For those of us who are tired and broken third wheels
So you’re a single male at a wedding? Congratulations! We’re both rowing in the same boat.
And as a single male, there are a few things that you inevitably do at weddings. You scan the reception for the nearest bathroom and/or shrub to hide behind during the small talk and slow dances. You feel akin to the children’s table because at least there they won’t inquire about your relational status. And, finally, you are expected to show elated enthusiasm in trying to catch a small, silk band that has rested around the thigh of another man’s wife.
The garter toss is an awkward affair.
There are a number of expectations placed on you. You are expected to carry a cool demeanor that says, “I’m independent and don’t need a garter to define my success in life.” But you are also equally expected to be as competitive as possible in securing this illusive band. The garter quickly becomes a metaphor for your love life. Cool and nonchalant yet rigorously focused on success.
Somehow, in the three garter tosses I’ve participated in, I’ve managed to collect two of them. My chance of future love have skyrocketed like Matthew Mcconaughey in Interstellar or Tom Hanks in Apollo 13 and now soars astronomically high (like George Clooney in Gravity).
Therefore, in order to help a brother out, I have compiled The Definitive Guide to Catching the Garter at a Wedding:
Step 1: Erase from your mind any feelings of guilt for jumping on the heads of twelve-year-olds to get the garter. You are ____ (your age inserted here); you need this more than a pre pubescent Romeo who is still waiting on peach fuzz.
Step 2: Work the crowd. Act like you don’t know people are watching and begin to do exaggerated stretches. Do the Michael Phelps. Jumping Jacks. Up-downs. Whatever floats your boat and gains fans.
Step 3: Position yourself on the side of the group, towards the front. The lone wolf gets the garter; not the guy who mistakenly trusts his friend to hoist him up into the air. Trust gets you nowhere (a great life lesson as well).
Step 4: You are not trying to catch the garter while it is still in air. This is the crucial step. When the groom flicks the flying quidditch ball of love into the air, your primary purpose, at this point, is to distract. Run across the front of the group and jump as high as possible in order to confuse them and block their line of sight. Think of Gary Oldham diving in front of the mayor in The Dark Knight or Juni’s Grandad diving in front of Antonio Bandares in Spy Kids 2. However, rather than taking a literal bullet, you will be receiving a bullet of love.
Step 5: Land from your jump in the middle of the group and immediately go to the ground. The garter often slips through each person’s grasp like his respective love life. After all, you are each there, in the mob of single males, because you have an issue with holding on. So hit the ground before anyone has realized what has happened. The garter toss is classically a tall man’s game, but it is a resourceful man’s victory.
Step 6: Grab the garter off the ground. Push away grubby fingers and scuffed dress shoes. Bite if you have to. Whatever it takes to secure the garter.
Step 7: Clutching your prize, hold the garter up in the air like a baseball after a diving grab. You are the champion of this wedding edition of SportsCenter. You are the hero. The crowd, your fans, have to know that. If you know the groom well, jump into his arms. There can never be too much celebrating.
Step 8: After the chaos has died down and everyone goes back to dancing, find the groom’s parents and try to give the garter to them. You have no need for a garter, let alone a married woman’s garter. Try to give away your bounty with grace: “No, please, my prize is the memory.”
Step 9: Prepare to fall in love. Do not be surprised if you can no longer hide behind the nearest shrub without drawing the attention of that cute girl in the pink dress who keeps looking over at you. You are now her garter.
With great garter comes great responsibility.
I’m 21. All of my friends are getting engaged or girlfriends or having babies or ring shopping or flirting or loving or hugging or kissing. They all are. The world of young-20-somethings is in a mad dash towards the finish line that is marriage, and us single people are praying for God to make us content in our singleness while listening to Taylor Swift. We’re pathetic.
I get on Facebook and one of two things appears on my newsfeed: (1) Oh look! My friends have fallen in love and are getting married/dating/having babies; (2) Look at that! My single friend has posted an astoundingly intriguing article about what girls/guys look for in a relationship. The picture has two fashion-forward people holding hands. Looks like a great read!
Honestly. If I have to read another article from a girl telling me what kind of guy she wants to marry someday or a guy telling girls how to embrace the beauty of singleness, I think I’ll choke on the brain cells I’m losing. I get the fact that we all want to be in love. Man, I want to be in love SO bad right now. And I don’t even want it for the sex. I want it for the companionship, the little looks from across the room, the hand-holding.
But that doesn’t mean I need to fall in love with love. That’s a dangerous game. That’s like falling in love with the mountains and not living there. We become so preoccupied wanting to be in the mountains that we forget to look around at the beautiful beach/valley/archipelago we live on.
Reading that stuff on Facebook just leaves us with a wishful ache in our gut; we hug our pillow a bit tighter each night in memorandum of the death that is our singleness. The other side of the bed is warm from the tears we cry wishing our pillows could talk to us.
Listening to Taylor Swift and reading sappy articles on Facebook doesn’t make us fall in love with a person. It makes us fall in love with an idea.
So if you want my dating advice (I mean, everyone seems to be getting a post viral about Christian dating these days), here it is: ask a girl out; be interested in a guy. Don’t do it too soon. Don’t wait too long.
Until then, keep an eye out for a special someone, be honest with God in your prayer life, read Paul’s exhortation to the singles (1 Corinthians 7), observe God-fearing married people, and take yourself lightly.
Mentor someone younger, memorize a section of the Bible, pick up roller-derby, write a letter every day, learn to canoe, become the fastest shoe-tier in the history of shoe-tiers, write some stories, host Foosball tournaments, challenge people in Wikipedia races, run a marathon, paint a marble to look like the world and put it in an oyster just to be punny.
Be loving. Be patient. Be kind.
But for the love of all things lovely, don’t expect contentedness in singleness while listening to Taylor Swift and reading about other people’s relationships.