G&Des

Gary & Desiree (Part 2)

Friday, July 10th, 2015

I woke up and had the sudden urge to go to the bathroom. I was excited because I hadn’t gone since the day before we left. Armed with my coffee and my smartphone I headed into the ‘throom at the Hotel ML at 7 in the morning, but alas, nothing happened. I informed Tasha about my situation and then she proceeded to tell me to stop talking to her about stuff like that, so I kept it to myself. Literally.

“I don’t want to hear about your airplane constipation woes.” she said.

Tasha hadn’t gotten out of bed yet, and I was convinced that some time during the night she ate my orange creamscicle tastykake pie because there were empty wrappers everywhere around the room, and I didn’t remember eating THAT much last night. So I did what any good friend would do. I food shamed her by putting all these wrappers and bags on her bed the next morning and snapped a picture.

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Let me jump to the rehearsal dinner now because there is a lot of events that happened from Friday afternoon into Saturday night that I want to get to.

There was a rehearsal for Gary and Desiree’s wedding, but not one in the traditional sense. It definitely wasn’t going to be a huge event, but I think that kind of made it special and more intimate since it was going to take place in their backyard. There were no groomsmen and no bridesmaids, but regardless, we still all met at Tacconelli’s in Maple Shade that night for some great pizza, some good wine, and some incessant ball punching from one of the kids, but we’ll get to that later.

I parked the Stang outside and Tasha and I went into the restaurant into a private room in the back. Chad, Parr, Mary, and Nicola were already there, along with Gary, Desiree, and some, but not all of their immediate family. All of their kids were there too, playing with Star Wars stuff and what not around the table, and at one point, under the table too. I took a moment to think about that.

All of my friends who have kids were at this rehearsal dinner. I found it interesting the way they talk to them differently than they talk to me. I also thought the way Chad talked to Bastian is similar to the way I talk to my pets.

Bear with me for a second. I don’t have kids but if I did, I feel like I wouldn’t treat them much different from the way I would treat little human beings who are learning what’s right and what’s wrong, which is similar to how I treat my cat Dapple and Tasha’s bunny Rocco.

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When they do something good, I say good boy or good girl, and I give them a treat. When they misbehave, I let them know that they did that by changing the tone of my voice. It’s like when good things happen, Chad’s voice would go up in tone, but when Bastian did something bad, his voice got more stern and serious. I guess in that way I could relate to what was happening around me.  The pizza hadn’t come yet but the wine however, was sitting on the table ready to be opened.

“Is there a wine opener?” I asked.

Immediately Parr turned to me and reminded me of what happened a few years back at Chad’s wedding when “Is there a wine opener” turned into me accidentally grabbing the butt of one of the bus boys who was working Chad’s rehearsal dinner. I was kind of embarrassed, but also a little bit too drunk to care back then. This time however, I wasn’t going to be grabbing anyone’s ass.

There weren’t any dudes working at Tacconelli’s that night so every time a cute female server would walk into the room, I would ask “is there a wine opener” which somehow turned into code for ass grabbing. Fortunately for them, no ass grabbing occurred that night. I was fully behaved and ready to eat.

To my right sat Tasha who was drinking a watermelon beer, and to my left was Desiree’s aunt Phyllis who took a liking to me immediately. Maybe it was because we were both Italian, or perhaps it had something to do the fact that we were both single. Regardless, we were all having a nice mellow good time that night.

It was some time after P-Nut arrived that things started to get a little crazy. Not for us, mind you, but for Bastian, I think having all those people around and all that pizza was a little too much for him to handle.

After he kept shoving a fashlight into my face, bear hugging Nicola and Parr’s son Giann, and flirting with Tasha, he started to punch me, but not in a place where guys like to be punched. First I tried to pants him, and then I tried to reason with him (big mistake right there) I told him that he should never punch other dudes in the crotch area. Of course, when you tell a kid NOT to do something, it’s exactly what they WANT to do. This never happens with Dapple and Rocco, I kept thinking to myself.

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It wasn’t too long before Bastian had tried and succeeded in punching both me and Parr in the nuts. It didn’t hurt that much because we knew it was coming, and we were able to defend ourselves. However, P-Nut wasn’t so lucky.

I pulled Bastian aside and “suggested” he treat everyone fairly, and by that I mean he should also go over to P-Nut and give him a good high five…..but in the crotch. Only thing is, Bastian was so stealth and P-Nut was so unsuspecting that when Bastian DID punch him in the nuts, I think it caught him off guard. Probably because P-Nut was preoccupied trying to connect to the restaurant’s Wi-Fi.

Bastian’s fist made it’s way towards P-Nut’s crotch, and then Nut let out a resounding grunt of pain and fear. Perhaps it was silly, but me and Parr started cracking up anyway. Looking back now, I’m pretty sure it was my fault that Nut’s nuts got punched. Sorry about that dude, but it was really funny in the moment.

After that debacle, I heard Chad scolding Bastian in the sternest most father-like tone I’ve ever heard come out of his mouth. Bastian was in time out, and so were P-Nut’s nuts. After dinner and the ball punching fiasco, a few pictures were taken, and we all headed back to Gary and Desiree’s for a few after dinner drinks before Tasha and I headed back to our hotel for the night.

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

The morning of the wedding was upon us. Tasha and I were invited to Chad and Mary’s snooty swim club in the afternoon so we headed over there to tan ourselves a little bit before the wedding. I felt pretty important being a guest at a swim club. Tasha, Mary and I were laying out, and Bastian was too….in his own way on the concrete next to the pool.

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We laid there for an hour or so soaking up the sun and chatting about the night before. I started having this feeling like it was all coming to an end. Not the world, and not my life, but this whole experience of going my best friend’s weddings was about to be over. I don’t know how I feel about that.

On one hand, I’m extremely happy for Chad, P-Nut, Parr and Gary that they were able to find someone to share their life with. On the other hand, it kind of makes me look at myself and wonder, where did I go wrong? Maybe I didn’t do anything “wrong” but perhaps maybe my path is different. I’ve prided myself on being independent most of my life, although the truth is, I don’t know if I like it anymore.

Two months ago, I was dating a girl and had delusions of grandeur for a total of six days before I fucked it up. Before her, there was the heroin addict I met off of Ok Cupid. (That didn’t last very long.) Now, the date that I bring to this event, the last of my best friend’s weddings has a boyfriend back in Los Angeles. What am I doing wrong, and why hasn’t it worked out for me the way I want it to? Just then something pulled me out of my deep depressio thoughts as Bastian called out to me from the pool.

Hey Christian, my nipples are starting to grow!” he yells from the deep end.

“That’s great buddy! Good job!” I reply.

I mean honestly, what else can you say to a statement like that?

Tasha and I left the pool and headed to the nearest Wawa/CVS to pick up a gift card for Gary and Des, and a light lunch to eat before we got back to the hotel and got ready for the wedding.

As we got into the elevator, we said hello to Desiree’s Dad and his wife who were staying a few rooms down from us. It would be only an hour later when I would see them again. I was outside the hotel just minutes before we were to leave as Desiree’s Dad would drive by in his truck and yell out the window to me as I was taking a selfie…

“You look great!” He said from the moving car.

I laughed a bit at my own self indulgence, but I still posted that picture on Instagram, and went back up to the hotel to see if Tasha was ready to go.

We arrived at wedding a little bit early. Almost too early since no one else was there, and Gary was still in his street clothes. A few minutes later I saw the guests starting to arrive and we went into the backyard for the ceremony.

We all grabbed a foldable fan and a drink before the wedding began, and I was able to catch up with Josh Borden who I hadn’t seen since way back in the 1990s when Stone Temple Pilots were still a band and Lane Staley of Alice In Chains hadn’t died yet. I would hear those tunes every morning when Josh used to pick up me and Gary for school my junior year before I had my license. I remember many mornings when that white Ford Tempo would pull up to my house, then roll over to Gary’s place, then head in the opposite direction from Cherokee High School to some place like Laurel Lanes or the Denny’s on Rt. 70 which is now called the Marlton Diner. I miss those days.

We took a seat in the backyard as the ceremony began. Gary, Parr and Chad were dressed in matching lavender suits and stood on the stone landing and watched as Gary’s beautiful bride was escorted down the stairs and onto the alter by her father. Desiree was smiling, bright and full of joy as she made her way to Gary. You could tell this was a moment she had been waiting for, for a long time. There was this air of love and confidence in the backyard that afternoon, one that had been set in motion ten years prior when they met.

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As Chad began to minister the wedding, I got caught up in reminiscing a little bit in my own mind. Gary has always been a solid guy. He’s perhaps one of the smartest people I know. I’ve been in debates with him over countless hours back when we used to hang out on his back porch when his parents lived in Marlton, and I’ve been engaged in some spectacular and life changing events with him that I have never shared with anyone. Like that one time New Year’s Eve 1998 when I rented a hotel room, and in the middle of celebrating the new year, I puked up all my Captain Morgan. It was Gary who remained sober and told me it was gonna be ok as he cleaned up my mess and pleaded with me to aim for the toilet instead of the sink in the bathroom.

With one simple act in 1999, Gary helped me through a a difficult time and gave me a reason to look forward to the future at a point in my life when all I could do was dwell on the past and hope that it didn’t break me down anymore. What he did changed my life forever, and even though you the reader might not understand what I mean or what exactly happened, I know HE knows what I’m referring to, and that’s all that matters. For that and for many other reasons, I’m grateful. In some way it started me on a journey that got me to start writing, brought me out to Seattle, Vegas, then California, and gave me the confidence I needed to put the past in the past and move on with my life.

Gary is one of those guys that is strong minded and stands his ground and believes in what he believes in and doesn’t get influenced from the outside. I respect that about him, and lately I’ve wished that I could find a little more of the assurance he peels off so effortlessly in his life, in MY life. I love him like a brother. I love all my friends like brothers, but Gary is the one who challenged me the most when I was growing up. I’ll always remember that. I’ve never been more happy for him than on this Saturday afternoon in July.

