How far can a guy go to prove his love for his girl? Will he accept humiliation? Physical discomfort? Even torture? Our writer, a rather recent groom, survived his wedding gatecrash to tell his tale.
In Singapore, it has become a known custom for grooms to undergo a genuine ordeal on the morning of their weddings, in order to respect tradition and win approval from the brides’ family and friends. Is it to test whether grooms can survive the rest of their lives? I sometimes wonder. Nonetheless, surviving the “Gatecrash” is certainly an inevitable rite of passage that married guys here have to go through!
I myself come from a culture where, on the wedding day, the bride and groom actually have it somewhat relaxing; nothing to do apart from talking a bit to the priest or minister, exchanging kisses each time the room fills with the ding-ding-ding of butter knives hitting wine glasses, and perhaps opening the dance – nothing too troublesome. In other words, they get to eat their dinner, and if you know a thing or two about the wedding banquets here, you’ll know what THAT means: yeah, they’re pretty free. The speech belongs to the best man, the spending (supposedly) to the father of the bride, the performances to good friends, and the humiliating games to the bachelors and bachelorettes! Now ain’t that easy, huh?
I did, however, marry a Singaporean, and had, as a result, to “crash the gate”! It’s good fun, of course, (well, at least in retrospect), but while it’s happening it can really be quite embarrassing and frustrating!
Singing love songs into a megaphone at 8 AM at a big housing estate with many curious neighbours peering out from their balconies, eating wasabi and bitter gourd sandwiches, drinking cocktails of vinegar and chilli sauce, biting my way through blocks of ice to get some keys out of ‘em and doing push-ups in my nice suit… that was it for me. But you know what? It apparently wasn’t all that bad a series of tasks! In fact, listening to the ordeal the other guys have gone through since then, I realise that I had it relatively easy.
Nonetheless, there are ways to counter the terrorists. Gather your hardiest best mates, those whom you know will weather fire and ice with you, as your men-in-arms. Pretend there’s a beautiful Princess in distress and you have to fight your way through the ogresses at the gate. Here are the tricks that some grooms have used to survive the wedding scene:
Be Strong of Body!
Hair stylist Kenjo Phan, age 29, like me, had something to do involving keys, except that he had to fish them out of a bucket full of melting ice cubes using only his toes. Brrrrr! And to his frozen dismay, he eventually found out that the key he needed wasn’t even in there.
Be Quick of Mind!
Lincoln Wang, also 29, who is faculty head at a business school, had to dance and sing some Korean song he didn’t even know, but he saved his skin by somehow digressing to the all-familiar Aaron Kwok. Lucky for him the ogresses bridesmaids didn’t fail him for cheating! “Even now I don’t know what that Korean song was!” said Lincoln.
Be Slow of Feet!
Lua Wei San, 36, fortune-teller (or financial analyst – his words, not mine) got away from it all by purposely arriving too late to pick his bride up! “Meeting the auspicious hour was more important,” he grinned.
Okay, Wei San got away with it, but you won’t! Let your daydreams and nightmares fill up with the potential horrors of brushing your teeth with that increasingly popular wasabi, reciting love poetry (pretty rough for the shy ones), the pain of having your legs botchily waxed (yeah, I know, ouch!), or putting on make up and wearing a pukingly-revealing string bikini (there’s just no room down there!) and you have all the stuff you need to be totally stressed-out!
Thus, for the clueless groomy boy, here’s what you and your groomsmen can expect on the morn of your wedding:
- You’ll have to fill your mouth with stuff that is sweet, sour, spicy and bitter, either separately or all combined, just like life is going to be; or like Wei San says, it is to “teach you about the many tribulations you’ll face in a marriage”
- You’ll need to find keys to unlock the different doors in the house to find your bride, and there may or may not be an ice barrier to pass
- You’ll be quizzed with questions that are specific to your bride and that you most probably won’t know anything about, and suffer consequences when you can’t answer – yeah, that’s when I did my many push-ups
- You will have silly dances or songs to perform to (and most likely both), in front of large audiences, which will end up on the big screen during the dinner, and on Youtube afterwards!
- You will have to write lovey-dovey phrases in your mother tongue. That’s right, for this you better brush up on those characters if you haven’t practiced since your O-levels!
- You will have to sign a ludicrously self-deprecating contract in which you agree to surrender all your will and time and money – and your soul, basically – to your wife-to-be
- And hope for more!
Why hope for more? My theory is that the more popular you are, the worse you are going to get! After all, it’s not revenge the band of sisters is after, but rather good fun and showing you respect! And good imagination needs equally good inspiration, so if they don’t care much for you, they won’t think of anything fun for you to do. Indeed, there’s only so much chilli sauce a guy can drink, right?