Saturday, July 30, 2011
Traditions. Traditions are great things. I have many traditions, both personally and with my family. Every year I buy my Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving in order to enjoy it for the longest duration of time. Fourth of July I watch fireworks somewhere, depending on where I happen to be. Every year my two best friends and I go on a trip together, that way no matter the distance we still are able to see one another. I always thought highly of traditions, what they symbolized, the happiness they offered. I should have realized these thoughts were lulling me into a false sense of traditional security. I attended my younger brother's wedding last week. It was a little surreal to think of him as being married, starting his own little family. His new bride looked beautiful, and together seemed indescribably happy. The day of the reception we drove down from Boston to Vermont and got ready to celebrate. Now weddings, there is an events just busting at the seams with traditions. The father daughter dance, the mother son dance, the first dance as husband and wife, the dollar dance, the cutting of the cake, etc. But the most well known of these traditions, the garter and bouquet toss. Now I have been to plenty of receptions in my time, but this experience was a first! On a side note there is something that you need to know about me to truly understand this experience from my perspective. If I do not know you, I have a HUGE personal bubble. Once I know you I am all about the hugs and touch, but until then... no good. Now back to that night. It is time for the garter toss. The DJ instructs my brother to stand at the far end of the room and his wife to sit in a chair in the middle. He starts the music and my brother is to strut and dance his way to her, dance around her three times and then take off the garter. Well this is quite the spectacle as he dances his way up and around, adding a little lap dance in for his bride, and "shaking his money maker" as I have heard it described. Then the bachelors gather round and the garter is caught by one of the group. Since I only knew the family and best man, who this man was, was unknown to me. Then the bouquet toss comes around. I have never caught a bouquet, there are usually a good number of girls really fighting to the death over it, and frankly I have never viewed this as a competitive sport. This particular day all the single ladies included me, my two sisters, and a couple other girls. The bouquet was tossed and before I knew it, it was in my hands. I thought it was neat to have caught it for the first and only time at my brother's reception and went on my merry way. This is when "tradition" decided to make this an experience I will never forget.
The DJ announces that I have to now sit in the middle of the room on the chair. Confused and now very anxious he announces that the man that caught the garter will now be dancing towards and around ME before placing the garter on ME! My first thought is utter horror and that this is the worst possible situation for me. Once again, tradition and a creative man proved me wrong. As he dances towards me I can feel my face flaming red and I just kept thinking get it over with. But this man would not be outdone by my brother's performance. How can he out-perform him you ask? By starting the take his clothing OFF! It was at that moment that I thought, I am going to physically die of embarrassment and utter awkwardness. Then panic seizes me as the tie comes off on the first turn, the shirt begins to come off the second and I think, "there is at least one more round!" What do I yell out over the roaring laughter and applause going on? "I am mormon!" Why I thought that this information would save me, I have no idea, but there it was. The response that came next was also something I had not anticipated that night. As he dances around again he leans in a says, "Don't worry, me too. It won't go any further." At that point I lost it too. Relief mixed with total helplessness overcame me and I just started cracking up. After having the garter placed onto me, I jumped up and could not escape fast enough. The most ironic part of this experience, meeting this man's fiance afterwards. I think there should be an unwritten guideline for the garter toss participants. If wedding someone any time in the next 6 months, or with fiance present, pass on that tradition. Let me tell you, I have never witnessed this half of the tradition anywhere else, but now that I know it exists, that bouquet and I are mortal enemies. I will catch no more.
Posted by JLS at 6:43 AM