Monday, September 24, 2012

Every Woman

Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary.  On September 25, 1976, I made the best decision of my life and married my darlin’.  You’d think, thirty-six years later, that watching wedding shows would be a thing of the past.  But you’d be wrong.
I am addicted to Say Yes To The Dress.  It must be some nod to the romantic young girl still living inside me.  Or maybe it’s just a sigh inducer because I wore a borrowed wedding dress when I said “I do.”   I didn’t have the luxury of trying on stunning styles in front of admiring eyes.  We got married on the cheap when church weddings were the norm and guests were happy with mints and wedding cake at the crepe paper adorned reception.
Eleven years ago we renewed our vows in front of friends and family, dressed to the nines in formal wear and sparkle, and then flew across the pond for a two-week honeymoon twenty-five years overdue.  It was fantastic.  We have wonderful memories and photos.  You’d think I’d be over weddings now.  And . . . you’d be wrong.
I guess fairy tales never die.
So what’s so compelling about this tv show? Well, there’s mama drama and bridesmaid envy and not a few diva tantrums.  Now and then a sweet thing brings a charming entourage, and then even the sales girls shed some tears. Actually, girls cry a lot on this show.  So do their moms.  See, ‘tearing up’ is the sign everyone looks for as dress after dress falls to the floor while the bride tries to decide which one is The One.  It’s almost more important than deciding if the guy is the one.  And if the bride cries at her reflection and her mama’s mascara melts watching her daughter parade in front of the mirror, then everyone knows that bride will say “yes” to the dress.
It might sound like I’m making fun of this show, but I’m not.  Every time I watch it I listen in fascination as brides are interviewed, revealing their insecurities (“I was always called the ugly duckling,” one said this morning), their highest dreams (“He’s the most wonderful man in the world,” they usually say about their fiancés) and sometimes profound disappointment—such as when a mother comes to the dress appointment only to try on MOB dresses instead of supporting her daughter.
But the staff is experienced, part sales professional, part therapist.  They know how to handle difficult mamas and insecure brides.  It’s a study in human nature. What fascinates me the most about the show  is the way it reveals our DNA as women and our desire to be beautiful, whether we walk down a church aisle or meet a friend for lunch.  And sadly, few of us know how beautiful we really are.  Society and culture have spent our lifetime telling us we don’t measure up, convincing us that we never will.
So kudos to TLC for making me cheer on two thousand dollar wedding dresses that make a daddy cry and a mama smile and a fiancé swoon and a girl’s esteem soar.  I’m still in favor of weddings, even if times have changed and budgets exploded.  And I wish them all thirty-six years plus of knowing they married the most wonderful man in the world.
But most of all, I wish us each to know—fashionista or not—every woman is beautiful.

(Photo courtesy of zoetnet's photostream on flickr.com)

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