Don’t choose a Worst Man for the wedding |
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Don’t choose a Worst Man for the wedding

Carolyn Hax

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I’m getting married. That’s awesome. However, my parents want me to ask my brother to be my best man. The idea of letting my brother, who’s spent his whole life being the biggest jerk he can manage, stand up and give a speech about me makes me want to break something.

He outed me as gay in high school; I’m bi, but that was hard to explain to an idiot who wanted to beat me up in the toilets. He told everyone I was the reason he was in a wheelchair because I pushed him downstairs once (it was not). Mum convinced me to put hand controls in my car so he could learn to drive, and he crashed the car on purpose after a fight with me.

I get that part of it is a habit of putting me down to prop himself up — the sort of school where dudes beat you up because you’re gay isn’t a great place to be in a chair. However, he’s also a jerk and a bit of a bully.

Obviously, I could just say no, but my parents are really invested in the idea of his having “this opportunity.” I think it is because he doesn’t have many friends; as I mentioned, he’s a jerk. They say they won’t come if I am so “ashamed” of my brother. (I am, but only because he’s going to say something terrible.)

I want to cancel everything and just elope. My fiancee thinks my parents will eventually come around. They, I assume, think the same about me and I just want to make a point. If my brother needs a kidney one day, he can have it, but I’ll never be close to him. Any ideas?

— Worst Man

Say no to the brother as best man, let your parents have their fit if that’s how they choose to handle your showy display of mental health, and please please consider talking to a good family therapist about your family. Because, wow.

And if I just answered the plot of a movie that everyone has seen except me, then please treat me gently. Thanks.

For the Groom:

Don’t give in. My mom wanted me to make my sister a “co-” maid of honor with my best friend. Mom pushed and pushed, in the name of welcoming my black sheep sister back into the fold. I didn’t do it, but I did give in and have her be a candle lighter, AND do a reading, AND remain a bridesmaid. She still wanted a “solo” dance with my Dad … to “Butterfly Kisses,” a mushy father/daughter song AT MY WEDDING. I’ve regretted all of it.

Fast-forward? She recently got married, and I found out about it on Facebook. RESIST, my friend. It’s your life.

Re: Worst Man:

My wife comes from a loving, supportive family, and I come from a family like the letter writer’s. My wife has a hard time grasping that, no, on a lot of issues, my parents won’t ever come around. You guys will be better off if you both have an understanding before you marry that “they’ll come around” may not be realistic in this family.

— Anonymous

Good point, thanks.

Email Carolyn at [email protected], follow her on Facebook at or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at

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