Monday, February 14, 2011

Say Yes to the Dress

So, unexpectedly, I bought a wedding dress this weekend. I'm not going to tell you where, or what it looks like, but it was sickly inexpensive and almost fits the bill. What happened was this: I saw a wedding dress in a magazine article online and found out that a store in Manhattan might have one in something approaching my size for me to to try on. With mom in tow, we went to play dress up on Saturday afternoon. The dress was fine, but not what I was looking for. which was ok, it was just an experiment.

On a whim, I asked the saleswoman if I could see another model I had spied online - one I thought would be just the wrong look on me. She brought it in a size 2. So there was that to contend with. Mom and I just held the bodice up to me and then looked at each other in a kind of shock. We liked the look of this one. Unzipping the thing as far as it would go, we shimmied it on me (note to girls: getting into a size 2 dress when one is demonstrably not a size 2 is funny; ok, I lied. It was funny this time because my actual size, 10, is one I am eminently happy with; when I was a size 14, this would not have been funny and might have resulted in tears). Though the dress was angry at me for having attempted to wedge my hips into it, we could still pull it up so that it looked somewhat dress-like on. And we still liked what we saw. At which point the saleswoman interrupted us to bring in the same dress in a size 10 in black. This would have been useful to have before I needed mayonnaise or vaseline to help myself out of the size 2.

I tried on the black dress and again, mom and I were kind of stunned. This really very cheap dress was really very much fitting the bill. Now there's a little something it is now important to mention: my mother is going to make my wedding dress. After discovering that asking someone else to make a wedding dress is the same kind of financial investment as asking someone to sell you his second-hand car, I decided that I would prefer to have a second-hand car (or a trip for two to the islands) instead of a dress I'll wear once. My mother, who crafted such awesome pieces as my sophomore year and senior year prom dresses, stepped up, with some trepidation, to fill the void. With my labor coming at no cost, the only expenditure would be the fabric. And even if we bought medieval tapestries for fabric, it would still be less than what we saw at Sak's. The question remained: what kind of dress would I want?

Wedding magazines were zero help. I am not a Ukranian hooker, nor will I be auditioning for the ice capades any time soon, so most of the glossy paged advertisements weren't going to be of help. Things I knew I didn't want: tulle, lace, beads, rhinestones, feathers, hoop skirts, sequins, tiaras, wings, jacquard, or snow leopard pelts. This narrowed down my choices significantly. I don't want to worry about tripping on the dress, or the dress falling off, or the dress being too heavy. I just want a dress. A simple whiteish dress. And finding this, future brides, is not an easy task.

Because brides are princesses and should dress as such. Even if that means being immobile. We're just not going to be having that kind of nuptial affair, so I thought I should keep it simple. The saleswoman, however, was unmoved and briefly tried to upsell me some plastic blingy jewelery which I did my best to demure respectfully (though in my head I was thinking that anyone who wore those monstrosities could only be doing so ironically, and devoted partner has made copious mention of the fact he doesn't think irony is appropriate at our wedding).

So we bought the dress. As a prototype. I can't say I'm disappointed in this. It is true, we have two additional scouting opportunities coming up (it should be noted we still don't have a finalized wedding date or location, but the more things I can dispense with, the better). And the best part is, I felt like Yelena in the dress. One of the things that has been causing me heavy to oppressive anxiety is that notion that there's an expectation that I be somehow better than myself when we get married; that the bride is an idealistic object that has to be perfect. Whereas, I'm really keen on being myself, just properly washed, on my wedding day. This dress looks like something I would wear if we were going to opening night of the opera, or someone else's wedding (obviously not in white). That appeals very much to me and the [dreaded word] vision I have of my special day.

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