Archive for October, 2007

Strike a Pose. Actually, Just Strike It Completely.

October 30, 2007

Yesterday’s post touched off a small debate about a large derriere in the comments. Specifically, the decision to feature it prominently in a posed wedding shot. The respective sides have no doubt spent the evening on Cafepress ordering their “Team Ass” and “Team Hide It” T-shirts. But this business of unusual posed shots touches on something else that’s had me scratching my puzzler as I flip through bridal magazines in search of the perfect confection in which to glide down the aisle. That is the matter of the poses that ateliers put their brides in for advertising photography.

What am I to infer from these poses? What backstory are these models conjuring to fully embody that which is The Bride?

1. I’m going to lean on this wall and think about, like, stuff.
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2. Yankees? At Tara!? I won’t think about that today. I’ll think about that tomorrow.
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3. Touch your ear and thrust back your arm. ENNNCHHHHHH! Simon didn’t say touch your ear and thrust back your arm.
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4, 5, and 6. The Maybe It’s a Gown Ad, Maybe It’s a Deodorant Ad Trilogy
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7. Mmmm those muscle relaxers were just the thing to take ‘way the wedding day jangles. So’z the ch’mpagne. I’m just gonna’ lie down for a sec…zzzzzz…
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8. Mother always did stress the importance of perfect posture. And on not losing your shadow, lest you want to never grow up.
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9. In the upcoming year you’re going to be dealing with two mothers who expect you at their house for Christmas morning, a boss who’d prefer you wait about five years before going on your honeymoon, and a fiancé who thinks pulled pork sandwiches and grape Fanta will be fine for guests. Get used to this position now.
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10. Nice Britney homage. Hopefully this dress comes in some shade other than white.
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A WTF Photo Day

October 29, 2007

Really? That’s the direction you wanted to go on wedding gown fit? OK, it’s your wedding so whatever strikes your fanc…um, never mind.

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Why The Bridal Industry Hates Us Fridays

October 26, 2007

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Fellow blogger Johanna found this sugary beauty on Dlisted and instantly thought of me. (And yes, that is most certainly a loaded compliment.) I’m imagining the cake consultation meeting on this, where the bride sat there and nodded emphatically, “Yes, it is a good idea for them to recreate me with six layers of Duncan Hines and five pounds of buttercream. Yes, I definitely want to have a few lucky guests get to stand there awkwardly while they get Cake Me’s netherregions portioned off and plopped down on their dessert plates. Yes, I want to inspire guests to stand around and joke, c. 1984, ‘What did you think of, Ray? What did you think of?'”

Although frankly, the other potential applications for this cake are numerous. Office birthday parties—It’s your special day so tell your boss to eat you. Literally! Bar mitzvah—Today Jacob is a man…and a delicious red velvet!

Incidentally, since couples are supposed to save the top layer of their wedding cake to eat on their first anniversary, do you suppose they just cut off Cake Her’s head, Saran Wrapped it and chucked it in the freezer? Because that would be the most romantic first anniversary ever. Provided, you’re cannibals with a sweet tooth.

T Minus One

October 25, 2007

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Exactly one year from today I will be getting married. I suppose it’s a leap year, as this year Oct. 25 falls on a Thursday and next year it’s a Saturday. Is that a good omen? Who’s to say?

Here’s a good omen: I had not realized that the one-year-out mark was approaching. My fiancé did. He asked me on Monday night if I had any plans for Thursday. I did, but they could be re-arranged if necessary. Why? I asked. “Because it’s our negative-one year anniversary and I thought I’d take you to dinner.” Knock me over with a feather. Then last night he tells me that he made reservations for a terribly romantic restaurant in Dupont.

I do. I do. I do.

Pompous Hearts Insufferable Monday

October 23, 2007

Sometimes it’s too easy.

“The Rev. Stanislaus Gumula, a Roman Catholic priest, officiated at Ashepoo Plantation, the bride’s family’s weekend home in Green Pond, S.C….[on an early date] she invited him and two others to Ashepoo for a week of turkey shooting…after a week that included strolls by an alligator pond, her love of the country became clear to him. They began dating when they got back to New Haven. ‘The joke is that he fell in love with the plantation…'” Ms. Insufferable said.

