Wednesday, October 8, 2008

And finally (unedited)

Cosmo's wedding has provided more blog material than I could have imagined.

Cosmo was back in the office for a couple of days this week before departing for his honeymoon...following whatever Jewish observation is taking place this week.

Today we got to grill Cosmo about wedding details.

What we learned:

-- They intended to do a garder toss and a bouquet toss, but were too busy frolicking to make it happen.

-- Cosmo has rarely, if ever, seen a dollar dance, so it was never a consideration.

-- Since the wedding wasn't in a synogogue, Cosmo didn't need to wear a yamaka, but did so anyway.

-- The photographer provided one of those shopping mall photo booths for guests to take instant photos. Then prints of those photos were given to the guests, and placed in the guest book, along with a signature by the guest. I didn't take a photo, or sign the book, so I guess I never attended.

-- The round table the wedding party sat at in the center of the room was not a Jewish tradition, it was just a personal preference of the wedding party, and it's a much better idea than the press conference panel presentation of the wedding party at typical receptions.

-- The wedding planner is indeed Jewish.

And with that I'm done reminiscing about Cosmo's wedding. I can't believe it's the last wedding I'm ever going to attend, but it is, I swear, even if the new Mike is the same as the old Mike.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Thinking back (unedited)

Cosmo's wedding is like the gift that keeps on giving. For the third night in a row I'm blogging about it.

The timing wasn't perfect, but his wedding reminded me of three years ago. Cosmo was married on Oct. 5. Nearly three years earlier, on Oct. 7, 2005, I went to another wedding, of another co-worker. After three years, Heidi is still happily married, an no longer working for Napoleon's crumbling empire.

I remember that day for a couple of reasons. Her wedding was early on a Friday evening, the White Sox had a playoff game that afternoon in Boston and the ceremony started at a pivotal point in the game. Flash forward to Cosmo, his wedding was early on a Sunday evening (5 p.m. means it's no longer an afternoon wedding, right?) the White Sox had a playoff game that afternoon in Chicago and the ceremony started at a pivotal poin in the game.

Unlike 2005, the White Sox of 2008 will not be advancing to the American League Championship Series, or winning the World Series. But the similarity between the two weddings was not lost upon me. Nor was the significance of Heidi's wedding.

Unlike Cosmo's wedding, where I had all of two co-workers to hang out with, Heidi's wedding had several co-workers in attendance, past and present. The difference was that in 2008 I was hanging out with two editorial co-workers while in 2005 I was hanging out with a cast of salespeople. Where did I feel more out of my element? You'd think the answer would be 2005, since I'm an editorial guy, but I had a lot of fun at that wedding. I get to know many of the salespeople at work, despite the fact we live in two different worlds. We may work on the same product, and under the same roof, but our worlds are very different. Yet those folks seemed to be more my style.

It was that evening in 2005 with a group of people I was a relative outsider to that I came to an important conclusion and decision about my life. I made a personal commitment that night.

And at Cosmo's wedding I found myself revisiting that commitment. Here I am, two nights later, on the third anniversary of that decision, and I find myself examining the three years since that fateful night.

What have I concluded? To borrow a quote that has nothing to do with me, but speaks volumes about me: "This is the new Mike? Same as the old Mike."

Well done, genius.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Damn I'm tired

Blogging after Cosmo's wedding was an inspired decision, but I was tired all day Monday. I'm often awake past midnight, but I'm not often slurping up $5.50 cocktails for three or four hours prior to blogging at 1 a.m.

Those of us from Cosmo's newspaper circle were seated together at table 5. It seemed like a good idea, as there would be eight of us, and an infant. The problem was that Rush decided two weeks ago he couldn't attend due to childcare issues. What a bunch of crap.

At least he was able to let Cosmo know he had to cancel. Teri and her hetero life partner pulled a Teri. She said they were coming and then no-showed, as she is wont to do. She even e-mailed me last week to see if I would be attending, and I confirmed I was. Of course her dinner was paid for well in advance, and somehow I doubt it was an emergency or sudden Sunday night conflict that kept her and the mister from attending. Downright tacky.

So the four of us connected via the newspaper were sitting alone, until Marsha sat down at our table. I was curious who this woman with no family or friends was, but she was across the table from me, seated next to mother and child. I wasn't in the mood to make small talk. It turns out she was the wedding planner. She was there from start to finish, for what purpose I'm not entirely sure, but she was there.

I can only assume she's Jewish, but I don't know for sure. She's definitely a yenta, and while I've always assumed a yenta is automatically a Hebrew, I guess I'm not sure. At this point if I had to wager $10, I'd wager she's a card-carrying member of the nation.

How did I know she was a yenta? At some point she wants to know who we are across the table, and she immeidately starts asking if we're single. Oy ve!

Apparently I seemed like a less-than-hopeless project, because at a later point in the evening she asked what I thought of the maid of honor. She was quite lovely, and before I knew it, Marsha was checking on her availability. Here's a shock, she was "spoken for."

They claim that weddings are great places to meet people, and the whole "Wedding Crashers" movie was based upon that concept. I disagree. Nobody likes to go to a wedding and say "look at me, I'm flying solo because I'm a pathetic loser!" I never drag somebody with me to a wedding, but I'm tired of sticking out like a sore thumb. The way I figure it, you should be significantly committed to someone before you subject them to the awkwardness of a wedding, unless you both come from the same circle of friends.

