“Mom”’s Advice For How to Dress For Your Mid-Life Wedding Nearly Thirty Years Ago

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Lately, I’ve had the sneaking suspicion that you’ve begun to question my credentials as a mid-life wedding fashion advice-giver (mostly because I’ve been reading your blog, “Who Died And Made You The Mid-life Wedding Fashion Expert?”).  And while I want you to know that I think your writing, minus the spelling and grammar errors (the word you want is “bitchin’”—one apostrophe, no “g”) and that thing you do where you post my wedding photos to prove your points (it’s not “evidence” if there’s no time-stamp on the pics, silly) totally rocks, I’m afraid that I must tell you that someone did, in fact, die, leaving me in the position of expert-in-chief:

My mother.

Twelve years ago today, to be exact.

I know, I know: you feel like a total jerk right now.  That’s okay; if you’re anything like me, and I think you are, you actually are a total jerk (example: mining your mother’s death for blog material).

In fact, you, my friend, are the sort of over-achieving total jerk who gets extra jerk points for bringing up other family deaths and peppering them throughout your post (see paragraph 8,  picture of my father, and any reference to “younger son,” below).

Not to mention that you’re the sort of uber-Jerk who says things like “you, my friend” when you haven’t even accepted my Facebook request yet.

But so since we’ve established that we’re practically the same person, you don’t need me to tell you that the reason I’m an expert is that I come from a long line of women who got married for the second time at 51–and by “long line,” I mean my mother (whom I’ll call “Mom” for the sake of privacy, and because this will quickly get weepy if I call her “Mommy”) and me.

I know, right?  How weird is that?  It’s even entirely possible that my mother’s mother (whom I’ll call “my mother’s mother” for the sake of privacy and because she died before I could call her “grandma” or “nana” or whatevs) was also married for the second time at 51, since she married my mother’s father (whom I’ll call “Papi” because why the hell not?  I never even met the guy, and I’m in the mood to sound Spanish) twice.  Though I think “Papi” was dead by 51 (and there’s nobody living left to ask), so probably not.

Anywhom, I think it’s safe to say that my experience of having helped not one but two 51 year-old women to not look so hot in their second wedding dresses firmly establishes me as the Anna Wintour of Choosing the Less-Than-Perfect Dress for your Mid-life Wedding.  And while I know that my personal anecdotes are going to be more than adequate in preparing you for screwing up your own big day, I think we can also learn an awful lot from the advice “Mom” would have given you had she been here today to give it.  And because she was an accountant (I know I know right, right?), she would have used numbers to do so.

So, without further ado, I give you:

“Mom”’s Advice For How to Dress For Your Mid-Life Wedding Nearly Thirty Years Ago

1). Do not, under any circumstances, wear a hat.

2). Because you are getting married in the 1980s, make sure that your wedding day style includes an awful perm.

3). Buy a hat.

4). Tilt it, so that your wedding outfit, while technically a White Business Suit, says “Jaunty.”

3). Make sure that you wear white stockings, so that your Jaunty White Business Wedding Suit also says “Nurse.”

4). Iron your Jaunty White Business Wedding Suit for Nurses.

5). Do not, under any circumstances, drink iced tea while ironing your Jaunty White Business Wedding Suit for Nurses.

6). If, however, you do drink iced tea while ironing your Jaunty White Business Wedding Suit for Nurses, do not, under any circumstances, jump up to grab the phone before the horrible, new-fangled “Answering Machine” device that your younger son gave you for a birthday present kicks in with its message where he pretends to be answering by saying “Hello!  I’m sorry, what did you say?  Hello?” because that is just so goddamn irritating.

7). If, however, you do jump up to grab the phone while ironing your Jaunty White Business Wedding Suit for Nurses, make sure that, whatever you do, you don’t knock the glass of ice tea all over it.

8). If, however, you do knock the glass of ice tea all over your Jaunty White Business Wedding Suit for Nurses, make the best of the situation by calling up your younger son at his place of business and blaming him, in fragments of sentences punctuated here and there with sobs and/or swear words, for ruining your Jaunty White Business Wedding Suit for Nurses that Now Has a Gigantic Iced Tea Stain Down the Front.

9).  Bleach your Jaunty White Business Wedding Suit for Nurses that Now Has a Gigantic Iced Tea Stain Down the Front, and hang it up to dry outside, in the sun, which is full of magical properties.

10). Behold the magic!

11). Note that among the magical properties of the sun is not the property of wrinkle-reduction.

12). Call your younger son (who has no magical properties that you can think of at the moment) and make him come over and take away the Answering Machine.

13). Bring your Jaunty White Business Wedding Suit for Nurses that No Longer Has a Gigantic Iced Tea Stain Down the Front But Is Still Wrinkled inside, and iron it.

14). Wear your Jaunty White Business Wedding Suit for Nurses with pride, knowing that it will look less stupid in photos than the pink lace sailor-suit dress you make your older daughter wear while she stands next to you on your right.  Make your other daughter wear a peach silk suit, which is pretty much the opposite of anything that might look good on her, even parachute pants or a cape or a banana costume or something.  Put her on your other side.  Stand your gigantic new husband behind you, for a slimming effect.  Put your younger son on the staircase a couple of feet back, in case he has any more new-fangled devices with him.

15). Smile on a tilt, like your hat.

Author’s note: I desperately wanted to attach the photo described above, but my HP PhotoStupid won’t scan.  So I’m pulling up a photo of my Mommy (with my father) in a cute dress she made herself, in college, instead.  I’m pretty sure she would have preferred it.

Author’s note Part Deux: Okay, I scanned the picture from Jack’s not-as-stupid-scanner, but I remain stupid, so I’m not sure if it will post.  If it does post, then yes, I too, got a horrible perm for the wedding.  Which is, you know, redundant.

About Heather Aronson

Heather Aronson is a freelance writer and editor. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona way back in the 1980s and has put it to scant use ever since, publishing a few short stories in now-defunct magazines (including American Short Fiction) and storing a handful of novels in now-defunct boxes. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA, in a new house with some of her children, her new husband, and a bunch of old stuff that totally doesn’t go together. Especially the cow creamers.

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