March 4, 2015 § Leave a comment
I’ve had two bridal showers thrown for me. Rest assured, I’m practically an expert. Showers are often non-negotiable extracurricular wedding events. It’s expected to have one. Sometimes one for each side of the family. Sometimes your co-workers will throw you a third one depending how boring the office gossip is that particular month. Of course you don’t need to have a shower, but you will disappoint a lot of people. Kind of like eloping, or promising cake and bringing a watermelon disguised as a cake and saying smugly “it’s paleo.” So suck it up and have twelve showers. At least you are going to get the presents you picked out for yourself.
So a bunch of women gather to honor a bride to be by drinking enough to play silly games, eat finger sandwiches, and gift her household items or the occasional piece of lingerie. “Thaaaaank you, I picked this out for me.” It sounds absurd, right? So I did a bit of digging.
Let’s start at the beginning. In 16 Century Holland showers were an alternative to the dowery system. If the parents of the bride were too poor to provide a dowery the MOB will hold a party where her lady friends would pass down small kitchen items and advice on how to keep a man happy. You know the type of advice, plus whatever you had laying around the kitchen that was a duplicate.
There is even a Dutch legend to go with this common sense inception of bridal showers. It is said a young uptown girl, living in her high class world fell in love with a downtown guy. Boy, was her dad pissed. He withheld her dowery as she crossed the tracks to marry her heart’s desire, but not without a little help from her friends. Pretty soon the whole town was contributing small gifts for the start of their married life. Fortune smiled again on our young heroine and her father changed his tune. They and their dowery lived happily ever after, like all good fairy tales.
In the late Victorian era, bridal showers became events of the elite. Only ladies of high social standing would organize pre-wedding celebrations for would-be brides. Although, it was more because it was a place to get drunk and hear the latest gossip, rather than giving gifts to compile a dowery. Make no mistake, gifts were given, but not enough to fill a Uhaul. The presents would be inside a parasol, which when opened would “shower” the bride-to-be with gifts. Or knock her out cold so they could freeze her bra and draw on her face.
The next evolution came in the 1930s. Although, at this point showers in the United States were a big to-do and anyone could have one. The fad hadn’t spread to England though, probably because they were still considering noble families and inbreeding. First or second generation Americans were just starting to really simmer together in the country’s melting pot. No dowries or elite social standings needed for a little party, party.
The earliest use of this sense of the word, “shower” in print may be in the Grand Rapids Michigan Evening Press 22 June 4, 1904: “The ‘shower parties’ that through mistaken hospitality the wedded couple are forced to attend…” (WHICH IS HILARIOUS… mistaken hospitality).
When I first started working as a videographer in LA, I was hired to shoot weddings and bridal showers. Sometimes the shower would outshine the wedding. There was one at The Beverly Hills Hotel that had a dance floor, three course luncheon, and about 75 Persian women. I imagined that I was that bride and wanted to hide in a hole.
I’m not a fan of being the center of attention unless I’m giving instruction or opinion. I have present opening anxiety even if I know what’s inside. Because my birthday is so close to Christmas I have a lack of practice at these types of person honoring soirées. I’m a terrible bride to plan a shower for.
For a while, I just thought the bridal shower was just another party to have for all the women who it was inappropriate to extend a bachelorette party invite, like if they were too old or pregnant. Come to find out, etiquette says you shouldn’t invite people who aren’t invited to the wedding. Well, what if I couldn’t invite all the people I wanted to celebrate with?
I want to rewrite this invite rule. It seems stupid to invite someone to your shower and expect a gift and then invite them to your wedding expecting another gift. Just give the gifts if you want to give the gifts. Wouldn’t it be better to invite all the people who couldn’t make it or that you wish you could invite but you have 200 family members and your best good work-wife just didn’t squeeze onto the A list?
Etiquette says the maid of honor has to foot the bill, but what if that chick is broke? It seems like it should be a pot luck. Let’s not be fancy. And again with the gift giving only if you want to, I rather be showered in laughs.
It’s pretty much a roast anyway. You play games about the bride and groom’s intimate life details and sit her in a special seat like a contestant on a daytime TV show. Parade around her choices for home decor and kitchenware while we quietly place bets on how long the marriage will last. Mostly it’s just good backstabbing female fun.
Fortunately for me, both my showers were equally entertaining, mostly because of the wonderful hosts who planned around my awkward shyness with their grand mastery. Showered with laughs, a flash mob, and cards with little pictures inside them of the gifts I already knew I was getting. I even spit my water across the room in a fit of laughter. And I wore black, like a boss.
