Here’s an illustration of a great, simple Best Man’s speech ‐ no frills, no fuss
‘Ladies and gentlemen, Jean and Charles [bride’s parents], Rodney and Rowena [groom’s parents], Mr and Mrs Tate [the newly‐weds, pause for a cheer here]…
‘It is with great pleasure that I respond to Julian’s [the groom’s] kind toast on behalf of the bridesmaids. Even though he is too vain to be wearing his bottle‐topped National Health glasses today, I can confirm, Julian, that the bridesmaids do look as lovely as you just said, even though you were raising your glass to the waitress at the time.
‘My other duty today is to regale you with stories of Julian’s wicked past. I have to admit this has been tough to prepare for: not due to any shortage of stories but because most of them are too ‐ how can I put this? ‐ colourful to be retold in such refined company. Not counting you, of course, though Dave [to one of the ushers].
‘So in the end I thought: where better to begin than on that other auspicious date, thirty‐odd (and his life has been odd) years ago, when Julian was born? In 1969, the year of Julian’s birth, Neil Armstrong took his first tentative steps on the moon, as Julian took his own first baby steps. His mother tells me Julian also made his own “giant leap for mankind” ‐ unfortunately Julian’s was off the big slide in the park and resulted in a lovely little scar that I’m sure Helen will be seeing later…
‘Also in the year of his birth, the 50p piece was introduced into British currency, as Julian was making his own first little “pees”! It was also the year Sesame Street first hit our TV screens and I’m told that Big Bird was a huge favourite of Julian’s. That same year saw the publication of the first issue of Penthouse magazine and, er… I’m told that big birds have also been a huge favourite of Julian’s.
‘But enough of his childhood. I cannot remember exactly when I first met Julian. It could have been at a college lecture. It could have been on the golf course. It could have been in Chasers, our local nightclub. What I do remember clearly is that Julian was slurring his words and falling about the place. So chances are, it was in a lecture.
‘Julian is a fantastically generous and loyal friend. He’s more than happy to come and collect you from your house and drive you to the golf course for a round at any time. He is also happy to coach you in your game with “encouraging” remarks at the very moment you are about to tee off.
‘Julian is also a very trusting person. I remember one day when we went en masse to Leeds to visit an old mate for a party. Julian got lost on the way back from the pub and couldn’t find where we were staying. Luckily, as he stumbled about the city centre he bumped into a charming gang of lads who claimed they knew where he was staying and offered to escort him there.
‘Arriving back at the student flat, Julian was so overwhelmed by how kind the locals had been, he offered to make them breakfast. A full English and several cups of tea later they left and Julian woke up his hungover mates to say how taken he’d been with his new friends. Taken, it later emerged, was indeed the word for it… his wallet, car keys, watch and mobile phone!
Still, with Helen to look after him, Julian should be able to avoid such crises in future. I speak on behalf of all his mates, and with total sincerity, when I say that we still can’t believe that anyone that lovely has agreed to take him on.
‘Perhaps Helen should take some advice from that other paragon of great loveliness, Joanne Woodward, who has said of her own long marriage to Hollywood sex symbol Paul Newman: “Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that’s a real treat.” Helen, as you can see, he’s no Paul Newman. But, just looking at him (or his scar), I think we can be sure that he will give you a laugh every day.
‘And so ladies and gentlemen, I ask you to raise your glasses to a long, laughter‐filled life together for the lovely couple ‐ to Helen and Julian!’