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why can't three be friends?
is he really going out with her?
by mike julianelle

In preparation for a Best Man speech I was obligated to give this summer, I racked my brain for anecdotes, adages, inside jokes and inappropriate comments with which to delight the crowd and fluster the groom. Stocking the speech with humorous details about my relationship with the groom wasn't difficult; I have 13 years of shared experiences to fall back on. The bigger issue was throwing in some words about the bride, whom I've only known for 3 years, and nowhere near as well.

Obviously it's the Maid of Honor's duty (along with everyone else within a 30-mile radius) to kiss the bride's ass, but a proper Best Man can't ignore the existence of his friend's new wife and expect to be invited to their next wedding. At least one or two comments must be made with her in mind. But finding the right thing to say, or anything at all to say, can be fraught with peril.

If the words "lush," "frigid," "bitch," "whipped" or "slut" enter the atmosphere, it doesn't matter how many laughs the "stay honor" joke gets (none), there's a good chance you just lost a good friend. Remember, by the time you make your speech, they're legally bound, you're just some guy in a penguin suit everyone's praying doesn't burp or swear or puke in front of the grandparents.

It really doesn't matter how well the Best Man knows this girl, for unless it's a rare and awkward case in which he dated her first or was good friends with her to begin with, he probably only knows her as His Friend's Girlfriend. Which is to say he doesn't really know her at all.

The "friend's girlfriend" is one of life's ultimate unknowables. Who is this person that has suddenly invaded your life? One day it's just you and your buds, hanging out, partying, trying to hook up, when all of a sudden, some chick is up in your face at all times. She's in your apartment when you wake up, when you get home from work, when you get out of the shower, when you eat dinner, when you go to bed, why are you in my room, get away from me, I can't do that to him, no, I mean, okay, that's nice, wow, yeah, you're right, he doesn't have to know.

Not only is she there all the time, but her presence in your life severely reduces your friend's. He's not around as much anymore, in body or in spirit. He has obligations to fulfill, dinners to pay for, sex to have. Not only does this shatter your comfortable routine, it can change your perception of yourself. Without your buddy along for the ride, the spotlight is on you. Maybe your life doesn't seem so great. Maybe you panic. Why are you still single? What are you going to do now that your partner in crime has a new wing(wo)man? What if he moves out? Who will be your next roommate? How will you afford a place on your own? Why are you so pathetic? Why don't you just kill yourself already, you miserable failure?

Grow up. You're not 20 years old anymore. What, you pissed off cuz your friend gets more pussy than you? Fuck you. It's one thing to whine about sharing when you're in preschool, but if you can't come to terms with the fact that things change as you grow older, then your buddy's new girlfriend is the least of your problems. Go hang out with Jacko.

Once you settle down and come to terms with the march of time, you need to realize that that the initial skepticism and upheaval that comes with a friend's new relationship won't last, and that unless you are a raging prick, there is no need for things to end badly. There are 3 probable outcomes to this situation, and only one of them is bad.

1. You lose a friend. This is a worst-case scenario. If you and the girlfriend can't get along, and things get serious for them, it's an issue. This only happens to assholes and bitches. Either it's your fault and you (asshole) can't bring yourself to be civil around her (martyr), or it's the other way around and she (bitch) convinces your friend (wuss) to drop you (hero).

2. You gain a friend. Odds are your pal is a good friend because he's a good guy. Most of the time, good guys land good girls, and there are no real issues for you beyond the expected tension that comes with the start of any new relationship. So once you get past that, there's a decent chance you'll have someone new to hang out with, and I bet she knows some single girls...which leads us to #3.

3. You get a girl of your own. Often, a good friend's new relationship can be a catalyst, knocking you out of complacency and spurring you onto bigger and better things. Maybe it's a girlfriend of your own, maybe it's the realization that you need to get a new place, maybe it's something else. But sometimes a spark is all that's needed to get things rolling, and seeing a friend's life progress is often the perfect kick in the ass you need.

Provided you aren't the asshole in scenario one, things should be okay. A new girlfriend for your buddy doesn't have to end your friendship. In fact, it may be just the thing you need to improve your life! And even if you do stay complacent and lazy and uninspired to change, she'll still probably be the best pipeline to tail you've ever had, because you'd better believe that she wants you to have a girl to hang out with as much as you do. If only to eliminate a third wheel and get you out of her hair.

Obviously you'll never have the same relationship with your friend's girlfriend as he does, though if you do, more power to you, swinger. But if you're a good enough friend, you should be in it for the long haul, even if you do have to work at it a bit harder than she does. Because if things get serious and you're being a drag, and he has to choose between dead weight and regular sex, he's choosing sex. But you can survive.

