Monday 24 October 2016

Family Guy: My first big gay wedding - so, can I dress as a pirate?

Jack Sparrow is the standout character of the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' films, in real life, Johnny Depp has a son with Vanessa Paradis called Jack.
Jack Sparrow is the standout character of the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' films, in real life, Johnny Depp has a son with Vanessa Paradis called Jack.

I ALWAYS fancied that I’d someday grow into my 50s looking a sort of reasonably distinguished, ageing rock star. Tommy Lee from Motley Crue perhaps — pretty much anything but the way I actually look at 48.

This is what I’m quite possibly mumbling under my breath too, or something like it, as I open my wardrobe to look for inspiration with just four days before we all travel to England for our first gay wedding bash.

My cousin, who’s Irish, is marrying her long-time partner, a make-up artist in the movie industry, and we’re invited along for what promises to be one hell of a party; I imagine, one worth making the effort for. But, as it happens, I’m feeling less than inspired.

The shelves behind my wardrobe door look as though someone has gathered up the discarded clothes left after a 90s band reunion festival, and is holding a rather messy, charity jumble sale.

I close the door, only to be met with my own reflection, in which I resemble the world’s first pregnant male, successfully nearing three months perhaps, having already come a close runner-up in a contest for the Most Boring Hairstyle Ever. I look part roadie, part geography teacher.

I quickly open the door again, ridding myself of the mirror, and begin a half-hearted attempt at excavating the detritus of lumberjack cast-offs and band tour T-shirts again, before giving up with a sigh.

This is how I spend the next minute or so, standing in our bedroom, opening and closing the wardrobe door, until I look like some kind of stop-motion cartoon of someone fanning a fart.

“What on earth are you doing?” says my wife, coming in.

“I’m just...” I say.

“Would you mind doing it with some clothes on,” she says, “before you frighten one of the children.”

Hmm. What’s she wearing for the wedding, I wonder. But I’m too afraid to ask, as it’s already several days since she got back from her shopping expedition with the youngest, and I didn’t bother to ask her then.

Not that it would be much help to me now anyway. She’ll look fabulous. I’ll be the boring wallpaper, smiling politely and sworn to drink only in moderation. Hi, I’m David, 48, sober and sexy as a cinderblock.

In an ideal world, I suddenly consider dreamily, eyes glazing over, I’d go dressed as a pirate — Johnny Depp in flying Keith Richards fettle — then take over the band and do a near-perfect rendition of The Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil.

The very model of the modern major degenerate.

How our kids would cringe. But, truth be told, if I so much as stuck an earring in, I’m quite sure they’d curl up and die.

Honestly. It’s a gay wedding, isn’t it meant to be flamboyant? Though flipping through the limp layers of my wardrobe once again, a slightly faded Flaming Lips tour relic circa 2006, matched with a crumpled Hawaiian shirt, are about as flamboyant as I probably have to hand. If, indeed, any of these even fit any more.

“I think I’ll cancel your gym membership,” announces my wife at this moment, passing by with a basket of laundry and adding over her shoulder: “It really is such a waste of money.”

“Oh,” I say, as this sinks in.  Perhaps something in black then. I fish out a few crumpled, faded shirts that don’t quite meet the criteria, but might just do. I’ll be the ‘Man in Almost Black’; the ‘Not-Quite-Johnny-Cash’; the only grey in the village. Damn.

Slipping into a makeshift outfit for today, including the Hawaiian shirt, incidentally, which is fine when the buttons are open, thanks very much, I find the youngest downstairs, hiding under a duvet.

“So, what are you wearing for this thing?” I ask her hoarsely.

“What thing?” she says, flipping a bit of duvet off her face and squinting up at me.

“This... the... you know, gay wedding,” I hiss.

“I don’t think you really call it a ‘gay’ wedding,” she corrects. “It’s just a wedding. ‘The wedding’. So, what am I wearing to the wedding, you mean?”

I’m not sure if I’m more irritated at being corrected, or at myself for stupidly thinking this was going to be some sort of gay pride party that I should probably source an Indian headdress for, rather than just a fun, relaxed, family affair. I close my eyes and wince. Idiot.

“Sorry,” I tell her. “What are you wearing to the wedding?”

“A dress,” she says. “A black dress.”

“And your...”

“Mummy’s wearing black as well,” she says, flipping the duvet back up and adding, muffled: “Make me some noodles?”

Fine, I think, emptying the pack of chicken ramen into a pan and adding water. You know, even Bowie wears a flat cap and woolly scarf these days.

“And I bet he even makes instant noodles for his little girl every now and then,” I tell the pot.

Rock ‘n’ roll. I guess.

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