Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Something New, Something Borrowed

I'm a big believer in ritual. I think it's an important part of growing up, of life, though I could digress into how, to me, significant birthdays, graduations, etc., have become more about spending money and external trappings than about reflection and introspection. Today I had the experience of standing at the busy intersection of ritual and commerce when Mom and I went to Galleria Bridal.

I had resisted going to a regular bridal shop, but as you, dear reader, know, I hadn't found The Dress, and was starting to think that perhaps the Shopping Gods were angry. Mom and I hit the other big mall in town, and there was absolutely nothing worth trying on. ("Well, it's good to get that mall crossed off the list," was Mom's sage spin.) So we went to Galleria.

It was a little overwhelming at first. I'm sure there are much larger wedding dress merchants, but this shop had several rooms filled with rows and rows of white and ivory dresses, each encased in clear plastic bags. After we made a few rounds, one of the salesgals finally acknowledged us and arranged for another salesgal to take us on a "tour," which helped sort things out.

We spent most of our time in the bridesmaids dresses room--plenty to choose from, and the prices were perfect. I tried on seven, and found some definite maybes. It was nice that they assumed I would be back--The Dress was not a decision I was ready to make then and there. A moment of humor when another customer's husband took one of the headless and limbless bridal mannequins into his arms and began murmuring sweet nothings to "her."

I also picked out two formal white dresses from the marked-down wedding dress room, and that part of our shopping experience was completely different. We were shown into a separate dressing room and viewing area, and salesgal Stephanie had to help me dress--that's the policy. Ugh. Well, I'm sure she's used to other people's cellulite by now. And some of those dresses can get very complicated. I declined the use of an in-house bustier.

I wiggled into the first dress. Stephanie used hair clips to make the bodice *very* tight. I walked out to where Mom was waiting on the little white wrought iron bench, in front of the huge mirrors, and stepped onto a small carpeted platform. Stephanie arranged my train and Mom almost burst into tears and of course I almost started crying too. Why should this affect us so? I felt like such an alien in the typical wedding dress--it didn't really look like me in the mirror. I also realized that this was part of the nuptial ritual I missed the first time around. I've never envisioned myself getting married in a formal gown, and doesn't really fit the type of wedding we're planning, but I'm actually glad for the experience, odd as it was. I can see why people shell out big bucks for The Dress--it can be transformative, symbolic.

Even though I don't intend to purchase one of the "real" gowns, I might just try on one or two when I go back, just for the fun of it.

*****

Fear of Eyes: another sign that you may have been abducted by aliens.

*****

More tales from the car sales crypt (cuz you can never get enough):
"So I'm working with a customer. She gives me the set of keys for her trade-in. I notice that she has something that looks like a mini Mag flashlight on the key ring, but I know that it's mace. I leave the set of keys on the finance guy's desk, and sure enough, when I'm walking by later, I hear him say, 'What's this? A flashlight?' Then everyone in his office starts yelling and running out the door as he sprays the room with mace."

*****

What's in a name? Last PWG meeting, we moved into a conversation about nicknames. Rebecca's dad called her Bug--very cute. Mine called me Tinkerbell--apt, she's a stubborn bitch. When I lived on the commune many moons ago, lots of people took hippie names: Redwood, Sunrise. We also had people in the community whose last names were a mystery, so they were "Three Kid Laura" or "Kentucky John" as opposed to the other Lauras and Johns around town. I took a Greek name when I went on a women's study tour to the island of Lesbos one summer in college (go ahead, make the snide comment, I don't care): Raya. That moniker came in handy a couple of years later when I was the fourth Suzanne hired at the local health food store and told that I couldn't use my name. And I had worked hard to be known as Suzanne--growing up, I was Suzi, then--the horror--Sue in my teens. I had to correct people over and over, for years, before they started calling me Suzanne.

Have you a name story?

1 Comments:

At 10:14 PM, February 11, 2005, Blogger Rebecca said...

I had to know more about the name "Raya," so I looked and found: Hebrew for "female friend," in some parts of India, "flow." In Russia: "more relaxed." Or short for Andraya in Greek: "Trusted of God" All cool. One of the meanings of "Rebecca" is "cow snare." How quaint is that?
Enjoying the pre-wedding posts and alien abduction & mace at the dealership stories!!

 

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