Thursday, May 20, 2010

We Want a Wedding Dress

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 fiancĂ©, 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.


  1. interesting, I was the exact opposite. The dress could have been a rag for me and it wouldn't have mattered but I definitely are the angle you are coming from. If anyone hasn't, bridezilla on we TV is definitely living proof. After all, the bride is essentially the centerpiece of the American wedding ceremony now a days and dresses have been j own to cost thousands of dollars!

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  3. I think the opposite way! I think abt the wedding/dress which I kno will be beautiful but as I imagine that day I picture a groom (who has no face) whom I feel intense love for and I say to myself "this wedding and dress could all burn up right now I just want my man". We can only imagine the dress and the wedding bc that is the only part of marriage that is significantly highlighted. We aren't taught the truth abt marriage so we just focus on what we know-the dress and the party. Good observation tho, E :)

  4. I agree with Outspoken...(p.s. this is Tia, lol). I am 25 and boy have I had my share of love ups and downs, lol. At this age there is so much pressure to settle down but I can't and won't until I know I have found the man of my dreams. The man who is everything I have ever wanted so much so that I am able to even appreciate his flaws and shortcomings. The man who is able to reciprocate my affectionate nature and also take my flaws in stride. The dress...ehhh....never thought about it...but the man at the end of the aisle....that's my dream ;-)....

    don't get me wrong...i don't NEED a relationship. But who doesn't enjoy companionship and the love of another. If i find it I will consider myself truly blessed. If not, I have the love of family, friends, and my future adopted children (always planned to adopt regardless but that's another story).

    love you and xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo! keep these coming!

  5. Hummm....I think I am one of the people with intimacy issues...without a doubt. I don't want the dress...I don't want the wedding...I don't want the long term relationship...and I don't want the "title" of husband and wife. I don't want to be legally bound to anyone...except my kids (and even that is going to take some getting used to.) The thing is...I love men. I love having companionship...but I am also a realist. I know that if I do get will not be for love. Because...the love that we fantasize about just does not exist. Love and emotions...its just unnecessarily messy. But a business deal...a contract...a mutual understanding between two rational that is something I can deal with. I just know that EVERYTHING comes to an end...and I refuse to put my time, energy, and emotions into something and someone who can leave at any moment. Men do not value marriage the way they did 40 and 50 years ago. If I was born back then...then my views would be different. But I have seen and experienced heartbreak...and I'm just protecting myself. But...I would like a nice ring to show off on a daily