Yet almost nobody under the age of 50 seems to be flying solo at a wedding these days. But given that I wouldn't drag someone to a wedding just to avoid sticking out like a sore thumb, it's another reason why I have to stop going to them.

I'm tired of playing by the wedding rules, so I'm going to stop playing, no matter how many hot young Jewish chicks are going to be at the reception.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Mazal tov

Sunday night was one I will always remember. It was the last time I will attend a wedding.

My Jewish co-worker, Cosmo, got married. The Sunday evening affair wasn't because he's from the Hebrew nation, it was because it was a night when they could hold the ceremony in the locale of their choosing without having to wait more than two years.

Mrs. Cosmo, for the record, ain't Jewish. She's a southern gal. Her exact denomination I cannot say, but the fact she doesn't eat kosher meals meant that the affair was only partly Jewish. So I'm not sure if I can claim to have been a spectator at a full-fledged Jewish ceremony, but this one was good enough for me.

The ceremony was held outdoors in Minneapolis. On a beautiful October afternoon an outdoor wedding would have been ideal. On Sunday, however, it was cloudy. I think it sprinkled for a minute or two prior to the ceremony, but the skies never opened up. We were under a giant tent anyway, overlooking the mighty Mississippi River. It wouldn't have been ideal, but had it rained, we would have survived.

The short ceremony had the token readings and sermons, with a few Jewish references and explanations thrown in for good measure. The finale was the stomping on the wine glass, or whatever the glass is that they break. We were all instructed to yell "mazal tov" upon Cosmo's ceremonial stomping on the glass. Sadly his performance was underwhelming, as I didn't hear any shattering of glass, and therefore I missed my cue. More Gentile I could not be at that moment.

The reception was at the site of the wedding, and it was largely non-denominational. Most of the music, dancing, eating and drinking was no different than any other reception I've attended.

But prior to dinner there was the ceremonial introduction of the newlyweds. They didn't introduce the wedding party, which curiously featured five bridesmaids and six groomsmen, but they introduced the happy couple. I didn't think anything of that, until the happy couple headed to the dance floor, and the live band started playing all the Jewish hits. People quickly descended upon the dance floor, dancing in circles around Cosmo and Robyn.

Before long they were being raised up above the crowd in chairs, just like I've seen in the movies. I was a bit surprised to see all of this take place before dinner.

If you wanted to play "Spot the Gentile," the pre-dinner dance was the time to do it. As many at the reception found their way to the dance floor, the Gentiles like me stood back and watched the drama unfold.

And the damn thing wouldn't end! Every time I thought they'd be wrapping up the dance, the music would kick in, again. Even Cosmo said the festivities went a little long. I swear the whole song and dance exceeded 20 minutes.

Following dinner the reception was rather Gentile in nature, although there was no dollar dance, bunny hop or garter toss. I don't know why, and I didn't ask questions. I'll do that when Cosmo returns to work.

There was an open bar all evening, so I pretty much paid for the cost of my wedding gift with drinks during the reception. A couple of co-workers attended, so that gave me reason to stick around past dinner. I kept hoping something unique was going to happen, given it was my last wedding reception, but no such luck. The Jews let me down.

I enjoyed the experience, especially watching the Princess of Power strut her stuff. I met her a few years ago, and she's hot. I was stunned she didn't have a boyfriend with her at the wedding. Despite that, I'm a realist, and not nearly creepy enough to hit on her.

So why is it the last wedding/reception I will attend? Because I'm bored with them, plain and simple.

People are lame. I went to another co-worker's wedding on May 31, and it's remarkable how many people bail out after dinner on a Saturday night. They don't have anywhere else to go, they don't have a four-hour drive home after the wedding. But they act like sticking around and socializing with friends and/or relatives is a pain in the ass. Maybe it is, but this is a recurring phenomena at weddings.

I can't say I entirely blame people. Most weddings have a DJ, and that means being subjected to a painful musical formula that includes that damn chicken dance and other assorted crap. I think I've been suicidal more than once as a result of the tedious musical format so many wedding receptions seem to follow. (Nobody really wants to dance to "Staying Alive.")

Beyond that, I find that the weddings I attend these days are less of a cause for celebration than those of past years. Most of my best friends have gotten married, with the exception of Chip and Monica, and I don't expect a close friend or family member to get married any time soon.

So what happens when my 25-year-old cousin gets married in a few years? I send him a gift and save him a few bucks on an overpriced dinner. What happens when Monica gets married? I feel bad that I'm not there, but a rule is a rule. Friends, family, co-workers, it doesn't matter. I'm not going to put up with the farce that is a wedding any more.

I'll send a gift, but it's time to start doing things for me and stop doing things for everyone else. Nobody will miss me at their wedding, and I won't miss the charade that is a wedding/reception.

My last wedding was a quasi-Jewish affair. It was nice to see one in action, to see something a little different than what I am use to. It was a memorable, and relatively enjoyable, experience. Given it was the last wedding I will ever attend, it was nice to go out on a high note.