Archive for June, 2008

The State of Our Union is Strong

June 30, 2008

Time out.

At some point today I will update with an actual post, but I started to accumulate enough comments on something that I thought it necessitated clarification. My fiance and I are not, nor have we ever, contemplated calling off the wedding. Last week I said that “the funny and I were thinking of calling it off” so I’d not blogged the previous week. I just meant that I wasn’t feeling funny. No funny. Funny nada.

Game on.

C is for Cookie, That’s Good Enough for Me…And 130 of Our Nearest and Dearest

June 24, 2008

It has become apparent from the wedding catalogs and magazines arriving in our mailbox that there is a plethora of stupid junk we could give people as wedding favors. I’ll not name check any particular stupid item because inevitably it will lead to at least one of my married readers saying in a huff, “But we thought our personalized tongue scrapers were adorable!” Faced with such offerings, I’ve been looking for alternatives.

A few months ago I mentioned to my sister that I was considering making my famous (trust me) chocolate chip cookies as favors. She gave me a look that she’s given me on occasion since childhood, a look best described as “How Did I and This Moron Spring Forth From the Same Womb?” Suffice it to say, it’s marinated to an effective potency after a couple decades. “How in God’s name are you going to have time to make all those cookies before your wedding?” she said in a tone that was the verbal equivalent of The Look. After I half-heartedly protested that it couldn’t be that hard, she did what she certainly felt was in my best interest and in her purview as the maid of honor and quashed the idea by dropping her chin, narrowing her eyes to skeptical half-slits and saying simply, “Dude.

[It might beg explanation for my newer readers that she was not merely riffing on the beer commercial. My nickname since babyhood has indeed been some form of Dude, courtesy of my older brother. It started as Little Dude, was later shortened to Dude and now my nieces and nephews call me Aunt Dude.]

I spent the last couple of months trying to come up with another idea to no avail. (I did at least determine that I want to do something edible so people don’t have to schlep a tchotchke around.) The other night, while watching Cookie Monster on the Colbert Report, I decided that dagnammit I’m making the cookies! I located a company online that sells little glassine bags to put them in and found a company that turns any image you send to them into a stamp. So I’ll finally get to use that vintage typewriter image of my father’s on the labels. I’ll make the cookies the week ahead of time and freeze them, something I do all the time and they taste fantastic when they thaw. Then the day before I’ll bag ’em and tag ’em. Plus, it will be something personal from us. I say “us” because someone’s going to have to taste test them for quality control and I have a feeling I know who that someone will be.

My question for you—do I do big tubs of ice with cartons of milk in them, too? I know it would look fun, but practically speaking would you actually grab a carton of milk with your cookies on your way out the door from a wedding? I could go either way on this.

Yes, The Wedding is Still On

June 23, 2008

But the funny and I were thinking of calling it off last week. So I took some time off. Still not doing a real post until lunchtime, but I thought I’d tide you over with the the following.

New reader and commenter Aileen posed the following question this weekend: “OK, I’m new here, but I gotta ask: How in the world did you get so many male commenters on a wedding blog?”

Aileen, I have no idea. My best guess is that I’ve plied some of them with liquor on occasion. Whatever the reason, they’re my favorite ironic demographic.

Why the Bridal Industry Hates Us Friday

June 13, 2008

Specifically, this is about why the bridal industry hates men. (It is nothing if not equal opportunity.) Because one of two things is happening with men’s tuxedos: manufacturers are pumping out drop-dead heinous offerings because they assume men don’t mind being sartorially condescended to, or men actually buy these things and the industry isn’t generous enough to try to save them from themselves. As I mentioned last week, my fiancé purchased his tux without much fuss and or muss. But had he been forced to expand the circle of his search he would have found a rogue’s gallery of truly ridiculous formalwear options. Following, for your Friday fluff pleasure, are some examples as well as explanations as to why he would not have selected them…

Because, not being Steven Seagal, he is not Marked for Death, Hard to Kill, Under Seige, Out for Justice, or On Deadly Ground.

Because he is not getting married in his native Texas circa 1865 while simultaneously masterminding a Wells Fargo wagon heist.

Because he is not the kindly old operator of P.G. McSnoodlebritches’ Ice Cream Emporium on Main Street at Disney World.

Because he is not a cast member from Guys and Dolls, although he does typically request that luck be a lady tonight.

Because he is not the hottest piece of tail in the chorus line at the Fire Island Dinner Theater. (Would that he were! Am I right, or am I right?)

Because he knows this was the best thing to come of 1990, not the formalwear.

Because he is not the MC welcoming everyone to Thug Heaven in a Tupac video.

What he is is tall, broad and a man of classic tastes. And by classic I mean dress pants, button downs, ties, and “Sex Panther—60% of the time it works every time” T-shirts. As such, he’ll be in a tux similar to this one, but with a black tie:

We’re still negotiating on the Sex Panther T-shirt’s inclusion into the ensemble.