In the middle of me catching feelings for the past, I looked up at Gary and Desiree who were staring into each other’s eyes and listening to Chad’s speech about making a commitment to their higher selves. Then Chad grabs the rings and hold them over his head. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but there was something strange about the way Chad was standing. He stood there, feet planted firmly on the ground and arms stretched towards heaven, holding the wedding rings over his head in dramatic fashion like some superhero about to have them blessed by God.

All I could imagine when I saw Chad was the Masters of the Universe, specifically when Adam would change into He-Man by pointing the sword over his head and belting out the phrase “By the power of Greyskull, I have the power!!” I looked back at Steve who was sitting behind me.

“Please tell me you got a picture of that.” I asked.

“I didn’t, but I’m sure someone got one.” He replied.

And here it is….

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A few seconds later by the power of Greyskull…..I mean by the power vested in Chad by the state of New Jersey, Gary and Desiree were officially husband and wife.

After the ceremony we made our way up to the deck to grab a drink and chill out before we headed over to Desiree’s Mom’s place for the reception. I saw Gary’s parents headed towards me and I wasn’t sure if they would recognize me, until Mrs. Butcher put that all to rest by hitting me over the head with one of the folding fans from the wedding.

“I remember you. You’re the troublemaker.” She said as I smiled and said hello.

Then I really thought about what she just said.

Mrs. Butcher was right. It’s not like I was a scourge on society, or set someone’s house on fire, or peer pressured Gary into doing something he didn’t want to do. I just don’t think I was a good friend some times. Granted, I had my own issues going on but that isn’t an excuse for not valuing the friendships and relationships I had back then. After I left in 2000, it took me another four or five years to fully get it. I’m one of those people that makes an impression on your life, but my problem back then was that I didn’t care if it came off as a positive impression or a negative one.

I guess what Mrs. Butcher said to me that afternoon resonated with me. I know I can’t go back and change anything I did, but at least I can try and make things right now by honoring my best friends and hoping to recreate the happiest day of their lives by writing this blog. Maybe it will lead to something bigger. Maybe no one really gives a shit at all, but in the end, I have to try and paint a different picture and I’d like to think that at the end of this story, someone somewhere will look back on these words and smile, especially during the rehearsal dinner with all the ball punching that was going on.

Tasha and I drove with the top down to the reception that took place in another backyard just a short drive from the backyard where the wedding took place.

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While Tasha found where we were sitting, I found the bar and we all sat down at table 7 which was right up against something I hadn’t seen in like 12 years… an above ground pool.

All the troublemakers were at one table. There was me and Tasha in our matching wedding outfits that we didn’t plan on matching. Parr was “on beer” and Nicola was “on water” but this time for a different reason than being hungover. Steve was commenting about some dude who didn’t know how to put his collar down over his neck tie, and Mary was drinking some wine while Chad was waxing philosophical, and of course P-Nut was again trying to connect to the Wi-Fi. To my right was Heather and Josh Borden who unfortunately ended up listening to Halin talk for most of, if not ALL of the reception.

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0711151802a <— checking for Wi-Fi

The appetizers and the dinner were spectacular. Mac and cheese, salmon, mini burgers, they had it all. Of course, after we all had eaten it was time for the Maid of Honor and Best Man speeches. I remember Parr’s speech fondly, as I’m sure everyone else there that afternoon did too. Every Christmas Eve, Gary’s dad would read ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas, but he would change the words in the poem to fit what happened in the family that year. I always thought that was a great tradition, and I also thought it was a great idea for Parr to deliver his speech in the same fashion. I don’t remember all of the speech, but P-Nut recorded it. The one line that got me and everyone else laughing so hard that afternoon went something like this…

“Des got a job, and makes lots of money. Gary, what can I say. You’ll always be funny.”

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Now it was time for dancing and more drinking. The drinking was always going to be a success and the dancing part of the night started out really well. Gary and Des had sent out invitations and asked for all of us to put one song request on the RSVP so when we got to this point of the night, we would be able to ask the deejay to play our song. However, the deejay, was actually a giant touch screen i-Pod on the side of the dance floor with thousands of songs in it. After a few songs played, they got to the song I picked out a few months back. It’s called “Pay No Mind” by Madeon.

To me, it’s like the perfect summer wedding song. When that first beat hit, all of the young adults (meaning me and my friends) were out there dancing and picking up change. I had changed my shoes and put on my Nike Air Max for this particular reason. Ever try dancing in $100 Steve Madden dress shoes you’ve only worn for three hours since the beginning of the day? Yeah, it doesn’t feel good on your feet.  Regardless, this song will always remind me of that moment in time.

“I’m always going to associate this song with Gary’s wedding.” Parr said to me.

The drinks were flowing, the music was kicking, and next up was the Beastie Boys to which everyone who was still on the dance floor was really into, except the “young” young adults (meaning not me and my friends) For some ungodly reason, they would veto “Shake Your Rump” and put on some stupid gangster rap song in it’s place.

How are you going to bump the Beastie Boys for some crappy rap song? Who the hell plays rap at a wedding anyway? Do these tweens not know that without that song they just skipped that this crap song probably wouldn’t exist? Dejected, we all left the dance floor immediately and headed to the bar where I saw Desiree’s dad sitting down in utter confusion.

“I liked that Beastie Boys song.” He exclaimed.

I think we all did, and I think we all learned a lesson from this musical wedding experience which is don’t give control of the music to people who weren’t alive before 1994. No offense, but that generation does NOT know good music at all. At one point they put on country. Travis fucking Tritt??!?! Come on! They may know how to Snapchat and Periscope better than me, but please, stay away from the giant I-Pod at weddings. It’s out of your league, millennials.

As the night started to wind down, I got my chance to hear a couple more songs I wanted to and danced with Mary and Tasha on the dance floor to Daft Punk, that stupid Chris Brown song that was featured in the wedding episode of the Office, and a few other hits like Hung Up by Madonna. By the end of the night, I was a drunk and sweaty mess, as I should be in the summer in July in South Jersey at a backyard wedding.

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I had hit the proverbial wall meaning I wasn’t able to drink anymore, nor was I able to be in a social setting for fear of falling down, saying something stupid, or just generally embarrassing myself. Tasha took me up to the deck to say goodbye to whomever was in ear shot, which turned out to be Chad swimming in the pool.

“We’re gonna go.” Tasha said to Gary. “Christian is too drunk.”

“Too drunk for what?” Gary asked.

It was a legitimate question, but I know I was just… too drunk for life. Tasha got into the drivers seat of the ‘Stang, I put the top down and we drove back to our hotel, but of course, not before we stopped at a Wawa for some late night snacks.

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The next afternoon we gathered up our stuff, checked out of the Hotel ML and were headed up to New York to meet up with my friend Mark for dinner, but before that, we stopped at Parr and Nicola’s to say goodbye.

When are you gonna write the blog?” Parr asked.

“Probably in a few months. I’m gonna miss it.” I replied.

And I mean that. I started this blog back in April and since then I’ve been subject to some praise for what I wrote, and some controversy for how I wrote it. I have offended the small minded people that I knew would get upset, but I’ve put smiles on the faces of others who I guess needed to be reminded of how special their day was to me. I’ve branched out and I’ve started writing other blogs, but this is kind of the one that started it all. So the question remains, what happens next? This blog is definitely about my friends getting married, the ridiculous and wonderful things that have happened along the way, but there is a story within the story of how and why Tasha and I have gone to every one of these weddings together, but will never get married to each other.

We met back in June of 2007, some 8 years ago and since that day she has been a driving force in my life. Sure, things are not the way they used to be, and there probably won’t be any more weddings for us to go to together, but it still makes for a good story, within the story. Will we ever sell our TV show? Who the fuck knows. At this point, I don’t really care about that. I just want her to be happy and I want us to continue to remain friends for the rest of my life.

I was honored to be a guest at Gary and Desiree’s wedding, and I was happy to finally see one of my best friends find someone who compliments him perfectly. He definitely deserves it, and I wish them all the best moving forward, even though I know they don’t need it. They have a strong bond, one that is very clear and obvious if you know them.

I know how to appreciate my friends now in a way that I don’t think I could when I was younger. Through all these weddings, receptions, and rehearsal dinners, I’ve been lucky enough to share them with some of the most amazing people I’ve been fortunate enough to know for years and who I grew up with. I don’t know when I’m going to meet someone special or if I’m even going to get married, but believe me, everyone of these people will be there to celebrate with me, and I sure hope someone writes a blog about it.

What are you going to write next?” Parr asked.

“Maybe after this I’ll write like a wedding awards blog.” I replied.

“What are you going to call it?” He asked

The Weddie Awards.” I say. “What else?

Ha! The Weddies! Like the Dundies from the Office.” he says.

Tasha and I said goodbye to Parr and Nicola, got into our car and headed north on the New Jersey Turnpike.

“You need money for tolls?” Tasha asked.

“Baby, I got EZ-Pass!” I reply. 

 

Thanks for reading.  -CM

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neveragroom take 2

Gary & Desiree (Part 1)

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Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

I’m sitting at Gladstone’s in Terminal 3 at LAX. Tasha and I are having our breakfast before noon which consisted of an extra large beer, a double bloody mary, an order of shrimp cocktail, and an iceberg wedge salad. We’re about to get on a plane to fly to Newark, NJ to rent a car so we can drive to Maple Shade, NJ to attend the wedding of Gary and Desiree, the last of my best friends from high school to get married. I guess technically, I’m the last of my best friends to get married, but I have a long way to go considering I’m still single and I love to attend weddings with my ex-girlfriend.

I spot some big black guy behind us who is wearing sunglasses talking on his cell phone, and looking a lot like Suge Knight, if Suge Knight wasn’t rotting in some jail cell in Los Angeles right now.

