Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Great Sucking Sound

There is nothing quite like the thought of a wedding to turn rational people right 'round and pushed into the land of the unreasonable. As you can see by additions to my sidebar, I am referring to myself. The sucking lure of dresses, shoes and funky cakes has been affecting me. Rather badly, I'll admit. No, I am not going to play princess, but I would like a nice dress and a cool pair of shoes, and it would be nice if we had a little nod to tradition in the form of something approximating a cake. I don't really want a wedding ceremony; I just want a party with some of the wedding trappings. The cool wedding trappings, not wedding kitsch. No limos, no color coordinated wedding favors, no muscle shirt tanks for me and the girls with "bride" and "maid of honor" and "bridesmaid" rhinestoned across the front to wear at my shower, no maid of honor, no bridesmaids, no shower.

As for the rest of it, as Ms K notes about the dress shopping scheme, at what other point in my life would it make sense to sit around fantasizing about even just the cool stuff, even if I don't ultimately do anything about any of it? It would be a little peculiar if I kept a running blog with pictures of Fabulous 50's dresses suitable for getting married in, if I were not, in fact, getting married. But I am feeling rather puerile here with my online 'scrapbooking' of shoes and cupcake wedding cakes and old pictures of Audrey Hepburn. Lahk, o mah gawd... it's all so kew-aht.

But I won't feel too very bad about it, because even David says -- perhaps jokingly, but only just jokingly jokingly -- that he'd like to wear a tux. He'd be happy going to the justice 'o the peace and having a quiet little informal supper with immediate family members, full stop, but he wants to wear a tux? See, now that I consider pretty irrational. What's the point of a tux if you don't strut it out there a bit for the viewing pleasure of the many-headed?

Speaking of wedding kitsch, Ms K and I stumbled across a wedding gifts, accessories and supply store down in the Pearl the other day. I've seen all that stuff on the various wedding sites populating the web such as and It was kind of stomach turning to see so much of it in an actual enclosed space. The layout was all very tastefully done and all that, as much as you can layout polyester satin garters, decks of love cards and sports-themed invitations to bachelor parties in a tasteful manner, but it really drove home the fact that this is a bona fide
industry, complete with captains and marketing departments breathing down the necks of graphic artists as they toil to pull out every possible wedding trope they can come up with to package in a thousand different kitschy ways.

I'm trying to imagine what my friends, family and colleagues would think (because they would say nothing at all...) if I pulled out on them heart-shaped bottle openers ("
He unlocked the key to your heart! Celebrate your love with these charming key bottle openers....")

...or "The Perfect Pair" candle favors

... or "Love Beyond Measure" souvenir measuring spoons

... or "The Perfect Blend" mug and coffee packet sets.

There's little doubt in my mind what David's reaction would be. He'd call the whole thing off and have a new ad up in the personals on Craig's List before the day was over.

You know what this stuff is, of course, or at least those of you familiar with the corporate world do. It's the marketing through trade show give-aways of the couple as corporate entity. It's branding. Oh, I need to chew on that one some more... link it to the ubiquitousness of corporate entities in our everyday lives and all that... deconstruct, deconstruct, deconstruct.

1 comment:

MissAnthropology said...

I have to post this comment from a friend who shall remain nameless (who sent it via email rather than posting on the site). She makes good and interesting points, has a few good ideas (not the pirate thing), and notes something very true about Oregonians:

"It's okay to flirt with tradition and disdain it simultaneously. The effort and expense people put into weddings reflects a need to not just celebrate, but to enact ritual.

In our family we spend the day making food, cutting flowers, arranging bouquets, cutting netting and putting bird seed in it to throw. We decorate the spot where the groom and bride will stand. We always make ourselves very busy with a lot of home-made touches we could have skipped.

It keeps us from losing our minds while we impatiently wait for the big moment to arrive. It gives us constructive things to be bossy about. If we purchased everything prefab, what on earth would we do all day?

I've tried to imagine myself having a wedding. I would need it to show who I am. I'd alter an old dress and make it really funky. (Watch out Bjork!) I'd choose my favorite music(s), tasty foods, something literary and then a good dose of self-mockery for having bought into the whole affair.

Even when you are adept at deconstructing ritual, it is carefully reinstated throughout our lives and rears its silly head the minute those shoes make our feet look fun and glitzy.

How about a pirate wedding? "Aarrr David will you marry Mary...aarrr?"

I'm just being silly.

Yeah, um, good luck getting people into finery. In Oregon, nobody dresses up. Nope, not ever. They 'look nice' for the occasion."