 Interesting side note: I’m surprised they advertised that a Catholic priest performed the ceremony at the old homestead. To the best of my knowledge, a priest can only marry couples in a church, unless an (ahem, cough cough) off-the-books donation of sizeable amount is made to the priest. But then I guess if you’re putting in your wedding announcement that you were married not just in Green Pond, S.C., but at “the bride’s family’s weekend home,” then you have plenty of cash in the clay “Bribes for Priest” jar on the kitchen windowsill.

And Now A Word From the Mrs.

October 17, 2007

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Writer and women’s rights activist Ruth Hale, a chum of Dorothy Parker’s back in the day, spent her life railing against the patriarchy. When she was preparing to marry fellow journalist Heywood Broun, Hale flipped out upon learning that the traditional Episcopal ceremony would involve the word “obey” in the vows. She threatened to cancel the wedding. Chief among her stances was that her name was Ruth Hale and she would most certainly never answer to “Mrs. Broun.”

Up to this point, we could call this a philosophical, historical victory for yesterday’s guest poster.

But wait. When Hale died in 1934, the Los Angeles Examiner headline on her obituary stated “Ex-wife of Heywood Broun Passes.”

Score 1 gramillion for the patriarchy.

Perhaps it’s the decades of defeat, but frankly I can’t muster much beyond a shrug and a “meh” when my chum raises the Hale argument. She’ll be all earnest and precious with her “I am not a piece of property” and “your birth name is your identity” and I’m just sitting there thinking, “Oooh, I wonder if they’ve got cherry Jell-O in the cafeteria today…”

I kid. She’s actually the only one I’ve ever known who’s felt so passionately about the matter and made me consider how I’d approach the decision. Most of my fellow journalists just kept their original names out of laziness. Why mess with the DMV when you can chalk it up to “professional identity”? But I feel compelled to share some of my reasons for taking my fiancé’s name on the big day:

1. He’s never insisted I do it. Had he, I of course would not have.

2. My name has just two shakes of a lamb’s tail of difference from a prominent character on 1990s television masterwork “Saved by the Bell.” It’s long since ceased to be enchanting to have shopgirls squinch their noses at my credit card and then squeal “OhmyGodjustlike_______!”

3. My future last name has one cinematic parallel that I am aware of and that’s the title of a Robert Altman movie. And that’s totally cool.

4. Number of times, after today, I will have to explain my decision if I change my name to his: 0. Number of times I will have to explain my decision if I don’t: approximately 235.

5. No loss of ethnic identity. They were oppressing folks with my last name back in the Second Wave, they were oppressing his during the First Wave. So technically, I actually ratchet up the whole ethnovibe thing because his people have been getting shafted for way longer than mine.

6. Speaking of ethnic identity, jokes about his people focus on drinking and purloined Lucky Charms. Jokes about mine focus on stupidity.

7. I just plain want to. Call me a prim traditionalist. I’ve identified the one man on the planet with whom I want to spend the rest of my life. I’m down with sharing a name with him.

Now hurry up with my beer; they’re after me Lucky Charms.

Notes from a Lunatic (with her own name, goddamnit.)

October 16, 2007

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This is not Bridal Bird.

This is her good friend who has her OWN NAME, offering up a guest post at The Bird’s request. She wants me to tell you all about how she is breaking my heart with this nonsense talk that she’ll soon give up her fabulous three-syllable, alliterative last name for her husband’s. (You know, like when you buy a car? And the title is transferred?) And I have reluctantly agreed. Usually, I prefer to hide my personal craziness under the pillow. Plus, I fear mean comments from the many masochists who come here for tips on catching a Bird of great quality. But, what the hell, I am a revolutionary and I know I must be brave in the battle to liberate my sisters.

So here’s my story. Yes, I am married. I’ve been married for five years. And it’s great. (It really is.) But I did NOT change my name, I never even CONSIDERED changing my name, and my husband knows better than to dream, for even one second, that I might change my name in the future. And here’s why: It’s my name.

