. I would consider this, but I’m sure they’d be just as bad. Once any religious organization grabs the stage and the ears of the (a, any) congregation, there seems to be a whole lot of yapping that goes nowhere. The Satanists would be the same. Lefty Communist Satan is good, Lefty Communist Satan is not great, but he’s as good as you, the people, who are all the same. Please turn to Lucifer, 6:66 in your daily missal. Blah blah blah. In any event, this one is to be short. So I am happy.

My dad is also happy. I know this because I can hear his running catalogue of one-liners and puns coming from somewhere behind me as a man I have never met staples a large bush to my jacket. My dad possesses a humor no doubt specific to the fact that for forty years he has had most of his conversations wrist deep in people’s mouths. One might think my dad is happy because his son is about to get married, but, like me, there’s an ulterior reason for his joy. See, we spent two hours today learning how to and then tying bowties.

I won’t lie, we were both annoyed. My brother has a way of throwing in a last-minute demand whose entire goal seems to be to make life more difficult. No, we’re not having pizza delivered, we’re baking them underground like at a luau. Have you ever hand-kneaded low moisture squirrel mozzarella? Oh, well it’s your lucky day…

And so it was that my brother dropped in the bowtie thing. This is on top of me flying back to the U.S. to be at the wedding. If you’ve got no experience with these things, tying a bowtie is the polar opposite of clipping on a bowtie in that one of these is literally the easiest thing in the world to do and the other is literally the hardest. As a result, my dad and I spent the day watching YouTube videos, cursing at the men on them, and having a conversation that I never thought we’d be having.

Oh! I thought I had it that time! It’s that last part that screws me up! The loop. It’s the last push through I can’t get. Did you throw it over your shoulder? You’re not throwing it over your shoulder like the guy tells us to. Why? I don’t know, but he seems to know what he’s doing. Hey, I found a gay guy who’s much better, come on, the video is queued up.   

When we at last managed it, we both recognized that we had jumped at least one notch in our level of classiness, if a bit subdued. We weren’t wearing box-like bowties, we had tied them. At the end of the night, as we left the reception, we could loosen them and wear them around our necks as if we were stubby members of the Rat Pack after a show at The Sands.

We rewarded our listing success with a couple of hefty Maker’s Marks in the Monet Room, a room at the venue so cool and filled with smooth wood that it felt as though we (and our tied bowties) belonged there. Our success was thus magnified. I scoffed at the boxy atrocity mocking the bartender’s collar. At least he poured heavy.

You’ve been at a wedding before (if it was yours, then I am heartily sorry) so I don’t have to describe it. There are vows featuring a Dallas Cowboys reference, murmured comments and giggles from among the groomsmen. There are lots of smiles and tears. Like many of you, I daydream about the hors doeuvres after.

And then, of course, I am overcome by the stimulant of weddings and marriage. I begin to wonder where it came from, whether it’s still a vital union, the philosophical idea of doing it for love, why we wear, and some of us tie, a bowtie. The whole shebang. Fortunately, the ceremony is short so I don’t get too far down the rabbit hole.

I do have time to confirm that it’s not for me. But if it were, you would all be invited to a very short ceremony presided over by the Lefty Communist Satanists of Greater Pennsylvania. Bowtie optional.

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