January 05, 2004

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In the extended entry is the complete speech I amde at my borther's wedding last week. It's printed here with his full permission. That permission came in the middle of the dancefloor near the end of the night, but it's all about choosing your moment.

Very open to comments on the speech. It seemed to go well (read I heard someone laugh once). Feel free to take bits if you need for yourself, so long as you acknowledge it in your speech. Something like this: "I was reading at Simon World the best 'best man' speech I've ever read and decided to use some bits myself." Then follow with the web address. Alternatively use a slide with the words "Parts of this speech have been taken from Simon World, http://simonworld.mu.nu, a creative and dymanic factory of wedding speeches since 2003."

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I was at the dentist on Tuesday and he asked if I had started on my best man speech. I told him what I’ll tell you now: “Gaggglaggguglll”. So there I was, staring at a blank computer screen, wondering what can I say on such an important day in my brother and new sister-in-law’s life? Naturally, I turned to the Internet for help. I typed “Instant wedding speeches” into Google. After the Russian mail order brides and the sites I cannot mention at a family gathering I found what I needed. Here it goes:
Congratulations Peter and Joan on your fine {insert occasion here}.
OK so I might not have got my money’s worth there. Who would have thought the internet could let me down?

They say that it takes 2 people to make a marriage work. I think today is proof it actually takes 160. Everyone will agree that Michelle was a beautiful bride today and Paul was…on time. We feel like we’re gaining a new sister and losing a brother. It is such a mix of emotions: happiness, joy…relief. It’s not every day that my best friend, arch nemesis, sporting rival, confidant, email buddy and favourite uncle to my daughters gets married. Who would have thought that little boy who used to take the blame for everything I did wrong would end up marrying so well? And Michelle being a school teacher means Paul has no chance of getting away with anything again! It’s all too perfect. Of course Michelle isn’t perfect herself - she has a strange fascination with socks, especially wearing them to bed. How someone’s feet are cold when it’s 30 degrees is a scientific mystery waiting to be solved. But let’s not dwell on the negatives.

There is an old wedding day saying that the bride must wear something new, something old, something borrowed and something blue. To ensure that tradition is followed I would like to make a special presentation to Michelle. It’s old, borrowed and blue and I figure Paul is new enough as her husband to cover the new. These should come especially handy tonight when the newlyweds retire to their hotel room. Michelle - here are some slightly used blue socks for you.

Michelle by now knows Paul quite well. I use “quite” advisedly because if she knew him “well” we may not be here today. Having lived with the guy for a number of years I feel there are a few things to Michelle needs to be aware of. Firstly, Michelle, never beat him in any sport. Not unless you want a tennis racquet, cricket stump, ball, pool toy or garbage bin thrown at you. I’m not saying he’s a sore loser. No, you’ll be the one that’s sore if he loses. Paul’s always been an explorer. There is not a place in the world where Paul hasn’t also explored the bathrooms. He is also very aware of his heritage. From an early age he has maintained he is actually descended from the Rothschilds and Mum & Dad are still waiting for them to pick him up, as they have a hefty bill waiting. Paul has one of the best memories I have ever known. He can recite any line from any Simpsons episode you care to mention. He is also very sincere. Especially when he’s lying. In our younger days he competed vigorously in the nightly ritual of taking advantage of Mum‘s gullibility. That’s why when he first introduced Michelle we weren’t sure if it was another one of his tricks. Turns out it wasn’t at all. The trick was getting her in and out of the house at 3am each night. But most of all Paul’s superior ability in dealing with taxation laws has seen him in the perfect career - keeping Michelle happy.

Today Paul and Michelle will be given much advice about the secrets to a good marriage. There are many such secrets. Of course, men being men, we tend to forget what they are. But there are a few key truths to help you both find your way. We always thought that Paul would be a good lawyer, and just like when a lawyer cross-examines a witness, women only ask questions they already know the answer to. Paul, the main thing to remember is there is no right answer except “You’re right, dear.” Questions are just a woman’s way of checking if you are listening. Which you’re not; you‘re busy thinking about the cricket, or that great TV you just walked past. But be careful because sometimes you get tested to see if you‘re just agreeing all the time for the sake of it. In this case there is no correct answer at all. Instead use distraction as a technique. For example, a good tester question is “Does this look good on me?” All men have the same thought process here. One - clothes tend to look better off a woman than on. Two - wife-y expects an answer, now; the longer this takes the more it looks like I‘m thinking. And if anything makes a wife suspicious it’s her husband thinking. Three - the wrong answer will result in an afternoon of barely repressed rage and disgust and certainly no chance of sex. And after all is said and done that’s what matters most. So the correct answer is “Look, isn’t that Nicole Kidman?”

There are other tricks to the trade. Commands tend to come as questions. For example “Shouldn’t we close the door?” is not an invitation to discuss the merits of door closing and opening. Forget about pronouns. “He” and “she” now become “boobie” and “schmooky poo”. For example: “ ‘Boobie’ , does this look good on me?”; “Look, schmooky poo, there’s Nicole Kidman.”

The main thing to remember, Paul, is you are never right, even when you are. You are only agreeing with the right answer that your wife already knew. The very worst thing you can do is point out that one time in a hundred when you managed to defy the laws of nature and you got it right and your wife wrong. Celebratory dancing cannot hide the fact that your success rate is only 1%. And the time to worry the most is when you think you’re doing everything right, because inevitably you’re doing something wrong. The rules change and you’re not privy to the changes until after you break them. The problem now is Michelle knows you know what I know about marriage which is that I know very little.

Paul and Michelle could do well to emulate one of the world‘s most famous married couples. They cope with fame, money problems, life’s ups and downs with a certain aplomb and always a strong bond of love. Homer and Marge Simpson. Paul’s balding head and Michelle’s height and flowing hair are dead ringers for the cartoon couple. Of course Michelle’s hair isn’t blue, and Paul doesn’t work in a nuclear power plant, and neither are yellow, but the resemblances are clear. So I predict Paul and Michelle will have three children: a troubled boy of 8 called Bart, a smart sassy 6 year called Lisa and a little baby Maggie. With the way reality television is heading this could all be on Channel Nine next year.

Everyone will agree that it has been a magnificent afternoon and night. It is the reward for many years hard labour from both families, bringing up such fine human beings. But this isn’t about Daryl, Mark and me. While it took a while for the relationship to blossom and we no longer have to meet Michelle sneaking out the house at 3am, it is clear to all that here are two people who are very much in love. Right Boobie and Shmooky Poo? We all wish you both every success that you both so richly deserve in the future. This especially includes making me Uncle Simon soon. May your future together be bright and your generosity to all your brothers be great and never-ending.

posted by Simon on 01.05.04 at 10:42 AM in the


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Nice speech! I love celebratory dancing!

posted by: shaky on 01.05.04 at 11:29 AM [permalink]

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