Disclaimer: I am not now, nor have I ever been, a bride.
This weekend, after a surprisingly enjoyable visit with my parents (surprising since Mom is recovering from hip surgery and I was expecting her to be a tough customer, when she was in fact a trooper) I spent some time shopping for something I don’t typically purchase: wedding dresses. My best friend is getting married in the Spring and needs a dress. We spent Saturday driving around my fair city attempting (in vain) to find a lovely dress at a vintage shop. There were a few, but the styles left much to be desired and the sizes were less than ideal. So then we thought we’d check out the mall. Regular stores might have white dresses, right?
Wrong. There’s this conspiracy that says you can only wear a white dress on your wedding day, and all the stores follow that rule by offering dresses in every other shade but white. We gave up after a few hours and had dinner. It was fruitless. But we did have a lovely dinner where we talked about life, love and marriage.
Sunday, we met up at a wedding dress shop. She had to fill out a survey and had to describe her ideal silhouette. She didn’t really know what she wanted, so the girl helped her with a few different kinds.
Now, my best friend is practically perfect in every way, but she lacks leg length, so the short dresses looked a little like she was playing dress up. She’d thought she would be able to find a short dress, but she was mistaken, evidently, since there’s no such thing as petite in that part of the store. She found a dress she looked great in (naturally!) but was hesitant about the price tag. The dress was $700. I realize now that 700 is “cheap” in wedding-dress speak, but that is absolutely ridiculous. She decided she would look elsewhere for a better deal, and didn’t end up getting that dress.
Meanwhile, in another universe… There was a girl in the room next to my friend’s who was getting married sometime soon. She tried on one dress, and her friends laughed because she looked like a wedding cake. So she tried on another. And she kept twirling around in it, and loved it. The salesgirl said, “okay, so that’s $675. Would you like a credit card? It’s six months zero percent something or other.” She said okay, then she went and looked at veils and tiaras and shoes and other accessories with her friends. The salesgirl came back.
“It turns out you were not approved for this credit card. That might be because you just turned 18.” Red flag #1.
“Let me call my fiancé and we’ll have him apply for this card instead.” Red flag #2.
One of this bride’s friends gets her a phone, and she calls her man. They get his info, and the salesgirl walks away. She’s still on the phone with her man (boy, let’s say, she’s all of 18 years old) and she says, “oh, so my friends and I were talking and August 4th works best for them, so let’s do that.” Red flag #3.
“Oh, and we’re not telling your parents until next year, right?” Red flag #4.
Let me see:
- You just turned 18
- You cannot afford this dress by yourself
- Your fiancé doesn’t want to tell his parents
- Your friends set your date
- You just turned 18!
A dress that takes you six months to pay off is not a dress you should be buying. Full stop. A relationship where you talk about the wedding before you talk about the marriage is not a marriage that has the cards stacked in its favor.
Marriage is not about the dress or the shoes. Choosing to marry is choosing the person you will be in a relationship with for the rest of your life. It’s giving up a part of yourself to be half of a unit. Half of all marriages end in divorce. If you spent $675 on couples counseling to communicate better and be a better partner, and you ended up wearing something else on your “big day” then you’ve done yourself a favor.
My advice? So glad you asked!
- Wait! Date the boy, see what kind of a man he turns into, and decide then if you want him forever.
- Figure out what you want to do with your life, and do it! Then see if he still fits.
- Read Lisa Firestone. Find out what she means by “fantasy bond” and take a hard look at your relationship.
- Find out what you want out of a marriage. Really know the answer to that before you figure out what you want out of one day in the summer.
I’ve been staying in hotel rooms lately (it’s odd, really, when the boy comes to town, we stay in hotels since I have a roommate and he doesn’t want to mess with her schedule) which means that the television has been on. A lot. Like, every night.
I’m usually someone who does not watch TV, except for a few shows that I stream on Hulu (like the Office). But put me in a hotel room? I can sit in front of it for hours, while my book is lonely on the bedside table.
So, the other night, we were flipping through the channels (the boy does not like commercials at all), and we landed for a few minutes on TLC’s Sister Wives, which is a reality show that follows this family of a polygamist cult (spinoff of LDS) of one guy, four wives, and sixteen children. The partial episode we watched showed them going back to the town where the man grew up and meet up with all his old friends. Of course, this is awkward.