In truth modern bridal showers are a complete charade. An absurd pretense intended to create a pleasant or respectable appearance. Except for mine, because every time my appearance is respectable I spill food down the front of me.
February 24, 2015 § Leave a comment
Is #tossbacktuesday at thing? Oh well, I’m re-running away. Feeling overwhelmed with bridal woes I’ll revisit the moment of inception that put this wedding into incubation. I’m ready for it to be over. I’m ready to be a wife and get on with it. Bridey doesn’t suit me, I’d rather be the boss of something. The good part is it’s mostly just toasting and drinking and toasting left to do.
This is not a drill. I’m engaged. THE Mister Red (and dreamiest strawberry blonde on the planet) purchased a diamond and asked very nicely if I would be his newest piece of property. It was thrilling. I’ll save the boring details for another rather gushy post. But now I would like to let you in on the thoughts swimming in my brain since I got my flashy new piece of ice.
1. I didn’t know everyone was going to be so happy for us. They don’t tell you people are going to be so happy at your face. All the time splashy happiness. Every two seconds someone is being happy at me. It’s pretty crazy.
2.It’s not like people didn’t see it coming, I’ve lived with the man for 3 years, we’ve been knocking boots for 4 and we know too much about each other’s bank accounts. There isn’t much left to change besides my last name (which I am looking forward to because it’s going to be an alliteration. I love alliterations).
3. I’m already an ungracious host. I run out of things to say when people are being all happy in my face.
“You got engaged?”
“Yup, I got engaged.”
“Congratulations, that’s so wonderful! You guys are the cutest!”
“Thanks.” And that’s all I got.
I’m so bad at this stuff. We’re engaged that’s it. I got a pretty ring. We’ll undoubtedly have a really expensive party that everyone else will have opinions about. All I really want to do is snuggle up to watch Star Wars with my honey and make jokes. I’m trying to master Yoda’s laugh because I’m pretty sure I’m going to be him for Halloween. This is where my mind is. Not on dates, venues, or bridesmaid dresses. I’d like to practice a Jedi mind trick for that instead.
4. Why can’t it go on any finger you want? My left ring finger is the grossest of all my fingers. It has the ugliest writer’s nubbin on the knuckle too. Guess it’s an engaged writer’s nubbin now.
5. I hate (and have always hated) the term fiancé. Too many syllables. If I could have gone from boyfriend to husband, I would have. It’s going to be a short engagement because I don’t want to have a fiancé for very long. Fiancé is one ‘n’ away from ‘finance.’ Coincidence? I’m constantly reminded that I have to finance a wedding.
Also I just keep thinking about that episode from Seinfeld. You know the one, “maybe the dingo ate your baby.” Will that ever stop? Because it just makes me giggle. Every time I say it. I don’t want to be that woman. Is there a synonym? Like F. Mony. Short for future matrimony. But that’s also an ‘e’ away from ‘money.’ Ironic?
6. This engagement put me in the dog house for the first 3 years of marriage, at least. Hardest person in the world to surprise, right here. Yup, I figured it out. Well, I had an inkling. And instead of trusting that it was going to be wonderful, I saw it coming and had to poke holes in the plot line (although, this quality also makes me a good editor). He did a bait and switch, and because Mister Red is an excellent improvisor, it was just as magical as planning every detail out before hand. As my first act of groveling, this is my public apology. Dear Red, I trust you. I’m sorry for being a crazy skeptical person thus ruining the surprise you’d been arranging for weeks.
7. At first I wanted to plan everything about the wedding all at once. Then I wanted to plan nothing at all. Now I realize we have to plan whether I like it or not. This is because of parental expectations. My mother has already informed me she will be wearing navy blue. I guess that’s one thing I don’t have to decide. Mister Red thinks we can do it all in a weekend. I think we might need two.
8. You can’t change your insurance without a marriage license. So, good thing I’ll be getting one of those soon.
9. Whatever happens, the dude abides. What if we had a Big Lebowski Themed wedding at a bowling ally and everyone just came in their bath robes and we toasted with white russians? Why can’t that be a thing? My mom can still wear navy blue!
10. I don’t want to get caught up in it all. I want someone to pull my hair [hard] if I start stressing about flowers or desserts. We should have eloped in our pajamas with that puppy when we had the chance.
11. A Bachelorette Party is the best excuse I’ve ever had to get my friends together and go wine tasting whether they like each other or not. It’s like all the birthday parties I’ve never had rolled into one.
