Question (Sung like Destiny's Child): Who doesn't love a party?
Correct Answer: Anyone with a severe crowd induced anxiety condition but I didn't want Twitchy Tom to come anyway.
I'd changed my Facebook status... I'd sent out up to three different variations of group text (which people only seemed to resent as being impersonal)... I mean Jesus I'd even looked at some people directly in their needy little faces and told them that we were engaged. But that is just not enough for some people.
They need, atop all of this, a formal invitation to an immediate party before the actual party a year later. In essence an engagement party is simply a very premature pre-lash but to be honest if anyone actually maintains their inebriation until the wedding day their liver will be the shade of a very dehydrated wee (you know the ones that smell like sugar puffs?). And if they meet their maker as a result of this then HEY there's one less person to buy a three-course meal for.
There is an old saying that says: 'Good friends are like stars. You don't always see them, but you know they are there!' Well as soon as you have an invitation list to make it's like Orion opened up his saucy little belt and had a thousand baby starlets.
When you make a wedding invitation list it is the opportunity you've been waiting years for: dividing your nearest and dearest into categories and levels of 'give a fuck-ness.' The levels range from Must Be There all the way down to I Think They Died.
Little tip: If you are unsure as to whether or not someone is living, you don't need him or her at your wedding. Especially if they are actually dead.
So imagine: an engagement party is an opportunity to whittle down your list of 100 closest humans down to just 40. Like a friends and family based boot camp, where myself and the other judges stand around pictures on a table and pick our top 40 for the live show, completely ignoring anything Louis has to say. Unless we share blood, deep emotional history, or most importantly of all: you recently invited me to a party, you ain't coming.
The day of the shindig, as the kids call it (if those kids were highly unpopular) had arrived. Having made the wise decision that it was not overkill to wear both tartan and tweed simultaneously I was ready to be centre of attention. Well joint centre of attention I suppose - but to be fair you can't be joint centre, centre is a singular point - so who's to say who was centre of attention. But I WAS WEARING TWEED AND TARTAN AT THE SAME TIME!!!!
Before the party we had planned that there would be lots of drinking and nibbles or 'canapés' as they're known to people who wash their hands EVERY single time they go for a wee (fancy bitches). Then my future father-in-law and I would say a few words to thank everyone for coming and then more drinks and nibbles (I can't say canapés because sometimes I'm in a public bathroom where it feels more hygienic to just not touch the taps).
It all would have been perfect if it hadn't been for one thing... MARCELLO...
No it wasn't a name of the cocktail we drank, Marcello was one of many people who walked around my in-laws home ensuring that everyone's glass was at capacity. Imagine a genie but instead of granting you three wishes he makes you blind. Actually that's not really much like a genie at all, erm ok imagine a homophobe but instead of hating gay people he hates sobriety, or imagine a stylist but instead of helping you put clothes on he makes you want to get naked and do bad things to the salsa... you get the point. Marcello breezed through that house like a shy turd (you know you felt something but you look down and there's nothing there). Hiding under the u-bend Marcello had been filling my glass of wine like a Sauvignon Blanc ninja. Before I knew it I was, as the French say; Furrcked ov ma tittes.
As my future in-laws, my future wife and myself stood in front of the assembled masses preparing to say 'a few words of thanks,' the only thoughts in my head were whether or not Justin Timberlake in the 90's had ever seen how many pencils he could get to stay in his hair at one time. My estimate was 23 and I think that is dangerously close to accurate.
The next five minutes appeared to happen in slow motion, perhaps due to shock or perhaps due to some severe cranial damage caused by fermented grapes... Delicious, delicious fermented grapes. My future father-in-law brought the room to a dulled hush signifying that he was about to speak, I casually moved my thoughts away from JT and back to the moment and began to think about how I'd thank everyone for coming.
Then it happened.
Phoebe's father reached his hand into his pocket and slowly removed....
I couldn't believe it. 'We'll just say a few words,' he said 'it'll be fun,' he said 'no one will have to know,' he said - wait no he didn't say that last bit. I felt like a cop whose trusted partner of 20 years had moved the gun from facing the suspect and pointed it straight at my face. He whispers 'I'm sorry' as he passionately kisses the person I believed to be an enemy, and pulls the trigger.
'Ladies and Gentleman... blah blah.... Beautiful well constructed joke... Touching sentiment about love... something about being great and supportive... chokes up talking about how much he loves his daughter and how happy he is she's found me... blah BLAH BLAH BLAH
'... and I believe Alex has something he'd like to say.'
To this day I still have no real idea as to what I said, however, people did come up to me afterwards and say that I had made them cry, so it was either: beautiful, violent or racist, or perhaps all three (triple threat bitches!). People leaving thinking, God he loves her but I wish he hadn't kneed that Flemish guy in the spine.
Watching on in awe as the queue cards emerge.
Regardless of what I said the night continued until the wee hours, and some people even washed their hands after. Marcello got me to a point where I seriously considered marrying him (oh Marcello you tricksy devil) and the guests stumbled their way into the distance.
Rumour has it there was lovely food; I don't entirely remember that bit so can't give much anything on that... soz... not soz.
As I climbed the stairs to bed my mind ran through the night and I realised the only thing flowing more abundantly than the liquid beauty of Marcello, was love. Every person that we really adored was gathered in one place to show us how much they support and cherish us, except for my mother who I caught dancing barefoot in a puddle of spilt booze to the dulcet tones of B*Witched. She wasn't even wearing any Scottish patterned clothing how did she become centre of attention??
I climbed into bed next to a fiancé in varying states of undress, who delicately snored the fragrance of joy, love and mustard mash into my face:
'I love you too,' I whisper - Blackout!
So just remember if you're reading this and you weren't invited then sorry, but I thought you died.