November 4, 2014 § Leave a comment
There are the occasional moments in my life when I’ve stomped my foot and said, “well, I don’t care what you think, I’m wearing it anyway.” Prom is a good example of this. 2 piece, lime green, white girl with corn rolls. Or that Christmas when I was 10 and HAD to wear a pantsuit. Another being a college freshman purchase of the most outrageous mary jane platforms. They added seven inches of glory underneath my extreme flared jeans and became a go-to until I moved to Boston. Cartoon footwear doesn’t do well on cobble stone. Selecting my wedding dress is proving to be another such occasion.
Sure I took the online test even though I already knew what I liked. I wanted to be certain I wasn’t missing anything wonderful. Of course I get the label of death: non-traditional and unique. Personally, I was hoping to find a dress that I can later wear to the Emmy’s. You never know when an award show can creep up on you. What’s a girl without a gown? Always BTP (black tie prepared).
First Stop, disappointment. My mother and I trudged to a Labor Day sale in an Armenian neighborhood in LA. I didn’t watch enough episodes of ‘Say Yes To the Dress’ to know where I was supposed to start. A nice young girl pulled some drapey dresses. In a room with my mother, I stripped in front of them both. Topless and sporting a thong I stepped into the first number. Good thing I lift weights because this thing was easily 20lbs. Insert new word into description: light-weight. No one tells you how heavy these things are and no one tells you to leave your modesty at the door.
I stood nearly naked avoiding eye contact as the sales woman readied the second dress. I tried not to look at my stomach jiggle in the three way mirror as a climbed into a mermaid cut. My thighs glued themselves together from the knees up with the quick formation of sweat. “This is how it fits. I would order you this size.” My jaw dropped. But I can’t walk! I definitely can’t sit down. Second thing to add: must be able to sit.
As I kept on telling her, light weight, less fabric, the mountain of dress I was stepping into shrunk. The lightest dress in the store was still five layers of fabric with a four foot train. There is never a reason to wear five layers of dress in the summer. The sales woman let us loose in the store to look for ourselves. Ball gowns with vagina shaped bows costing over six grand assaulted my eyes. The picture of my dream dress began to focus up: little to no flowers, little to no lace, pearls are not me, no vagina bows.
With a refined pallet, we headed to Beverly Hills for excursion #2. This time I brought a friend who gets me. We got champagne at this place, it was classy. You don’t go to Beverly Hills for nothing. The salesperson was fun and whimsical, and encouraged me to try on everything to see what I liked. Non-traditional, unique, light weight, not a lot of flower, not a lot of lace danceable, sitable dress. I narrowed it down to 2 and a half. The fabric was still heavy, but I could sit. However, the sample size was too big. Even with the industrial sized construction clips holding my ladies in, I couldn’t get a good read on the fit. Fortunately they had the same dress in red, in my size. Upon zip up and suck in, my thighs were welded together with perspiration. “The mermaid cut isn’t for comfort, it’s for drama,” I was informed. I usually I do not care for drama. I am not a mermaid. I like dancing on land. Lesson for this trip: sheath is my magic cut.
Deciding that my nontraditional ways were leading me away from the traditional bridal shops, our next stop was to the grand department store: Needless Markups. You know the one. Up five levels to the evening wear section, I found her, in navy blue. She was amazing. Everything I wanted. drippy, structured, sweetheart, sheath, no flowers, no lace, and for a cool eight grand I could dis-invite 70% of the guest list and order it in ivory.
Back to the drawing board in yet another bridal shop in Beverly Hills, I got my first feels. My mother and my dear friend had been tearing up every time I had a veil on, but I was too concerned about my ability to sit to be thinking about being a bride and it being an epic life moment. This incredible dress, and with the glitz in all the right places, I started to leak from my eyeballs. I was going to marry him. I was going to get all dressed up like the stuff of cake toppers and become a wife. So. Many. Feels.
As I stood there feeling feelings, one of the salespeople leveled with me. She was a tall horse faced black woman unafraid to tell the truth even if it cost her the sale. “You didn’t come in here ugly. That’s all I’m going to say.”
“What?” I was confused. Was the dress making me ugly?
“You didn’t come in here ugly. A lot of dresses you try on are going to look good on you. I see girls who want something they have no business putting on.” And with that she reclipped the dress tighter and my armpit fat spilled a little over the side. “That’s how this is supposed to fit, girl. You still love it?”
At that moment with my thighs sealed together and the embellishment poking my ribcage from the outside in, I didn’t really like the dress anymore. It’s an important thing to remember that wifey feels do not equal dress dollars. The dress I had on was five grand. As my mother tried to refinance her car in her head, I came to my senses and put the kibosh on that nonsense.
Forward ho to the sample store. Designer dresses 30-70% off, yes please. This place was far less pressure. Me and my crew scoured the racks for try-ons. If it didn’t fit, forget it. That’s the thing with samples, it’s as is, you break it you buy it. Take if off the rack that day. No ordering. No returns. After the first few didn’t work, the southern sales lady pulled out a light silky sheath that fit like a glove and felt like a nightgown. I could actually walk, sit, spin, do the splits. Nontraditional, unique, No flowers, no lace, just right. I had a little bit of feels and pulled the trigger knowing it would need some jazzing up from a good seamstress. No turning back now.
It was anti-climatic saying yes to the dress, but it’s really not about the dress. It’s about matrimony, folks, like love and shit. Why are people so interested in what I’m wearing? Only people stalking you on Facebook care about what your dress looks like. So what if I don’t even look like that bride on top of the cake or in the magazine? I don’t care what any of them think, I’m wearing it anyway… all wife-like in my own way.