My triplet sister’s wedding is in t-8 days and as the co-maid of honor, I will be speeching. Lord help us all.
In everyday interactions, most people expect very little from me. When I make any kind of joke, they are happy and will give me a laugh. But an audience has expectations. They expect me to be funny, charming, sincere, knowledgeable, sleepy, etc, and they demand their chuckle treats. This and any kind of expectation makes my nerve levels skyrocket.
When I have prepared and practiced for the engagement, it’s possible for everything to go smoothly. When I’m not prepared, however, and when the quotient between the audience’s expectations and my ability to perform is especially high, we’re diving head-on into the danger zone.
I often find myself fighting the temptation to stop speaking and let the entire room sink into silence. How long would they just sit there and watch me as I watch them? How long before someone spoke up and tried to make it all end?
As a sober, well-rested, and unstressed individual, my verbal filter already does a spotty job. When I’m nervous, it’s completely gone. I’ll say anything, literally anything, in order to combat the silence and fill the ever-approaching quiet.
For that reason, having me speak at a wedding is a risky decision. It’s such a special and heartwarming moment and one that’s the result of much planning and travel by many parties, that I will invariable do something to creatively offset the mood with what will be later be viewed as “inappropriate” humor.
In order to protect the wedding from myself, I’m reinforcing my filter by making a list of a few subjects that I will not, not under any circumstance, speak on or mention in order to keep the silence at bay.
I will not make any pregnancy jokes.
I will not make any jokes about or mention previous boyfriends and how we were SO surprised when sister and her fiancée got together (note: this isn’t entirely true, but it’s exactly the kind of thing I’m prone to say).
I will not bring up family squabbles or secret shames.
I will not discuss my personal sweating with anyone besides my immediate family.
I will not talk for longer than twenty (20) seconds about the wedding night in the company of grandma.
I will not mention people I think dressed poorly.
I will not make jokes about myself, other members of the wedding party, or the preacher being drunk or on drugs.
I will only make two (2) weight-related jokes about sister having to fit in her dress.
I will not complain about having to be at the wedding, how I’m bored, or how it could have been better.
I will not stray from the content of my written-out speech, unless there’s a really funny joke I can make.
These are my promises to myself and to my sister. Let’s hope for everyone’s sake that I remember this while I’m on stage fighting the silence. May I reach for my speech and not for the sex jokes.