For all whom have read my posts in relation to my wedding, they would have realised that the part that I probably the most reservations about (or simply… fear), was the picking up of the bride. Now remember, I’ve never been to a Chinese wedding before. And I’ve been in Australia for 20 years. This was not my culture.
In western culture, a wedding day is to be the classiest of all days. The beauty, the elegance, the splendour. Trying to haggle your way through the door to pick up your bride, and in the process getting totally embarrassed or humiliated in front of a massive audience, before forced to demean yourself to totally unpredictable ways before being allowed to see your bridge is about as far from the class of a western wedding that one could expect. But unfortunately, this was not a western wedding.
Now over the past year, people have relished in seeing me squirm when they regale to me the many horror stories that they’ve been fortunate enough to witness, and sometimes unfortunate enough to partake in, during the course of various chinese wedding days. Things ranging from the humiliation of the groom, to him becoming all hot and sweaty and tired, to throwing up when fed something that is just awful. What man in his right mind would choose to do this?
Initially I told Erica I didn’t want to do any of it, because it all seemed a tad silly to me. And she said that it would be fine if I didn’t want to do it, and she would just explain it to her “sisters”. But seeing the look of disappointment on her face, and knowing how much it would be to not just her but her friends whom are also so close to her, I told her that I would do it. But I wanted her to know first and foremost that what I chose to do, I do it only out of love of her. It was not my tradition, I’m not bound by any obligation to do it, but I do it purely out of love and my want for her to have a perfect day.
Of course all girls love the gatecrash. Purely because they never have to go through it! They find it so easy to call a guy a spoilsport and all that nonsense but think about it…. it’s the most important day of your life. You’re dressed up in your wedding suit, you groom yourself the best you can, it’s already a tense and emotional day that will change you forever. Do you really want to get all hot and sweaty from some of the games that the girls make you play? Getting flustered and hot under that suit in Singapore weather? Do you really want to drink vile stuff and risk vomiting from it and feeling sick on that day? Do you really want to have to wax your legs or throw on diapers to dance in front of a crowd?
If any guy in history had even dared to suggest the same of the bride, all dressed and made up to perfection, to go through those same things on her day of days, I’m sure it wouldn’t be long before that guy is swan diving on the balcony after being thrown off by the bride and her bridesmaids. To me, it’s another one of those hypocritical things that women do. It’s all fun to do, as long as it’s not done to them. Just imagine me coming from a different culture, and part of that culture was to torment and torture the bride on the day? Doesn’t sound so fun now huh?
Now I had a few ground rules for the gatecrash. Basically I’m someone whom gets embarrassed very easily so I told Erica to tell her bridesmaids that whatever they do, make sure that it doesn’t cross the border from embarrassment into humiliation because really, no one enjoys being humiliated. Secondly, whatever they need to do, do it to me and me alone. My groomsmen are all Australian, and they don’t have understanding of this culture. To them, like me, the day is supposed to be classy. I’m obliged to do these games for the love of my wife, however, they are not.
So everything seemed okay until….. one of Ericas bridesmaids (*cough* Dawn *cough*) accidentally forwarded an email to Erica which not only showed Erica some of what was planned for her hens night, but also some of the suggestions for what was to take place for me during the gatecrash. Whoops! You know who you are 😉 Hahaha!
Basically some of the suggestions involved me and my groomsmen having to lick kaya or nutella off each others face, or having to pass a sweet between each other from mouth to mouth. To say I hit the roof is putting it lightly. Emily was in the room at the time, and she was part of the organisation of the games I would have to play. Erica and I didn’t tell her about the email that we saw, but I basically just gave a very stern warning that if the games were too stupid, I would just talk straight out that door. If the girls insisted on doing anything that was just too humiliating to me or my crew, they faced the risk of me doing an about face, heading back downstairs to the car, and telling the bride to either come down or meet me at the church.
I mean c’mon…. licking foodstuffs off each others face??? What the fuck?? That is some sick shit right there!!! But thankfully, none of those things came to pass. The night before the wedding, I prepped my groomsmen to prepare for what may happen when we walked through that door. I explained to them the Chinese tradition of which I had agreed to follow, and told them that I had done my best to ensure that whatever the girls did, they would do only to me, but if they could support me the best they can, it would mean the world to me. They ensured me that whatever happened, they were with me all the way. It meant alot to me though I would have expected nothing less from them as they are the best bunch of friends I could ever ask for.
Now on with the show.
We were slated to leave our hotel at 8:45am, to pick up bride at 9am. I woke up completely exhausted, but still excited. I had zero sleep the night before last (thank you drunken Erica), and didn’t have the best of sleep last night either because I just kept thinking that in a few hours, the big moment would be upon me.
