Issue #132 – “The Have-Knots Strike Back” – July 14th, 2008

-A few months ago I received a voicemail asking me to call the local courthouse and confirm my appointment for a marriage license. I was quite confused, considering the fact I never made an appointment – and don’t have a girlfriend, let alone a fiancee. Being the Good Samaritan that I am, though, I called up and explained the mistake. Consequently, somewhere out there is a couple that I assisted, albeit indirectly, in getting married without complication. There are days when I regret my decision to help out. You see, it’s been two years since I first theorized about the divide between those twentysomethings who are already married or about to tie the knot (“the Haves”), and those of us who are single and still think of each wedding invitation we receive as essentially a bill for $500 with really nice calligraphy (“the Have-Knots”). Now that wedding season has returned once again, it’s time for the Have-Knots to strike back.

-After the ceremony and approximately six minutes into the cocktail hour of any wedding, I always have the same thought: “There aren’t enough bartenders.” Seriously, if you can hire someone whose sole function it is to make sure the bride’s train doesn’t touch the ground as she walks down the aisle, you can have someone get me a fucking Goose on the rocks without having to wait more than a millisecond.

-I get insulted when I buy something from the online registry, but the address where the gift is headed is blocked out for “privacy concerns.” Listen, if I’m giving you expensive crystal, I want to know exactly what apartment it will never be used in.

-Last summer, my friend sent out wedding invitations that actually had a typo. They had to resend corrections that had the right date. I wasn’t able to attend but I saved the invite just in case it’s worth something one day – like a baseball error card.

-I wish members of the wedding party would tell the real story of how the bride and groom met when they speak at the rehearsal dinner. Yes, yes, we all know they met at a bar that they both weren’t supposed to be at but fate intervened and has kept them together ever since. Yeah, that and the fact she went down on him that night.

-I like the little program you get when you arrive for the wedding ceremony. I immediately look for the list of bridesmaids. For single guys, this is our first look at the menu for the evening. Sometimes, it lists the bride’s relationship with each bridesmaid. And while the back story is appreciated, all I’d really like to know is if she has a boyfriend and what my odds are of sealing the deal in the next, say, five hours.

-Since I moved to Los Angeles almost three years ago, I’ve played one of the most underappreciated roles at every wedding I’ve attended since: the out-of-town guest. The simple truth is that flying in for a wedding is a huge pain in the ass. It’s inconvenient, expensive, and forces you to make sacrifices (for example, having to choose the wedding over the bachelor party). But I soldier on anyway. Why? Because I enjoy celebrating with my friends. I want to be in attendance on one of the most important days of their lives. And I like making toasts (sometimes unsolicited). All I really ask of the Haves is that they recognize the contribution that Have-Knots make to their wedding. Seat us next to the hottest single chick. Thank us for spending three hours on kayak looking for a decent flight. Use our crystal serving thingamajob. But most of all, hire another fucking bartender.

-As always, here are some random things I’ve been ruminating about lately…

-I’m sick of hearing bridesmaids endlessly bitch and moan about their dresses. Just think of it like Halloween – you’re gonna dress up in something ridiculous, everyone will take pictures, and even if you look halfway decent the only chance you’d wear that outfit again is at a party where no one saw you the first time.

-I was rushing to get ready for a wedding in December when I realized the dry cleaner had given me back someone else’s tux pants and they were five sizes too big for me. Since I was at my parents’ house on Long Island, I didn’t have any back-ups and had to cobble together a makeshift outfit from half a tux and half an outdated, ill-fitting suit from college. Only later did I discover the dry cleaner had accidentally switched mine and my dad’s tux pants and my pants were hanging in his closet in the next room. Which would have been funny had I not just spent the night looking like some kind of black-tie hobo.

-Since serving as the Best Man at my buddy Brian’s wedding in 2006, my responsibilities have continued. Last year, he and his wife had to go to separate weddings on the same day. I happened to be going to the one that his wife was going to, so I essentially served as her “date” for the evening – sitting next to her and holding her camera and generally looking out for her. She promptly got hammered, spilled a drink into her purse, and had to throw rocks at Brian’s window when she locked herself out at the end of the night. Mission accomplished.

-A few of my buddies got noticeably skinnier just before their weddings. Now this is common practice for brides, but I never expected it from my guy friends. Mainly because the last time I can recall them attempting to improve their physical appearance in any way was doing twenty push-ups in the hotel room before hitting the pool in Acapulco on Spring Break.

-Last week my friend who is on his second marriage was telling me about how fucking crazy his ex-wife is. But as he was going off, I couldn’t help but wonder how he didn’t figure this out ahead of time. I’m sorry, but if you date, live with, propose to, and marry a chick but still don’t realize she’s totally psychotic, well, you have no one to blame but yourself. And your idiot friends who knew all along but didn’t tell you.

-And, finally, my college buddy Harlan is someone I’ve always looked up to in terms of being a sloppy, unrepentant party animal. When he got engaged two weeks ago, my first thought was that the Have-Knots had lost yet another member to the other side. But then I realized that getting married has at least one huge advantage that being single can never match: unlimited license to get as stupid as you want while always having someone there who’s required to stick up for you. If Harlan gets sloppy at a wedding, his fiancee can always step in and say, “He’s with me. We’re getting married soon.” And people look the other way, knowing Harlan has at least attained some minimum level of maturity. If I cause a scene, I’m looked down upon: “It’s just some single guy who knows the groom. Don’t worry; he’ll be on a plane back to California in the morning.” And off I’ll go – back to LAX hungover, half a tux in my carry-on, and $500 poorer. Fuck me.