12. If anything I’m relieved. We committed to each other for the long haul a while back, so my love and commitment hasn’t notably grown in the past couple weeks, but the relief I feel is apparent. I do feel more like a team. We got a diamond on it. I feel less alone, comforted by the fact that we share each other’s load. He’s helping carry mine and I’m helping carry his. And that’s what it’s all about. Not rings, not navy blue mother’s dresses, not surprise engagement parties (but it was so much fun, I want to hug everyone all at once, and I’m not a hugger). We get to have this sweet ride. See where it takes us, and do it together.
13. Does this mean I have to end my blog? I think I have a few more months.
February 16, 2015 § 3 Comments
I’m stuck somewhere between being a conventional bride and being a way out-of-left-field, Dr. Seuss-style bride. Sure, I’ve thought about my wedding since I was a wee little gal, but not at great length. I never had wild dreams about it where I planned it all out. I’m also not very good at being an adult, so a lot of etiquette is lost on me because while it’s rooted in tradition, it negates common sense.
Take the wedding registry, a tradition that began in common sense. It’s sentiment is that of the father giving away the bride. He’s giving her away because he doesn’t want her anymore. So he’s going to throw in a bunch of household appliances and kitchenwear purchased as gifts by his friends and family to sweeten the deal. A starter kit for a good wife. See now, it’s all set up and the groom has little to no room for argument. Next stop: Buy a house, followed by have a baby. So simple.
It’s not so simple anymore. When I moved into my first big girl apartment all by myself, I didn’t have a dish to eat off. Over time, salary promotions, and a household merger with my future husband, I’ve acquired many fine dishes to hold food. When we need something, we buy it. My pops doesn’t need to give my fiancé a spoonful of sugar with his medicine. We bought the bag of sugar ourselves. Classic wedding logic works no longer.
This tradition now puts us in a pickle. They say register as soon as you get engaged. People want to give you gifts. SAY WHAT?! I think this is silly, and a lie. It’s not like these people asked us to get married, and the gift part isn’t the reason why we are getting married either. It’s to shut our parents up once and for all (until they want to have grandchildren). Most people’s subconscious when they are invited to weddings are like, “I’ll bring a gift that relates to my fun-time expectation barometer. Probably cash, but if I’m at the old person table I’m knocking off $50.”
If people are invited to a shower they be like, “Damn, now I got to get her a gift she’s picked out herself, but will probably return.” It’s hard to get jazzed to give a gift that has already been chosen for you. Sure, it makes it easy for someone who doesn’t know you that well, or your uncle who’s constantly getting it wrong, but it doesn’t make it more fun.
How could I make this fun for my guests? It was a mind bender. Which is why I did the total wrong thing and procrastinated registering for gifts until three months before the wedding. What we really need are upgrades of products we already own, replacements for worn hand-me-downs, and cold hard cash. What we really wanted was decor that reflected our style and humor, adventure gear (camping is expensive for a sleeping on the ground activity), and cold hard cash.
Fortunately for us, jazzing up the run-of-the-mill registry was pretty easy. After all, there is a whole industry dedicated to this stuff. We registered on Zola.com because we were too far past the point of department store laser tag. We had to do something quick that didn’t want to make us gouge our eyes out. The best part was being able to write a note on each item, explaining why we wanted it. It’s like lobbing for your list of top gifts. But half way through we started not to take it seriously, so there are a lot of jokes too.
Maybe offensive to die-hard fans of wedding etiquette, but totally entertaining as you scroll through yet another registry of items people in third world countries have never seen. Another note on this off script registry, the giving is done on the digital plane. You buy online and send to my house. Super easy for you, and it cuts down on my present opening anxiety (which is a real big issue for me). Also, eliminates the transportation of goods. I’m really pleased I won’t have to drive a Uhaul to my wedding.
It’s difficult to ask for cash at a shower. I got pots and pans, but I really need a fridge, okay? But we set up the refrigerator fund anyway. So far ZERO contributions. We were able to register for things we actually wanted like a tent and weird movie posters as well as things we actually needed like a new can opener. You don’t know how desperately we need this $9 can opener. Someone please buy it for us (it’s been years).
I hope the guests who know us well understand that we have a Shark Bathroom and we really want to deck it out like a boss. I hope the guests who don’t know us realize that we aren’t kidding about the Star Wars pillow cases. We designed it for people to get creative and celebrate what we all mutually enjoy. Mostly booze, movies, and funny tv shows.
