Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pitching Fantasies and the Making of Bridezilla

On another bridal blog (they tend to not be terribly interesting for the casual observer, but they do show the peculiar interests of women who are planning a wedding) the blogger linked an online quiz titled "Are you a bridezilla" on TheKnot.

"No worries," I was told upon completion, "you're totally laid back."

"You're handling your wedding planning and all the bumps along the way like a champ. Just make sure you're not too laissez-faire -- you still want this event to be a reflection of you and your mate. Pick your battles and decide when it's important to keep the peace (a concept that you get) and when it's important to stand up and say no (which may be harder for you). Make a list of things that you feel most strongly about -- maybe it's your gown, the menu, and the music -- and make sure you're getting exactly what you want in those areas. However you proceed, keep up the good work!"

If my style is "laissez-faire," wouldn't sticking to that methodology be a reflection of me by default? I supposed David is not quite so laissez-faire about anything as I am. Watching him pack for the trip to Ecuador was an eye-opener there, to say nothing of his everything-in-its-place garage. That said, I still don't have a guest wish-list with contact information from him... I want a larger audience, damn it. Never mind the wedding; it's all about a readership.

But I digress. I now officially declare "bridezilla" a meme. Once something becomes a meme in the Land-O-Blogs sense (a 'viral' idea, sometimes in the form of a questionnaire, that makes its way from blog to blog), it is surely a meme in the Dawkinsian sense (a cultural unit -- idea, behavior, etc -- that passes from person to person, analogous to genes). And as I've noted before, this fascination with, possibly even acceptance and expectation of brides behaving badly is nothing if not viral.

I took the test again, picking all the responses that were obviously the least 'laid back'. For instance, one of the questions is:

"Your mother-in-law tells you that she's decided to wear ecru to the wedding. You:"

I selected the answer:

"Send her a scathing email, telling her that she may not wear ecru to your wedding and demanding to see a swatch of whatever color dress she does decide to wear."

Answering the total "bridezilla" route, I got this:

"Yup, you're a bridezilla!

"How can we put this gently: Somewhere along the way from "Yes!" to "I do," you've lost your subtle sensitivity. Your admirable ambition to create the best possible celebration for friends and family has turned into somewhat of a crusade, and those around you are suffering. It's time to relax a bit and probably take a little break from the planning. Go for dinner or drinks with your guy and your gal pals, and don't talk about the wedding – not even once. Because remember, once you're married, these people will return to being your family and friends -- not members of your wedding party. Cut people a little slack."

The bridal magazines, it has to be said, are prime agents in the creation of brides of destruction. One of the earlier Fab 50 (the men I met during my year of dating venturously, if not dangerously) was of the opinion that women's self-esteem cannot possibly be negatively influenced by fashion and beauty mags, and that women who claim to be so affected are just looking for excuses and permission to "let themselves go" and force the acceptance of willful female unattractiveness on men. (Yes, really. I actually did meet men who think and say such things. If any of you are wondering what I see in David, you can cease your wondering.) Anyone who suspects that people are not influenced and affected by the media, only has to look at a whole bunch of bridal magazines, then look at a whole bunch of examples of women planning their weddings. On TV or in person, if you know anybody other than yours truly, me being not adequately representative, or so I say, you'll not wonder at the excesses some people go to around the wedding and how emotionally invested they get in their "dream day." The mags are written to make the reader covet, and to convince the reader that they must have the coveted items, or "your special day" will be ruined. The wedding is billed in no uncertain terms as the only opportunity for a "dream day," a "perfect day," "your day" that a woman will ever have. One bridal salon clerk even told me, "Stay away from the bridal magazines. They mess with your head."

I guess that the women who did not have a satisfactory "perfect special dream day" are the ones going in for vow "renewal" ceremonies some years down the road with full white bridal gown action. I saw one of those on a show called "Say Yes to the Dress," a truly mesmerizing production on The Learning Channel. A couple who has been married for about 15 years or so are doing a vow renewal ceremony (that's something I don't quite get; they could only manage 15 years before feeling like they should do that...? I smell a woman who hasn't been able to let go of the "dream day" fantasy...). The woman hits the bridal salon with husband and two young adolescent sons in tow so they can help her pick something. Those boys, by the way, were surprisingly into it. She ends up spending several thousand dollars on a full-blown bridal gown for a vow renewal.

Apparently this wedding day redux thing is not so terribly uncommon. Ms. K and I went bridal gown exploring Monday, and encountered one 50-something shop owner who had done it, complete with white gown. She talked of a population of customers who buy dresses for renewals. I suppose if a woman is simply enamored of weddings, and in particular, wedding dresses, it's cheaper and undoubtedly a lot less trouble to just keep marrying the one husband over and over again than to trade him in for another model.

Or maybe it's just that we don't have enough opportunities in contemporary society to dress up to the nines in spectacular evening clothes. If any of you are feeling that empty spot in your soul, by all means wear something fabulous to our hoedown.


Dee said...

You know, every once in awhile, I get the urge to dress to the nines and sometimes, I give in to it. I might wear shoes with a bit of a heel or a nice skirt or pair of pants or something. I wear it for awhile, and then ...

I remember why I don't do it very often. My feet hurt, my waist is tired of being tucked in, or I've gotten some bright red sauce on my sparkling white shirt, or I'm cold or something.

Ah, yes. That's why I don't wear that stuff very often! It's uncomfortable!

To recover, I'm back in my jeans, fleece, and Keens for several days, or else, in the summer, comfy shorts, cotton t-shirts, and my Chacos.

So, I pose the question - is there such a thing as comfy dress clothes?

MisAnthropology said...

Well, it has to be said, those dresses I tried on were not what any reasonable person would call "comfortable." They weren't necessarily UNcomfortable, but it's not like you could lounge around in them as in pajamas.

I have seen some pretty elegant caftans, however......