Friday, July 25, 2008

Your Table Is Ready, Sir . . .

It was eight years ago this week that I was putting the final touches on one of the greatest bachelor's parties I had ever planned. A three day, two night CELEBRATION of life, friendship and love in Providence, Rhode Island.

It was 2000 and my very good friends from college Mike and Nicole were getting married in late-October. Thinking about the bachelor party got me thinking about the wedding which got me thinking about my weight . . . let me explain.

I was honored to have been asked by Mike (aka Pezzullo, Pez, Pezzu, etc.) to be his best man. It had been a few years since we graduated from college but our group of friends was, at the time, still very close and we all anxiously readied for the wedding with great excitement.

I was sort of nervous as summer rolled on though . . . it was getting to be "that time" of the wedding planning process when I had to go and be fitted for a tuxedo.

And not just any tuxedo. No-no. Nicole . . . who was so in control of her wedding that she actually overruled the slip covers on the chairs for a different shade of "champagne" or "gold" or "wheat" or whatever colort they called it (and more power to her for wanting it HER way, by the way) had decided that she wanted Mike and the other men in the party to wear a very traditional tuxedo (much like the ones worn at her parents and their parents weddings). Yep. We were to wear a traditional, English morning jacket with vest, ascot and flat front, charcoal and pin-striped pants. Bad times were ahead, I dreaded.

You see I had been packing on the ol' pounds in the year 2000. I had gone from a 52 inch waist to a 60 inch waist between Christmas and my birthday (think about that . . . I gained EIGHT inches in my waist in six months) and I was not looking or feeling good at all about having to put on a very formal and very "fitting" tux.

I went and got measured, faxed my measurements to Pezzu's father's cousin (or some relation to the family) who we were renting the tuxedoes from and I heard - through the grapevine - that I was too fat for the tuxedo Nicole had chosen BUT - to not upset the bride (and I do understand this) - the decision was made that the tuxdeo guy would rent the biggest tuxedo pieces he could find for me and I would have to sausage-up that afternoon and just, as Tim Gunn would say, "make it work."

Oh my. So - I had eight weeks from size submission to the wedding. We had the bachelor party. I was working, through my PR firm, on the Hillary campaign, I was traveling for two other clients, I was depressed from graduate school and I was starting to realize my weight was an issue. Instead of DIETING and losing weight, I boarded the plane for the wedding HEAVIER than when I started. I know . . . I know . . .

At the tuxedo try-on I actually cried in the changing room. It was bad. BAD! I couldn't breathe. My shoulders ached as the seams of the coat moaned. Thank GOD for the vest and ascot - I could only button three buttons on my shirt. The pants were so tight my legs tingled as though they were falling asleep from lack of fresh, oxygen rich blood.

I hastily threw the tuxedo back in the bag and just decided that it was ONE day. I would make it out of respect and love for my friends on their wedding day. I spent the next forty-eight hours just FULL of dread knowing that I was in big, big trouble.

It got to be "that time" on Saturday and I had my mother come help me get dressed (my parents were invited to the wedding - she didn't drive all the way to Groton, NY to Fall River, MA just to help me get dressed). I had ripped the pants out at the waist (for some extra room) and I was hoping she could whip stitch them to stop the splitting and I needed help with the process in general. I was crying and boo-whoing and generally hating myself and my mommy was the only one that could make it right (this was pre-Joy Sean when my mother was the ONLY woman in my life (as far as she needed to know (smile))! My mom got me in the geddup and, to be honest, I looked okay. I felt like hell but no one could really tell what misery I was in, I hoped.

I never complained to either of the Pezzulloes. My other friends heard all about it and my dear friend Delenick, when he was kind enough to ask me to be his best man a year later, actually opted for a very simple and boring black tux to make me more comfortable (something that also made me cry out of embarassment but proved to me that Delenick is very possibly the finest person I have ever known in terms of selflessness and taking friendship to the art of brotherhood). I wore that tuxedo from 1:00 PM until about 11:00 PM. I was miserable. Every time I had to stand up, sit down, walk, talk or turn my head (smile) I wanted to scream and cry.

The point of this whole story is that I had no one to blame but myself. That wedding was truly the first time that I realized that I was a HUGE man. They didn't even make a tuxedo big enough to fit me. That should have been my first sign but it was not what really did it for me. I gained another 150 pounds or so before I finally decided something had to give. Something had to change. Something had to be done.

I was MORE than happy to throw the pieces of that tuxedo in the rental bag (not even on the hanger) and give it back. And was even happier in my decision to not become a maitre'd at a fine restaurant or a personal butler!

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