Thursday, September 08, 2005

Heterosexual religious rituals

So far, I’ve managed to avoid being directly involved in Christian heterosexual rituals like births and marriages. What I mean by this is that I haven’t ever been a godfather for anyone’s children, or been best man at anyone’s wedding. That’s the way I normally say it if the subject comes up in conversation, “I’ve managed to avoid it, LOL”.

But the truth that is I would like my heterosexual friends to ask me this kind of favour. I’m value my friendships and if someone asks me to be godfather or best man they’re saying ‘you’re one of my best mates’, which is nice.

One of the reasons I’ve never been asked is that my hetero friends are a distinctly atheist bunch. Almost all my close friends in heterosexual relationships have found partners and had children without marrying. No marriage means no best man, and without marriage no christening because churches don’t christen children unless their parents are married.

One of my best chances to be godfather was with my sister’s children. I still think I should have been my nephew’s godfather. But when my nephew was born my family were still getting used to the idea that I was gay and living with my boyfriend. They wouldn’t invite boyfriend number 1 to the christening, so I didn’t go.

But finally I have the chance to be best man. A friend from college, now living in France, has invited me and boyfriend number 1 over for the wedding next Saturday and I’m to be best man :-). I’m not a very good public speaker though. Back in March when I was asked to do this I asked my friend an important question:

“I’m a bit worried about the best man’s speech. You know I’m not very good at that sort of thing, does it matter?”

“Oh don’t worry”, he replies casually, “there’s not much tradition of best man’s speeches in France”.

But a week ago I get an e-mail from him

The best man's speech will have to avoid causing scandal ...

I phone him up immediately, “You said there’s not much tradition of best man’s speeches in France, what’s going on?”

“Well it’s quite true that the French don’t tend to go in for that sort of thing”, he says with a mischievous tone in his voice. “But I’m English”, he continues with a chuckle, “and there’ll be quite a few English people there so we decided to include it!”

My French isn’t up to it of course. I’ll try and put in a few sentences in French at the beginning and end, but the core speech will have to be in English. Which presumably will be OK given that it’s not a French tradition?

But what should I say? One of the nights I always remember from our student days started out with too many beers down the pub. There were 4 of us, me and the friend who’s now about to get married, and two others. We get chatting to four local girls, i.e. not students, and end up going back to their place. I felt very uncomfortable of course, 4 guys plus 4 girls, it’s not really my scene. I wasn’t out as gay in those days. Everyone shagged except me and the poor girl I’d been paired off with! I’m sure that’s exactly the kind of story my friend is keen to avoid.

So we’re off to France for a few days. If any readers of this blog have any good tips for a best man’s speech in this situation, I’d be very grateful for an e-mail.

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