Monday, October 27, 2008

Bridal Skank

Ms K and I went to the Rose City Bridal Show this Sunday. It was interesting, perhaps even fascinating, but in a way that left us feeling like we had slummed just a little too long amongst a crowd just a little too questionable. Having worked at the Chamber, to say nothing of hob-nobbing with video producers, I've seen my share of trade shows, but I don't think I've ever been to one populated with vendors quite so aggressive. It was rather like tales I've heard of the souk, and reminded me of the 'craft market' gauntlet I ran at Quilatoa in Ecuador this summer.... only substantially creepier. Large men loomed out at us, stepping outside the confines of their booths to challenge us, coming darn near close to blocking our progress: "Have you thought about your honeymoon yet," they rumbled suggestively. "You got your venue yet," they sleazily crooned. Heavily made-up women with clouds of stiff hair larger than I've seen for years outside of beauty supply stores in Dallas, pitched laser hair removal at us and, unbelievably, make up and hair consultations.

The fashion show was narrated by an MC whose oily suggestions of "dream days" and floating off into the fairy dust of "happily ever after" had my married friend barely able to contain herself. I think I'm just about fed up with hearing or reading this stuff and nonsense about "what every little girl dreams of," as if the greatest wish and goal of females is - naturally - pretending to be a princess bride for one day of their lives. At least this guy suggested that Wedding Day Bliss is what all little boys dream of, too: "All little boys dream one day of being just like their dads." That may well be so in many cases, but this is the first I've heard that dressing up in an ill-fitting tux to play court jester with his buddies at his wedding was a part of that future dreaming. I've kind of gotten the impression that men, as a general rule, would just as soon skulk off somewhere and get it all over with quickly, maybe followed by a round of beers at the pub down the street.

But that's a stereotype, too, as is whatever motivated the event organizers to set up a playpen (a.k.a. "groom's lounge") for male attendees complete with "leather couches and sports." Leather couches and sports. I left my groom at home where he spent the day sitting on his son to get homework done, grading papers, mowing the lawn, trimming some bushes, and, it has to be said, sitting on leather furniture watching sports. I'm marrying a male stereotype, apparently. The difference is that when he does accompany me shopping, I don't have to stick him in the adult male version of the Ikea ball-room. Come to think of it, when we "go shopping," it's usually me accompanying him. So there.

"Groom's Lounge," with one lone, camoclad, [presumed] groom sitting on a leather couch and looking listlessly at the big screen TV that was not working.

But back to the fashion show. There were dancing grooms -- insert Jets and Sharks imagery here... just picture them in tuxes from Mr. Formal -- most of whom carried themselves in a way strongly suggesting gay. I will have to say, though, that one can never know, or at least I can't. My groom has been mistaken for gay on more than one occasion because of the way he talks. Fifteen years of spending one's days surrounded by ten year olds and women will do that to a guy's vocal inflections, I suspect. He does not, however, snap and prance down runways.

There were cute flower girls and an impish ring bearer and prancing, jesting groomsmen and brides trying to maintain some semblance of dignity until they got to the "older brides" bit. "Forty is the new 20," the MC unctuously oiled, "and 50 is the new 30." They then sent out onto the runway the grooms in their Mr. Formal and Mens Wearhouse tuxes, stringing them out in a line. And out come three women, dressed in costumes ranging from reasonably tasteful if one squinted one's eyes, to downright desperate. The gal in the electric lime green mini sheath and jacked up on Lucite platform heels was perplexing. I'm going to be a 47 year old bride. This is how I'm supposed to dress? Heck, why didn't someone tell me? I can get a polyester skank dress from Fredericks of Hollywood for under $70, and I can get a pair of Lucite platforms for under $25.

The "older brides" came out in full "cougar" mode, toying with the young grooms, pushing them to their knees, leaving them quaking. And then comes the eight year old ring bearer. These "older brides" leave off stroking and teasing the too-young-but-at-least-adult grooms, and chase the poor child down the runway. Ms. K exclaimed loud enough for a woman of a certain age sitting next to us to hear, "You mean they're so desperate, they'll sleep with children?!" I pondered out loud, "What do you suppose would happen if they sent a bunch of adult male models chasing after one of the flower girls that way...?"

And as the ring bearer played at skittering away in escape, the MC oozed, "He's running now, but someday, he'll love it."

Other highlights:

Ridiculous get-away cars, one of which we might win, because I entered into just about every drawing I came across, short of the Sandals honeymoon package.

Gangster grooms.

Men in male lingerie.

And of the possible door prizes I could win, I doubt it will be the ridiculous "get-away car." I'm making book on the towel wedding cake.

Go Towel Wedding Cake!


Anonymous said...

A big 'you go girl' to:
* a party that gives Oregonians the rare excuse to dress up.
* Pick shoes first, - totally practical!
* a cupcake wedding cake
* a tapas-type menu
* Officiant pulling us aside during the party, - don't overdo the ceremongy part, afterall, it's really just an excuse for a party.
* Having the officiant ask: "Mary, do you want to marry David? David, do you want to marry Mary?" - it was good enough for my sister!

Don't like so much:
* Random color scheme - color coordination is fundamental to good grooming and good parties


MisAnthropology said...

Yeah, I just think that random color scheme generator is a cool gadget.

Dee said...

Mary, all I can say to that is OMG!! I can't believe you actually suffered through all of that! Why put yourself through that misery?

On the other hand, it is anthropologically interesting, isn't it? Doesn't mean you have to partake, just observe. It really puts a lot of pressure on brides, doesn't it?

MisAnthropology said...

Yes, Dee, it was, as we say, a *cultural* experience.

Not to worry. I don't feel the least pressure to pursue the classic 'dream day' any more now than I did before. In fact, enough shows like that, and I'll even be chucking the plan to have just a nice party.