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Funerals and Weddings and Life’s Wild Path

April 25th, 2013 9 comments

The last time I flew to Little Rock, Arkansas, it was to be a pallbearer for Enoch “Trey” Tims III. He is the man you see pictured far left. He was buried on February 6, 2010.

Today, I board a plane to Little Rock, Arkansas where I will be a groomsman for Harold “Jhirmack” Eichelberger. He is the man you see pictured in the middle. He is getting married on Saturday.

photo (4)

In August, 2000, I met both these men for the first time at Howard University. We stayed in Drew Hall, the mandated freshman boys-only dorm on campus. Harold moved into the dorm room directly across the hall from me, Trey was in the dorm room right next door. As evidenced by the photo, the three of us would go onto graduate together, and along the way become like brothers not only with each other, but a handful of other men who were pallbearers at Trey’s funeral, who will be groomsmen at Harold’s wedding.

Me, Jhirmack, Trey, Harold, Cliff, Weaf, Antijuan, Hank, Hakim, Zach, and Coop, have done our best to stay close post-college. These days many of us live far apart from one another, some across states, others across oceans. Some of us are in touch with specific people more than others, but we have never forgotten how close we all once were. We still remember the unspoken promises we made that when life gets to be the most real for one of us, as many of us as possible will form together.

I don’t know if it was a funeral or at a wedding where I first heard the saying that it is those two occasions that bring the most amount of people together. But I have learned it’s true in ways that are both sad and joyous.

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Categories: Friends, weddings Tags:

How Do I Deliver the Reading at my Friend’s Wedding?

April 18th, 2013 6 comments

In nine days, one of my best friends, Harold, will be getting married to Christina. Long time readers know their story, and for those who don’t, you can read about it here.

In addition to being one of the groomsmen, I was also asked by the couple if I could do the honor of delivering the reading. Here is what they asked me to read:

The Invitation
by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain!I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithlessand therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it’s not pretty, every day,and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

Now I’m not nervous about reading out loud or in front of a bunch of people. I was one of those kids who was always volunteering to read in class because, frankly, I’m damn good at reading. I’m also not afraid of public speaking, especially at emotional ceremonies like this. When our friend Trey was killed in a car accident in 2010, I spoke at his funeral, and many of the same people who were there, will be here at Harold’s wedding, so there will be many familiar faces.

There is nothing for me to worry about, I know I’ll be fine, but I want to make this reading great for my friends. Even though I’m not shy, I don’t know if I’m the most gifted public speaker, so I have some questions I’d like you all to answer.

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Anatomy Of A Scene: Getting Stood Up At The Altar

February 3rd, 2012 17 comments

One of my friends threw up this classic YouTube clip from A Different World on Facebook today.

On a sitcom with so many memorable episodes, this remains one of my all time favorite; right up there with the two part episode where the gang goes on Spring Break and the girls meet those drug dealers, but I’ll post about that one another time.

The first time I saw this episode was the first time I saw anything like this happen on screen. Two people in the middle of getting married, when out of nowhere comes the man the bride should’ve been marrying all along. I didn’t think what Dwayne did was romantic so much as I thought it gutsy. In front of a church full of people on what is supposed to be the happiest day of the bride and groom’s life, Dwayne stops the wedding. Not only does he stop it, he asks Whitley to marry him, right there. And to top it all of, to show he has absolutely no regard for other people’s lives and very little for his own, he does it all in a peach suit.

A peach suit!

I have watched this scene too many times to count, and over the years, my attention has shifted from Dwayne. Whether it’s fear of the unknown or me just wising up, when I watch now, I focus on some of the other key people in the scene. They are as follows:

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No Date Unless I Am One of The Best Looking Guys You Ever Dated

September 16th, 2010 21 comments

I get crushed all the time by readers for making a big deal about looks. Many have called me superficial and ask why I always have to emphasize my desire for women I’m attracted to, and I suppose it’s a fair concern. We should make room to give everyone a try, even those we initially pay no mind because we see no reason to do so.

But if anyone has been paying attention to this blog long enough, they may notice I don’t preach the importance of dating someone who turns us on to just the guys. Largely because most guys don’t have a problem dating the person who turns them on. We’re easily stimulated visually, so nine times out of 10, we’re going after the girl who makes us say, “Damn.”

It’s the women who still don’t understand where I come from when I say, ‘Date the first person who catches our eye.’ So to perhaps make my point a little bit more clear, allow me to sacrifice myself to any and all women who may think I’m not that cute or think I am a seven and it’s only because I’m funny I get an eight on a scale of 1-10. I don’t want to date any of you all, and I insist you all don’t date me.

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Categories: dating, guys, weddings Tags:

On Celebrity Crushes

January 12th, 2010 24 comments

I have a crush on a woman, who to my knowledge, has only been in one movie. Her name, Tracey Heggins. The movie, Medicine For Melancholy. I saw it last year, three times, not because of Heggins, but because I actually did enjoy the movie. So much so, I encourage anyone who hasn’t seen it to order it on Netflix. It was an independent film and a  few months ago, was released on DVD.

But enough about the movie, back to Heggins. Seriously. Someone please, put me in touch with this girl before she blows up and becomes the next big movie star. I need to meet her now and ask her out for soup before she goes the way of so many other women I’ve crushed on – the way of the red carpet.

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Categories: guys, on something, weddings, women Tags:

The Wedding Day

December 31st, 2009 7 comments

So today is the big day for my sharefriends, Ladreena and David. At 5:00 PM in San Francisco, I will stand on David’s left hand side as one of his groomsmen to witness the beautiful, young couple, with God’s blessing, transform into husband and wife in front of a church full of people. Few in the house will be more proud than me.

I have known Ladreena for going on 10 years, David half that time, and my love for them, both as individuals and as a couple, knows no bounds.

