Monday, September 30, 2013

Raz vs. The Wedding Shower

My best friend is getting married and I’m thrilled to pieces for her.  I cried when she asked me to be a bridesmaid.  I cried when I saw her in her wedding dress, and I will probably be a blubbering mess at the wedding.  I’m prepared for that.

When she asked me to take their engagement pictures, I couldn’t have been more flattered.  I bought a new lens.  I did all kinds of research on posing couples.  I bought a little ampersand prop and an old barnwood frame from A.C. Moore, and I grabbed chalk so we could write their wedding date on the fence just like I saw on Pinterest.  I was prepared for that.

At the wedding shower, most of the tables had little dessert offerings on them.  They were all color-coordinated and interspersed tastefully with decorations.  On one table, however, there was a little rectangle of delicate wire mesh attached to a frame.  Beside it was a basket of muslin strips for people to write nuggets of wisdom and advice for married life, then weave them or tie them onto the wire.  I was not prepared for that.

For most of the shindig I just avoided it.  But I’m a bridesmaid.  I have responsibilities.  So eventually I made my way over to the cursed thing.  By this point in the evening, several people had come and gone, leaving their handwritten tips in the mesh.  Some were woven meticulously, others looked like they crash-landed.  Still others were knotted securely to one section of wire or another, as if secured for stormy weather.

I stared at it for a long time, thinking that perhaps if I read every single piece of fabric, something in my head would ignite and I would write something clever but thoughtful, something distinctly “me” but also a little surprising, then pass on without a second thought as so many others had.  But as the staredown dragged on, I found myself wishing instead for laser vision so I could blow the thing to bits.

In lieu of producing useful advice, my head supplied snarky responses to nearly all of the strips up there.  For example, one read:  “There is no ‘I’ in team,” which is true enough, but there is an “I” in “marriage” so…

Others made me cringe for different a different reason.  “She is always right!” claimed one.  Another advised, “Compromise… Her way is best.”  Both paint the wife as an emotionally unstable basket case that the husband must constantly tiptoe around if he hopes to maintain his sanity.  That’s a little unfair.  And while the intended light-heartedness was not lost on me, the nonchalance with which we throw sayings like this around makes it worse, in a way.  A girlfriend sidled up next to me, baffled that I was having so much trouble with something so simple.  “This one’s mine,” she said, and pointed to a neatly written strip near the top:  “A happy wife is a happy life.”

I didn’t say anything.

Who was I to offer marriage advice?  I’m not married.  I don’t want to be married.  I’ve never even had a real relationship.  I retreated to the comfort zone of attacking the whole construct of the “advice board,” mentally enumerating its weaknesses and fallacies, because it meant I didn’t have to accept that I was the only thing preventing me from succeeding at this.

I walked away.  Not for good, but for a moment, just to collect myself.  Or, perhaps more accurately, to get over myself.  This wasn’t about me.  I wasn’t the one getting married; I had no right to this breakdown.  When I returned to that table, it was only for long enough to write my piece and tie it down.  I tied it tight, as if securing it for stormy weather.

“You’ll do great.”

Because they will.


  1. Great blog. we are on the same page with the wise sayings. I usually write something like, "When two hearts are jointed together, they must beat as one. When livers are so united, think about corrective surgery." But I think I'm the only one who thinks its funny.

  2. Well with this post I learnt you are female. I have been reading your blog for ages and I genuinely thought you were male. That's the internet for you.

  3. This post is beautiful, I got the fuzzies (not a word according to spellcheck... yet.). Anyways, keep being awesome!