A petite girlfriend has enough wallop to get her boyfriend’s attention
What a party. Ringside seats near the dance floor for one of the ritziest weddings I’ve ever attended provide quite a show. The best downtown Charleston, S.C. has to offer has been rolled out for the occasion and all the ingredients are in place.
The groom is tall, handsome and successful. The bride, petite, gorgeous and smart. Around them swirls a bevy of hometown and college friends, all reveling in the occasion. Shrimp and grits are bountiful as are our choice of eight flavors of wedding cake. The band is loud and fun.
This couple is deserving. The love and respect they show each other is gratifying. No childish cake-in-the-face moments. Just blissful slow dancing in each others arms.
You don’t need a pair of binoculars, though, to see trouble brewing just a couple of tables away for a pair of their friends. The time is getting late, the day has been long and the young man we’re watching has been “celebrating” his buddy’s wedding since a wake-me-up toddy at tee-off that morning. It’s now nearing 11 p.m. The 6:30 nuptials are history and this young man has forgotten all about “pacing yourself.” He’s also obviously forgotten one other lesson: Never embarrass your lady.
His girlfriend, one of the most stunning among a crowd of UGA sorority row’s prettiest alums, is not at all happy. We’re not sure if it’s what he’s said or just the manner in which he’s wallowed himself across the dance floor that’s clipped her last straw. We can’t hear, but her body language — and the glare — make her displeasure clear.
His body language speaks volumes, too, but nothing that will make sense 24 hours from now after his liquor-induced fog clears.
As if to prove a point, big boy abruptly stands. The move is not well-advised when alcohol intake has reached his level. He sways a moment but then steadies — and jumps flat-footed onto the chair next to his lady love and starts to dance.
Not a pretty sight.
As if a switch has been thrown, pretty girl is on her feet. She steps out quickly, around the table, her jaw clenched and her eye on the door. That’s when big boy does something really stupid.
With one loud whoop, he throws out his arm and scoops her back into a tight embrace. He nuzzles her neck. She doesn’t even struggle and...
He never saw it coming.
Who knows what young women carry in those tiny, little flat formal clutch bags but pretty girl may have had an old-fashioned pair of brass knuckles inside hers. You could hear the impact clearly two tables away as a right upper-cut slaps against his left cheek.
Big boy’s jaw drops but not as quickly as his arms fall from around pretty girl’s waist. He just stares, open-mouthed, as the high-heeled beauty stiff-arms the exit door, leaving only a trail of wafting perfume and scorched carpet behind.
“Ouch,” I said, turning to my wife, who seems sad. Every mother can relate.
The swagger was only gone momentarily. Like someone who’s fallen and looks quickly around to see who was watching, big boy glances about and then makes a shrugging gesture. He stumbles back to the dance floor, swaying among friends again,showing his “best moves.” The tail of his formal shirt has come untucked. One shoe is untied. Others edge away, giving him room.
Soon, it’s time to see the happy couple off on their honeymoon. The fairy tale duo ride off in a blaze of sparklers and the rest of us head back inside to call it a night.
And then we see him.
There’s big boy. Sitting in the corner, hands between his knees, head cast down. He keeps nodding “yes” over and over.
Standing before him, finger wagging over his bowed head, is a tiny little woman who, if it is possible, appears to be even madder than pretty girl was.
It’s big boy’s mother.
Moments before, we just gave a grand send-off to the beautiful new couple, basking in love, happiness and mutual respect. Mama is not-so-patiently explaining how her son has let liquor come between him and that same kind of happiness.
The party’s over for big boy and he never even understood what the celebration was really all about.
• Robert M. Williams, Jr. is Editor & Publisher of The Blackshear Times. This column is adapted from one first published in 2010. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.