Friday, June 25, 2010

The Wedding Industrial Complex.

A wedding: the legal and spiritual contract of two people who love one another and want to bind together for the rest of their lives. Beautiful in its simplicity-- two people find one another, fall in love, decide to spend their lives together-- a wedding ceremony seals them to one another. On that day, heaven shines its light on two fortunate beings and fate smiles upon them for having found their way to one another.

But because we're human, a thing that should be kept meaningful and private will eventually morph into a complicated and messy perversion of the original intent. The Wedding Industrial Complex (TWIC) is to blame.

TWIC is comprised of businesses who insist their presence in YOUR wedding is a must--florists, calligraphers, photographers, venues, DJs, caterers, dress makers, tailors, hairdressers, make-up artists, limo drivers, party rental places-- or your day (and thus YOU) will be a complete failure. TWIC wants a slice of your wedding day. TWIC will weasel their way into your plans and your wallet.

Used to be the bride bought a dress, the groom wore a suit. The couple showed up at an appointed time at the church of their choice, their families and some close friends witnessed the ceremony. The cleric read a few words. The groom put a ring on the finger of the bride. They kissed and left the church. Everyone would go to the home of some maiden aunt, where punch and cake are served. Guests waved while the newlyweds got into a car and went someplace for a honeymoon.

Those days are dead and gone.

TWIC realizes brides are just arrogant enough to think their wedding day is the most important day in the history of the world. The bride is encouraged to think this way, which leads to a lot of stupid behavior.

The next time you're at a store with a decent magazine rack, go ahead and count the number of bridal magazines. I'm guessing you'll see at least five publications dedicated to TWIC. The pages of those magazines are stuffed with ideas for a wedding. Engagement rings. Announcements. Gowns. Veils. Tuxedos. Registries. Venues. Travel ads.

Turn on the television. At any given time of day, it's easy to find a television show about weddings. "Bridezillas", "Say Yes to the Dress", "Whose Wedding is it Anyway?", "My Fair Wedding".

This is TWIC in action. They've created a multi-billion dollar industry that didn't really exist until about 25 years ago. My hat's off to them for their creativity.

Over the next few posts I'll examine TWIC and how it has changed how we celebrate weddings-- the good, the stupid, the tacky, the expensive, the silly.

Join me and as always, I'm really excited to hear what you think.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Shower Thoughts.

We call them "Shower Thoughts", the Redhead and I.

Shower Thoughts is the collective, gritty mosaic of things you wish you could undo, erase from your memory, or wish you hadn't said-- a lurid mosaic so spectacularly, carelessly bad it is housed in the permanent collection of the Self-Flagellation Gallery located on Subconscious Avenue (Open 24 hours a day! You're the only visitor!).

Shower Thoughts invade in the morning when I'm at my most vulnerable; drowsy, unmedicated, uncaffeinated. My little mental defense battlements haven't been completely re-built after the night's onslaught of unchecked dreaming, so Shower Thoughts are free to skitter unleashed throughout my brain.

To me, the most shameful Shower Thoughts are the many stupid things I've said over the years, of which no one needs to remind me-- because I know (now)-- how very, very, very stupid they were.

The stupid things were conceived and brought forth via ignorance of certain subjects. The stupid things were all proclaimed by me in an authoritative tone even though I didn't know my elbow from my ass.

So during Shower Thoughts, I think primarily of stupid things I've said. Today I'd like to share these stupid things with you, you lucky bastards.


My friend, Nanci, was a classically-trained ballet dancer. She'd been in toe-shoes for twenty-plus years. As a responsible, busy adult, her dance classes and rehearsals had been whittled down to once or twice a week.

One day we were discussing her life-long passion of ballet and she said something in reference to its Italian/French origins.

"France?!?" I spat. "Ballet did not originate in France."

Sweet and gullible Nanci said timidly, "It didn't? I thought with all the French terminology..."

"Noooooo," I interrupted with conviction. "Ballet is Russian. Think about it, Nanci! Baryshnikov, the Kirov, Rudolph Nureyev, George Balanchine-- all Russian!"


My boyfriend Mark had an iguana named Spike for whom he built a very impressive outdoor cage. It was about six by five feet, screened walls, a removal top, and a large piece of driftwood bolted to the floor of the cage, reaching upward about four feet. Spike was very happy in this cage, splayed on the driftwood, relaxing in the sun, munching zucchini, spinach, and mango chunks.

One day, a friend of Mark's stopped by and asked to see the cage, as he'd just bought an iguana. I led him to the patio to see the cage and he was very impressed with Mark's workmanship and design.

The friend mentioned he'd been in Tijuana the week before and saw a cage very similar to Mark's. "The guy was asking $600.00 for it," summed up the friend.

"Really? Six hundred bucks?", I said.

He nodded, looking at Spike.

"Geez," I ventured. "I'm sure Mark would build you one if you just got him the materials, but honestly, if it's easier for you, you should go back to Mexico and talk to the guy and just--"

I then said something I'd never said before in my life and have not said since; as I said it, as the words leapt off my tongue in all their putrid offensiveness, I knew that what I was going to spew uncontrollably at that moment would offend this guy, because I suddenly knew, psychically, that this guy was a Jew and how I knew that right then I have no earthly idea, yet I didn't stop talking, I could not stop talking, my tongue kept moving and my vocal box didn't explode in consternation for me, and my lips obeyed my tongue not my conscience, I said:

"...see if you can JEW HIM DOWN a little."


I couldn't bear the Jew's silence, so I filled the void by continuing to yap my big, Protestant/shiksa mouth: "Because $600.00 is really a lot when you've got Mark right here and he'll do it for cost of materials only because he really, really, really considers you a good friend and he really, really, really likes iguanas, just like you do!"

"I'm Jewish," he said.

Oy vey.


A moronic and ignorant brute disguised as a teenager, I sat with my parents and sisters at the table eating dinner.

The Brunette was discussing Ethiopia and how people there were starving to death. A seemingly endless drought had done its damage, leaving Ethiopians unable to farm the soil. The cattle were starving and were unable to produce milk. People were dying by the thousands. The Brunette said the world was taking little notice; the big fat United States wasn't helping enough. Big fat Europe wasn't helping enough.

Everyone, said the Brunette, was turning their backs on these people and leaving them to die-- miserable, hungry, forgotten.

I piped up:

"Why don't they just move?"


I'm going to start writing again.

Expect sharp criticisms, deep bitterness and complaints of mental exhaustion, with light sprinklings of puppydog tummies, butterflies and rainbows!

Needless to say, going dark was a decision I made hoping I'd be able to focus on gettin' happy. Stopping writing didn't help me get happy in the least bit. I only blocked myself from the necessary self-realization that writing provides.

I must keep in mind that Sixty-Four Twelve began as an experiment-- "An exercise in futility to exorcise the fertility of my mind."

Talk to you soon.