23 December, 2006, Glebe, Sydney
Good evening to all of you and welcome to this wonderful occasion.
My name’s Rob and I first met Mark almost 20 years ago when he moved to Melbourne. I probably wouldn’t have been quite so friendly to him if I’d realized he was going to stay for the next 10 years, but sometimes you just can’t help bad luck.
We’ve waited a long time for this wedding, but some of Mark & Mary’s friends, when they heard that the big day was 2 days before Christmas, thought they wouldn’t have minded waiting a bit longer.
But it is a fabulous event, and for some reason I’ve been asked to say a few words in celebration.
It’s not my job to stand up here today and embarrass Mark … that duty is left to the Best Man, who’s known him at least twice as long as I have … but I’ll do my best regardless.
I’ve been told to keep it short, which is good, because apparently the etiquette is for a speech like this to last as long as the time it takes for the groom to make love.
So thank you all for coming and good night.
But seriously, they say a good speech is the best present you can give a newly married couple. And that’s good, because I haven’t actually bought them anything.
I’ve been doing a bit of research and found out a few things about Mark from the days before I knew him.
This may be hard to believe ….. but apparently Mark wasn’t the most attractive baby you’ve ever seen. In fact I’m told that his Mum, Moira, only started getting morning sickness after he was born!
But as I say, I’m not here to embarrass him ….. it’s just hard to avoid it sometimes.
You see Mark was a bit of a slow starter. He wasn’t like all the other 5 year olds in his class when he went to school…….he was eleven.
On the other hand Mary was different. She loved school. People would ask her parents what they thought she’d be when she left school and they would usually say “About 28”.
But enough of the family secrets. What I really want to tell you is that the Mark Gee I know is just about the most passionate, sincere, dependable and trustworthy person you could ever hope to meet.
He left Melbourne some time ago, but even if we haven’t spoken for months, the friendship is always there, ready to pick up where we left off the moment one of us picks up the phone.
We’ve shared houses together – and by the way, I don’t think it’s normal for any straight man to be quite as neat as he is – we’ve travelled together, we’ve laughed a hell of a lot together, we’ve shared all kinds of experiences, and I can honestly say I don’t think we’ve ever had a cross word.
But that’s not normal either, so it’s about time he got married, so he can catch up on all that arguing he’s missed out on.
In fact one of the best weeks of my life was spent traveling around Ireland with Mark. But we couldn’t understand why people either broke up laughing or just looked stunned when we told them our names.
I was pretty confident that Clancy was a common enough name in Ireland, but it all became clear after a few days when one bloke told us that Gee is Irish slang for just about the rudest thing you can possibly say. From that day on, Mark had a lot more fun saying his name.
As for Mary, I obviously don’t know her so well – she’s the woman who appeared on the scene when Mark was in the Northern Territory – working in a gold mine during the week & sleeping in the back of a Land Cruiser outside Damien & Fran’s place in Darwin on the weekends.
But even watching their relationship from a distance it’s been obvious that Mary’s been wonderful for him. From the first time I heard him speak about her it was clear that this relationship had something special about it. For a start, she didn’t charge, like most of the women he’d been out with.
As their partnership has grown and strengthened, there have been questions about where they would live, what types of work they would pursue, whether it’s possible for one man to eat that much chocolate and still have no arse … but from what I could tell, there was never any question of whether they would be together or not.
Mary’s a very special woman and Mark knows how lucky he was to find her, and in Mark I think Mary has found a man she can trust – someone who she may not always agree with, but someone she knows will always do the right thing by her.
It’s a pleasure to know this wonderful couple; it’s a pleasure to be here with all of you today, and most of all, it’s a pleasure to see that finally, Mark’s taken Mary up the aisle.