A family wedding is a joyful occasion. It’s a celebration of love and commitment, and recognition of the journey towards a permanent place in couplehood. A few weekends ago, all of us had the privilege to play a role in the wedding of my sister-in-law, Jennifer : Mary Mac as flower girl, Chandler as ringbearer, and Chase as a junior groomsmen.
John and I were a part of the wedding party as well- groomsman and bridesmaid – which meant that there were a total of five folks I was responsible for getting formally dressed, posing compliantly for the cameras, and subsequently behaving properly for the duration of the day. What I couldn’t have predicted is that I would be the source of inappropriateness.
I’ve never had it happen before. It was a first time phenomenon that I would have preferred to not experience in front of a large gathering. To be quite honest, I’m not even sure those watching would have known, or even suspected my misfortune, if not for the incredulous, knee-jerk reaction that left little to the mind’s eye of the congregation.
During the ceremony, and without warning or the slightest hunch of what was to occur, a large droplet of sweat formed from the bowels of my armpit and then splashed with a sound like thunder onto the hardwood floors. I believe those in the second pew felt the vibration.
Not two seconds later, another gigantic globule from my hyperactive, anxiety-filled sweat glands took a nosedive for the ground, but this time unfortunately intercepted by the pale, turquoise satin surrounding my bodice. For those of you not familiar with the science surrounding fancy fabrics, satin stains in a large, spreading manner that cannot be hidden from others.
It was news to me, too.
Really, no one would have noticed. It could have been a secret that remained between me and my layers of chiffon, confidential information I could have kept close to my satin vest, all in an effort to act like I have some manners and just a dash of decorum.
But as proven before and I’m certain soon again, I have little control of my dramatic, impulsive reactions. There isn’t a pause button to be found anywhere in my genetic make-up or a response that remotely resembles hesitation in the molecules that define my DNA. It is something I wish were not so - in the same way I wish my thighs didn’t touch when standing - but a reality I have come to accept nonetheless.
As the bride and groom were reciting their vows, yours truly was staring curiously and quite elegantly into her armpit. For just those few seconds -which clearly is a few seconds too long - I impulsively peered under my arm to confirm the source of the waterfall of perspiration all while the handsome wedding couple committed to a lifetime of love and devotion.
I’m nothing if not a class act.
Finally, good sense overrode the bad, and I corrected my focus and posture. I glanced over at my kin – the flower girl, the ring bearer, the junior groomsman, the groomsman – who were behaving perfectly and appropriately despite the salty rain dance performed by the weak link in the family unit.
After the ceremony, I found it difficult to make eye contact with those in the wedding party. Surely, they had seen what would have appeared to be a sniff to the pits, when in all actuality was just a keen investigative examination. I reluctantly approached my mother-in-law to apologize for my distracting behavior. She – praise God – not only did not know what I was talking about but seemed confused as to why someone would admit said behavior.
“Oh, Joni,” she sighed in exasperation, but also with a twinkle in her eye, demonstrating a long and gradual acceptance of my many theatrics.
Maybe it wasn’t as obvious as I thought.
Later at the reception, standing in the elegant buffet line, I warmly accepted congratulations on the behalf of my now married sister-in-law. With each compliment offered – beautiful bride, lovely wedding party, well-mannered children – I stood a little taller, convincing myself that I had contributed to the overall success of a fabulous and glitch-free wedding.
With considerable relief, I reached for the salad tongs as an elderly gentleman behind me whispered, “ Did you find what you were looking for?”
I turned around, not understanding- yet SO understanding- jaw dropped ever so slightly, when the man mischievously added, “It’s the PITS standing up in front of a large crowd, isn’t it?”
And the last drop of perspiration burst through my apocrine sweat glands, in a final act of defiant duress and anxiety, and landed squarely on top of Mr. Smarty Pants' wing-tipped shoe.
Congratulations Jennifer and Curt! Sorry about the trouble I had with my dysfuctional deodorant.