This summer, my younger brother is getting married. (I would like, before going any further with this subject, to state in no uncertain terms that I very much like the young lass he’s chosen for his bride.) When he got engaged, I immediately started working on my plan for what I’d do if I were still single when his big day came; as it happens, the Single Older Sister at the Younger Sibling’s Wedding is a rather frequent occurrence.
As luck would have it, I no longer need this plan – but here it is; I can only hope will provide you with the littlest bit of entertainment/assistance, should you need it.
1. Invest in your appearance. OK, so look: In nine out of 10 instances, I think spending money to feel good about yourself is nothing but a dangerous and entitled spiral toward credit card debt and emotional problem avoidance. That said, I’m of the personal opinion that looking amazing at your brother’s wedding is one of those rare and worthy causes wherein a wee bit of spending is justified. Pictures will be taken, memories will be formed. So buy the right the shoes, the right dress, the right thong, the right Spanx. Get your color done. Get your makeup done. And for all things hair and makeup, puh-lease, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!, be sure and do a dry-run at your chosen salon. I learned this painful lesson back in 1993 at my junior high school graduation. My mother, for the first time in my life, allowed me to get my hair done at the sophisticated, now-defunct Tony Vole hair salon in suburban Chicago. I scheduled my appointment three hours before the graduation ceremony. I walked in looking like myself, and walked out looking like an electrocuted, frazzled, ugly dog. Appearing as such at your junior high school graduation? Funny. Appearing as such at your younger brother’s wedding? Less so.
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2. Bring your best friend. You will, I believe, feel tempted to scramble madly for a date. You will dream of some impossible mash-up of Jon Hamm and Barack Obama, let’s say, and you will search madly, crazily, desperately for him. RESIST THIS IMPULSE. Why? Because you’re searching under pressure. And when you search for something under pressure — a guy, a dress, whatevs — that pressure skews your judgment. There’s too a high risk you’ll wind up with some dude you’re not all that comfortable with. And for what? So you can look less single? Big whoop. Instead, I recommend bringing a female friend, someone you’re close to, someone guaranteed to make you laugh so hard, champagne flies out of your nose.
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3. Monitor your liquor consumption. Speaking of champagne flying out of your nose, don’t overdo it with the booze. No good can come of this. If any speck of your brain is uncomfortable with/bitter about the proceedings, you will say something embarrassing, dance in too provocative a manner, etc. So. Enjoy yourself by all means, but just in moderation.
4. Bitch to your friends, not your parents. Death, taxes, and the fact that planning a wedding can bring out the worst in a person. It’s inevitable that the planning of a sibling’s wedding will make you privy to a whole smorgasbord of, um, challenging behavior. And you will likely need to bitch about it. Fair enough. But in terms of audience selection, bear in mind that your friends will be less immersed than your parents in the dramz of it all and, therefore, a more receptive ear to ruminations like the following: “Honestly, if I’m given one more stipulation on the sort of dress I’m supposed to wear to the rehearsal dinner, I swear to god: I’m going to throw a punch. I just am.”
5. Watch ”Scenes from a Marriage.” This Ingmar Bergman classic is guaranteed to remind you that a wedding is not a thing like a marriage; marriage, once you get down to it, is about as fun as, well, being single at your younger brother’s wedding. There are ups and there are downs. But mostly you’re just standing there thinking, “This is hard. But also fun. I hope someone tells me I look nice.”