2005 was known to the Chinese as the “Year of the Rooster” however, for me, it will go down in history as the “Year of the Bridesmaid”. It was 365 days of my life, when all of my closest girlfriends walked the topiary lined, crystal accented plank and got married. It’s the year I spent nearly two month’s salary on four, floor length satin dresses and hosted three bridal showers. It’s also the year I decided to initiate a moratorium on developing deep, meaningful relationships with other single women in my age bracket.
There is a biological transformation that occurs within the brains of seemingly liberated women that are nearing 30. It is either directly related to social pressure and the perceived course of action or it’s a chemical reaction caused by spending the better part of the last 10 years of sucking down a steady supply of Captain Morgan’s Rum while rotting your brain with chick flicks starring Kate Hudson. Whatever the reasoning is behind it… it’s real and I’ve seen it first-hand. I have witnessed the women I am acquainted with, many of whom I would have testified under oath to corroborate their mental stability and rationality, turn in to Martha Stewart quoting, Bride’s Magazine devouring, ogres on a mission to get a ring and register for useless kitchen supplies and barware from Crate & Barrel. Somewhere around the end of their 28th year on the planet, there becomes a deep need for a chafing dish, a waffle iron and a new last name.
Well, it happens to most of us. I managed to waltz in to my thirties with my maiden name still very much in-tact and without the benefit of hyphenation. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t like to…someday… stop living in sin, throw a party, wear a pretty white(ish) dress and live in domestic bliss. But, during this pivotal point in my life I consciously decided to chance the threat of eternal damnation and ignore the wishes of my mother, so that I would not have to experience the wonder of splitting-up half of the shit I own and handing it over to an asshole that I’d decided on a whim, would look good in a tuxedo.
Having watched in horror as my young friends got hitched for a myriad of asinine reasons; ranging from the antiquated “he would be a good provider”, the social climbing “he’s a Doctor”, and the Holy Grail of idiotic deciding factors “his last name sounds nice with my first name”; I am still not in any hurry to throw together “Save the Date” magnets. I’m not implying that I’m better off for having not succumbed to the age determined sprint to the altar; anyone with a keen sense of intellect will pick up on the fact that I’m downright declaring it.
The “almost thirties” is the time frame where most of my male friends acquired their “Starter Wives” and married women that they had nothing in common with, except for the fact that were in relationships with them when everyone else started getting married and… they both thought she was hot. I have found that the “Starter Wife” along with a 3 year expiration date, usually comes equipped with normal sounding name that should end with a “Y” but has been jazzed up and modernized to now end in an “I” (i.e. Cindi, Mindi, Sandi or Judi).
She is the kind of carbon-based life form that gets outwardly irritated if you misspell her name on an invitation or holiday greeting, thinking it means you don’t like her; when all it really means is you think her parents are stupid and they should have spelled her name the way it’s been spelled for centuries…so there wouldn’t be any confusion. As far as the man’s friends are concerned; her main function is to buy beer, be the designated driver and find everything her fiancé does to be obnoxious and in need of immediate correction. Correction is normally delivered via eye-rolling or my favorite, the loud sigh.
Having been kind of a chick my whole life, I have tried to warn my friends that they have no idea what they’re getting themselves into when they decide they’re going to get down on one knee. They think their jobs are done once they learn the difference between platinum and gold, decide that the 1.50 carat, slightly included, VS1 diamond is the way to go and shell out three month’s salary to declare their undying love for “Mindi’s” boobs.
It’s absolutely comical to watch as one of your guy friends gets sucked in to an endless cycle of debates about the popularity of red velvet vs. chocolate cake, as he starts to say ridiculous things like “Mindi made a valid point, not everyone likes chocolate”. I’m lucky enough to have been the friend selected to be on the receiving end of the panicked wedding-emergency-phone-call. I have listened to a grown man plead with me to reach out to his budget blind bimbo-to-be, as he describes an uncomfortable meeting with a highlighted, overpriced, wedding planner who insists everything is going to be ”just fabulous”. This same man assumed that because his fiancé and I both have a uterus, I could convince her not to opt for the steak and lobster dinner and I would be able to talk her out of the uber-expensive, heart-shaped Swarovski Crystal paperweight engraved with their photo, as a wedding favor. He probably also presumed that I would not make fun of him and demand he turn over his man-card, immediately. He was wrong on almost all accounts; I was able to turn her against the photo engraving and steer her towards the more personal “pet name” inscription. I still, to this day will break out the large hunk of glass that reads “Mr. Pookiepotomus & Schmoopsie. Always and forever. September 3, 2005” and laugh to the point of tears.
I have even observed as one of my most masculine friends has a heated discussion with his soon-to-be-ex-wife over whether to go with the “classic china” or non-traditional “accent plate and placemat combination” table setting. This strange pre-nuptial display of anger was made even more hilarious to me… as I know full well, 6 months prior to popping the question; this guy refused to use a plate that wasn’t made by Dixie and deemed a sock he’d found in the dryer without a mate, to be a perfectly acceptable napkin.
Upon proposal, the majority of women get teleported into an alternate universe. The magical land that they now inhabit is full of people that care about color schemes, harpist, the script on the invitations and perfectly themed favors. Bride’s, if you’re reading this; the favors you obsessed over at nauseam are probably going to be tossed in a junk drawer or donated to a landfill, after they roll around the floor of your guests’ car for months after your special day has passed. Having worn more than one jewel accented frock, I can tell you that I don’t give a flying fuck whether its tea length, A-line or Empire Waist. I just want you pick one, so I don’t have to be molested by another dress fitter using a “chip-clip” as an alteration tool, while poking me like a voo-doo doll with big-ass pins. While I have a deep appreciation for your friendship, I do not want to stand on display in a 360 degree mirrored oven, while you, your mother and your Aunt Shirley; who hasn’t seen her feet since 1972, decide that the 1,604th lavender dress I’ve tried on makes my arms look big. For the love of God, don’t call me at 3 a.m., to tearfully tell me you “can’t decide whether to go with Periwinkle or Robin’s Egg and you’re having second thoughts about the cheese selection”. Much like the groom, I want you to tell me what I’m wearing, when to show up and what time the open bar becomes the cash bar.
I also want you to live happily ever after or stay married long enough for me to get over resenting you for the obscene amount of money I have just spent on your wedding. I implore you to use the extraordinarily expensive Mickey Mouse toaster I bought you at least once and not get mad at me when I forget you anniversary. As an auxiliary member of the bridal brigade, my job ends once the pictures are taken. It is then my duty to get drunk, avoid the advances of your creepy uncle and plot my revenge. My day may come soon, and if it does, I too, will reel you in with the promise of a dress you can wear again, and then bludgeon you with several months of emotional torture, resulting in your lifelong fear of the word “centerpiece”.