My fiancé, “John,” and I are in our early 30s and getting married in two months. John has been friends with his buddy “Justin” for years – since they were kids. Justin is an okay guy — kind of weird and a little transient/unfocused in his life. but a good guy overall and has been a good friend to my man which endears him to me. John would like to ask Justin to be one of his groomsman and potentially his best man. The problem? Justin has no teeth.
I don’t know the whole history here, but for whatever reason Justin has dentures. In fact, I didn’t even know about any of this for the first several years that I knew him because he always had them in and it was never mentioned. Then, one day, he came to one of our parties without them. I was able to suppress my shock at this and acted normally, not saying anything to him. After all, it’s none of my business and as I said, he’s a good guy.
I am generally a proponent of direct communication whenever possible, so when John said that he wanted Justin to be in the wedding, I was concerned about his lack of teeth and sent him a message telling him that we would love to have him in the wedding but that I would like him to wear his dentures. He replied that he would love to, but has lost them and cannot afford replacements. John has stated that he still wants him to be a groomsman despite this.
I am torn. On one hand, Justin is a good friend to my man and I’m a firm believer that this is his wedding too so I don’t want to go all Bridezilla and say no. On the other – he has NO TEETH and I’m not exactly going for the hillbilly look in my wedding theme. I know that it shouldn’t matter, that all that is important is that we are married at the end of the day and that we celebrated that with our loved ones, but another part of me cringes at the thought of his big, toothless grin in all of our wedding photos. How can I get over this shallow impulse? — His Teeth are Giving Me Grief
Oh wow. You’re willing to tell your fiancé that his lifelong friend who, by your account has always been a great friend, can’t be his groomsman because you’re worried that your wedding theme will be messed up for a disfigurement he can’t afford to camouflage enough for your liking? Yeah, Bridezilla isn’t the only B-word for that kind of behavior.
Please, I’m urging you to take off your bridey blinders and see the whole picture here. No one is going to think your wedding is “hillbilly” themed unless you want them to. And for the record, I personally think a hillbilly wedding, complete with a washboard band, sounds a hell of a lot more fun than most stuffy affairs with perfectly chosen linens and tacky taffeta dresses where people are made to feel unwelcome because they aren’t pretty enough. And, honey, that’s basically what you’re doing. You are telling your fiancé’s best friend that he isn’t attractive enough to be at — or certainly in — your wedding. Is that the person you want to be? Because that person is shitty. Like, seriously.
I don’t even know what advice to give you except to stop being shitty. You ask me how you can get over your shallow impulse and I’m not sure you can. Maybe that’s a born trait you’re stuck with — a trait far worse than missing teeth, if you ask me — and that sure sucks. But the good news is that while you may HAVE the shallow impulse, you definitely don’t have to ACT on it. It sounds like you recognize that you’re being a shallow Bridezilla, so the next step is to say, “Self, that’s a really a really shitty, shallow thought. A close, lifelong friendship, my fiancé’s happiness and the feelings of a man whose biggest crime is not having a nice enough smile for my taste is at stake. Let’s just suck it up and carry on.” It may not feel entirely comfortable. It may nag at you that your wedding isn’t just so, but you know what? Sometimes non-shitty, non-selfish people deal with a little discomfort every once in awhile. And guess what? They survive! And they realize that sucking it up and dealing with a little discomfort every once in awhile is worth it for the greater good. It’s worth it to spare someone’s feelings, or to save a friendship, or you know, not feel like an an asshole.
On the other hand, you could always offer to buy your fiancé’s friend some new dentures. Just factor it into the cost of your non-hillbilly-themed wedding. It would certainly be a more unique groomsman gift than cufflinks he’ll never wear again.