“You should have seen it,” I said to Chris back in Philadelphia. We were heading out to the Main Line to meet Lauren. “I mean, actually, I’m glad you didn’t. They were all hideous. I’m just going to wear a regular dress.”
“Hmmm,” Chris said.
As it turned out, Lauren and Chris had made an appointment for me at Suky, the bridal salon in Ardmore. It was a bona fide ambush. “I told them you had no one else to take you,” Lauren said, as they marched me in. “I might have implied that your mother is in a coma.”
The saleswoman approached carefully. “Hello, dear,” she said, looking concerned.
“No satin, no puffiness, no sparkly things,” I said. She disappeared and came back with a glittery white number.
“I just thought you should try this,” she said nicely. I gritted my teeth and let her put it on me. Surprisingly, it wasn’t that bad. It actually was kind of nice. I tottered out to meet Lauren and Chris.
“You have to get that one,” Lauren said.
“Mmm-mmm,” Chris said.
It was exactly the right reaction.
“My mom’s going to kill me for buying this without her seeing it,” I said at the cash register. Then I remembered the lie. “I mean. I wish she could see it, but unfortunately, she is in a coma.”
Later, I did call my mom, to tell her I’d bought a wedding dress and also to make sure she hadn’t fallen into a coma in order to punish me for lying. (She hadn’t.) She cried, and this time I did not hang up.
After some thought, I told my anti-wedding friends, too. Because I’d decided that being manipulated into not doing all the dumb wedding rituals because of the wedding industrial complex is just as bad as being manipulated into doing all the dumb wedding rituals because of the wedding industrial complex. In Afghanistan, people spend their entire year’s salary on weddings. Why? Well, life is short.
And it turns out you don’t have to choose between being a Cynic or a Squealer. Like Lauren and Chris and the indie brides, you can just be something in between. A few weeks later, I ran into the woman I’d met at my friend’s party, the woman who had said I was an old boring married lady. She was wearing a big sparkly ring. “Oh yeah, um, I got engaged,” she said.
“Cool!” I said, and I think I said it in exactly the right tone.