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My only daughter is getting married in August. She is marrying a wonderful young man who is every mother's dream for her daughter so I am very happy. They have already been together for 7+ years so there are no lingering doubts. The jury came back a long time ago with a decision on this one.
My soon-to-be son-in-law is Canadian and they live in Nova Scotia, which means I have had to do a lot of long distance wedding planning, which, although awkward, has not been the worst part of the business. The worst part is finding a dress.
I haven't bought myself a new dress in so long I can't even remember the last time I went shopping for one. I'm pretty sure that whenever it was I hated every minute of it since I despise shopping period and trying on clothes even more. My daughter isn't having a typical wedding; she and her fiancé are not typical people. None of the men are wearing tuxedos and she gave her attendants a color palette and told them to buy the dress of their choice, not wanting to saddle any of her friends with some ugly, expensive dress they will never wear again. Her dress is beautiful, but she isn't requiring that her guests get dressed to the nines on a hot summer day. Nevertheless, I am, after all, the mother of the bride and I have to look nice, so I realized from the get go that I would have to go out and buy a dress and shoes.
I have put this torturous experience off as long as I could, but I finally went out looking for a dress.
I made a few serious mistakes right from the start and picked a hot, sticky, sweaty day to go shopping. Any woman can tell you that going to try on clothes on a hot, humid day is a bad move. Wearing any clothing is a kind of misery, much less something dressy. I went into a nice store, found 3 dresses I thought might be nice, and took them into the dressing room to try them on. Dressing rooms are horrible places. They are cramped, uninteresting, and full of brutal mirrors that make a point of demonstrating just how flawed we are, and at my age, I'm plenty flawed, which the mirrors were quick to remind me. I peeled off my damp outer clothing and stared into the full length mirror to give myself a critical once over. Wrinkles – check. Unsightly sagging – check. Age spots – check. Fortunately, I didn't get chubby, but I'm not as firm and svelte as I once was – check. Everything exactly as I expected it to be and had no desire to see reflected back at me in a big, mirror with lighting like an operating room. What fun.
I tried on the first dress. It was like trying to put spandex on a wet cat. Once it was on it fit well enough but I couldn't manage to get the zipper all the way up. I took it off. The next dress was easier to get on, but too long. I'm 5'2”, lots of things are too long. The third dress required contortions so extreme that I actually worried about injuring myself. That dress didn't even get half way on before I abandoned the attempt altogether. Three strikes and I was definitely out, finished, and through even trying. I put my still damp street clothes on and left the store into the damp heat of the day. This shopping stuff is so much fun.
My second mistake was probably actually my first mistake. I didn't enter into the business with a very positive attitude, in fact, it was a really bad attitude. When I told my sister-in-law about my miserable failure she suggested that I should try again, on a less hot and humid day, and take someone with me. That made sense. Not only would it be more comfortable trying on clothes, I'd also have someone to help me with zippers. It might be nice to share the humiliating experience with someone who could pretend to be sympathetic.
No matter what I choose to do I need to do it fast since time is flying. I have told myself that I must attempt to muster some enthusiasm for the process, no matter how difficult that might be. I shall try to believe that somewhere out there there the perfect dress is waiting for me and its perfection will be revealed to me the minute I put it on. It will be a perfect fit, flattering yet comfortable, and make me look stunning, and if I keep saying this to myself it might actually be true. Of course, once I find the perfect dress I have to find the perfect shoes to go with it. Something stylish that won't cause me to break an ankle or fall on my face since it is an outdoor wedding. Bummer. I hate shopping for shoes.
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