I had a feeling that modern weddings come from a bizarre and slightly misogynistic ritual. This would explain why modern men chafe at the thought of serving under the yoke of marriage…The roots of marriage are downright barbaric! Of course it sucks even worse for the women, if you look at the history of marriage, right down to the bride being given away at the altar.
All of our society’s gender issues stem from the fact that fathers once used their daughters as currency to a) pay off a debt to a wealthier land owner, b) symbolize a sacrificial, monetary peace offering to an opposing tribe or c) buy their way into a higher social strata.
Of course, brides to be were not always so willing…or at least the family of the bride-to-be was not always so willing. Hence the invention of the best man. I always thought the purpose of the best man was to try and knock some sense into the groom, but when that fails he steps up to his other duties:
the original duty of a “Best Man” was to serve as armed backup for the groom in case he had to resort to kidnapping his intended bride away from disapproving parents. The “best” part of that title refers to his skill with a sword, should the need arise. (You wouldn’t want to take the “just okay” member of your weapon-wielding posse with you to steal yourself a wife, would you?) The best man stands guard next to the groom right up through the exchange of vows (and later, outside the newlyweds’ bedroom door), just in case anyone should attack or if a non-acquiescent bride should try to make a run for it. It’s said that feisty groups like the Huns, Goths and Visigoths took so many brides by force that they kept a cache of weapons stored beneath the floorboards of churches for convenience. Modern-day best men are more likely to store an emergency six-pack at the ceremony for convenience, but the title remains an apt one.
I would like to add some traditions of my own.
- The pre-wedding keg fest. The groom and groomsman must do a funnel for every shrill bridezilliaistic remark mark made from anyone in the bride’s party about the paucity of concern of the groom and his posse for the Brides “Big Day”
- The writing of “help” on the left shoe and “me” on the right shoe, so that when walking down the aisle the groomsman can feel that at least they tried to send a signal of impending doom… This also works really well at Catholic weddings, where the bride and groom must kneel. (But don’t try it, because you will only get paddled…and not by your girlfriend…)
- The keeping the car warm and the back door unlocked. This is for a quick a getaway in case the Groom gets cold feet. Often the Groom’s getaway car can be found right next to the Bride’s get away car. This can often lead to hilarity and a good makeup sex session (just make sure you use her car.)