Sometimes, when I’m trying to sound less crazy (not so much right now…), I tell people, “Oh, but I was 30 when I got married. You know, that’s a long time to have a name.” (Like I couldn’t possibly learn to spell a new one.) Or, I explain how I had a semi-respectable career in journalism at the time of marriage and a bulky portfolio of published work—it would have been professional suicide to change my (locally) known byline to something else! (These are all reasons, by the way, that The Bird is free to borrow.) I usually add, “You know, I completely understand why somebody would want to change their name. For one thing, it’s much easier when you have kids. For another, you don’t have to argue about linen monograms.” And that is true. I do understand. It is easier. But it’s also pretty weak.

(For the record, my daughters have hyphenated names. Five syllables! I know they’re too long. But my husband refuses to drop his half. At the doctor’s office, they just use my last name—and when he goes there, they call him Mr. F. and he gets a little steamy. But at my eldest’s pre-school, they just use his last name! Who told them to do that??!)

I do have a good name, if I have to say so myself. I think it has syllabic rhythm. And ethnic identity. And I share it with a very cool Southern, Catholic writer. So, that’s part of why I kept it. I think it’s like a little hint, “I am THIS kind of person.” The kind of person who will get your joke about catechism class and drink too much Guinness. If I had taken my husband’s name, it would have been like pretending to be somebody else with a whole other personal history and a whole other set of in-jokes and favorite foods.

But the bigger part is PRINCIPLE, people. This whole “giving up” your name smacks to me of ownership. It’s like when white men in straw hats stepped up to the auction block and paid $10 for a kitchen girl. You know, they gave slaves their owners’ last names. Why not just wear a frigging sign? “For sale: One woman. I will keep your house tidy.” Or” “I belong to him.” Sigh. Why can’t we be more like the Spaniards? Those are civilized people. And respectful of their mothers. Like them, I might have considered hyphenating — if my husband did. He didn’t. So I wouldn’t. And that’s that.

When I read the Sunday NY Times, I used to keep track of who changed their name and who didn’t. (This was not a healthy habit and I have stopped.) But there were a goodly number of smart women who kept their names. To wit: The Times reported on four (straight) couples this past weekend. Three do not appear to be destroying the hopes of their daughters. They are, collectively, a lawyer and novelist, a Reuters reporter, and a very noble-minded gal who coordinates nonprofit arts education programs in the Bronx. One is changing her name. She coordinates product placement for Schweppes products in films. Sell-out!!

I admit (and this is not very nice) that I still think that women who change their names are… how can I put this? Um. Likely to sell Avon products.

All right. Let’s get down to business.

Top three reasons that the Bird should keep her name:
1) I have two older sisters. When they got married, one changed her name (but not professionally) and the other did not. The latter is still happily married. The other suffered a 15-year miserable marriage to a lying, alcoholic attorney who, while sleeping with his secretary, eventually succeeded in driving her to the loony bin for a not-short hospitalization. Now she’s divorced, in therapy, and a lesbian. Do you want that, Bird? Huh? Huh?

2) When solicitors call, they will say, “Mrs. M?” And you will know, right then, that this couldn’t possibly be a friend because all of your friends know damn well that you don’t call yourself THAT. And you can say, honestly, as I do, “No. This is not Mrs. M. There IS no Mrs. M.” And then hang up.

3) Laura Bush changed her name. Theresa Heinz did not.

The Ring That Keeps on Giving

October 15, 2007

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Walking up 18th Street toward home Friday night after having a drink with friends, I picked my way over the already-puddling puke and dodged the cavalcade of stupid that impedes the sidewalk flow there on any given evening. As I neared Adams Mill Bar and entered the home stretch toward bed, bath and beyond, I heard a guy over my right shoulder say something to his friend about me. I know it was about me because I was at that moment the only female within earshot and certainly the only redhead. It was actually quite complimentary but it was delivered in the slurred patois of the Adams Morgan nightcrawler so I knew that quick on its heels would be the direct verbal leg hump. He did not disappoint. “Hey, are you single?!” he heaved at me, his tone betraying a Red Bull-fueled earnestness. “No,” I said, and feeling more than a little smug, I lifted my left hand across my chest, just so, and almost imperceptibly flitted my ring finger, just so. “I’m engaged.”

[Editor’s note: This is a move that the engaged female should use exceedingly sparingly. It should be employed only when an actual douche deflection is required, not as a greeting to any male who asks her how her day is going or whether she’s done using the ketchup on her table.]

