Sugar at the Wedding

There were two older women sitting at our table when we arrived for the reception after taking photos with the bride and groom. The table was meant for the maid of honor and the groomsmen — my closest friends from college, which is why I was seated with them. The women looked like they were in their late 40s or early 50s, and, at first, I thought they had crashed the wedding, which was held at a historic hotel near downtown Los Angeles. Anyone could walk into the hotel dressed for the occasion, and have their fun at the open bar. But that only happens in the movies, right?

The two women had actually moved to our table from a table in the back of the room, and said they wanted to be closer to all the action — the action being four single groomsmen who had not brought dates to the wedding.

“Look at all these handsome young men,” they purred. “This is going to be fun.” Two servers were called, and two additional settings and chairs were squeezed around the table. I loosened my bow tie a bit.

Up until that point, everything had gone according to plan. As a wedding gift, I had contributed to the couple’s “Honey Fund,” which allowed you to contribute money to the couple’s honeymoon in lieu of gifts. Since we tend to value experiences more than things, I loved the idea that you could buy a romantic dinner for one night of the honeymoon, or a few hours of swimming with dolphins.

The wedding was also held at the hotel, and was lovely (the vows especially), and not overly long — it was over in about 30 minutes. There was a photo and cocktail hour, and then we were all shuffled into the ballroom. That was when we were greeted by the two women sitting at our table.

One of the two women grabbed the groomsman sitting to my right and twirled him onto the dance floor as Irving Berlin’s “Dancing Cheek to Cheek” played. I admired her audacity. When they returned to the table, there was makeup on his collar and he whispered, “She said something to me out there, but I can’t repeat it here.”

We would guess what that was later in the night. We learned that this mysterious woman was married (but her husband was in Arizona at the moment), that she enjoyed kissing on the lips (I turned my head at the right moment so the kiss landed on a closed eyelid), and that she loved to take care of people (“I’d take care of you if you wanted me to”).

In the movies, I think they would call this being a “kept” man or woman. In less sophisticated terms, they would call this having a sugar mama or daddy. In response, I said, “You are very kind,” and left it at that.

I considered for a moment what it would be like a kept person. What would I do? What would I want? I am not going to kid myself and say that vacations and having my rent paid for me would not be appreciated, but above all else, I don’t want to have to rely on anyone but myself. For me, being “kept” would mean being kept in a prison devised by another person, and I wouldn’t want that.

When the two women left, I hugged them goodbye and thanked them for the fun they brought to the table. It was the gentlemanly thing to do.

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