I passed a wedding dress boutique last weekend. Then I turned back around and returned to it. I stood outside the window like a little girl, face almost pressed to the window, looking up at the couture wedding gowns on display. The street was empty. The stores all dark inside. I stood there and at twenty-three wanted so badly to wear one of those dreamy white dresses. I was mesmerized. I pulled myself away from the window just before the lurking sadness was able to completely seep in. I left before I turned into “David’s Bridal Crazy Lady”. Why a feeling of sadness? Simple. I want that dress and it’s the only thing in my life that isn’t guaranteed. I can work hard for every other aspect in my life but me wearing that dress is not contingent on any of that hard work. Please don’t misunderstand though. I don’t want to get married. I just want the wedding dress. The man, the husband, well he’s just a means to an end. And so I began thinking about wedding dresses and women’s pursuit of it.
This is not a continuation to the woes of single womanhood. I have no interest in spitting out single black women, and single white women statistics. I’m talking about wedding dresses. I’m talking about women’s fascination with wedding dresses. I want to talk about what has been left out of the conversation on women’s craze to get married. There has been an exhaustive amount of discussion on women’s desperation with getting married. The men having this conversation, unfortunately, don’t understand our true motivation for matrimony. We don’t even understand it. We want what comes with a wedding. We want a ring, a bachelorette party, a wedding planner, a honeymoon, a slew of gifts. More importantly, we want the dress. That dress that take people’s breath away. The dress that makes us look like a dream, more beautiful than we’ve ever been before. We are told our entire lives that we can never look more beautiful than on that sanctified day. The husband’s importance? Yeah, not so much.
I have had many conversations with single women. Most of my friends are single women. We undeniably talk about men a lot, a whole lot. We discuss our desires to have someone in our life that is exciting but “chill”, intellectually stimulating but a typical guy, attractive but not intimidatingly so, complex but simple, charismatic but not a whore and a laundry-list of other contradictory traits. We, however, have no interest in stability and normalcy. Exactly what it takes to have a normally functioning marriage. Most women will take inconsistent and passionate over the aforementioned on any given day. Yet, there is all this talk about women being on the fast track to the actual “happily ever after” component. Well, that’s just not the case. How can that be the case when many times women carry the same intimacy issues men carry? Take me for an example. I say I want marriage. However, when I think about the union of it I can’t get pass the wedding day. I envision this glorious day and then after, I draw a blank. And when I attempt to stretch my mind to see the everyday normalcy of marriage I almost have a panic attack. I feel trapped and boxed in. I feel stifled. I feel complete claustrophobia. That invisible ring on my finger gets real heavy. One person, and that’s it…forever?
I have too many friends that have intimacy issues. I have too many friends that say that they will get married just for the sake of it and that divorce is always an option. So, if women, the sex that supposedly promotes marriage, equates divorce to it then why are we so fixated on the union. There are many reasons, I understand. There are reasons much more psychologically and societal based then what I am bringing to the table; however, strike up a conversation with a woman about a wedding dress and she’ll know precisely what she wants.
This precision in understanding the dress is what created “David’s Bridal Crazy Lady”. My friend recently worked in David’s Bridal. While we were out at dinner she gave me a recap on the encounter she had with a very crazy lady. The woman came into the store and was looking at dresses. Typical. My friend, good sales associate that she is, probed about what kind of wedding, the fiancé, that whole bit. “David’s Bridal Crazy Lady” says she hadn’t been proposed to yet. Oh, so maybe in a long term relationship, I ask. No. No. No. This woman had just recently started dating someone. My friend and I laughed that night about this “crazy lady” and how ridiculous she was. When I think about this lady now, though, I realize she isn’t much different than most of us. Maybe she’s a little more crazy for actually going in the store and looking at the dresses as if newly engaged. This woman, though, is just like many of us. Instead of flipping through bridal books she is being proactive and flipping through gowns. The man, the prospective husband, isn’t anywhere in sight as we flip through those pages and as she flips through David’s Bridal collection. Why? He isn’t important. The husband is not important. The wedding isn’t about him, we could really just call him a seat filler. The dress, now that’s what's really irreplaceable to us.
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