And when should we enjoy these items? Etiquette says we have to wait until after we are married. I did not find this out until I snap chatted a fun thank you with a full glass of wine to a dear friend who bought me the wine glasses. What?! Wait to use my wine glasses? We’ve been together for 5 years, lived together for 4 years, would have eloped 3 years ago, put our money together 2 years ago, saved for the ring for 1 year. It’s not like we aren’t invested. There are things that would be harder to do than send back gently used wine glasses, should this thing not go off with out a hitch.
But you know what might make us call off the wedding? Wading through unopened boxes for the next 6 weeks as they stack up around our house. This isn’t a museum, this is my home. My little tiny, apartment home. Although, I have considered the box fort possibilities, I’ve got an actual life outside of this wedding. I ain’t got time to ponder the epic hide and go seek battle that could go down if I wait to use my wedding gifts.
In the end, I still find it a bit ridiculous to be getting more possessions. When we go to buy something we ask, “Do we need this, or is it just another thing to have?” In the case of the Death Star Cookie Jar, we needed that, and it’s cool. We are just trying to be responsible citizens. It’s nice to have nice things, but it’s nicer to have people you love.
Share your thoughts on wedding registries. Is it a dying wedding tradition in the wake of modern relationships? Should you still have to buy china for people who have been living together for 3 years? Do you frown upon alternative registries? Would you be offended/think its bad juju to open and use a gift before the wedding?
It’s really an anomaly to me, hope you can clear it up.
February 11, 2015 § Leave a comment
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, or more importantly, Galentine’s Day (thanks Leslie Knope). Here are some random reasons to dump a dude who’s not worth it.
#1: He has an unconfirmed tick. You’ve seen it on the first couple dates, and are now on the look out. You end up paying more attention to a twitch sighting than what he’s saying. Translation: You aren’t that into him. If he was perfect for you, the supposed tick wouldn’t be an issue!
#2 He’s got a trick and he likes to show it off. So he can do a cartwheel. Bravo. The second time he does it in an unprompted,”look at me” fashion, eh dude, this is old news. The third time. He’s not well rounded enough for you. Sit, Stay.
#3 Sex is subpar. Subpar all the time from the beginning of time. It’s not going to get better. You can settle, or you can be honest. If he doesn’t take your notes, maybe it’s time to be friends.
#4 He’s lazy. Don’t date a couch potato unless you are a potato. Have some ambition.
#5 He doesn’t make you laugh. Amendment: He doesn’t make you laugh when you do something laughable (like trip or spill food). Amendment: If he doesn’t get slap stick comedy, it’s just not worth it.
Here are a few more my little Galentines.
February 3, 2015 § 1 Comment
If our ropes have not been tested for strength we would not know the threshold of our grace. It is through gritted teeth that we smile through the annoyance of arrogance and ignorance. At least that’s how pet peeves are made.
One of my pet peeves is when people want to have a discussion as I’m about to go into the bathroom. It’s like, “Come on, you know all I can think about is urine. How productive will this conversation really be?”
And another pet peeve is when people dare me to guess how old they are. Unprompted. I don’t want to guess. I know that’s a slippery slope.
I’m terrible at this game. I’m one of those people who wouldn’t be able to tell if you dyed your hair purple until three weeks too late. “Something’s different about you, but I can’t put my finger on it.” Same thing with weight gains and losses. Unless you really let it go, I’ll probably just think you got stung by bees. A lot of bees.
Not to mention age is a different beast all together. Take me for example, I look like I’m a good 6 or 8 years younger than I am, and my voice is probably 4 years younger than that. It’s true, as a 31 year old woman, I could pass for 24 if you didn’t look too closely at my crow’s feet (come on, eye cream). But I’m not going to prompt you to guess my Chinese astrology. That would be rude.
So I was me, minding my own business–literally, I was steps away from the bathroom. I had to pee, and I had been holding it for a bit. This was my escape. Then I was cornered by a challenger. “Seriously, how old do you think I am?” She asked, as if we had had a long conversation about it already. We didn’t.
“I’m sorry, I don’t want to guess,” I said. This is always my response to the inquiry. I don’t ever lie or fib, and I could already tell my response was not going to be welcomed. I really wanted to pee instead. In fact, I was truly distracted by my brimming bladder, I couldn’t even come up with a ball park decade.
“No, really, guess how old I am,” she persisted. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. If I do guess and I guess too old, or too accurate, I’m an asshole. If I guess obviously too young to cover my ass, I’m clearly lying. No one wins this game.
“I can’t,” I said. I had only one thought. BATHROOM NOW.
“I’m not going to guess,” but you’re acting like a 4 year old, “you’re going to have to tell me,” because I don’t give a shit, I just want to relieve myself.