“That’s not Suge Knight.” Tasha says.

“I know.” I replied

“Looks like a guy I used to date.”  Tasha states

Hmmm…I didn’t know Tasha banged some famous black music producer before we dated.

“He wasn’t that famous.” She says. “What time does our flight leave?”

We finish up our carbohydrate free breakfast and make our way over to the gate to board the plane. I had been looking forward to Gary’s wedding for a few months now. Things in L.A. had been extremely tense lately, and Tasha and I had been taking meeting after meeting with a manager who may want to sign us as writers and make our TV show. He manages two pretty big name clients. One of them is an Oscar winner, and the other one stars in that FOX show Empire. We had just taken a week to rewrite our script to make it more edgy and controversial, and we e-mailed it to him the day before we left.

Writing and re-writing that script almost kills our friendship every time. I don’t know what’s going to happen with it, but I sure hope we can eventually reap the benefits of two and a half years of hard work and sacrifice at some point in our professional lives. Anyway, back to the story…

I had booked the flight with my Virgin America Visa card, mainly because I get points, the credit card is cool looking, and it came with a free companion ticket (to use at a later time and not THIS particular trip, of course)

Now, I particularly enjoy flying Virgin because they have TVs in the seat backs and you can basically sit there and watch movies, shows, or whatever for the duration of the 5 and half hour flight to the east coast. I’ve never flown into Newark before. Normally I’d fly into Philly since it’s closer, but thanks to some plane issue, Virgin had to take away that city as a hub, so here we are about to get on the plane to fly into North Jersey when an announcement comes over the loudspeaker.

“We would like to invite our passengers who need assistance and those flying with children to board the flight.”

Why do they get to go first? I understand the people in wheel chairs who need help, but kids? They’re smaller than regular people and shouldn’t have any issues getting into a plane. Now if it’s a newborn, I guess that would require extra time and attention. As I see a newborn board the plane, I immediately hope that baby doesn’t sit near me.

“We would now like to invite our first class passengers to board the flight.”

Great, Richie Riches get to board the flight before the rest of us laymen. We’re in row 13, so at this point we probably won’t be able to board for another ten minutes. I hate boarding the plane with a bunch of other people. They’re usually slow and have a lot of carry-on baggage that they can’t seem to make fit into the overhead compartment. At this point I’m cursing the boarding process when I hear another announcement.

“At this point we would like to invite our Virgin America Visa card holders to board the flight.”

Holy shit, this card DOES have perks! I didn’t know we get to board the flight before anybody else. Suddenly I feel special and important like business class or that baby who boarded before us. We get up, I pull the card out of my pocket and with a big smile on my face, I flash it to the ticket taker as the rest of the people in line to board who don’t have Virgin America Visa cards look at us with airline contempt.

We board the plane with ease, and settle into our six hour flight back East, then I hear incessant crying. Of course, the newborn is sitting right behind us. Time to put on the headphones and order a drink.

I got drunk on the plane ride there. We were somewhere over Colorado when I started to feel the effects of a double bloody mary and two double vodka and diet cokes on the flight. It’s a funny feeling to be drunk at 30,000 feet and not realize how drunk you are until you stand up to go to the bathroom over the Rocky Mountains and it’s even funnier when you look over at your friend sitting next to you who just spilled beer on her cleavage.

“Nice one, drunkie.” I say to Tasha.

Remembering that I eventually have to pick up my rental car at the airport and drive one hour to south Jersey, I stop drinking, go back to watching my shows and maybe even fall asleep for a few minutes.

At 8:35pm, we land in Newark Liberty International. At the same time, the landing appears to have been too much for the baby sitting behind us because it started to smell real quickly  like a dirty diaper in the cabin. After the ten minutes it takes for the other 12 rows to get their luggage together, we finally exit the plane and head to the baggage claim.

We grab our luggage, take the tram to the rental car station and I go to claim my car. When I went to make the reservation two months ago, every car I chose was close to $600 for the week, except for one. Seeing that I was taking a trip to New Jersey in July, and that I don’t mind saving some money, I decided to opt for the only car that was simultaneously less expensive, and fit the profile of someone like me driving in New Jersey in mid summer.

“Your car is located in space 42.” says the rental car guy.

And with that, Tasha and I exit the rental car place, and get into our silver 2014 Mustang convertible, and drive the 45 minutes south on the New Jersey Turnpike to exit 4.

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There are still these things called toll roads in New Jersey, so when we exit the turnpike, I have to check the ticket to see how much money this short drive costs me. Only problem is, the only two lanes open are for those who have EZ-Pass which allows you to breeze through the exits and they bill you later. I don’t know which one to go to, so I drive up to the only window that has a human being inside of it. There to meet me is a big black woman named Gertrude who I hope will take my money and then send us on our way.

“Hi, where do I pay this toll?”  I ask Gertrude as I hand her my ticket and a ten dollar bill.

She looks at my car, then she says to me in an East coast tone that totally reminds me that I’m back in Jersey.

“Baby, you got EZ-Pass!”

“I do? Sweet!” I reply.

We drive off into the night towards the Hotel ML which will now be our home for the next four days.

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Tasha and I woke up at like 6am. There is no way to get used to the jet lag that you suffer when flying from the west coast to the east coast, and there is almost no way to combat the constipation that comes with flying on an airplane for six hours either. I was suffering from both, but we somehow made our way to the gym and then headed to Macy’s to pick up a little wedding outfit.

The Moorestown Mall Macy’s sucked. I couldn’t find a shirt I liked, so to kill a little more time before we met Parr for lunch, we headed to the Cherry Hill Macy’s where I found what I was looking for in ten minutes. It took Tasha an extraordinary amount of time to pick out a dress, so we were a little late when we left the second Macy’s and headed to Honeygrow.

Parr meets us at the door and we all go in and order our salads. Honeygrow is like that place Saladworks, but on steroids. You stand in front of computer and pretty much create your own salad with whatever many vegetables, cheeses, or meats you want. I figured we’d start the trip out with healthy options because if I know my friends, the next three days will be good times, shit talking and overindulging in gratuitous amounts of food and alcohol.

We’re eating our lunch and catching up with each other. We talk about Nicola being preggers, P-Nut complaining about Tom Brady and “Deflategate,” and Gary having a son which I didn’t realize he had until just a few months ago. I remember this story that happened in Vegas last year at Parr’s bachelor party, so I begin to tell it to Tasha who was definitely not in Vegas at the time that it happened. I didn’t get more than ten words into it when she gets up from the table and goes to get a drink refill.

“Where is she going?” I asked Parr.

“Hey, I’m in the middle of telling you a story.” I said to Tasha who was five feet away.

“Oh, I thought you were telling Parr.” She replied.

I think the plane ride might have affected Tasha’s brain. Did she not remember a minute ago when I started the story with “So this one time at Parr’s bachelor party weekend in Vegas…

“Why would I need to tell Parr, he was there when it happened!” I say.

We all start cracking up and this lunch is turning out to be a great start to the weekend. Later that night I had a dinner to attend with the boys, and Tasha had a date with Mary and the bride to be, Destiny…I mean Desiree.

Tasha and I head over to my Mom’s place to say hello before “the big rain storm” happens which eventually didn’t happen until much later than expected that night. I pull up in the Mustang and honk my horn and she comes out. She excited to see me, and I’m even more excited to take her for a ride in the convertible.

“I’ve never ridden in a convertible before!” She says.

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My mom is such a cute old lady, and there was something cool about me taking her for her first ride in a rag top. We drive over to Wegman’s in the ‘Stang. My mom is getting a kick out of it and we head into the store so she can get a few things, and I can go over to Dick’s sporting goods and search for Eagles or Flyers gear that I can’t get in Los Angeles. Of course, since neither one of those sports are in season right now, they have nothing except Phillies gear, and they stink so I won’t be purchasing anything at all.

Tasha and I talk with my Mom a bit, and then we head back to the hotel around 3pm to get ready for the night. However, before we go I take Tasha on a driving tour of the places I used to live and work in South Jersey.

First, we stop off at my old apartment near Conestoga road, where I lived when I was 18 and where I got tattooed in my kitchen while my old roommate smoked a lot of pot in the living where he also slept. This was also the site of where I endured my first stalker, a 13 year old Bulgarian girl who lived in the complex and who would randomly knock on my door to hang out. I don’t know how it works in Bulgaria, but an 18 year old hanging out with a 13 year old is kind of weird. I wonder whatever happened to her?

Next, we drive past the T.G.I Friday’s where I used to work until I got fired in 1999, and the AMC theater where I had my first french kiss back in 1991 while I was watching the movie The Naked Gun with Beth Piotrowski. I wonder what ever happened to her.

Finally, we arrive at the featured destination of the afternoon, the Vineyards in Marlton where I lived from 1987 until 1994. I show Tasha the tennis courts where I used to skateboard until I got yelled at by the groundskeeper, and then I show her the window to my old bedroom which was inadvertently broken by a guy named Ian Thompson one morning when he, Parr, Bezanis, and a few other dudes cut school and came over to my place at 9am in the morning. This was back when no one had cell phones so the only way to wake someone up was to throw a rock at their window. In hindsight, I think Ian may have thrown that rock a little too hard. Speaking of Ian, no one knows what ever happened to him.

“And that’s where I lost my virginity.” I say to Tasha as I point to 4 Medoc Court.

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I had some really good times when I lived there. Looking back now, I never really wanted to uproot myself and move to Marlton in the first place, but A. I was only 12 so it wasn’t my decision and B. I’m glad it happened because I met some really great people like Chad and Parr and P-Nut and Gary who I’ve been best friends with for over twenty years. I don’t know if many people can say that about their adolescence, but it’s something I hold in high regard.