This cult states that they don’t proselytize. Great. The friends are mainstream LDS and they are not on board with the polygamist lifestyle.
There were a few things that bugged me:
- The friend was really against the polygamist proselytizing, but he said one sentence that started with “when I was on my mission” — Okay sir, now how do you think us gentiles feel when you are proselytizing? HMMMM?
- The polygamists defended their faith but not in a logical way. To the casual observer (that’s me) the only difference between this cult and the mainstreamers was polygamy.
- Their definition of polygamy is quite unfair. It’s more like polygamy for him and monogamy for the ladies, except when she is the chosen wife for the sleeping. Unless there’s one giant bed.
- The show is set up for the casual observer to judge these people harshly. That shouldn’t be surprising, but ladies, if you think that you’re just showing your faith to the open-minded public? You are mistaken.
It’s an odd show that made me feel angry, riled my feminist feathers, and made me feel better about the way I live my life. And I only watched ten minutes!
By Warren Buffet, passed on to me by Nana:
Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling: “I could end the deficit in 5 minutes,” he told CNBC. “You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.
The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971… before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc. Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land…all because of public pressure.
So, how about this?
*Congressional Reform Act of 2011*
- No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.
- Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.
- Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
- Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
- Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
- Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
- All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.
Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work. If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S.) to receive the message. Maybe it is time.
Now that I am mere weeks from 30, I feel qualified to offer some advice to the kids these days.
Here are 30 bits of advice in honor of my upcoming 30th birthday:
- register to vote, and vote in your hometown elections. don’t believe those who say your vote doesn’t matter. It’s one of the things that matters most.
- check the box on the back of your license that says “organ donor.”
- donate blood when the Red Cross comes to school. at least, you get a cookie, a sticker and a few minutes away from class.
- love your family. love them like crazy. you won’t get to the point where you ever regret loving them too much.
- go to college, if you can. but go to learn.
- study something you love, but also think long and hard about what you’d like to do in four years.
- job shadow to find out — or, if you really want a degree in philosophy, figure out precisely what you can do with that degree.
- learn proper grammar.
- challenge yourself to say yes more.
- don’t let yourself feel guilty about a sweet treat or some wasted time.
- know yourself, and listen to that little voice, especially when it tells you that something might be off.
- fall in love, often. let your partner see the true you.
- don’t let past heart breaks upset your future happiness.
- think long and hard before you get married. try to be part of the statistic that succeeds.
- if you get married, remember that you’re setting yourselves up as an example of what married life is like. help define that for your peers.
- don’t stay in a bad relationship just because you don’t want to be part of the failing statistic.
- keep the friends who make you laugh.
- remember that food is neither the cause nor the solution to your unhappiness.
- but booze might be both.
- work hard, and get that chip off your shoulder. just because you’re privileged doesn’t mean you’re entitled.
- try and come to terms with the fact that you won’t have it all figured out. not this year, not next year, and maybe not even this decade.
- if you think you have it all figured out, try not to be smug. that’ll come back to haunt you.
- don’t burn bridges, but at the same time, whatever you do, don’t keep someone in your life who doesn’t value you.
- especially don’t keep someone around who calls you names.
- stick to your guns on the things that really matter, and compromise on the rest.
- don’t ever wish you had someone else’s life. remember that you see only the version of that person that they wish to reveal. the truth is always more complicated, and uglier.
- listen to your instincts. they are so rarely wrong.
- say nice things. try really hard not to say mean things. we remember them both.
- compliments are free — and a sincere one goes a really long way among both strangers and friends.
- it’s okay to be scared, but you should always be doing things that scare you. move across the country. take that job. make the leap. climb the walls.
To all of my lovely friends who are planning on getting married ever, please do not register with Sears. It seems convenient, for sure, because Sears has absolutely everything! But let’s say, for example, your friend wants to purchase something off your registry.
They go and look and try to find something great, and when they find it, they purchase it (after a quick Google search for coupon codes, ultimately saving them $7) and they think the deal is done.
Not so! Even though your friend bought a gift off your registry, that gift does not get mailed to you, even though you live a couple thousand miles away.
Now your friend actually has to go to a mall, return your gift, and then buy the darn thing again!