DAILY BRIEFING
Good Game

Aug. 28 - I think I mentioned in one of the earlier blogs about the wedding that not every speech at the reception was a speech. I realize I've been using toast and speech interchangeably, but you can't even say that every speech was a speech or a toast.

In fact, a Danish wedding reception (or bryllupfest, if you're keeping score) is more like a variety show than anything else. Some guests offer a simple toast, but most give speeches, sing songs, perform skits, juggle poodles, whatever. There can even be games.

The first game at our reception was the brainchild of a group of Trine's childhood girlfriends who refer to themselves collectively as Chicksene ("The Chicks"). After a brief speech in which they presented their gift—a weekend getaway virtually anywhere in Denmark—we were told that the gift also included some walking around money, but we'd have to win that by playing their version of "Who Wants to Win Some Walking Around Money."

Since Trine's friends know all about her and very little about me (probably why they approved our marriage), I was the contestant and all of the questions were about Trine. I was given the usual three lifelines.

The Chicksene lined up in the middle of the room; four of them to hold up multiple-choice answer selections, two more to serve as a joint Regis Philbin. The questions were brutal: What was the name of Trine's handball team? What was the name of the bar in which she spent agest fourteen through eighteen? What was the name of her elementary school? Who was her roommate in 1991? Which country did she not visit on that celebrated adolescent Eurail tour? And so on.

Left to my own devices I would have crashed and burned on every question, but the sign-bearing Chicksene were pretty good about letting me know which of them was holding the right answer. Even when I knew I was right, though, the Regis Chicksene asked if it was my final answer with such terrifying intensity that I could hardly bear to answer. After the first couple of questions I realized that I could just watch Trine as the answers were introduced: she nodded slightly every time the right one was presented—some kind of involuntary reflex.

Later in the evening I told her I'd cheated. I explained how I'd had to watch her reactions to get the right answers. I told her she'd better work on her poker face.

"You idiot," she said. "I was nodding for you."

* * *

Another game, this one modeled on The Newlyweds, came toward the end of the dinner. Trine and I were instructed to stand on our chairs with our backs to one another, to remove our shoes, and to swap one shoe each. We would then be asked a series of questions about our relationship, all of which could be answered either "Greg" or "Trine." If we thought the answer was "Greg," we were to raise my shoe (sandal). If the answer was "Trine," we were to raise hers. There were no right or wrong answers, we were assured: we would be scored only on whether we agreed (good) or disagreed (bad).

This was also rough going. When the dishes piled up, who was usually first to clean them? Who made the first move when we got together? Who is the primary caretaker of the cats? (Actually, that was an easy one.) And so on.

We disagreed more often than we agreed but were given a bottle of champagne anyway. I thought that was sweet: we didn't even deserve Turtle Wax.

Anyway, both games were entertaining for us and for our guests. Neither game humiliated me, which was also a plus—but there was one final act left: the best man, who traditionally closes the show.

Tomorrow.

* * *

I ought to point out that this kind of variety-show format isn't limited to Danish weddings. Although I haven't been to any birthday parties or anniversaries yet, I'm told that they too frequently devolve into these Mickey & Judy barnyard productions. Hell, from what I've experienced of the Danish capacity for celebration, I wouldn't be surprised if their funerals included twelve-piece bands and dancing girls.

[To be continued...]

Happy Thursday!

2003, The Moron's Almanac™

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