Tasha and I then took a walk to the creek behind my old neighborhood and I showed her where me, Chad, Nut, and Ryan Barbarics thought we saw the Jersey Devil in the woods, and where I used to fish for sunnies off the storm drain.

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I love where I grew up.  I wasn’t the smartest kid, the most athletic, or the most successful, but I wouldn’t want to go back and do anything differently. Sure, there were some times when things didn’t really seem to work out, and I wouldn’t want to re-live those experiences, but a part of me knows that I needed to go through them at that time in my life, and I had a great supporting cast to help me through it. Speaking of which, it was now time to head back to the hotel and get ready for the night.

The boys were all meeting at Rodizio grill in Voorhees, and the girls were going out to Distrito in Moorestown, so Tasha and I headed over to Chad and Mary’s so I could drop her off, pick up Chad, and head to dinner.

We pull into Chad and Mary’s driveway with EDM blasting in the background, until I remember we’re in a residential neighborhood and I should probably turn it down. I was back home in March for a court case and I had to spend a weekend here while I got my shit taken care of and I stayed with Chad, Mary, and their two sons Bastian and Asher. Asher is a baby, so he didn’t really remember that I was there before, but Bastian certainly knew I was coming over.

The last time I was here, I got really drunk with Mary one night and kept chasing Bastian around the house trying to pull his pants down. I know it was probably annoying to him, but we used to do the same thing to his Dad back in the day. At one point back in March, Bastian ran up the stairs to avoid my hi-jinks and then shouted down to me.

“Christian, you are so DRUNK!”

This time when I got there, he appeared to have no fear whatsoever as he ran up to me and basically pleaded with me to pants him again. It was then that I realized he was wearing a bunch of pairs of shorts like Martin in that episode of the Simpsons when Bart and Lisa get a pool.

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“Go ahead, do your worst.” He said.

“You’re wearing multiple pairs of pants dude, that’s cheating.” I replied.

Ever try reasoning with a 6 year old? It doesn’t work, however I went to pants him anyway, but he tied those pants really damn tight. There was no way they were coming off. Chad and I said goodbye to Tasha and Mary and we jumped in the ‘Stang and headed out for dinner.

Rodizio Grill is one of those places where you sit down and they come by with all sorts of meats and they give you a red and green button to either say more meat, or please stop feeding us, there is no way I can fit another piece of steak, chicken, or turkey in my belly. I park the car, and then we head inside to the bar to grab a drink.

Dave and Parr meet us there in a few minutes, followed by Steve and then finally, Gary. I immediately notice we are all wearing some version of a button down shirt and jeans, such is life in your late thirtes. Some of us went plaid, some of us went solid. Regardless, I say hello to everyone and after a another drink at the bar which Chad does not partake in being that he is currently on the wagon, we head over to our table for dinner.

Our waitress comes up to us and explains the deal of how it works at Rodizio. She’s pretty cute, but I’m here for the meat. We all order another round of drinks, head to the salad bar for an appetizer, and then the meat carvers start coming out. There’s short rib, filet mignon, turkey wrapped in bacon, pork chop, flat iron steak, chicken breast. The list goes on.

So many meats have come our way in the last thirty minutes that I don’t want it to stop, except when they brought out the chicken hearts. I’m all for trying new things, but I got to be honest, the chicken heart was pretty gross.

“Is the chicken heart going in the blog?” Parr asked me.

“Yeah, the chicken heart is going in the blog.” I reply.

It’s kind of funny when everyone knows I’m going to write a blog about what’s happening in the moment. The prior eight weddings I went to were before I posted the never a groom blog, so no one knew it was going to happen. This time though I was prepared as I took a little book with me to write down some moments that I did not want to forget happened, and one of them was about to happen.

I lost count of how many wines I had that night, but it was like close to four glasses. I guess when you get a little drunk, you start to listen to your friends and you take their silly suggestions seriously.

We turned the wooden button over to the red side so the meat would stop coming out. We were stuffed. The waitress came back over to the table, and it had been suggested I should ask her out. Maybe not even suggested, I think it’s just kind of a running joke thing that guys say to each other. She WAS really cute though but she’s a server at Rodizio grill in Voorhees, New Jersey, and I live in in L.A. This probably isn’t going to get very far.

“Do you guys want some dessert?” The waitress asks us.

“We’ll take a look at the menu.” Chad says.

“Great. I’ll be right back.” She says and then leaves the table.

“Dude, get her number.” Parr says to me.

Now, I know it’s all in good fun, and I know that I’ll probably never see her again, but there is a part of me that didn’t care and maybe just wanted the ego boost for one night. Plus, I do things when I’m inebriated that I wouldn’t do when I’m sober. I find out her name was Natasha, and I mention that my we have a friend who’s name is just Tasha, without the “Na.” She seems friendly enough and I thought to myself, maybe I’ll just invite her out to the bar next door that we’re probably going to go to and she’ll have a drink or two with us and it’ll be entertaining. But, maybe she has a boyfriend, or maybe she has a girlfriend? Maybe I’ll make out with her and I won’t ever see her again after tonight. Either way, I man up and I say to Natasha…

“So my friend Gary is getting married in two days and we were going to head over to Iron Hill next door for a drink. You want to meet us after your shift?”

“I love Iron Hill!”  She exclaims. “I know some people who work there. Here take my number.” She says.

I put Natasha’s number into my phone. Then something dawns on me. I wonder how old she is. I mean, she looks young, but people nowadays do look really young and then turn out to be in their mid to late twenties. After all, I certainly don’t look like I’m about to turn forty and I still sometimes get carded for alcohol when I’m clean shaven, but I have to ask just to make sure she’s at least 21 years old because otherwise, I’m going to feel a little weird about the whole situation, like me and the Bulgarian chick from back in the day.

“How old are you?” I ask with the slightest bit of concern.

Wait for it….

“I’m eighteen.” She says while clearing a plate. “I’ll be right back with your check.”

I think there was a few moments of silence at the table after she said that. On one hand, I don’t think she’s going to be able to drink with us. On the other hand, I kind of feel like a stud because I’m 39 and just got a phone number from a bird who wasn’t even alive the year I graduated high school. I guess it’s bitter sweet.  Finally, Steve breaks the silence at the table.

“That’s DEFINITELY going in the blog.”

We head next door to Iron Hill and order a few drinks. P-Nut meets us there, and there’s  this talk between everyone about going to a strip club that night, but Gary really isn’t the strip club type, however after a half hour of drinking whiskey and pontificating about life with the boys, my phone rings.

“Hey, what’s going on?” I ask Tasha.

She goes on to tell me that she just got a call from the manager we had been meeting with the last month and he loved our script and wants to meet with us when we get back to L.A. She also tells me that she didn’t know who it was at first so she hung up on him, then called him back. Then she adds this gem of a statement at the end of the conversation.

“Are you going to meet us at the strip club?”

I guess when your Bride to be gets influenced by drunk Tasha and drunk Mary who have been sucking down many margaritas, you sometimes end up going to a strip club in Philly at 11pm through no fault or plan of your own.

Dave was leaving town, even though we pleaded with him to stay for the wedding. Parr and Steve didn’t go go cause they had work the next day, but you bet me, Chad, Gary and P-Nut were going. After all, the girls were on their way there in an Uber by themselves. We can’t just leave them there at the strip joint in the dim lighting and lack of clothing. I was pretty drunk, but luckily, Chad and P-Nut were both on the wagon so we had two designated drivers. It had rained in the three hours since we went to dinner, but it was clear now, and the top was down on the Mustang as we piled in the car and headed over the bridge to the Penthouse Club.

There’s not much I can say about the strip club, other than it was a pretty basic strip club experience aside from the motorcycle on stage, my jack and diets costing me eight dollars, and I was going to buy Gary a dance, but there is something weird about buying your friend a lap dance when his fiancée is sitting right next to you. Not to mention the ATM fee is twenty freakin’ dollars. I love Gary, but I figure I should put that money into something he and Desiree could both use, like a gift card.

We had a lot of fun that night. Chad and Mary left first, and P-Nut would have to drive me and Tasha back to Jersey shortly thereafter, but not before I illegally snapped a photo of Tasha “paying off” the dancer on stage.

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After the obligatory stop at a Wawa, and dropping off P-Nut, we got back to the hotel sometime after 1am, and fell right asleep.  Tomorrow was the “not rehearsal dinner” and Saturday was the wedding. We needed our rest if we were going to make it through the next few days.

Part 2: Wednesday, September 30th

Joe & Nicola (Part 2)

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I woke up at 4am on the pull out couch in the motel, freezing and feeling like I slept with a rod up my back the whole night. It was still dark, and I was very uncomfortable, so I jumped in the bed which was slightly more comfortable, but filled with Tasha.

“Get out.” She said.

“I can’t sleep on that stupid couch. Move over.” I said.

Eventually, I dozed off and next thing I knew I woke up and it was 7am, I felt a little more rested, so I got dressed and headed to the Wawa for some coffee. The weather outside was ominous. It was overcast, wet, and I knew that Nicola’s biggest fear was going to come to true. She was going to have to have an indoor wedding. On the positive side, people say it’s lucky for it to rain on your wedding day. I mean, even Alanis Morrisette wrote a song called “Ironic” which states this idea, but there is a part of me that feels like even though it might be “good luck” for it to rain the day you get married, it’s certainly not what anybody hopes for. Regardless, I feel like at this point no amount of rain is going to stop this wedding from being the best day for Parr and Nicola.

To say Tasha and I were hungover would be an understatement. My body had somehow recovered from the pain I was in at the beginning of the trip, but now I was dealing with a whole new demon. I felt sick. Not like a fever, cold, or sneezing sick, like I was just faded and not feeling like I wanted to drink any amount of alcohol at all. It was then that Parr texted me and asked if we wanted to come over the house for breakfast and bloody marys.

“I can’t drink any alcohol now.” Tasha said to me.

“Me neither.” I replied.

