From the Desk of the President of Meanopause
Hello, friends! We hope these warm greetings reach to you in a happy autumnal setting this five and twentieth day of this month! Also reaching your happy family with the hand outstretched!
In the sadder vein of the moment, we are sorrowful to learn of offensive readers. We do not wish for the offensive! Contrary to popularity, Meanopause does not discriminate. Be tall, for sure! Yes, we let you. Also be of any genders or other demarcations, including imaginary!
Sure, come back here soon for advice! Okay, thank you.
Not Heather Aronson, who is lowly staff who cannot speak for the company unless to answering the phone on the Wednesdays.
Also, please do not call on the Wednesdays.
What do you mean, my blog is late? When I said “tune in tomorrow,” I distinctly saw you think to me that you thought you had a “thing” tomorrow (which, by now, is yesterday). What I am is not late, but considerate: I kept you from spending even a minute having to feel guilty about missing my post.
While you were so busy.
You know, with your thing.
But so, if you’re anything like me–and I think we’ve established that, except for the rude thoughts and the havings of the things, we’re practically the exact same person deep down–all this time off has left you a bit muddled as to what it was, exactly, that we were talking about in Part One.
You’re middle-aged and you’re getting married (huzzah!), and once you’ve dispensed with the notion of having to look like a traditional bride, you are as free as the wind to wear whatever you want on your great big special day. But, like the wind (whom we shall call, for the sake of privacy, “Mariah,”) you are crippled by the number of choices you suddenly face.
(No no, it works. Think about the plastic bag in “American Beauty.” All over the place, right? Am I right?)
Luckily, you do have some fairly specific teenaged daughters (whom, like the wind, you’ve rendered universal through clever use of pseudonym), and a modest (for a wedding dress), but sizable (for a normal dress), budget that should allow you to look absolutely amazeballs on your mid-life wedding day.
Unless you screw it up.
But how could you possibly screw it up? You’ve got six whole months and a killer sense of style, if your cats (who, because you work from home, are the ones most likely to notice your outfits) have anything to say about it (and oh, they do. They do!).
You just need to take a deep breath and think about ways to narrow the search down.
Let’s start with some self-evaluation. Study your body, to better understand the looks that might suit it. Ask yourself some tough questions, like, for instance: Are you tall?
Then you are nothing like me! Why are you even here? Get off my blog.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: Mid-Life? Does she really think she’s going to make it to 102? Listen, if you don’t have anything nice to think, then stop thinking it in italics, so I’m less likely to notice it in a block of text.
Anyway, today’s topic is an important one, and so complex that it will take me two posts to completely explain it, so how about we just skip the preliminaries and get straight to the advice. I know there are plenty of women like me out there who want to find the not-exactly-flattering-or-well-fitting dress to wear on the second (or third, or fourth; I’m not going to get all judge-y or anything, but if you’re going on your fifth wedding or more, you might consider recycling. Think of the planet!) most special day of their lives (if you don’t count all the rest of the really important and meaningful stuff that happens in a life, like getting carded in your forties, or the first time you ate fromage blanc).
WHAT DID I JUST SAY ABOUT THAT?
Oh, sorry: for a minute there, I thought you were thinking again. But no, that was me. Let’s move on.
So you’re getting married again! Mazel tov! And now that you’re all grown up and your parents are dead and your arms are dotted with liver spots, you know way better than to hop in the car and drive on over to David’s Bridal or its ilk, where every single item in the store will make you look either delusional or poofy or both, am I right? Plus, if you’re anything like me, then you’re not the type of person who can happily spend more than a hundred dollars or so on a dress (unless you’ve been invited to a swanky party, in which case, you won’t end up wearing the dress anyway, because it’s too damn hot for sleeves). A hundred dollars won’t get you much more at David’s Bridal than panties with the word “Bride” spelled out in rhinestones on the back. You could pay $500, $1,000, even $10,000 there (honestly, I have no idea, because I’ve never been), and you could still end up looking stupid!
But here’s the thing: you’re old now! You don’t have to wear a bridal gown at all! Instead, you could buy something that might actually look good on you, in a real-world kind of way! And because you’re not buying an actual bridal gown, you can feel all self-congratulatory about spending anything up to what you might have paid had you bought an actual bridal gown. Think about it: even though you were super-thrifty with the first wedding and bought your gown on sale, it was still almost $400 a million years ago (which is like, maybe $1,000 now?), so you could even charge right into e.b. pepper on Walnut street and try on whatever you wanted without once looking at a single price tag (but you won’t, because they’ve been really bitchy to you there).
And if you’re anything like me (and I’d like to think you are, despite all those nasty, italicized thoughts), then you’re marrying a guy who wants you to spend as much as you want on a dress, because this is the last time you’re getting married. You are so incredibly lucky,* if you’re anything like me!
Until you get to the part where you have to pick out the dress.
Because it could be anything. Any color (except white, because it’s a cliche and it highlights your liver spots, or black, because, if you believe in nothing else, you believe in bad luck). Any shape. Any length. Any material. Any season, even, because you’re getting married at the end of September, when the weather in Pittsburgh is as close to perfect as it’s likely to get the entire year.