The boys all got changed and rallied together for some breakfast at the hotel of which I couldn’t eat a bite. Bawdy, my best man, forced me to try to eat a slice of toast with honey to help the churning in my stomach. I took two bites after which I just couldn’t have more. I received a phone call from the concierge advising me that the wedding car had arrived to pick me up. And soon after Glenn, another groomsman arrived. We all returned to the rooms to pinned our corsages, and it was finally time. The guys and their girlfriends whom weren’t helping me left first to get to the apartment ahead of us. Once they were gone, I got into the wedding car, whilst Glenn, Falcon, and Bawdy got into their respective car, chauffeured by Ericas cousin, and off we went.
We arrived at the Orchard Park Suites where Erica was staying. I called Emily to let her know that I had arrived only for her to tell me that the bridal party still wasn’t ready, and that I should just drive around the block and wait until she calls me and lets me know they are ready. Sigh… women! And so we just drove off for a little and waited for a few minutes before returning again. I called Emily a second time and this time she sent down the traditional “little boy” which was their cousin Nicholas to open the car door for me. Here I was, stepping out, armed with only my pride, dignity, a plate of 12 oranges on a tacky plate, and my ang pows. I gave Nicholas his ang pow, and we proceeded to head up to the 23rd floor where the action was waiting to happen.
To say that the long ride up the elevator was nerve wrecking is a gross understatement. Basically, there were to be between 20-30 people in that apartment waiting for us. That is one hell of an audience to do god only knows what. I had butterflies in my stomach, and I was short on breath. The lads reassured me that everything was going to be find, gave me a few reassuring pats on the back, and that was it. It was time. Standing before that door, about to press the buzzer was another moment that I don’t think I will ever forget.
Time waits for no man, and so I mustered up what little courage I possessed and hit that buzzer. The door opened a crack, stopped by the security latch. The first thing I heard, besides “hello”, I believe went along the lines of “Give me money”. Now I had prepared 2 ang pows with the max amount that I was going to pay, based on what everyone told me was acceptable. Given that Erica had 8 bridesmaids, it wasn’t going to be cheap! But that’s all relative. I tried to get away with one, but eventually was forced to relinquish the other after much poor haggling on my part…. damn!
So we marched in finally to much cheering and clapping from all inside. It was truly a sight to behold. We walked in with no idea of what to expect when we walked through that door, and I have to say it was quite unnerving to walk into a room that was absolutely packed full of people! The sights and sounds of them all was a tad overwhelming, and I think my head started to spin a little big. I saw all the smiling bridesmaids whom looked absolutely gorgeous, and gave Emily whom looked amazing a hug. We were stopped before moving too far into the room by Christina whom was obviously the appointed representative of the girls.
She congratulated us for getting through the door, and told us that we now had a few other tasks to complete. She said something about have to do 4 things which corresponded to sour, sweet, cold, and hot, or something like that. I didn’t catch all of it as I was in a bit of a daze. The first thing we had to do was to suck on a lemon or lime cube. That was simply enough, though I’m not really a fan of sucking on sour things so it wasn’t that pleasant an experience. Whilst still sucking away, Chris suddenly mentioned that we had 4 seconds left to finish it! And so we chomped down quickly on that large ice cube, of which I then proceeded to suffer the accursed brain freeze… argh!
Now that was done, it was time for the next one. Sweet I think it was. Basically it was 4 slices of bread and a tub of strawberry jam. And all we had to do was eat it. Sound simply? It sure did! However, it seemed suspiciously too simple… we looked at the tub of strawberry jam and figured that it simply had to have something nasty hidden inside it! So we opened it up and surprise surprise, it was just strawberry jam! So Glenn made the incorrect assumption of thinking that they must mean we had to finish the entire tub of jam! So he pour out the entire tub onto the four slices of bread, and Chris then told us we had 8 seconds to finish it! Argh… talk about a sugar overload. It wasn’t easy trying to cram a slice of bread with a mountain of wobbly jam into your mouth in 8 seconds, without getting it all over your suit, but we did it. Only to find out that the girls hadn’t planned for us to do that, but only to spread it normally with jam!!! ARGHHH!! GLENN!!!!!
Now the third one task was cold. This involved drinking a glass each of some nasty looking concoction. I had anticipated to be given a glass of celery juice, because everyone knows that I can’t take celery and it would make me throw up in a horrendous way. I would have put money that I would have been given celery to drink! But much to my surprise, I wasn’t! Instead I had a glass of some yellow drink whilst the guys had a glass of some green drink. It turned out to be some mix of ginseng and something else. Now it wasn’t too bad, but definitely wasn’t pleasant either. I’ve never really drunk ginseng and so it left quite a nasty after taste on my tongue.
