Co-Maids of Honor.
No, ladies, it's not the sharing part that baffles us. It's the title. It's a contradiction of terms. As loyal Groom Says reader (and rockin' bridesmaid) Julie G. points out, "There would never be a co-best man situation!"
Right you are, Jules. We would never let that happen. Not on our watch.
Co-Anything is rather obnoxious, isn't it men? The prefix "co" implies that something was done together, in tandem, with a partner. And still, the definition of co-pilot is "a qualified pilot who assists or relieves the pilot but is not in command."
Let me reiterate: "not in command." There's nothing "co" about it, really. It's entirely "yo." As in, "Yo, co-pilot, fetch me a rum and coke while I steer this friggin' plane ALONE." Buzz Aldrin may have been a co-pilot on the Apollo 11 mission, but it was Neil Armstrong who took on the Commander role, and it was his foot that first touched down on the moon's surface.
Choosing to have two maids of honor (or ::shiver:: Co-Maids of Honor) implies that you, dear bride, have two totally awesome besties who are perfectly equal in every way. Or you have two sisters who you love dearly and equally, and you could never choose between them. You wouldn't even entertain the thought. It would destroy you and them.
The trouble is -- and I know this, of course, from my extensive research and invaluable years as a bridesmaid for hire -- despite how equal they may be in your heart and mind and soul, they couldn't possibly perform the task equally. One will undoubtedly prevail as the true Maid of Honor (probably the one you would expect to prevail at such a thing) and will end up doing the majority of the work. It's not mean or pessimistic. It's just science.
When it comes to choosing wedding parties, men are infinitely more efficient and less emotional. Why? Because, very simply, we remove the emotion. For instance, we grooms ask ourselves a single question to determine who our Best Man will be, and that question is:
If I needed someone killed immediately but knew that I couldn't do it myself, who would I go to?
Bam. Best Man.
Meanwhile, brides trouble themselves with a questionnaire a la the Spanish Inquisition in the hopes that they will not offend any one of their girlfriends/sisters/step-sisters/sisters-in-law/cousins/nieces/childhood playdate pals, beginning with the most important question of them all:
Who will ask ME to be THEIR maid of honor?
"This seems like an awful lot of trouble to go through ... no? Anybody?"
Then women begin ranking their friends and relatives (using a point scale as intricate as my honeymoon location rating system), asking themselves who would and wouldn't be hurt if they were or were not asked, asking themselves if they need to return the favor for the five or six women for whom they've served as a bridesmaid in the past, and asking themselves (once again), Who will ask ME to be in THEIR wedding party???
This is how brides end up with 23 bridesmaids and 2 Co-Maids of Honor.
I imagine there's no real "solution" - at least until brides realize that the prefix co- is not an accurate or trustworthy part of our vocabulary. Co-authors. Co-heirs. Co-managers. Bi-partisanship. Real health care reform. They're just figments of our imagination ... as cute as they may be.