Objection to potential best man sometime in future is out of line
Q: I have been dating a wonderful young man for almost a year now. We're both 24, and while marriage isn't on the horizon quite yet, we've talked about our future and recognize there is a very likely chance we'll end up together. However, there is one problem: I can't stand his older brother, who he said will most likely be his best man. His brother makes awkward and uncomfortable jokes (they're neither racist nor sexist, but overall inappropriate and leave people wondering "Why would you say that?"), and he and my boyfriend aren't terribly close.
My boyfriend says, "That's just what you do — he's my brother, why wouldn't he be my best man?" I selfishly want someone else to be his best man; he has plenty of other friends who are much closer to him (and me). I'm afraid his best-man speech will be full of awkward jokes and drunken side comments. I don't even have a ring on my finger but I'm afraid my future-dream wedding day will be less than perfect because of his brother. Am I overreacting?
A: O. (That's a typographical rendering of my open and speechless mouth.)
Yes, you are overreacting.
And do let me count the ways.
(1) Your "future-dream wedding day" will be less than perfect because you, your groom and life are less than perfect. The more you ask life to grace you with improbable things (such as, perfection in a catered event involving alcohol and family members), the more gleefully life giggles when it barfs on your dress.
I think I typed that a little too gleefully.
(2) Let's say you and your boyfriend marry at 26, and live happily until ever-after strikes when you're 80. That's 28,382,400 minutes of marriage, give or take. Allowing for a best-man speech that clocks in at an excruciating 10 minutes, it will represent 0.000035 percent of your married life.
(3) The worse the brother's best-man jokes are, the funnier your oft-repeated wedding disaster story becomes 10 years later. (Fact: If you get 10 years older before you marry, the disaster will be funny as it's happening.)
(4) Your hand-wringing about this distracts you from hand-wringing of much greater import. For one: If your boyfriend can't articulate his reasoning any better than, "That's just what you do," then either he has no idea who he is yet (and in the meantime floats with the current), or he is completely unable to verbalize who he is. Either way, it means you likely have no idea who you're pre-pre-marrying.
And: Can you and your boyfriend be frank about Frank? After this unbearable older brother ruins your dream wedding, he will play at least some role in the remaining 99.999965 percent of your married life. What is that going to be — a point of agreement, a point of contention, a matter of heartbreak for Frank?
Bringing us to . . . this apparently not malicious, just awkward, brother. Just a decent guy dropping bricks, right? That's got to be hard for him. Consider this a plug for compassion.
That's three mountains you've bypassed to pitch your tent on the molehill. Dream your wedding to your heart's content, by all means. But please don't go through with it until you know what mountains look like.