Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Legend: Bride (or groom) whose prospective spouse slept with the maid of honor (or best man) humiliates cheater by spreading news of the infidelity to the wedding party, then walking out.
Note the much coarser feel of the second version. The groom is not content merely to announce his bride's unfaithfulness: he provides every single guest with photographic proof, stays around long enough to savor their reactions, and spouts obscenities at the bride and best man. Moreover, his main motivation for the whole scheme is revealed as the desire to stick the bride's parents with the bill for a large wedding, even though it means actually going through with the legal process of getting married. (This last point makes little logical sense, as the groom could have walked out at any time during the ceremony and still have accomplished the same goal.) This version is almost as much about what a great prank a "guy with balls" can pull off in "his world" as it is about the fragility of romance and friendship. The legend may have picked up this extra "emphasis" in its latest
When this legend was making the rounds in 1995, a Washington Post reporter attempted to run it to ground and found, as with most urban legends, that the target at the end of the chain proved an elusive one:
Some stories are just too good to spoil with the facts.Sightings: The 1997 wedding of Stephanie Forrester (Susan Flannery) and Eric Forrester (John McCook) on the TV soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful featured a variation on this theme. A rival looking to disrupt the wedding planted a revealing photograph of Eric and Lauren Fenmore in the minister's Bible, and it fluttered out during the ceremony.
Here's one: A big wedding, very lavish and stylish. At the reception, the best man gets up to make the toast. The groom hops to his feet and says he'd like to say something first:
Thank you all for coming, and for your lovely gifts. But I am going to honeymoon in Hawaii and the bride is going to Aruba, and when we come
In yet another version, he just holds up the under-your-plate or under-your- chair picture: the bride and the best man in what is called a "compromising position" in polite company. He leaves.
Gasps. Fainting. But the party continues.
In some versions he and the bride leave, after some breakage of glass.
As with other urban myths (alligators in the sewer, people being kidnapped for body parts, movie stars appearing in emergency rooms with gerbil troubles), many people swear this story is true. They have heard it on the radio. They know someone who knows someone who was there. In some cases, they were actually there themselves.
But it didn't happen.
One source said a friend heard this story at a hotel in New Hampshire while checking in to attend another wedding.
I've heard that," said Gene Bryant, director of sales at the Clarion-Somerset Hotel in Nashua. "Just when you think you've heard everything ... I'll ask someone on the banquet staff and call you back."
He called back. "It did not happen here," said Bryant. "But it did happen in
That would be WXKS in Medford, Mass. Seems it has a morning show with a feature about weird weddings. Listeners call in to share.
A version of the tale was spread on the Internet, too, by someone who heard the best-man-and-bride story on a radio station in Chicago. In this version the groom had taped an 8-by-10 manila folder (note the precision of the details) to the bottom of every chair, directed the guests to open their surprise and waited for them to see the picture. He then turned to the best man and said "[Expletive] you," and then to the bride, and said the same thing.
Then came a tip that this wedding took place at the Glen Sanders Mansion in
The mansion is a premier spot for weddings in the Schenectady area. People there were also familiar with the story.
"It did not happen," said Kimberly Kaminski, who has been delegated to handle these inquiries. "We've had over
Brrring. Brring. "Thank you for calling Schenectady County Community College. If you are calling from a touch-tone telephone, press 1
"We don't have any marketing classes this semester," said Carol Chiarella, chairman of the business and law department. "But there is one professor I can ask."
That was Toby Strianese, chairman of the hotel, culinary and tourism department. He had heard the story from his wife, who heard it on the radio. Then he heard it again from the dean's secretary, who heard it at a cocktail party. So he told the story in his class while his students were working on a marketing plan, to illustrate how rumors get started and can hurt a business. There were two students who work at the Glen Sanders Mansion, and he asked them if the story was true. They said it wasn't.
Another student said he had a cousin who was actually at the wedding. Strianese asked him to find out from the cousin what day the wedding was and the name of the groom, but the student never reported back.
"It's clearly an impossible story," said Strianese, who has worked in the restaurant business for
The thread could perhaps be unraveled further, back to the person who actually dreamed it up. But that seems unlikely now that so many people — normal people — insist that it happened.
Strianese came across the story two more times. A student had a friend in Plattsburg who heard it on the radio. And a colleague heard it at a party of lawyers, where three of them were trying to figure out which principal was liable.
Now it has traveled to Washington. People love this story. They want to believe it. The Internet writer called it the Wedding Revenge story, emphasizing the retributive aspect of the groom going through with the ceremony, making the bride's parents pay for the huge reception for 300, and then wrecking the miscreants' reputations in front of all their nearest and dearest. Something so delicious just had to be true.
And Paul is dead.
Last updated: 9 July 2005
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