Are you beginning to feel the pressure? I can’t tell, because you’ve stopped sharing your thoughts with me. Why have you stopped sharing your thoughts with me? Do I frighten you? Did you not read the part about “Cranky” in my blog’s subtitle? Okay, I promise that the next time you think to me, I’m not going to be upset. Really. I’m just going to shrug off any negative feelings I might have in response to your thoughts, and just sort of validate them and stuff. Okay?
Good. So let’s say that you are beginning to feel the pressure. Let’s say that, now that you think about it, and now that you’ve strolled past a shop window or two, and pulled up 276 images when you clicked on the Dresses link at Nordstrom.com, the thought of NOT shopping at David’s Bridal is suddenly not so much freeing as daunting: instead of having to choose the least offensive dress from a finite number of offensive dresses, you have to choose the most flattering and stylish and funky (yet classy!) and still vaguely sexy dress from all the dresses everywhere, including the past, thanks to eBay and vintage stores.
Clearly, you’re going to need some help. Lucky for you, if you’re anything like me, you have some help right there with you in the house, help that you, for lack of a better term, made. That’s right: you have a couple of teenaged girls. Yours, if they are anything like mine, and I believe they are, are 16 and 14; for the sake of privacy, we’ll call them “Maddie” and “Sami.”
But those are their real names.
Excellent point! I could see why you would think that! But technically, no, those are not their real names. Those are their real nicknames. Besides, I often call one by the other’s, by mistake (they both have brown hair), so there’s no way you’re going to know for certain which one I’m talking about. In fact, one of them has taken to shouting “My name is Sami,” at me before I’ve even had a chance to misidentify her. (I won’t tell you which one, though, because of the respecting of privacy thing.)
Are we getting to the point yet?
Ha ha! I love your funny thoughts. If I had a penny, I would totally give it you. For the thoughts.
Seriously? No. We are going to have to finish this tomorrow. I’m not going to say it’s your fault, because of all the interruptions, but as I was telling “Maddie” the other day, I think it’s important that we all start taking responsibility for our actions. Or maybe I was saying that to her brother, “Daniel” (which is totally NOT his real nickname). Anyway, I have to go pick all of them up now, whoever they are.
Tune in tomorrow to learn how to buy three whole dresses for your wedding and not have any of them actually fit!
Tomorrow? I think I have a thing tomorrow.
*But possibly only in this regard.
Hello, and welcome to Meanopause! I know I’m probably supposed to introduce myself and let you know why it is that I’ve asked you to step away from Words With Friends and photos of bacon to grant me a moment of your already richly divided attention, but there’s just no time for that now. Wordpress won’t let me finish setting this up unless I post something first, and I’m worried that the picture of me in a hoodie with my ears out in France really did upload as my background image, even though I hit “cancel” about thirty-five times.
So let’s get right to the point: I have now been on not just one, but two honeymoons in my five+ decades of life, and I think that mine is the type of wisdom that can only improve the lives of the many who have yet to embark upon their first. So, before anyone else can make the same tragic mistake, I’m dedicating this first blog to the most important honeymoon lesson I could impart: whatever you do, and where ever you go, do not–I repeat, do NOT–try to bring back KinderSurpriseEggs as souvenirs from the duty-free section of a foreign airport.
That’s right: the KinderSurpriseEgg, the delicious chocolate shell egg with a surprise inside (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinder_Surprise) that has been delighting children since 1973, is pretty much the most dangerous item you could ever attempt to slip past the eagle eyes of Kenny, the Pittsburgh Airport’s TSA troll. Bad enough you potentially (but mysteriously) endangered all of Squirrel HIll with your reckless purchasing of Parisian sausage (bought when you were already in line at the gift-shop counter and frantic about how lame and un-France-like your very last-minute souvenirs were turning out to be [and what says France more unequivocally than phallic-shaped pig guts wrapped in cloth?], but then you go and try to sneak in a box of chocolate death?
Because KinderSurpriseEggs are CHOKING HAZARDS, you moron.
And unlike other choking hazards that somehow make their way through airport security every day (like, say, buttons, maybe, or paperclips or earrings or bottlecaps or even fucking euros, for that matter), KinderSurpriseEggs have the power to kill a child just by being brought into this country.
Even if you don’t plan to give them to children!
Even if you were just planning to give them to your 44-year-old brother in St. Louis at Christmas time, to remind him of that one epic game you invented in your twenties that also involved a flyswatter, or maybe to your teenaged children or to your new husband’s adult children (who, oh wow, you suddenly realize, are now your very own step-children) or even if you were just thinking you might keep them for yourself, in your house, in case you someday are not only craving a delicious treat, but are possessed of a sudden urge to make small toys by snapping parts together (it could happen. In fact, if the picture I’m afraid loaded did indeed load, you can see that there are elves in my not-too-distant genetic past).
So don’t do it. Just don’t do it. Put this on your honeymoon “Don’t” list, right after the part about “don’t leave your new wife twenty yards from a bear in order to go impress the wildlife guide with your knowledge of science” (the most important thing I learned from my first honeymoon). You can thank me later, as can your new husband (who won’t be able to blame you for the two-hour traffic jam you’ll get stuck in after listening to Kenny the TSA Troll’s half-hour choking-hazard lecture), as well as, of course, the parents of the twenty million children you won’t kill with your reckless souvenir-bringing-backedness.