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As I write this, I’m nursing one of the heaviest hangovers known to man, the post-wedding hangover. Put a bunch of people who partied in college together in a room with limitless booze, a reason to celebrate, and a band with a bassist who looks like bodybuilder Freddie Prinze Jr. playing ‘80s rock ballads, and you’ve got a recipe for a hell of a clusterfuck. I’m not saying that I went overboard, but I’m also not saying I didn’t chug a quarter bottle of Fireball and throw up in a hotel bathtub at one point in the night either.
Through the mayhem, however, I noticed something. The reaction of a group of guys to their friend finally taking the plunge and signing his life away on the dotted line to another human being is not unlike the five stages of grief. In fact, I would argue that the stages are actually exactly the same.
“Dude, I can’t believe he actually did it. I mean, I get that we’ve been planning on being here for months, but like…motherfucker is MARRIED now.”
Seeing a friend get married is an extremely surreal moment, especially when it’s a friend you’ve witnessed being an immature idiot on multiple occasions over the years. It doesn’t seem fathomable that someone as ridiculous and insane as you are would somehow be able to find a girlfriend, let alone convince her that he’s “lifetime of devotion” material. Sure, you’ve known about it for a long time, but when the moment comes and you see him staring down the aisle at a chick in a white dress, it all comes into focus. You realize that this goober who you used to shoot hoops and talk about boners with is actually more of an adult than you are and it throws your brain for a crazy loop.
“Dude, fuck him and his stupid happiness.”
This isn’t really anger as much as it is playful frustration. I mean, he sold out, right? You guys were all gonna be bachelor bros together, living off of cheese wiz and tag-teaming broads left and right, and then he went and fucking fell in love like a dick. Two homeboys raging against the world suddenly turned into a one-man operation. He cashed in on the goods and you’re left holding the bag. The good thing is that you have a whole night of debauchery to pour all of that rage into.
“Dude, you still have to hang out with us. I’m cool with this whole wife thing as long as we still get to see you.”
The fear of losing your friend once he ties the knot is very real. Sure, most guys are pretty good about staying around, but many men often disappear into their marriage and only pop their head out for the occasional party and championship game. So you probably spend a silly amount of time during the reception talking to your newly hitched bro, making sure he knows he’s not allowed to go all ghost on you guys.
“Dude, why can’t we have that?”
It’s hilarious to witness a bunch of single guys get drunk on a wedding night. The purpose is allegedly to celebrate the union of their friends, but in reality, there’s also a lot of drinking to forget. The toasts were moving, the bride was beautiful, the roman candles finally lit after ten minutes of failed attempts, and now everyone is gonna get sloshed so that they don’t remember how sad and alone they are.
“Dude, I’m happy for you.”
And of course, the final stage. Once you’ve played through all your emotions and you’re having your late night bonding moment with the groom, the real sentiments come out. In truth, you’re not really all that angry or depressed. Your best buddy just locked down an awesome woman for life. He won! Sure, you may not have that special person yet, but you’re glad he managed to beat the single system. So you toast to your friend, offend the nicer people in attendance with your unnecessary vulgarity, and blow chunks in the shower. Because that’s the life you chose, apparently.