Boasting with the pride of a child who just lost their training wheels, I am finally allowed the answer. With a generous head nod and a big, fake W-O-W, I’m finally able to complete the last two steps behind the lavatory door. That was a close one.
“Age ain’t nothing but a number.” I once met an older man resembling Santa who wore a t-shirt that read that. Then I was strapped to his belly and jumped out of an air plane. It was the 400th time he’d been sky diving. It was my first.
I have to really think hard about age to give any number gravity. I want to honor it, the time, the climate, circumstances of the year of birth, old or young. Otherwise, I don’t consider it relevant to most discussions. If you are an adult living in the world today, we can have an ageless conversation. It is insulting to assume that I would not get a reference that dates 20 years ago. And if I didn’t, I would surely love to hear the explanation. Knowledge is power.
As for physicality, age is transient. We will never age like the generation before us. We age by how we take care of ourselves, armed by the science of our culture. 60 today does not look like the 60 of 30 years ago or 30 years into the future. We have things like sunscreen now, and we may be living on Mars soon.
Of course that doesn’t take away from the wisdom your years awards you. Or perhaps, the crazy you have developed over the years, but that varies from person to person and it would be truly ageist of me to generalize that all 90 year olds are bat shit. They aren’t. Just the challenging ones.
****As you might have noticed, I took last month for myself. You can find me posting new musings bi-weekly, and repeats on the off weeks. Mostly Tuesdays, or Wednesdays.
December 16, 2014 § Leave a comment
It’s the end of the year and we are all counting our blessings and savings and accomplishments from the year before. The holidays marks a passage of time when we take an inventory of what’s going on and compare it to last year’s numbers.
This will be the 5th Christmas Mister Red and I will exchange gifts and I’m stumped. I usually win the friendly unspoken gift giving competition. I mean, I pretty much always nail the wild card, warm fuzzy, you-shouldn’t-have-but-how-did-you-know gift. With the exception of the too small navy blue twink suit fail of 2012. It looked like he was wearing a pair of Lulu crops around his athletic thighs. But it was the thought that counted that year.
It’s totally true that we try to one up each other. For Valentines Day, we somehow started a strange tradition of making the other a Valentine. The funnier it is, the punier it is, if you rhyme a poem or draw a picture, the more points you get.
For Halloween, its quietly judging the other’s jack-o-lantern. And sometimes I try to micromanage his carving skills (sorry, dude).
Fourth of July is usually when we bring two dishes to pass and mine is better. Except this year, he championed the avocado/greek yogurt chicken salad that I was skeptical of. And now I make it once a month.
He’s lead started gaining in the spring when he threw me for a loop and observed a holiday in uncharted territory. For April Fools, he staged a walk out with my shoes that was quite hilarious. I didn’t have a comeback for that one.
Thanksgiving might be the only holiday where we truly work together. And it’s for the sake of pie.
This year for Christmas, even though my numbers are down due to my ill prepared April Fool’s Day and the Wedding Proposal, I might forfeit anyway. I don’t have a clue what to get him. I know he’s got some good stuff brewing because I gave him major hints and spread the blanket wide on my Pinterest board.
So what do you give to the man you know so well?
Not socks. That’s for sure.
Not a video game, if I want to see him at all next month.
Is this the year I give boudoir pictures? Is that how those happen? I have always wondered how women end up resorting to that. He puts a ring on it, I can’t think of anything to top that gift this year so I do a stop motion burlesque show?
My points are so far down that I might as well save that up for next year. Nudey pics on our first married xmas. Tasteful, of course. Best wife ever. Saving that for later.
So this year… socks it is!
December 9, 2014 § Leave a comment
You know you have a strong relationship when you say…
“I’m going to put the goo gone back in the Harry Potter Closet”
and it’s understood perfectly.
Or how about…
“Is is okay if I finish off the KT dessert tonight?”
And it is okay, even though you made it less than 2 hours ago.
You compromise on entertainment….
“Can we watch ‘kaaahhhhhahhhhakaaaaakaa’ and ‘fast news talk big story love triangle’ tonight or save one and watch two next week?”
(Extra points if you can guess those shows)
You alert the other of beautiful views…
“Check out the wicked underbelly from the secret patio.”
You have traditions near the holidays….
“After tonight we have to get Trampstamp Tonya out of the overhead storage bin.”
But most importantly, you have emergency chocolate in the house and it’s okay if the other person eats it….
“That whole thing of chocolate chips is gone from the freezer.”
Because you understand why they needed it in the first place.