|May 16, 2001
Going With *Plan G*
When last we saw Our Heroine, she was marching towards the downtown Oakland Sears store on her lunch hour, with her credit card in her hand, grimly determined to purchase a fudking wedding dress.
Or to kill somebody totally dead trying.
"Wait a minute!" you say. "That's no way to buy a dress for the biggest, most important occasion of your whole life!"
And of course you are absolutely correct. That isn't any way to buy a dress for the biggest, most important occasion of one's whole life. A normal bride-to-be would just walk into a bridal boutique ... surrender herself to the compassionate and knowledgeable care of the Customer Satisfaction Facilitator ... and allow the professionals to help her pick out the dress that *fits* her best -- fits her figure, fits her lifestyle, fits her budget -- fits her in every way that counts.
(But then again, anyone who has been reading *FootNotes* for longer than fourteen seconds can tell you that Our Heroine generally considers bridal boutique Customer Satisfaction Facilitators to be only slightly less revolting than Ross Perot in Spandex ... and most bridal boutiques to be just one step up from Kitten Taco Factories on the Disgust-o-Meter.)
So Our Heroine was going with Plan B.
Or, more accurately, she was going with Plan G, since she'd already exhausted Plans B (online shopping), C (catalog shopping), D (malls), E (outlet stores) and F (wishing really really hard for the *Wedding Dress Fairy* to leave the perfect gown under her pillow in the middle of the night). Frankly, she was starting to run out of "Plans."
So, you ask, did Our Heroine emerge from the downtown Oakland Sears store, forty to forty-five minutes later, with an attractive and suitable dress for her wedding, slung over her shoulder?
She emerged with TWO wedding dresses slung over her shoulder.
That's right. You heard me correctly. She bought TWO wedding dresses on Monday. (She was going to buy three, but she thought that might be overkill.) And yes, she appreciates the irony here: the fact that she and David have driven approximately 43,897,621 miles in the past two months, searching hither and yon for The Dream Dress ... growing increasingly frantic and disheartened and cranky with each unsuccessful shopping expedition ... and then she finally finds her wedding dress ten blocks from where she works.
Both of her wedding dresses, in fact.
Isn't life interesting?
So why two dresses, you ask? Were they having a Two-For-The-Price-Of-One Sale? Do I hope to convince DAVID to wear one of the dresses? Am I planning to pull a Britney Spears at my own wedding, changing costumes during commercial breaks?
Nahh. It just happened that way.
Right away I spotted the first dress, hanging on the rack: a short-sleeved/knee-length suit with a row of buttons down the front, very simple and sweet and classic. My first thought was Grandma would have loved this one. My grandmother, God love her, has been gone for ten years now, but I still feel her influence just as keenly today as ever. The little white suit just looked like something Grandma would have sewn for me, were she here to sew for this wedding. I could practically hear her telling me to "Lift your arms, Sister," as she ran the tape measure around my middle.
Wow, I thought. That was easy! And I pulled the Grandma Dress off the rack.
But then I turned around and saw this other dress -- a plain, floor-length, sleeveless white gown, with a lace-trimmed bolero plunked on top of it -- slightly more "bridal," maybe, but again very simple and very sweet -- and I thought That one reminds me of my eleventh-grade Tolo dress. I looooved my eleventh-grade Tolo dress. It was my first formal dress, and I remember feeling like a princess when I wore it. (I remember feeling slightly less "princess-like" when the dress came off in the back of the station wagon, four hours later ... but that's another story for another day.)
Uh-oh, I thought, looking at the Tolo Dress with longing. Maybe this isn't going to be so 'easy' after all.
The only logical thing to do, of course, would be to take both dresses into the fitting room [gulp] and try them on. I figured that if one of them made me look like a Kelvinator double-door -- as white clothing is wont to do sometimes -- then the decision would be greatly simplified, wouldn't it? Just to be on the safe side, though, I snatched up three lesser gowns, right off the rack ... pleasant but unremarkable dresses that might do in a pinch ... and dragged them into the fitting room with me, along with the two main contenders. (A fitting room, I am pleased to report, complete with chairs, clothing hooks, decent lighting AND a locking door.)
I slipped into the Grandma Dress first. It slid over my head, whisper-smooth, and the silky fabric settled around me like it had already memorized the contours of my body. I looked at myself in the mirror, and the Grandma Dress said "You are a smart, tasteful, sophisticated bride." And I had to agree. If I swapped out the plain white buttons for something a little more distinctive -- pearls, maybe? -- and if I accessorized with white hose and white pumps and simple jewelry -- I would be the Elegant Bride of my Young Secra fantasies.
Next I tried on the Lesser Gowns, all three of them right in a row. And they were all OK. They fit well ... they were reasonably attractive ... nothing bulged or ripped or bled when I zipped them up. But they weren't anything particularly special. You know? They were something you might wear to a christening, or to your kids' dance recital, or to the Sunday Night Church Social & Fish-Feed.
None of the Lesser Gowns *spoke* to me, the way the Grandma Dress had.
Finally ... I pulled the Tolo Dress off the hanger and tried it on. Once again, the dress slipped right over my head without protest or incident ... and once again, it alternately draped and clung in all the right places, looking as though it had been designed for me personally. I looked at myself in the mirror, and the Tolo Dress said "You are an incredibly groovy, incredibly vibrant bride." If I jazzed up the bolero jacket a little -- sewing on a few artfully mismatched antique buttons, maybe -- and if I accessorize with vintage jewelry and someoranother unique hair/flower configuration -- I would be the Bohemian Bride of my Young Secra fantasies.
Well, I said. NOW what are you going to do?
This was a pickle of another variety entirely. Both dresses fit beautifully. Both dresses were flattering and comfortable. Both dresses spoke to some secret Young Secra desire ... Elegant Bride vs. Groovy Bohemian Bride. Best of all, neither dress was outrageously expensive: in fact, the two of them put together cost less than one-sixth as much as the online Dream Dress I was originally planning to buy.
And that's when it hit me. Why don't you just buy them both?
The frugal part of me, of course, recoiled in horror at the very thought. Are you nuts?!? it shrieked. As hard as you work for your money, now you want to throw a big chunk of it away on a dress you'll probably never wear? I can only wear one dress to the wedding, after all: the other one will wind up relegated to the back of the closet as an also-ran. And the practical part of me was equally incredulous. What in the world would you do with TWO white dresses hanging in your closet? it snorted. It's not like you're invited to an art gallery opening every weekend, you big impractical dope. Why don't you just buy two diamond tiaras while you're at it? Two BMW's? Two IBM Thinkpad Notebooks??
But in the end it was Our Heroine who spoke the loudest ... and the most convincingly.
Listen up, she said. Enough is enough. Do yourself -- and your fiance -- a gigantic favor and buy both of the fudking dresses. You can afford it. You've got room in your closet. You've got better things to do on the weekend than dress-shopping. (God knows you've got better things to write about.) Plus this gives you two whole months to decide which dress to wear ... and if worse comes to worst, and you run out of stuff to whine and obsess about, you can always force your readers to choose for you. So buy both of the stoopid dresses and shut up already.
I bought both dresses.
Our Heroine. What she lacks in charm and diplomacy, she makes up for in salesmanship.
Maybe she should consider becoming a Customer Satisfaction Facilitator.