Then about 8 seconds went by where we both looked at each other with the notion that we kind of needed to support our friend on the morning of his wedding.

“Let’s just go and have one drink.” I said.

“Ok, I’ll get dressed.” Tasha replied.

We came by Parr’s parents house and met up with him, Shaun, and Ron who were staying there, and Steve who showed up a few minutes after us for breakfast. Mr. & Mrs. Parr have been like parents to me. I’ve stayed at that house many times over the past few years, and I’ve drank with his family even more so. I love them. They are great people and sometimes I wish I was still living in NJ for that reason among others. It just feels like home. We all ate a little bit, thanked Mrs. Parr for making us food and then with the slightest amount of coaxing, we decided the next thing we should do is definitely to go across the street to the now defunct Woody’s Bar and have a few drinks with the Groom.

Here’s the funny thing about alcohol. You may feel like crap for a little bit the morning when you’re hung over, and you may think you want to take it easy and just drink some water and eat some food, but what your body really needs to recover…. is more alcohol. I am so glad I took a zantac to protect my stomach against the wrath of a tomato juice and vodka breakfast because by the time I ordered my third bloody mary, I felt great. We were laughing and having a good time and somehow we started talking about Parr’s groomsmen, the location of all of us at the alter, and the TV show Gilligan’s Island. This is where it just got silly.

At the end of the theme song, to Gilligan’s Island they introduce all the characters in the show. I’m sure you remember the tune…

”With Gilligan…..The Skipper too……The Millionaire, and his wife. The moooovie star….the Professor and Mary Anne! Here on Gilligan’s Isle!”

However, the FIRST season of Gilligan’s Island didn’t mention the Professor OR Mary Anne.  After “The movie star” it just goes “…and the rest!” It’s as if the Professor and Mary Anne are just so insignificant to the show that no one needs to know their names in the opening titles. We tried so hard to fit all of Parr’s groomsmen into the Gilligan’s Island theme song that morning, but it never worked out. We could only say three or four names before adding ”…and the rest” at the end. I know it’s stupid and silly and you probably aren’t laughing if you don’t get the joke…. but I guess you just had to be there and  had three or four bloody marys to appreciate the last paragraph that I wrote.

When we stepped outside of the bar that morning, it was pouring rain. Like a torrential downpour. There was no way to avoid an indoor wedding at this point. Mr. Parr gave me and Tasha some tips on how to get to Cape May using back roads and shortcuts so we thanked him, said goodbye to the boys for now, and went back to the Lollipop to pack up our shit and head to Congress Hall. We left the motel around 1:30pm so we could arrive in Cape May at the Hotel before 3pm to check in and get ready. I had our bags and my tux all packed up in the car, and I followed Mr. Parr’s directions all the way to Cape May. There was just one slight problem.

The backroads of North Wildwood were easy to maneuver through, however once we got into  Wildwood Crest, the roads were suddenly blockaded by a large amount of rainwater that had pooled up in the intersection like a small pond. There was nowhere to go other than right through it, but the issue I was having was being able to drive though it in my medium sized rental car without stalling out, and without another car driving though in the opposite direction and splashing water up on the hood of the car at the same time. We had made it though a few small sized puddles, but there was this big one coming up ahead, and sure enough in the other lane was an SUV who was going 30 mph and didn’t give a shit.

I did the only thing I could do in this situation that I hoped would work….I gunned it straight into the water hazard and kept my foot on the gas the whole time. The car started to sputter, the SUV splashed all over us just like I thought it would, and my fear of us being stranded in the middle of the road in a three foot deep hole of water was almost realized, but luckily it never quite manifested. Somehow, and by some miracle, we made it to the other side of the intersection with nothing but dry asphalt ahead.

A little further down the road we had to cross this rickety old toll bridge and give the guy 35 cents to get to the other side. It wasn’t raining anymore, but the clouds in the sky definitely weren’t looking like they were going to break free and let the sun in anytime soon, and when we arrived at Congress Hall ten minutes later, it was official….the wedding was taking place indoors. I could tell by the look on Nicola’s face that she was disappointed, but at the same time, years from now when we’re all grown up, no one is going to remember that it should have taken place outside. Instead they’ll remember how gorgeous she looked in her gown walking down the aisle, how much fun we all had at the reception, and how her and Parr and her son Giann became a family.

Oh wait, did I not mention that Nicola has a son from a previous relationship yet? Well, she does, and he’s a pretty awesome dude. That day Parr was not only becoming a husband for the first time, he was becoming a step-father too. I’ve known this kid, meaning Parr since he was a teenager, and a part of me never thought he would get married, let alone get married to a woman who had a son. I know all too well that level of responsibility and what it takes from someone to commit themselves to a family situation and I know first hand from my own childhood that sometimes it isn’t easy and unfortunately I also know what it’s like when a father figure comes into your life, and doesn’t want to stick around for the long haul. Yet, as we get older and mature, our wants and our needs change and sometimes we grow up to be better people and better parents than the ones that came before us because we learn what we want, from finding out what we don’t want.

Unlike my step father, Parr wants that level of responsibility and I know he can handle it because he’s one of my best friends and I know he’ll be good at it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like dudes sit around drinking beers telling each other how much they love their girlfriends and how they can’t wait to marry them. That just doesn’t happen in my world. But I could see first hand that day how much he loved Nicola and Giann just from the smile on his face when he saw them walking down the aisle. Sometimes, that’s all you need.

Before the ceremony, all the groomsman got dressed and gathered in Parr’s room to have a few drinks together and put the finishing touches on our tuxedos. I guess there is something that runs in Parr’s family that prohibits him and his brother Shaun from understanding how to put cuff links and tie tacks on, because at every wedding I’ve been to with either of them, someone else has to help them dress. So, Adam took care of the Groom, and I took care of the Best Man, and I gotta say I think we did a damn good job in the process.

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After we were all dressed and looking spiffy, the groomsman and bridesmaids filtered into the hallway one by one to make our procession into room filled with guests where we would proceed to take six steps, turn right, take six or seven more steps and then part ways at the alter in the correct order we were supposed to be in. Parr and Nicola followed, and then Giann, the ring bearer strutted his way down the aisle in his pint sized tuxedo and sneakers. It says I’m taking this seriously, but I’m a kid and I wear sneakers so I’m not taking it THAT seriously.

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The ceremony was from 4:30-5pm, but I think we got through it in about 22 minutes thanks to Nicola wanting to have a brief wedding, and Chad being able to speak quickly and efficiently, and everyone being aware of where they were supposed to be, and who they were supposed to be with. He said “I do,” she said “I do,” and everyone applauded and snapped photos as Parr, Nicola and Giann were officially a family. I mean, just look how jazzed Parr is in this picture. He’s even giving a fist pump.

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The guests made their way into the Boiler Room for cocktail hour which was technically a bar downstairs and not a real boiler room like you would automatically think. The wedding party stayed upstairs to take pictures and get drinks from the bar because now that the wedding was over, the REAL party was about to begin. Before all the food and the dancing and the selfie taking was to happen, we needed to snap a few real photos for posterity and I think we nailed it.

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We mingled downstairs for awhile with all of the guests and gorged ourselves on a plethora of appetizers which included all the classic Italian specialties like garlic bread, a pasta bar, and deli meats and cheeses. It was obvious from the lack of potatoes and cabbage that no Irish person had any say in the spread of food that afternoon. I stayed close to the “Marlton” corner of the room where everyone who I’ve ever known from high school who came to the wedding was hanging out together and catching up with each other until it was time for the guests to take their seats upstairs and for the wedding party to be announced leading all the way up to the Bride and Groom. One by one each groomsman made our way into the dining hall onto the dance floor with a bridesmaid in one arm, and a cocktail in the other. I don’t think Parr would have wanted it any other way. At this point in the night, I had the bridesmaid on my arm, I didn’t feel sick, I had no qualms about drinking more alcohol, and just like those stupid Bud Light commercials, I was up for whatever happens next, or so I thought.

We all found our tables which were aptly named for different cities along the Jersey shore. There was L.B.I., Ocean City, Wildwood….and the rest. Then there was the Seaside Heights table where I sat with Tasha, Chad & Mary, Gary & Desiree, P-Nut & Efia, Jenna & Tim, and Woofy. Now, I hadn’t seen Woofy for like 15 years. In fact, no one had seen him in that amount of time. Pretty much after he graduated college in Rhode Island he got a job and met a woman in Massachusetts and married her and spent the last two decades or so in obscurity. He also dated Jenna at one time who was sitting right next to him at the table who he hadn’t spoken to in forever, and Jenna had also dated Chad for many years going back to the mid 1990s. I guess it was not a coincidence that they all ended up at the Seaside Heights table which ironically was the exact name of the beach city where 5 seasons of the reality show “Jersey Shore” took place. I still don’t know if it was a joke by the Bride and Groom or if that’s just the table where Woofy ended up but either way, I found it very amusing.

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The dinner service was underway and Shaun was on the mic saying some kind words to his brother and his new sister-in-law. I had a few things I wanted to say too, and I even wrote them down on a piece of paper and brought it with me that night, but I never got a chance to go up there. I figure whatever I wanted to say then that I didn’t get a chance to say, I have said so far in this blog, but I had a another moment planned that I got a chance to execute and Jenna caught on video.

Goodfellas is our favorite movie. Hands down it is the one film Parr, Shaun, and Gary and I have probably watched 1000 times and have quoted it over and over again to each other. There’s a scene in the movie where Henry and Karen get married and all their friends and family walk up to them, and hand them a wedding gift which in this scene turns out to be multiple envelopes filled with cash. During the film there is a jump cut of all these envelopes filled with Benjamins being handed over to them, and there is one huge, fat, thick envelope the size of a brick that one of the guests places in Henry’s hand. I wanted to re-create that scene for Parr at his wedding, but Tasha and I are hardly rich enough to put THAT many hundred dollar bills in an envelope. However, we COULD afford to take a hundred ONE dollar bills, stuff them into an envelope and walk up to Parr and Nicola and tell them “Here’s a little something to help you get started,” Just like Pauly does in the movie. You can watch that video here.

