Sunday, July 1, 2012

Reporting for Duty

On May 19, 2012, I had the honor and pleasure to serve as a bridesman in one of my best friend's from college wedding, Sarah.

(Sarah and I, graduation from the University of Missouri, 2006. Facebook doesn't have pictures of us back in 2003).

Sarah and I unofficially met in Spanish class in Spring 2003. We officially met at the Kappa Delta, Lambda Chi Alpha and Alpha Gamma Rho's Greek Week Marriage Party when I remember her yelling "hey, you're in my Spanish class!" And magic was made. The short of it, Sarah and I managed to take every Spanish class there after together (except for one - what a sad semester) in order to obtain our minors in Spanish. (I'm still not 100% if I filed the paperwork correctly, oh well.) But before taking almost every Spanish class together, our friendship was born.

To blog about nearly 10 years of friendship would be impossible. Heck, even covering the highlights would take days. But here is a brief list that will always come to mind when I think of Sarah Barfield Graff:
- annytime I'm more than two tequila shots in and start speaking Spanish.
- attempting to use American Sign Language (the second language we "mastered" together.)
- our internship in Washington, D.C.
- any type of beauty pageant (I was there when she was crowned Miss Morgan County 2003.)
- Kappa Delta

This is just a short, short list of someone who has been one of my best friend's since 2003. And of course, our friendship has had it's trials and tribulations (I mean, we're close to perfect...). But who wants to hear about those? Let's just say the friendship survived petty drama and two moves across the country. That's the short of it.

I'll be totally honest in sharing I always kind of wondered what, if any, role I would play in Sarah's wedding. It was easy to talk about when she wasn't dating someone and for her to say "you will totally be in my wedding." I completely understood my role as one of her male best friends... easy to say now, but what will the future husband say? Apparently, not much at all. Jody understood mine and Sarah's relationship perfectly and to my knowledge, never really felt threatened. (Of course, I did move to Virginia soon after they got together so I guess if there was any thoughts of threat, it was quickly squelched. Ha ha.)

Sarah asked me to be her bridesman in January, and from the beginning, I was included in everything. The other (awesome) bridesmaids took it in stride as well. We had a blast at the male best friend friendly bachelorette party and had a blast at the wedding. The guys on Jody's side took it very well as well, even when bridesmaids' escorting had to be shared because I created an uneven number.

(me and two of my fellow bridespeople.)

As someone who did most of their graduate work studying men's gender development, being a bridesman put an interesting twist on my knowledge. It was awesome to see everyone from the church lady coordinating the wedding to the photographer to the minister using appropriate language. After only one stutter each (generally along the lines of: "OK, we need all the brides.........people for pictures/stand over here/start walking when...") Once they got through that one stutter, bridespeople rolled off everyone's tongue.

Leading up to the wedding, it was really neat to explain my involvement. Yes, Sarah is a woman. Yes, I'm in the wedding. Yes, I'm standing on her side. Yes, I'm wearing a tux. (My tux matched all the other guys.) Nearing the wedding, Sarah was still not 100% how I was getting down the aisle. The options included walking her mom down and then taking my position, coming out with the guys and then moving sides, or walking down like the other 'maids. In the end, Sarah chose option three. I walked down the aisle myself like the other bridesmaids... I even had position three - smack in the middle of her attendants. Sarah decided not to make me the typical male.

So Sarah, thank you for letting me take part in your special day. Thank you also for letting me take part in my own gender study as well!