Finally we had the last task, which was hot. Anticipated something spicy, we were quite surprise, and worried, when Chris handed us a shower cap each. We all looked at each other wondering what the hell was gonna happen! Were we going to get sprayed with something??? After we put on the shower caps, Chris proceeded to tell us that for “hot”, we had to be “hot”. We had to do a sexy dance until they saw fit for us to stop. Argh… it was horrible. I hate dancing at the best of times, and I don’t think my body knows the meaning of the term “sexy dance”. So she started playing some song on the laptop that we could barely hear because the speakers were too soft, but we did our best to gyrate ourselves pathetically anyway. And before we knew it, it was done. It was over.
The guys all looked at each other and when “Whoa, that was easy!”. I was surprised, the girls must have toned it down tremendously for us! Woohoo!! And so I started to march along to corridor to find Erica before being halted the by all the bridesmaids complete, barring my way to the closed door of the room that contained my bride.
The final task for me, was to create a poem out of random words that they have selected for me. That gave me a list of words, words that seem to have been plucked from my blog, and told me to pick 5 words and create a poem that I would have to speak to Erica through the door, that contained all 5 words.
The words that I had chosen were “Skydiving”, “Weapons”, “Water”, “Homeless”, and “Bosom”. I had to quickly make up an impromptu poem and read it with no time to prepare. Falcon had a wonderful suggestion of “Roses are red, violets are blue” then just read out the words I needed to! hahaha… it was a fantastic idea, but somehow I didn’t think the girls would buy that. And so, I did the best I could. I knelt down before the door, words in hand, and I think I churned out something like this from memory.
“Erica, I love you, and I can’t wait to come through to door to see you. Being with you makes me feel like I’m skydiving. Because every moment with you makes me feel like I’m flying without wings. You disarm me with all the weapons you have in your arsenal. Weapons like your love, your care, your patience, your kindness. And also your formidable bosom, which most definitely disarms me. You are to me like water is to a man dying of thirst. So please let me come in, let me come home. For my home is where ever you are and without you, I am truly homeless. I love you, and I can’t wait to marry you.”
Either way, it got me through the door… hoorah!!! I was just so happy to see Erica. She looked absolutely stunning. My gorgeous bride was sitting right there on the bed waiting for me. However, as I tried to kiss her, she kept turning her head away from me so I couldn’t kiss her on the lips! Grrrr… I didn’t know why and so settled for kissing her on the cheek. She later told me that she had lip gloss on and didn’t want to get it messed up. Damn women and their damn lip gloss! So unfortunately, no photos of me kissing my bride on the pick up, which sucks.
It was now time for the tea ceremony. It was an interesting and somewhat fun experience to serve tea to all of her relatives. Surprisingly, we didn’t have to kneel down in front of them. The aunts and uncles rotated through the two seats and we took turns offering them tea, and receiving ang pows in return. When we offered them tea we had to say the their name or whatever in Chinese and “her cha” or whatever. Everyone kept laughing at me because I sound like a white person trying to speak Chinese. Hmph, I’m insulted…. I know it’s true, but I’m still insulted!! Time to brush up on my lingo! But the final serving ended up with us on the chairs and being served tea by Emily… hah! That was funny
After the tea ceremony Erica and I had to spoon feed each other these sweet dumpling things which was a little unexpected. But well it still helped a little to get that ginseng taste off my tongue We had to keep eating it until it was all finished.
We rounded off the session at the apartment with photos, hugs, and congratulations on a job well done by all. Ericas Dad escorted us out of the apartments and down to the waiting car. He had to hold this cheena ching chong umbrella over Erica from the lobby to the car which looked quite amusing to me And from there, it was off to the church. It was a fun morning and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone I hope!
However, it was only later on that I found out that I had the bridesmaids Dawn and Denise to thank for all the games being so tame. The two of them, god bless their cotton socks, argued against the insanity that the rest of the girls were pushing for and came out on top. They, like me, argued that it was pointless to do all the embarrassing and humiliating games and there wasn’t much point in it. God bless them god bless them god bless them!!! Even my father in law kept repeating to me again and again through the morning that I got off VERY easily and that I am extremely lucky! Haha.. I’m know I am
So there it was. With the first part of the day complete, it was now time to move onto the second and most important part. The ceremony. I just want to say a big thank you once again to Glenn, Bawds, and Falcon for being such good sports and my wingmen on such a special day. I won’t forget it. And of course, a big thank you once again to Dawn and Denise for the easy games You gals rock too!