Besides, if you can manage to persevere through the rough early stages and end up at their wedding, you're home free. They might even reward you by letting you give a slightly buzzed, totally petrified speech in front of 200 of their closest friends and family. Just make sure you don't botch it.


Let's get real here. You don't want to know about me. You want to know about "me".

more about mike julianelle


staring conquest
flirting with disaster
by mike julianelle
topic: humor
published: 10.17.03

bummed out
brother, spare me the whine
by mike julianelle
topic: humor
published: 5.26.06


mike julianelle
8.8.07 @ 2:51p

In case anyone's wondering, the toast I gave this past weekend went very well. Even garnered some praise from the DJ, who has surely seen tons.

So, what, are we too old to relate to this column? I bet some of you can't stand your friends' wives/husbands, even if you don't room with them.

brian anderson
8.9.07 @ 11:05a

My brother worked around a best-man toast once by saying "I don't really know the bride; I just met her. But I know my friend the groom, and I know how he feels about her, and I trust him, so she must be something great."

Pretty nifty sidestep, that.

jael mchenry
8.9.07 @ 1:14p

I've never heard the "stay honor" joke. Not sure I want to.

What did our best-man-type say about me? I have no clue. I think saying one nice thing about the bride is enough -- it's a rare couple where the best man knows both the bride and groom well, and same for the maid of honor. One toast about him, one toast about her. It balances out.

Brian, good job by your brother, I agree.

mike julianelle
8.9.07 @ 2:52p

Jael, I agree in theory with the one for one thing, but I gave another best man speech a few years back, had a shared experience with the bride to mention, forgot to, and the FIRST THING she said afterwards was that she thought i was going to mention it. D'oh!

And I can honestly say that I think a primary reason I got such a good reaction to my speech was that it was very balanced and I did have something nice to say about the bride, and since I know her, it didn't seem totally superfluous or forced.

The stay honor joke is simple and stupid and goes something like: "Honor is a difficult quality to attain. So, once you get honor, stay honor!" And then there's an additional line that gets a bit graphic.

michelle von euw
8.9.07 @ 3:03p

This is the exact reason why, at our wedding, I wanted to buck tradition and just have someone who knew us as a couple give the toast instead of our BM &MoH, who were busy enough as is. My husband overruled me, however, and we got two very nice speeches about each of us. As happens.

robert melos
8.9.07 @ 5:09p

Toasts are overrated. A simple "to the happy couple" is enough. Of course I'm old enough to have been to most of my friends 2nd and 3rd and in two cases 4th weddings, so the spouses are inconsequential.

I passed up a chance to be a best man, but I have made it with a few best men, and at least one groom.

I don't think this only applies to a certain age range. With the multiple wedding scenarios of modern life, people of all ages go through these feelings.

russ carr
8.9.07 @ 6:50p

Dude. Are you paraphrasing Axl Rose from "Get In The Ring" in the paragraph directly adjacent to this comment?

russ carr
8.9.07 @ 6:56p

Oh, and Jael, all I remember of the Best Man's toast at your wedding was him expounding on your husband's past life as a wookiee.

mike julianelle
8.9.07 @ 7:48p

Yes, Russ, I am. Thank you for noticing.

robert melos
8.11.07 @ 12:07a

To get beyond the best man phase of this into the friendship phase, I have to say in a few cases I have become better friends with the third party (girlfriend or boyfriend as the cases were), and actually in a couple cases when the friend broke up with the girlfriend/boyfriend, I ended up keeping the girlfriend/boyfriend in my life and in one case losing the original friend.

alex b
8.12.07 @ 9:52p

Grow up. You're not 20 years old anymore. What, you pissed off cuz your friend gets more pussy than you? Fuck you. It's one thing to whine about sharing when you're in preschool, but if you can't come to terms with the fact that things change as you grow older, then your buddy's new girlfriend is the least of your problems. Go hang out with Jacko.

Good heavens, I wish more guys knew that! I've listened to many, many single guys I meet complain about how their boys aren't around anymore because he's got his new wing(wo)man. In some ways, it's kind of sweet- it's the ultimate Jay & Silent Bob love in action. But when they come back and keep harping on the same story... then well, the nicest thing I can say is I know why they're single!

daniel castro
8.13.07 @ 12:01p

Damn you, Mike.

This is what's bound to happen to me. My roommate is now in a relationship with a girl who more than likely is already pregnant with his kid.

I had seriously not thought about all this shit.

So, again, damn you.

mike julianelle
8.13.07 @ 12:14p

That's what I'm here for, Danny. To educate the young'uns.

Glad to help!

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