We Regret That We Must Decline Your Invitation to Royally Shaft Us

June 12, 2008

I do not begrudge the invitation its role in the wedding process. I am not in league with those who claim “It’s just going to get thrown away, so what’s the big deal?” Yes, it represents a bit of ephemera, but it’s one of the first things guests will see, setting the tone for your wedding. [Editor’s note: I know that roughly five of the people receiving it will actually care about that when they get it and approximately half that number will care at the event eight weeks later, but this is one of those things that brides convince themselves is important. I can’t let on that I’m not in line on this or they’ll realize my chip fell out.] As such, it is important to make sure the invitation is elegant.

What it is also important to remember is that it is illogical to pay $1,400 for 100 small pieces of paper. That’s what one major Georgetown stationer planned to charge me for custom letterpress invitations, featuring a vintage typewriter font for the text and my artist father’s pen-and-ink drawing of an antique typewriter for an embellishment on the top of the panel. “American dollars?” I thought when the estimate opened on my monitor and I squinted at the grand total box. That sent me to the Advil bottle and to Plan B, which meant the non-custom letterpress invites from the same retailer. Those would feature no typewriter illustration, but they had a cool font and looked and felt quite luxurious. Moving my finger over the row and down the appropriate pricing column it landed on $750. Close, but no cigar. Because that still didn’t take into account at least $300 for envelope calligraphy and $100 for postage.

To be clear: the retailer wasn’t on the fringe with its pricing structure. Bridal magazines typically feature invites that cost up to $3,500 for 100. And anyone in the publishing industry will tell you that the increases in ink and paper costs have been so severe in recent years that you’d think you’ve been getting a real deal at the gas pump by comparison. (Incidentally, that’s why newspapers are weighing in at about one-tenth of an ounce these days and they are staffed solely by three reporters in their 20s, an intern in his teens and a monkey in a diaper.) This just isn’t one of those areas that I want to authorize the spending of a lot of cash on because I believe there are perfectly viable alternatives.

Now, remember when I mentioned my artist father? That was what we in the business call foreshadowing. My father recently indicated that the printer who handles all of his art printing business also does invitations. This past weekend, he brought me two ginormous books of samples (when you know people you don’t have to shlep down to the shop like some sort of normie.) Tucked among the 4,278 pages of her samples was a perfectly lovely invitation. Clean, modern font. Light creme color. Heavyweight card stock. Thermography–not letterpress–but still quite elegant. All in all, perfect.

And the price? A lady doesn’t typically discuss matters of finance BUT THESE INVITATIONS ONLY COST 270 FREAKING CLAMS! It was unreal. On top of that, she gave my father a discount because of the business he’s given her over the years. Grand price: $220. The tax alone on the original set of custom invites would have been half that.

Lesson learned: look beyond the major retailers and see if the little guy can do it just as well for less money. Or, to summarize: I have just p’wned one corner of the wedding industry.

Tick Tock Tux.

June 6, 2008

Elapsed time to find my wedding gown: two months
Elapsed time to find my fiancé’s tuxedo: 20 minutes

Context clue: “I’m sure it will be fine,” he said. “I don’t need to try it on.”

Let’s back up. When I ventured out to find my bridal gown, I had a stack of cross-referencing Post-it-tabbed bridal magazines, coveted 10 a.m. Saturday appointments, and an entourage—one of whom was armed at all times with bottled water and a piece of fruit should I find myself lightheaded. Had it not seemed a tad excessive, I think they would have hired two interns to walk behind me carrying a fainting couch should the need arise. (It’s not that I’m high-maintenance. It’s that I’m incorrectly perceived as being high maintenance by my family. Important distinction.) Over the course of two months I traipsed through eight shops in D.C., Maryland, Texas, and New York, and was shimmied, slipped, and sucked into approximately 120 gowns. I suffered all manner of indignities, from being asked by one consultant what my weight goal was for the wedding to being told by another that I looked “breathtaking” in a ball gown that in reality (as in, off commission) lent the impression that I thought Melania Knauss’ gown was a tad understated for my taste.

By contrast, my fiancé and I strolled over to the men’s clothier near his office after work the other day. We walked in, he pointed to one, and said, essentially, “That’ll do.” When he delivered the pronouncement about trying the whole thing on being unnecessary I pointed out that we were about to drop several hundred dollars and perhaps he might want to at least see his way into it once in the store. Ever the picture of restraint, I refrained from wheeling around and peeling up my blouse to show him the scars from where eight different bridal consultants had yanked zippers up my back like they were hoisting the mainsail in the America’s Cup. Speaking of sales, adding to the Twilight Zone vibe of the whole experience was the fact that the tuxedo was $300 off. As I cut a swath across the Mid-Atlantic’s bridal shops, I never once had anyone say, “Oh and by the way, these gowns are on sale today.”

Granted, he still has to get the accoutrement—shoes, tie, cufflinks, etc. But again I’m guessing we’re looking at a 1:72 time ratio. (In my defense, how was I to know that I was getting the perfect, destined-to-be-a-family-heirloom hair ornament if I didn’t spend several evenings doing online research?) All of this is to say: I enjoy being a girl. Really, I’m not even being sarcastic.

Another Piece of Cake? Yes, Please!