Ladreena is a no-nonsense, honesty queen, who on the surface, can appear to be a mean girl. I tell everyone when we met out freshman year at Howard through another mutual friend of ours, I didn’t speak for 20 minutes because I was afraid she would snap on anything I said. But once I got comfortable being around her and we started making jokes about other people (which is always a great way for people to break the ice), our friendship blossomed into something like family. We’ve met each others families, shared holidays together (as two West Coast transplants going to school in D.C., this was necessary), and before she met David, I was kind of like her big brother when it came to the matters of men. And she, like my older sister, always shaking her head in disapproval about some girl I introduced her to, or giving me a thumbs up when I met someone she liked.

Of course, it was through Ladreena, I met David. As I explained before, being the best male friend with a woman involves a little bit of savvy. One must know how to play the role of her brother without coming across as the guy who just never got a chance.

This can be an especially tricky balance when the woman starts to get serious about another guy, and when David and Ladreena started to date, I will be the first to admit I didn’t think it was going to last. But then again, I don’t think Ladreena did either. David took her out for her birthday, which to me already was a wack move just because it was Ladreena’s birthday and who takes someone out for a first date on their birthday? But I digress…

A couple days later I saw Ladreena and asked her how the date went. She said she enjoyed herself, but as far as first dates go, it was a little heavy. David pulled out all the bells and whistles one could. The restaurant was real nice, and had a house band playing during dinner, so David had them play her happy birthday. A sweet gesture no doubt, but again, it all seemed kind of heavy. During the dinner, he also peppered her with some rather serious questions: Things like, “When do you want to get married?” and “Do you want children?”As Ladreena is telling me these things, she’s kind of laughing, and I’m definitely laughing. She’s insisting it was cute, and I’m insisting David is crazy.

Well, five years, one child, and a wedding later, David looks like he was crazy right. And no one is happier being crazy wrong than me.

Congratulations to the beautiful couple.


P.S. Those interested in knowing about whether or not I found a wedding date, let’s just say I’m fine. Happy New Year, folks!

Categories: weddings Tags:

More About Going To This Wedding With No Date

December 15th, 2009 15 comments

Tomorrow, I will be headed back home to Seaside, California for the holidays, but equally important is tomorrow brings me one day closer to New Year’s Eve, when I see two of my best friends getting married.

I’ve talked about this a couple of times, including yesterday’s post, which was largely about how I navigate being a sharefriend to both the Bride and the Groom. There is also, of course, the issue of going date-less, and the gravitas of the occasion being on New Year’s Eve, which is a prime-time holiday for couples already.

Since the post I did about going to the wedding date-less, a couple of women have kindly offered their company on the grand occasion. Some of them I don’t know or have never met, others are good friends of mine. When I began to actually entertain the idea of going with one friend of mine, I found out that because I RSVP’d for myself only, it would be too difficult to accommodate another person at this point in time.

Then, my mom shocked me by suggesting I should take my younger sister with me to the wedding. She claims this was my sister’s idea, and my sister said that it would be a good way for her and I to spend New Year’s together, something we haven’t done in years. And I don’t know what I was more shocked by, the suggestion, or the fact that my mom was giving me the suggestion with no hint of irony in her voice.

Now before everyone starts making the ewww face, a brief story. In high school, there was a classmate of mine who actually took his older sister to prom with him. He was perfectly capable of bringing his own date, but because his sister never got to go to her prom (for reasons I don’t know), my classmate took his older sibling, who was only one or two years our senior. I later found out, taking a cousin or a sibling to prom isn’t as incestuous as one might believe. It’s not as common as say going stag, but I would rank it right up there with same-sex couples who attend prom, though way less controversial.

Weddings, in turn, are just proms for adults, and I didn’t go with my sister then, so I can’t go with my sister now.

When I went to prom my junior year, I went with my girlfriend at the time, so I knew things were going to have a happy ending. My senior year, I went with a girl who I had been friends with since first grade. Some would say she was sister-like, but she wasn’t sister-like-for-real, so there was the possibility anything could happen at the end of the night. And even though nothing happened at all, that wasn’t the point. The point was, even with no date on deck for my senior prom, I still wanted to go with someone who might, just maybe be down for a happy ending.

The wedding date, like the prom date, is what I like to call a sex-date. You either take someone you know you can have sex with, or you take someone you really want to have sex with, but haven’t had the chance to yet. All guys have them, whether it’s tickets to something like a Sade concert, or an open ticket to some trip, every guy has come up or will come up on some great date that presents a grand opportunity to get some from a woman. At the very least, it might increase some chances that might otherwise be slim.

Of course, not all dates are about getting some at the end of the night, but things like a wedding date are. There is a huge difference between being denied after dinner and a movie and being denied in a tuxedo at a wedding with a reception and champagne galore. The fall from grace is a lot greater.

So what do I do? Keep it down to earth and go solo, which might be what a guy like me deserves. Sometimes, when I go for the gold, I come up with nothing but rocks and dirt.

What I am sitting on over here is a golden ticket to my personal light-skinned chocolate factory, and of course it’s a shame I’ll be that one guy who came by himself, but the truth is, sometimes we’re all too picky for our own good and that’s how we end up on these solo missions.  As for the suggestion that there will be plenty of single women in the wedding party for me to choose from, trust me, I’ve already asked the Groom to give me a rundown, and it sounded like a Seattle weather report: Cloudy and gloomy because most women will already have dates on their own. Besides, does anyone think a bachelor like me wouldn’t inquire about such a thing before entertaining the idea of taking a date of my own? Let’s not be silly.

But all is not lost. There is still one more opportunity for me to find the perfect wedding date, and that is the bachelor party.

Happy ending indeed.

Categories: dating, weddings Tags: