My older son is getting married on Saturday. This places me in the role of Father of the Groom, no audition required. Unlike the role of Father of the Bride, which provides much dramatic suspense (Will he give her away or will he keep her?) and even cinematic acclaim (cf. Spencer Tracy in 1950 and Steve Martin in 1991), my little role has no lines and few defined activities apart from looking cheerful and keeping out of the way. And so, my aspiration is to be the kindly old gent in the silent movies who smartly follows the director's orders to sit here, stand there, or smile for the camera.
The Father of the Groom serves a minor ceremonial function, much like a plain stone pedestal beneath a festive bouquet, and like the pedestal should not himself be an object of interest or attention. As all of my existing suits were likely to flout this dictum by provoking curiosity (Why would a man his age wear that?) or mirth (Didn't seersucker suits go out with the Eisenhower administration?), I sought expert help from my clothier Vince, who steered me toward a quietly dignified black suit and away from my favorite: a dashing suit the color of sapphire-tinged charcoal. As Vince so succinctly put it: "When they take the wedding pictures, do you really want to be the old guy in the blue suit?"
No, indeed I don't. Thanks to Vince, I'll instead be the smiling old guy in the nice black suit.