We went to the wedding of two of Tony’s friends, and it was a traditional Vietnamese wedding, complete with flowers and a little flower girl and late dinner and slouching wedding cake with divine creamcheese icing, a 10-course Chinese feast, an unbearably uncomfortable outfit, and a busy groomsman.
And snow. We got a few inches of snow this weekend, a white Valentine’s day. It was beautiful, but scary as I drive my brand new India to a part of town I am unfamiliar with, to a wedding of two people I barely know. I sound like such a bitch. But I was uncertain, I didn’t know anybody there very well, and I was apprehensive. Tony loves these people. And I would have been mortified to make a mistake. I think my sense of social tension is too finely tuned.
In the wedding itself, I was a bit uncomfortable, mainly because 90% of the service was in Vietnamese, and Tony, though not Vietnamese, would have provided me with a decorum buffer between myself and uncertainty, but he was a groomsman, and three rows ahead, out of reach.
I was dressed in my sparkly new expensive navy blue reception dress, which he said was OK, but I had never been to a Vietnamese wedding before, and it killed me that I didn’t have any clue what to wear beforehand. I actually thought of Andi and her brash devil-may-care, you-think-I’m-tacky-but-it’s-just-’cause-you’re-a-jealous-bitch, I’m-fabulous-dahling attitude. I needed some of that.
But I was fresh out, so I spent a good part of the service measuring my dress against the dress of the others in the congregation. Unsure. I looked at Tram, and she was wearing a pantsuit. Aaargh! I could have been comfortable!!! But then I couldn’t have worn the dress. And I wouldn’t have had a reason to buy that beautiful dress. Looking back, I was fine, but at the time, my social antenna was up, looking for even the slightest sign of disapproval. A low social affective filter. (See, I used my degree for something.) Boat-rocker, I am not.
There was a lot of standing and sitting and praying and kneeling in this ceremony, and I tried to follow the service, but there was so much going on in the handshaking, hand-holding, sit-stand-kneel department that I was constantly afraid of not doing it right.
I haven’t been to a church in YEARS, and I didn’t even notice exactly when the greet-your-neighbor thing started, just that people were looking at me (!!!), and….oh…everybody’s greeting their neighbor. And it went on far longer than it ever did in a Methodist church, where all the WASPs are willing to shake hands, but just for show, in a big-ass hurry to let go of other people’s sweaty mitts.
Instructions in Vietnamese after a while, and suddenly everybody else is holding hands. Eek. I don’t even like shaking hands, just not my thing, I hate to do it, and I only do it if a woman I don’t think I will like decides she’s too good to shake my hand., or I can’t turn down the handshake. (Note: Boat-rocker? No check. Proud? Check!)
Uh oh. I’m on the end of the aisle…do I hold my free hand up in supplication or seek another hand to hold?
Only a few people are doing that.
Are they the over-zealous, or the under-lazy?
Do I kneel now? I’m not Catholic. If I don’t I will so stick out. I’m taller than all but two of the people in here, and that’s in flats.
Everybody’s going up to get one of those cracker things and drink from that community (germs!) glass. Do I go too?
Or do I look like a snob and just sit here, confused, as people step on my little feet in my never-worn shoes trying to walk past me?
If I went up there and, heathen that I am, drank from that cup, what would happen? BZZZZT! Lightning strike? Or just the short track to Hell?
La la la…the flowers are nice. I wish I had an ao dai like that to wear…I bet I would look good in it. Why are the choir wearing such frumpy clothes? I’d be pissed. La la la…
And straight on to the reception, where the maid of honor had no idea what’s going on, and the best man was a no-show for a very long time, as Tony set everything up for them. Tony becomes The Man, and everyone starts asking for him, meanwhile I am saying, “Yeah, where is Tony?”
Zoom zoom, that blur over there, must be him. He’s so very helpful, attentive, and eager to make everything right. So I was selfless, yes sir, I didn’t complain a bit about being lonely or anything, or my social ineptitude except when I take charge. I just threw myself into making the day better. Occupy the flower girl with something to keep her busy, get the candles sorted on the tables, set up the arrangements.
I should have worn jeans, seriously, coz in my gown I was sweating by the time the reception was supposed to start. My heels hurt my feet (never worn, remmeber?) on the tile floor, but I finally sat down, met a bunch of new people, and got smothered by a strapless bra notched just a little too tight.
I drank a little Kirin because the food was late, and as 7:30 rolled around I was dying of hunger. Did I eat that morning? Nope, too busy playing on my computer…
I could smell the food, but it was so far away. And the Kirin knocked me back a bit, so I am sure I was less than graceful, and I vaguely remember almost dropping the soy sauce, in front of these strangers. Overwarm, bored, hungry, but still in selfless mode, I was irritated by the sheer volume of the speakers right in front of our table. It was loud at the back of the room, but at our table, even with someone shouting in my ear I couldn’t hear. I wanted it to be over, I wanted to change shoes or something, but imagine the agony of the bride, on “her day”…no complaining!!!
It did end late in the evening, and finally, I was able to take the damn bra off. I should have done it long long before. I am cool with the whole experience now that I am not there and starving and uncomfortable.
And next time, I’ll weather it better.
Don’t we just look sharp! I really need to take pictures more often…