June 5, 2008

Ooh, Churchy Magoo the Korean-Ogling Fat Caliper isn’t going to like this one…

Finally, a jewelery company that recognizes that the second my fiancé says “I do,” I have no intention of ever caring about what I eat again. That that’s all she wrote on working out. This would be the new “Memory Fit” wedding band from Bailey Banks & Biddle.

The ad copy:

Memory Fit is a revolutionary sizing mechanism on the inside of the ring that allows the ring to comfortably increase a full finger size.

One wonders how strenuous the conference table debate was before they decided to excise:

Because let’s be honest. Maybe you’ll make it back after the first kid, but once the second one arrives? Eh, not so much. Not having kids? Well those honeymoon pounds don’t really matter when he’s contractually obligated to stay with you anyway, right?

Yes, Apparently We Can. In Fact, We Just Did.

June 3, 2008

I hardly have words for this. Me, speechless. Well done, secret boyfriendpresumptive nominee Barack Obama. Well done. Looking forward to us becoming neighbors. We don’t have voting rights here, but you’ll love the vegan cinnamon rolls at Sticky Fingers.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go back to staring in complete amazement at the television screen.

UPDATE: Thanks to K, who came up with the photo I looked for all last night and early this morning. Yes, if you watched closely before last night’s speech, you saw Barack and Michelle Obama parting on stage right before his speech by doing “Shake and Bake.” Best. First Couple. Ever.

Shouldn’t You Be Off Atoning for Apartheid or Something?

June 2, 2008

On Saturdays, I have a standing volunteer gig that typically involves free lunch, brought in for the folks I’m working with, but we’re welcome to it as well. This past Saturday there was cake, so I snagged a small slice and sat down to enjoy its chocolate-frosted goodness. Now, on this particular day I found myself working with a volunteer for the first time who was a total horse’s rear end.

Evidence:

* He was from South Africa. That’s not the offense. The offense is that when I asked him where he was from he said, “South Africa” with such self-importance that I wondered if he expected me to drop a curtsy.

* He was in his late 30s which, again, not the offense, but it will be germane in a second. Anyway, he kept making references to Korean females. Instance No. 1—While giggling at his cell screen he informed me that he was texting “a Korean girl” whom he was trying to teach American slang like “straight dope.” Instance No. 2—A TV at the opposite side of the room had the LPGA tournament on it. He said, “I love watching the Korean girls golf.” I said, “Uh, why?” Without taking his eyes off the screen, he said, “Because they’re so cute.” And here’s the kicker: one of the other regular volunteers who was not there that day, whom he kept inquiring about to her brother who was there, is a Korean-American girl. Who is in high school.

* Having made several comments to ostentatiously reveal himself to be religious (and slyly handing out “Jesus saves” pamphlets to anyone in the decidedly non-religious venue whom he could snare), he asked when I was getting married. I answered and he said, “I’m guessing you’re living in sin now?” Not content that he’d made his point, he followed it with, “Well at least you’re making it right,” then repeated that for effect so I might know that even though I was a sinner, I was still going to be bathed in Jesus’ forgiving light come 1 p.m. on October 25.

But it was not until the next comment that I almost came over the table at him. As I was starting to nibble on my cake, he said something about the food and I chuckled and said, “Yep, I justify eating cake now as pre-wedding research.” At this, he did a full body scan and said pointedly, without smiling, “What does your fiancé think of that plan?”

(needle on the record)

“My fiancé is perfectly happy with his size-6 fiancée,” I shot back, while doing some quick mental calculus to figure out if jabbing my fork into his torso would delay my heavenly salvation. I determined that at the very least it would require me to go get a new fork, thus delaying my cake eating, and as such wasn’t worth it.

So in addition to judging me for my cohabiting lifestyle, Churchy Magoo the Korean-Ogling Fat Caliper took it upon himself to remind me I should want to stay nice and tiny for my man. Not that it matters, but allow me to reiterate that I am a size 6. And 5’7″. And I work out just about every day. And because it does matter, allow me to iterate that I’ve spent a fair amount of time during the last 15 years grappling what’s been referred to delicately as my eating “situation.” It has ebbed and flowed lo these many years, but when it’s flowed, it has meant that I don’t eat, or that any eating that does occur doesn’t end in swell fashion. Thankfully, the good stretches are now measured in years, not days or weeks, but as with many brain-wiring snafus that lead to addiction or disorder, the impulse, if not the activity itself, never completely goes away.

Of course, this clown would have no way of knowing that. He’d have no way of knowing that a comment like that can set a person back days, weeks, or even longer. That a comment like that can lead to frustration and anxiety and internal vows to renew or redouble unhealthy behavior. But I’m finding that there’s something about talking with an engaged person that makes people feel they are at liberty to broadcast their most obnoxious opinions about everything up to and including: appearance, money, family, women’s behavior, men’s behavior, procreation, religion, and cultural and geographic bias (insert your favorite stereotype about the Irish, the Polish, or people from Texas here and trust me, my fiancé and I have heard it.)

But it wasn’t worth it to tell him all of this. It was only worth it to finish my cake, and know that he could eat it, too.