After most of the eating was done, the deejay started up the night of music and rug cutting with the first dance starring the new couple Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Carr, and son. I snapped this pic with my shitty camera phone, and even though it’s not very crisp or clear I think it says all there needs to say about these three.

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The next two hours were pretty epic. Parr and Nicola had the most amount of guests dancing together at one time at any wedding I had been to. I mean it was like god damn American Bandstand that night. Old people dancing, young people dancing, people who didn’t even know how to dance were dancing. At one point I even slid across the floor on my knees during a Michael Jackson song and looking back now I could have seriously injured myself, but I didn’t care. I danced with Maggie, I danced with Tasha, I danced with Mary, Parr, Shaun and Gary. People were raising the roof, picking up change, and I think at one point Chad started to do the running man. I was having such a good time, when I turned around and there was the bridesmaid I had been paired up with looking at me like she had an agenda.

Wanna get a drink?” She asked.

Now, when you’re a little bit drunk and a pretty blonde girl at a wedding who you just happened to be paired up asks you to get a drink, there is only one response that you should ever give, and this is what I said to her…

“Absolutely I do.”

“Let’s do a shot” She said.

“Ok. Can we get two kamikazes?” I asked the bartender.

Now I know what you’re thinking…. Who the hell orders kamakazes anymore right? Well, I’m not a big shot guy unless of course it’s tequila or sometimes whiskey, and I had been drinking vodka all night so I thought I should stay on the same train.

“Can’t give out shots tonight.” He replied.

What the fuck was that about? No shots? I thought this was a Irish-Italian wedding?

“Let’s go to the other bar,” She said.

So we made our way to the other bar across the dance floor, took two shots and I threw the bartender a few dollars for hooking us up. Next thing I know I’m outside with the bridesmaid having a cigarette and talking. I told her I was from California, and she started telling me about how she’s been dating this guy who she met at work and how he wants to marry her and she thinks it’s a good idea because she has a son at home, but she also doesn’t even like the guy who she is currently dating. She also mentions that she just had surgery and is currently on some sort of medication. Now, I’m no doctor, but I’m pretty sure drinking alcohol and taking pain meds is NOT a good combination. Don’t they have warning labels for stuff like that?

She went on to say her boyfriend is a pit boss at a casino in Atlantic City, where she deals blackjack and that he offered her a new job at a casino in Delaware and he wants her to move down there with him and get married. So, me being an idiot and painfully honest like I am, told her that if she really isn’t into him, then she probably shouldn’t accept the job, and furthermore she probably shouldn’t be dating him if she doesn’t even like him. Look, I’m always going to tell people the truth of what I think, even if it’s not what they want to hear. Otherwise what kind of a person would I be?

“He didn’t come with you to the wedding?” I asked

“No, he’s here.” She replied.

Wait, at THIS wedding?” I asked.

“Yeah.” She said.

Great. All I need now is some big fat six foot nine pissed off burly pit boss from the Taj Mahal beating the shit out of me at my best friend’s wedding for talking to his girlfriend who doesn’t really like him, and probably sees me as the catalyst to the eventual fight they will get into later on that evening.

“Let’s go back inside.” I say.

“I’m not finished my cigarette.” She says.

“Well I am, so I’ll see you later.”

I was right to get out of there. This girl may have been cute and sweet, but she was bad news. There is NOTHING about what she just told me that appealed to me in any way shape or form. I made my way back into the dance hall and spent the rest of the time dancing around with Parr and Mary and Tasha and Maggie and Chad and everybody else who didn’t come to the wedding with pit boss boyfriends that they don’t like.

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Everyone was having a really good time but before we knew it, it was late, the deejay was spinning his last song, and the wedding of Joe and Nicola was coming to an end. We all stood around after the music had stopped, I grabbed my coat and stole the picture frame from our table that said Seaside Heights on it and was almost ready to call it a night when I see Chad who runs into the wedding hall and tells us how he had been downstairs the last half hour in the Boiler Room which was now rocking and rolling with a live band and room full of people.

Here comes the afterparty…..

First thing I did was grab the key to the room from Tasha and I went upstairs to change, wash my face, spray myself with more cologne, and then I headed back downstairs to the Boiler Room. I could hear the music from the stairwell, and right around the time that I walked into the bar, I see Nicola with a concerned look on her face. I grabbed Parr and asked him what was going on, but I think I already knew.

“The bridesmaid’s boyfriend is here. He got into it with her and I guess he’s pissed.” Parr said.

“At me?” I asked.

I didn’t even need to hear the answer to that question. This is so not what I wanted to have happen at their wedding, but what was I going to do? Hide in my hotel room the rest of the night?

“Fuck that, he’s an idiot and he’s not going to do anything with all of us here. Don’t even worry about it.” Parr said.

And I didn’t worry about it one bit. I just got myself a beer, and went out to the dance floor and we all kept the party going to the cool sounds of 70s and 80s music from a live band who were really good and really tight. A few songs later I saw the bridesmaid enter the bar. She looked a little sad and I kind of felt bad for her. No one wants to be depressed  at a wedding so I bought her a drink and brought her onto the dance floor into the crowd of my friends.

“I broke up with him.” She said.

“For real?” I asked.

“Yep.” She said with a smile.

What did that mean? Did she really break up with him? Did I cause this to happen? Was it something I said outside? Was this some sort of play to make him jealous and more pissed off? I mean, I would have said the same thing to anyone who told me they were in a relationship with someone they didn’t like. I don’t even know this guy but now, I kind of felt bad for HIM, wherever he was.

“He’s right there.” She said.

Then I look up, and there he is leaning on the stairwell watching this all happen, but specifically shooting hate rays with his eyes directly at me and the bridesmaid. He was barely 5 foot 5, slightly overweight, and he had this really gross stringy black hair and the creepiest look on his face. If there was anyone at that wedding that fit the profile of someone who would have stayed at the Lollipop motel that night, it would have been him. Instantaneously, I stopped feeling bad for him. This chick was WAAAY out of his league, and to be honest this whole scenario was way out of my comfort zone.

I’ll be right back.” I said.

And with statement, that I made my way to the far back end of the bar where Steve, Adam and Maggie were hanging out, under the air conditioner and far away from the drama on the dance floor. I took a seat next to Maggie at the bar and started talking to them about what just happened. The last hour was just an absolutely insane experience. I mean, who breaks up with their boyfriend at a wedding in Jersey because some groomsman you were paired up with who’s name you probably don’t even remember said that you shouldn’t be in relationship if you didn’t really like the guy? Has NO ONE else ever said that to her? Can I get her to do anything else tonight by just telling her what I think? Like maybe she should quit her job and move to California to be with me, but before she does, I want her to rob a bank and murder all my enemies along the way, and just so you know, that’s a few more people now than it was last year. I know she didn’t do it for me, but man…. it’s just so fucking crazy.

I went on for a little bit joking around and recapping the highlights of the night with the boys, and then Adam decided it would be a good idea to leave me and Maggie alone and head to another part of the bar. Damn, we were getting match-maked on both ends. I talked with her for awhile and we had couple drinks and we took a handful of selfies, a few of which Chad photobombed and yeah, we made out a little bit. I mean come on, it was bound to happen. She was wearing this cute little superman tank top that night and my ex girlfriend and her best guy friend were pushing us together through no fault of our own since the night before.

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She looked good that night and I told her that. I think we had always liked each other but the timing was never right, and to be honest this was the only opportunity we would have. It was almost 2am, and the bartender did last call, so we ordered two more beers, paid the tab, and then Maggie and I started to walk back to her room upstairs, when out of nowhere, the bridesmaid and her friend cuts us off.

“Ready to go upstairs?” The bridesmaid asked.

I couldn’t believe what was happening. I mean first of all, this girl had some balls inviting me to go upstairs to her room with her and her friend after what had happened that night, and especially right in front of Maggie. This kind of stuff never happens to me. I looked at the bridesmaid, then looked at Maggie, then turned back to the bridesmaid, and I said with a smile.

“I don’t think so.”

Maggie and I walked past the girls, went up the stairs and into the hotel lobby and up a few more stairs until we found a place to sit down and finish the last beer of the night.  The truth is, we couldn’t go anywhere because I was staying in a room with Tasha, and she was staying in a room with Adam. What were we going to do? Knock on the door of one of the rooms and ask our friends to hang out in the hall for twenty minutes so we could bang each other? That just wouldn’t be right, so we did the only thing we could do for the next forty-five minutes we made out on a white couch on the third floor of the hotel in front of the elevator while we took little breaks to talk and drink our beers.

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That’s where it all went down. Compared to the last wedding I went to where both Tasha and I hooked up with someone else, this seemed to happen a little more naturally, with a little more help from everyone, and of course without me vomiting in my suit.  Eventually, I said goodnight to Maggie and we both went our separate ways into our separate hotel rooms and eventually, fell asleep.

I really had a blast at Parr and Nicola’s wedding, and I got to be honest, it was hard to fit all of what happened into a two part story. I wish there was more to tell, but these are the highlights as I remembered them.  I’ve never been more happy for Parr then on this day.  I was proud of him.  He now has a beautiful Italian wife, and an incredible son to call his own, and I know he’ll be the best husband and Dad he could ever be.  I guess Parr’s all growns up now.

The next morning, it was bright and sunny, which meant of course the ONLY day it rained that weekend was the day Parr and Nicola got married, but maybe that’s good luck. Tasha and I had a plane to catch back to L.A., so we packed up our bags, said our goodbyes and headed back to Philly to drop off the rental car and catch our flight by 4pm.

“That was a great time.”  Tasha said.