As this guy’s sidekick guffawed and jabbed his elbow at his fallen comrade, the dude himself said “What the fuck,” and doubletimed it into Adams Mill Bar, where he would no doubt find what he was seeking: availability. Because I was feeling particularly generous, I did not advise him, as I was considering, “But definitely keep using that approach, sugar. It’s exactly how my fiancé won me.”

Why the Bridal Industry Hates Us Fridays

October 12, 2007

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I know when I’m beaten. In perusing the web for today’s WtBIHU Friday item, I came across a blog called Stupid Wedding Crap. It was all there—the gender stereotyping T-shirts, the dumb favors, the penis necklace bridal shower accessories, the denim bridal gowns. Writes the blogger: Stick with me as I explore the underbelly of the wedding industry. I’ll be posting stories from wedding party members, pictures of truly horrific wedding-themed tchochkes, and figuring out how the heck to plan a nuptial celebration. Hopefully, one that involves as little stupid wedding crap as possible.

And she puts her money where her mouth is. She’s funny and finds ah-mazing crap. So if I’ve not been confronted personally that week by some heinous tool of the bridal industrial complex, I’ll simply point my dainty finger in her direction and implore you to take a look. While warning you to of course partially shield your eyes first. There’s really no other way to look at these:
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If A, Then B, Then C You in Hell

October 11, 2007

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Had you passed by my office at lunchtime yesterday you would have heard a good deal of snickering. Not because I was watching the live feed from the White House press briefing (zing!) but because I was working my way through the 172-question online premarital survey required by the Catholic Church these days. A lot of the questions were oddly worded (although to their credit, not in Latin) and the inability to go back and change an answer meant that one stood a good chance of accidentally clicking the wrong answer when asked, “I agree that it will not not be problematic that my spouse enjoys murdering kittens and blowing rails during the workday.” I wanted to answer truthfully, but I also didn’t want to unwittingly send a federal marshal to my or my fiancé’s office.

Right from the get-go, the whole operation was dicey. Especially when considering that the survey wasn’t for like, Cosmo, but for the entity that claims to have God on speed dial. Particularly ominous was that I had to indicate that I needed the “cohabiting” survey. This was going to be a sticky wicket.

What is your age?
Drat. I didn’t want to have to lie on the first question. OK, fine, 30.
…Crap, then there’s that business about life begins at conception. Well forget it, I’m not writing “30 and nine months” and that’s that.

Are you confident that you will have a fulfilling sexual relationship with your spouse?
Yeesh. Second question? Get to know a girl first why don’t you, Catholic Church. Maybe take her out for a drink before you ask her about the no-pants dance. Oh and don’t think that I’m not well aware that this is a trick question.

Is the previous answer based on your current relationship?
See. I wasn’t born yesterday.

Do you agree or disagree with the statement “My spouse’s gambling will be a barrier in our marriage?”
Only if he’s betting against the O’s! Am I right, O’s fans?! Eh? Eh?

Do you agree or disagree with the statement “My spouse has sexual desires that make me uncomfortable.”
Huh, that’s odd. They don’t specify whether they mean emotionally or physically.

Do you agree or disagree with the statement, “My spouse watches too much television.”
Well the guy who watches football every Saturday certainly isn’t going to have any stones thrown at him by the girl who watches The Hills every Monday.

Have you discussed how many children you will have?
I suppose they’re not looking for “Yes, zero, because babies will make me chunky and irritable,” as an answer. I mean I suppose that because my only two choices are “Yes, enough for a baseball team,” and “Yes, enough to start a small cottage industry producing rosaries and pocket Bibles.”

You are having children, right?
OK, now you’re just being snippy.

The real rub on all this is that when you’re done slogging through all 172 questions, you don’t get any kind of score. No harp-strumming angel icon and a “Congratulations! You’re destined for a lifetime of happiness!” or head-shaking devil saying “Yeahhhh, you might want to not throw away the receipts for those wedding gifts just yet” accompanied by the Price is Right overbid noise. But I guess it takes the Pope a while to tabulate everyone’s scores. I’m assuming they go right to the Pope, as the email they were whisked off to was VivaIlPapa54@yahoo.com.