My big day, dad, and the ca­nary yel­low suit

Sunday Tribune - - FASHION -

MY DAD re­fused to walk me down the aisle on my wed­ding day. I hit some se­ri­ous dad-re­lated snags on my big day. I’m not say­ing that my fa­ther didn’t get into the spirit of it. I’m just say­ing that on the morn­ing of my wed­ding, he in­vited some peo­ple I had never met to our house for a break­fast bar­be­cue and was still in his py­ja­mas when the car came to pick us up for the cer­e­mony.

We al­ready had a bit of a skir­mish when I had caught my dad out on the street invit­ing the Ira­nian neigh­bours – who had just moved next-door, and who I had yet to meet – to my wed­ding. Ira­nian cul­ture is very much

“the more the merrier”, and “a stranger is a friend you haven’t met yet”, and “I’ll in­vite ran­dom peo­ple to my daugh­ter’s wed­ding if the mood takes me”, but I did not want to have “My Big Fat Ira­nian Wed­ding”.

We Ira­ni­ans are an ex­u­ber­ant peo­ple who will gen­er­ally en­joy noth­ing more than get­ting a rab­ble to­gether for a party. I re­mem­ber be­ing at an Ira­nian get to­gether in Ger­many in my teens when the po­lice were called be­cause it was so noisy. Some­where in my piles of old pic­tures, there is a photo of the two Ger­man po­lice­men with their arms out­stretched and their hips in a twirl as we taught them Per­sian danc­ing.

My Ira­nian an­ces­tors turned in their graves as I went next door and, as po­litely as I could, told the new neigh­bours that my dad was out of his tree and there was no room for ex­tra guests at my wed­ding. They were very un­der­stand­ing.

I tried to carry on my stress­ful – I mean spe­cial day. My aunt did my hair and make-up, my best friend poured cham­pagne, and once I was in my beau­ti­ful frock, my big brother, my com­rade-through-child­hood, en­tered in his smart suit and saw me, his baby sis­ter, in all my wed­ding fin­ery, and said: “Shap! Do I look OK?”

I ended up scream­ing at my dad to get ready. We were late. I sat on the step in my dream meringue, think­ing how glad I was that I was mar­ry­ing an English man whose fam­ily would have been ready an hour af­ter they woke up.

He came down, my fa­ther, even­tu­ally, wear­ing a ca­nary yel­low suit. The suit swamped him, and you could see it from the moon. I banned the suit, made him change and marched him into the car with my mum and brother, with steam com­ing out of my nos­trils.

In the car, I told my dad that he had to walk me down the aisle.

My fa­ther had been to a few Bri­tish wed­dings, but he’d al­ways been late and missed the cer­e­monies, ar­riv­ing just in time to catch the party af­ter­wards. So he had no idea what I was talk­ing about, and I had to ex­plain.

The tra­di­tion of “giv­ing away” a bride doesn’t ex­ist in Ira­nian cul­ture. He arched an eye­brow: “I give you away? Like you are prop­erty? You are not prop­erty to ‘give away’!” En route to my wed­ding, I had no time for fem­i­nism and was about to com­bust be­fore my brother said: “I’ll do it, Shap – it’s not Dad’s thing.”

So in the end, my brother walked me down the aisle, my fa­ther changed back into his ca­nary yel­low suit af­ter the pic­tures were taken, and the neigh­bours next door came to the evening do.

I had a quiet mo­ment with my dad half­way through the day, where we sat far away from ev­ery­one to­gether and I said: “Dad, what was this morn­ing all about?”

And my lit­tle fa­ther, in his ac­tu­ally very gor­geous suit, said: “I don’t know. I just couldn’t re­ally be­lieve you were go­ing to get mar­ried. It all felt too strange, too con­ven­tional for you.”

He was right. I wish I’d let him in­vite who­ever he wanted, I wish I had wed­ding pho­tos where we were all up­staged by his suit be­cause it was, af­ter all, my fa­ther’s big day too.

Shappi Khor­sandi is a co­me­dian and writer.

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