“It was.”  I replied.  “Hey, thanks for being a good friend.”

“And not a blocker of cock?”  She asked.

“Yeah, that too.” I said.

As the airplane started to taxi down the runway, I put on a movie and my headphones and thought about the last few days.  I wish we could have stayed longer, and I wish that every wedding had an afterparty, but most importantly, I wish that everyone had a such good friends like the ones I have.  They look out for me like family.

Epilogue:

I guess this is the part of the story where I think back to how it all happened 8 years ago when I met this girl at a wedding and her and I would go on to date for two years, love each other, break up with each other multiple times, share two cats, a rabbit, and three apartments together all while somehow becoming best friends and business partners who created a TV show pilot and attended 7 weddings together over the past 8 years. It may sometimes have been stressful, but I don’t regret anything that has happened since I met her. I might have done things a little differently early on in our relationship, but ultimately we weren’t meant to be together in that way. We both know that now.

Something happened to me while I writing this blog. Over the past twelve weeks I have spent at least three or four days working on every entry, reminiscing about the good times I’ve had at my friends weddings and what it was like to see them all grow up and witness their love first hand and literally be a part of it for one day. It’s been a great feeling because every wedding I’ve attended and have written about has brought me closer to the realization that I never thought I would say in writing let alone out loud, but here it goes.

I’m going to get married someday. I’m going to meet someone that I can love and share my life with, regardless of how much work it might be, regardless of what I thought in the past. Love has always eluded me, or love has disappeared or it doesn’t reciprocate, or it changes form, or sometimes, I just fuck it up because I’m scared. But I’m not scared anymore. I know that there’s someone out there who is the perfect match for me, and I’ll meet her one day, but to be honest, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if I’ve already met her.

In the year since the last wedding we attended, Tasha and I have remained good friends, but we don’t live together anymore. We’re still working on selling the show and we have a pretty big meeting coming up next week with a pretty big manager who has the power to take our show to the next level. I mean like network next level, not some crappy start up cable bullshit like before. It’s our third meeting with him since October of last year, so maybe this is it.

In the meantime, I wanted to thank everyone who has taken the time over the last few weeks to read this blog. With the exception of the proverbial lawsuit that never happened, people have told me they really enjoyed it, and I wanted to extend my regards to everyone who has commented, texted, shared, or retweeted it. I truly appreciate it, and a special thanks to all my friends who let me use their first and sometimes last names in the process.

In the very first entry of this blog, I wrote:

“as I’ve gotten older I keep getting these save the date cards in the mail and I keep watching my best friends get married and I keep attending these weddings with the same woman that I haven’t dated since 2009.”

So, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that there is one more save the date, one more best friend, and one more wedding we have left to attend……

Gary Des

(to be continued…)

See you in a month.

Next Wedding:  Late July 2015

Follow on Twitter @CMarc333

Aaron & Marlowe

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It was April 13th 2013, but you could hardly tell it was Spring by the weather that afternoon. The day Aaron and Marlowe got married in Malibu, California it was overcast and chilly, and in addition to their beautiful ceremony, and amazing buffet spread, an extra redeeming quality for me was being able to gather with my west coast Philly sports family for a celebration that would include so much food, so much drink, and so much debauchery.

Tasha and I had been living together as roommates for the past 8 months. Within the four walls of my apartment all the time were me, Tasha, all of our stuff, my pet cat, and her pet rabbit.

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#bffs

We were kind of like one small dysfunctional family the last few months however during that time, Tasha and I had somehow worked together to write and produce 8 episodes of our award winning web series, Trent & Tilly. It was a small accomplishment in the grand scheme of things, but it was enough for us to gain some confidence moving forward as we tried to figure out how to make this little show into a much bigger show. The wedding couldn’t have come at a better time, as we both needed a little break to relax, unwind, and hang out with our big dysfunctional family, “The Nest of the West.”

I met Aaron at the bar one Sunday afternoon while we all were watching the Eagles game. Aaron loves his football, his wife, and yelling at Cowboys fans who try to taunt us.  Every Sunday it was usually me, Tasha, Shaun, John, Tim, Adam, Dave, Leland, Kerry, the Sinkler twins, our server Kym…. and the rest. We even harbored our friend Drew who is ironically a Redskins fan. Normally, I wouldn’t associate with the enemy on game day, but Drew gets a pass because I’ve known him since the 90s, he’s a good guy, and he takes the most amount of shit talk by sitting with us during the games. It’s great when we’re winning, but it sucks when we’re losing.  How would you like it if there is one guy sitting amongst you cheering loudly when your team fumbles the ball into the hands of the defense.  Sucks.  I always thought inviting us all to a wedding would be very similar to us all being at the bar, except we would all look a lot nicer, the food would be way better, and since Aaron and Marlowe provided transportation to and from the event, we would all be able to get a lot drunker, if that was even possible, but as I would find out later that, it certainly WAS possible.

Tasha and I parked our car at one of the valet pickup spots on Sunset Blvd. A few of us gathered into a pass van and made our way to the top of a mountain in Malibu wearing spring dresses and Calvin Klein suits. As the van climbed through the overcast skies into the upper stratosphere of this well known beach city, I stopped being able to see anything out the window than the road and the clouds. To be honest, it was pretty scary. The lanes going up the mountain were extremely narrow, and we had to pull over to let other cars pass us on the vertical trek to the house. Once we got there, it was pretty clear that we couldn’t see anything past the cliffs at the edge of the property. I had a few thoughts running through my head, one of them, was where the hell were we in relation to L.A., because none of us got any cell phone service up there. The other one was, just how much money did it cost to rent out a three million dollar mansion for the weekend, and how did Aaron get to know these people whose house he rented?

Aaron is a line producer and has worked on some big budget projects, and Marlowe is an exotic animal trainer, (hope I got that right) and she works at the L.A. Zoo, so I’m sure they have their connections. Still, I had been to Malibu before, but when we took a right turn off the Pacific Coast Highway and then headed up a steep road where I thought I was going to die a few times on the ride, I completely lost any sense of time and direction. Things would pretty much exist inside that bubble for the next 6 hours.

The location was decorated with black tablecloths, red roses, a stone patio, and a small set of chairs for the parents and the wedding party. We all gathered in the backyard of the mansion, and the ceremony took place just a few feet away from where we were standing. Most of us didn’t sit down for the ceremony, mainly because there weren’t any chairs for us to sit down in. I kind of liked the idea of Aaron and Marlowe having a wedding so quick and to the point, that within two minutes of them saying I do, and us all clapping and celebrating their union together, we were all at the bar, three feet away getting our drink on. It was just that kind of day. I knew from the start that this wouldn’t necessarily bring about any emotional revelations for me, nor would it bring me back to a time where I would reminisce about growing up with all these guys because for the most part, I had only known them for the last few years, but the people at this wedding are my west coast family, and I love them all, even if I don’t see them that much in between football seasons.

There was ahi tuna, steak, chicken, sushi, and other delicious food being passed around on server trays. Strong cocktails were being consumed all over the grounds, and a buffet was set up in the living room of the mansion where we could all gorge ourselves on many different types of meats, cheeses, salads and more apps. Aaron and Marlowe had what I called an “East Coast” California wedding. It wasn’t your traditional California wedding because there was so much bread and booze and food that you knew the Bride and Groom weren’t from California.  Aaron said that he wanted to keep the decorations and ceremony to a minimum, but he added one element we could all partake in that set this wedding apart from any other wedding I’ve been to. Gambling.

Not like real gambling where you lose your own money, however if we did run out of the fake cash in the perk pack we received at the start of the reception, we could pay for some more. I don’t remember if there were prizes or what not for the person with the most amount of chips, and I don’t recall any dancing or any other type of traditional wedding activities, although looking at this picture of Aaron and Marlowe below being held up on two wooden chairs, I could easily assume there was some traditional jewish element to it.

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Before I made my way up stairs where the blackjack, roulette, and poker tables were,  I had a few drinks, took some pictures with my boys, and ate a good amount of food, or so I thought. I got to be honest, that’s where the pictures stopped for me. It was as if as soon as I got a little bit more drunk than normal, I stopped taking pictures, the sun set, or at least the hazy ominous light from the where the sun would be if I could tell what direction I was facing had set, and I went up stairs with my bag of chips and sat at a table with Kym, John, and John’s “not” date to the wedding, Zenobia.

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John is like my brother from another mother. I mean, people literally think we are related. He’s a good guy with an creative sense of pride and he’s very opinionated, so we get along fine.  Kym was our server at the bar on Sundays for the past 6 years, and it may be true that Kym and I had a love/hate relationship sometimes, but that could possibly be attributed to the fact that we may or may not have gone out on a date or two that didn’t quite pan out, or ended with us getting totally drunk and screaming at each other in a public or private setting. Hey, sometimes those things happen and when they do happen, that’s when you know that some things just aren’t meant to be. She’s a comedienne, and a good person at heart, and maybe she’ll write me into her stand up routine one day if she hasn’t already. Finally, there was John’s “not date” to the wedding, Zenobia.

I didn’t really know Zenobia, but she kind of came off a little snobby to me, however I’m sure that had everything to do with the first question I asked her that night which was….. “What the hell kind of name is Zenobia?”

I never really got an answer. She seemed kind of…privileged. I don’t know where she is from, but I assume she probably moved here to be an actress from some place in the mid-west, possibly. She was younger than us, and acted very “west coast”  meaning she was not that friendly, kind of stand-offish, a little vapid, and trying so hard to be cool. It’s not all her fault, because if you put her in a room with a bunch of guys and girls who’ve all known each other for years and who have no filter on their mouths who also like to get drunk at weddings and on Sundays and don’t really care about the consequences, you might pick up on some or all of those traits I mentioned earlier. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism, maybe it’s just someone being a bitch. I don’t really know.  I kind of wanted to say…

We’re at a wedding, lighten up. Life isn’t that serious right now. Maybe have another glass of pink champagne and stop trying to be the coolest person in the room”

But look, I get that my group of Eagles boys and gals are an intimidating bunch, especially since we bust on each other a lot, and we all have big personalities. Regardless, I don’t really know or wanted to know what her deal was at this point, so after I blew all my money on roulette, blackjack and two hands of Pai Gow or whatever game we were playing, I made my way back downstairs to get myself another drink.

