Dance Like No One (you know) is Watching

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By: Tom Schulte, CFP®

Roughly six weeks ago, after a nearly twenty-two month absence, Khrista and I returned to Fenway Park with a couple of guests. One guest was a longtime buddy of mine from Syracuse, the other was Khrista’s new friend she met during a recent orientation for Mass General Hospital’s operating room unit, whom I had not yet met. Together we had a wonderful evening – how could you not at a Sox game? We walked to the park, ate a bunch of junk, washed the junk down with some delicious, overpriced beers—all while watching the hometown team deliver a shellacking. To continue the fun, we visited the retro arcade/bar outside of Fenway, Lucky Strike. After another beer or two and a skee ball victory over Khrista’s friend, she looked over with tired eyes and a bit of a slur exclaiming, “Tommy! You’re coming to my wedding next month!” I laughed it off and graciously accepted, knowing that there was no way she would actually invite someone she just met no more than three hours ago. However, as she promised, a wedding invitation showed up in the following Thursday’s mail—a call to action for a celebration in Maine, in which I only knew one guest among the other two hundred attending.

Aside from having to coordinate a dog-sitter and digging out a wrinkled suit that hadn’t been worn since Bangkok 2019, I was pretty excited about the festivities. While speaking with my sister over the phone a few days prior, she kept repeating how fun weddings are when you don’t know the other guests. “Dance and eat shamelessly—Aunt Sarah (name changed for obvious reasons) isn’t there to judge!” And we did just that. We consumed the signature cocktails, soaked up the incredible westward mountain views, danced like maniacs, and ate like royalty, all while making some new friends.

However amongst all the fun, every so often the groom and I made brief eye contact. I wanted to crawl under a rock. I felt like a wedding crasher, a mooch, and if I were in his shoes, I would loathe a person like me. The problem was that at such a large wedding, he was nearly impossible to reach, meet and congratulate as family and friends that actually knew him wanted his time. Eventually, I was able to trap him in the bathroom to formally introduce myself and subdue my anxiety. To my surprise (and possible delusion) we hit it off pretty great. We took a quick stroll around the outside of the venue to chat, traded a couple of stories, and concluded with him inviting us to their world-famous Halloween party.

Just as my sister promised, attending a wedding where you don’t know many other guests is in fact a blast. And upon writing this piece, I was reminded that this was not necessarily the first wedding of its kind that I had attended. No, no—Mr. Courtesy himself, Alex Weiss, for some reason unbeknownst to me, invited Khrista and me to his wedding, just two months after I joined the team. This was actually the first wedding I attended without knowing many faces at all. But that time I had four ‘Aunt Sarahs’ in the form of John, Fletch, Jenn, and Alex in attendance. How do I still have a job?