06 September, 2010

Sometimes all it takes is one taste.

I've just returned from a magical weekend in the country. We ate. We drank around a bonfire until 2 in the morning. We Foxtrotted. We played lawn games. We partied like it was 1939. Oh yeah, and Oliver and Alex got married. Two of my oldest, my enduring, and very best friends got married to one another and it was beautiful.

You know? It is an incredible honor to speak in a wedding ceremony. I realize that sounds rather obvious but think about it-- to be the person asked to not merely articulate, but to publicly express, to speak to and on behalf of the love between two people you adore on one of the most important days of their lives? It doesn't get much more exceptional an honor than that.

I could not love Oliver Friendly and Alexandra Boule-Buckley more. Either as individuals or as a couple. I don't need a mirror when they are around so glorious is the reflection I see in their eyes. They make me feel the way we all dream of feeling appreciated and loved by the people in our lives. Living with them last Spring was like living in my own home. We ate Oliver's delicious food (he is a very clever and wonderful and successful chef donchaknow...) and Alex filled the house with music and art, and they were terribly supportive while I found my way in the world, in our Nation's Capital, not to mention to-and-from the Kennedy Center.
They treated me like family.
We are family.
This is what friendship feels like in its purest form. Its essence.
This is love.

And it was a joy to walk down the aisle on Sunday, to stand before the crowd, to speak the following words with an overflowing heart.

Today and always, I love the newly united Friendlys and consider them and their love, a total inspiration.


Sometimes all it takes is one taste.

If you ask me, (and, um, you are), I think on a certain level, Oliver and Alex both fell in love at first sight.
I was there.
I saw it.
We all did.
Perhaps the rest of us saw it before they would even admit it to themselves.
Call them ridiculous romantics if you want.
I have.
They don’t care.
Because they know.
They knew.

You see, I met both Oliver and Alex the summer they met one another— 1998 at Interlochen Arts Camp: where an eternal bond of friendship formed with an astonishing group of friends.

It is hard to be young and gifted. It’s lonely— and I think young artistic people treasure Interlochen because it is the kind of place where for the first time in their lives they feel more than accepted but understood.

Plus magical things happen.
Magical things like putting two plays and a musical on in four weeks and Gilbert & Sullivan operettas with casts of 150.
But mostly magical things like multi-decade friendships (that endure not only flighty teenage years, college, and the ‘real world,’ but great distances, personal triumphs, personal tragedies, and everything in between), all based on a concentrated eight weeks once shared together in the middle of the wilderness.

Oliver and Alex met that summer and I’m not quite sure you are grasping this but they are getting marriedCURRENTLY. THEY ARE LITERALLY CURRENTLY GETTING MARRIED. You see what I’m saying? The place is magical.

But the guy who played Sir Joseph Porter may be a big time conductor now but I never hear from him! And his understudy? This Josh Groban character? I can’t get the guy to return a single. email. And I went to the opening weekend dance that summer with some dude who isn’t even my friend on Facebook.

The point is: sometimes it isn’t about the time or the place— it is the people, and they are meant to meet, and they are meant to love one another wherever and whenever it is right.

Right at the end of that magical summer, Alex and Oliver went to a play reading. The night began with “the two who weren’t busy” but by the end of the night they were “the two who were glued to one anothers sides.

Walking home, at the conclusion of both a summer and an evening, they shared the first of many “tastes”— a heavenly kiss they can both still remember as if it happened yesterday. You should watch them talk about it...

They stayed in touch.
They reunited seven years later…
They shared another kiss on the streets of New York in a moment they describe as “plucked from a 50’s film”
And three months after that they were hooked.
So, after three months (okay three months and 7 years)
They realized this was far more than love.
This was it.

They saw through the layers of years
         Right back to who they had been as children.
                  Through all the things they had yet to share.

My guess is when the time came for love? They felt like friends— because they were.

Friendship better than the feel of a sweater you knit yourself, or pulling something out of the over that is perfect, or Sondheim or Comic Book Wednesday or Stumptown coffee or even Portuguese water dogs.
More familiar than all of Debussy art songs or Stargate, or correct knife holding.
Just like a favorite song or recipe, the one you instinctually start when you need everything to feel easy and taste and sound like layers of joy.

So you see, their love affair began with, and continues with, tastes:
dark and rich, full of goodness, and wonderfully sweet.
    … Sometimes so sweet that it gives you Diabetes… but it’s okay because Oliver will cook you up some steak that will bring that Glycemic Index riiiiiight back down again and it will be so delicious that you’ll be totally thrilled they grossed you out.

You are one of my best friends. One of my Alexandra Sisters. You are dazzling: beautiful, resilient, brave, gifted, bright. And above all, one of the most uniquely beautiful souls that I have ever had the pleasure and honor of loving and being loved by.
I am so happy that today, you are, to quote you, “marrying your soul-mate.”

You are one of my best friends—one of my most enduring, capable, sensitive, brilliant and strong. My whole family has loved your guts since the moment you entered our lives. You have become a man of blinding integrity with an inspirational capacity for love.
I am so happy that today, you are, to quote you, marrying your “wish upon a star girl.”

So much joy comes from watching your friends grow into themselves, find and feel contentment, experience love. In many ways I think they inspired one another to become the amazing adults standing before us today.

That is the kind of love and partnership all marriages should be about.

… And just think, if it weren't for marriage, people would go through life thinking they had no faults at all...

Alex, Oliver: You have already made a life together, and it tastes of joy.

…Sometimes all it takes is one taste.


  1. ‎1) What a gorgeous post. If only we all had friends as deeply committed to us as you are to them.

    2) I find myself unable to cope with The Honor I'm experiencing in the deeply affectionate shout-out in your blog.

    3) Please. Please. Let's ...hang out as soon as I'm back from Eastern European. Nothing would please me more. Except The Avoidance of Diabetes. I can only hope we were destined to meet again, NOW!

    BOOM! (p.s., have totally already made plans to see your cabaret show) BOOM!

  2. How do you do it?? I don't even know these people and you have managed to make me cry. On a bus. On the day of the tube strikes. Genius.

  3. Beautiful beautiful beautiful. I feel like I would like to be their friends too! But instead I'm happy to be in an exclusive club with them as recipients of heart warming tear jerking words from Al, read on the most wonderful day of our lives xxx

  4. You really have the most remarkable way with words!!!!

  5. Al, you are my best friend. I love you so much. Thank you again for writing and speaking these amazing words on one of the most important days of my life. You are incredible and amazing and I adore you.

    And Tash, I want to be your friend too. Damn Atlantic Ocean...



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