I traded in my empty glass for a full one. I was on my fourth, or maybe fifth vodka because at this point in the night, they just go down so easily. I turned around and started heading back into the house when I ran into Kristin. Kristin and I had hung out a couple times over the last few months, but we kept it really quiet because we both didn’t like people in our personal business. Of course, all of that is negated now that I am writing about her in a public blog.

I liked Kristin. She was a pretty, down to earth, and not like most of the girls in L.A. who think their shit doesn’t stink. She’s a tom boy, from the east coast, wasn’t an actress, nor confrontational, and she had a high level of self esteem. The downside was that she lived all the way in Venice, and I lived all the way in Hollywood, and shared a bedroom with Tasha which definitely complicated any and all dating scenarios that may have arose during that time. Kristen knew about my living situation and I guess she didn’t really care, at least not at this point in the night. So, without really saying much we started a self guided tour of the mansion and eventually disappeared somewhere inside that house.

“What about here?” I asked.

“The bathroom?” She stated. “Not going to work.”

We tried to make the bathroom work for a minute, but as it turns out, Kristin was right… that bathroom was quite cramped and way too bright, so on to plan B. Next, we did what anyone who was drunk at a wedding and looking to hook up would do, we found a bedroom in the back of the house that no one was currently using, we went in, and locked the door behind us.

I don’t know if anyone saw us but to be honest, the idea that somebody might have was kind of exciting. I mean, it felt like we were doing something wrong, even though technically we weren’t but morally we might have been, and in a certain sense I think that added a level of intrigue to the events that took place that night. It felt like we were getting away with something….for now anyway.

I did know that some people were staying over at the house that night as I could tell someone had claimed this room due to the fact that there was a bag of clothes and other personal belongings on the bed, like a hair curler and blow dryer. Oh shit…was this Aaron and Marlowe’s room? I kind of felt bad, but then I thought about the relationship Aaron and Marlowe have and how they probably would have encouraged two guests to hook up at their wedding, and since this bedroom was kind of small and located on the ground floor, the chances of this being the Bride and Groom’s suite for the night were pretty slim, so we continued with our carnal encounter.

Then, five minutes later, and before anything erotic or carnal could actually transpire, we heard a knocking on the door and a very agitated high pitched female voice asking who was in “their” room.

“Oh shit, who is that?” I whispered.

“I don’t know.” Kristin said. “But we better open the door.”

I so did NOT want to open that door. I kept wondering is there a window we could crawl out of? Is there a secret pathway back to the living room that we could escape into like the underground railroad? Let’s face it, we were trapped together and we were going to be found out. I just really hope it wasn’t Marlowe. To have the Bride find you getting it on in their bedroom not only would be embarrassing, it would be very disrespectful, and that’s the last thing I wanted to have happen.

“Get your shit together, I’m opening the door.” Kristin said.

I grabbed my shirt, my tie, and my suit jacket and then the door to the bedroom opened, and in marched the one person who I didn’t really want to talk to before, and who I definitely didn’t want to talk to or see at THIS point in the night. The one, the only, the unequivocally pissed off cockblocker of the night, Zenobia.

“What were you guys doing in here?” She stammered.

Just checking out the rest of the house.” I said with a shit eating grin on my face.

Yep, she hates me.  If she hadn’t before, she definitely did now and with that, we left Zenobia to wonder what had or had not just transpired in her room, and we made our way down the hall and back outside to the party, slightly embarrassed but also incredibly relieved. Once we were back in civilization, one of our friends was smoking a joint,  and we both decided to join in for a few puffs. If I hadn’t learned my lesson from getting stoned at weddings in the past, here’s where I had a crash course in reality, as everything finally became unravelled.

At first, I was overcome with a sense of giddy pride and accomplishment for almost being found out and the feeling that at some point in my life, I would be able to tell the story of what just happened and laugh about it, maybe years later. Then I thought about how good the food was at this wedding, but how I don’t really remember eating a lot of carbs or bread, even though there were plenty to go around. Then I started thinking about how many drinks I had drank that night which led to me getting the spins, and the uneasy feeling in my stomach that this was not going to have a happy ending like I wished it would have. Was there a double meaning in that statement? Probably, but all that was in the past right now and I was living in the present, the present where I could feel myself stumbling around in the darkness, trying to find a secluded place out of sight from the rest of the guests where I could do my dirtiest work of the night.

I’ve never gotten so drunk that I puked at a wedding before, let alone puked while wearing a suit and tie, but there’s always a first time for everything, right? Inevitably it happened, right there in front of what I think was the garage of this three million dollar house in Malibu. I ended up vomiting out the five or so drinks, and whatever ahi tuna, chicken or steak appetizers I had consumed in the hours before. For a minute, I couldn’t really tell where I was, or what was happening, but I knew I wouldn’t be feeling very good for awhile. And even though I’m sure she didn’t want to witness it, Kristin, like the sweetheart she is was there to help me up from the ground after my exasperating bout of regurgitating everything I had enjoyed eating at Aaron and Marlowe’s wedding.

We sat on the stones near the edge of the property and looked out into the dimly lit sky. I apologized again for having to put her through such a disgusting experience, and when she asked me if I was going to stay over, all I could think of was how badly I wanted to leave, brush my teeth, take off my puke suit, and go to bed. My head was pounding, my stomach was rumbling, and I just needed to find Tasha so we could catch the last ride back to civilization and go home.

Speaking of Tasha, where was she? I hadn’t seen her in what felt like all night. I went back into the house and walked around trying to find her, but to no avail. I asked a few people where she was, and they had said they had seen her in the back about an hour ago, but I still couldn’t find her. Then, all of a sudden I ran into John outside. He took one look at me and said…

“Dude, are you ok? You look like you’re about to puke.”

“Thanks John, but I already did that.” I replied.

Then I turned around and saw Tasha and Adam approaching us. There was something weird about them. I asked Tasha if she was ready to go and she said yes, but with a strange look on her face. Then I looked at Adam, and he had the exact strange look on his face too, as if they knew something I didn’t.

Did they hear about me and Kristin in the back room, or worse,.. did they disappear into a back room of their own?  Nah, I couldn’t see that happening. Don’t get me wrong, Adam is a good looking guy, and I always knew he and Tasha kind of liked each other, but I don’t think one of my friends would bang my ex-girlfriend at a wedding that I was also a guest at. This is my life, not Californication.

“Alright, well I just vomited all over what I think was the garage, so I’m ready to go.”  I said

“Great.” She said. “Let’s go.”

We said goodbye to whomever was within ear shot, and we grabbed our stuff and made our way down the dark and dimly lit driveway to the street where the last passenger van of the night was to pick us up. I wasn’t drunk anymore, and I was actually pretty happy we had a half hour ride back to the car from Malibu so I could rest my eyes for minute. We headed down the mountain via that creepy winding one lane road, and instead of looking out the window and fearing that we would tumble off the edge of the cliffs again, I just closed my eyes, and fell asleep. When I woke up thirty minutes later, I was cold, I was hungry, but it was time to get into the car and go home.

This was a strange wedding. I was happy for Aaron and Marlowe, the venue was apocalyptically beautiful, I got violently sick, and I feared for my life on the ride up to the house. I hooked up with another girl that wasn’t my date, and even though I thought I had a good time, if I had it to do over again, I think I might have done things differently. Mainly, I wouldn’t have gotten sick, I might have bet a little more with my head, instead of over it, and I would have tried to have a more traditional experience, but I live my life with no regrets, and I guess in some way it was part of the process.

I know Tasha and I weren’t together, but there was a part of me that still felt guilty about the events that transpired. I mean, just six months ago I was in Florida at P-Nut and Efia’s wedding and I was coming to so many emotional and grown-up realizations about life and love, that compared to this wedding I felt like I took a step back tonight. Maybe I was being too hard on myself, or maybe I just didn’t feel good and I was taking things too seriously. I’m allowed to have fun, and not every wedding needs to be a positive learning lesson, right? I guess when it comes down to it, I just feel like in my life I want to evolve, not digress.

I started my car and let it warm up a bit and I turned on some music and put on my glasses I need to see the road with, but still something was on my mind and I had to get it out in the most honest and blunt way I know.

Did you bang Adam?” I casually asked Tasha.

“What? No I did NOT bang Adam. How can you ask me that?” She replied.

“You made out with him though, right?” I said in a matter of fact tone.

“Adam is cute, so yeah maybe we made out.” She said.

“Ok that’s fine.” I replied.

Honestly, I was fine with it. I know Tasha is a pretty girl and Adam is a good looking guy and at wedding two attractive people will flirt and sometimes get drunk and maybe they will end up making out with each other. I mean, I certainly had no room to talk.

You sure you didn’t bang him?” I asked half jokingly.

“Shut up Christian, let’s just go home.” She replied.

And with that, I put the car in drive, released the E-brake and I drove me and my ex-girlfriend/roommate/business partner back to the one bedroom apartment in Hollywood we shared with my pet cat, and her pet rabbit. Just one “sometimes happy yet always slightly dysfunctional” family.

It would be a little over a year before Tasha and I went to another wedding together, but before I made my final appearance as a groomsman in a wedding on the east coast with all of my best friends from high school in attendance, something really big was about to happen in me and Tasha’s professional life. However as we would soon come to learn, in Hollywood, something is still really nothing, until it’s really something.

Last wedding: June 16th, 2015

Follow on Twitter @CMarc333

aaronmarlowecollage

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.