prepared to discuss the following bad ideas:
- Using your father's illness as an excuse to freebase jellybeans and Peppermint Patties
- Using your stressful, demanding job as an excuse to stuff chocolate pecan cookies into every available orifice
- Telling yourself that time (not dieting or exercise) will make your ass smaller
- Waiting until the absolute last minute to try on your mother's wedding dress because you suspect it will fit like sausage casing and because next week you will be much, much thinner
- Indulging all of your bad habits, which include (but are not limited to) extreme procrastination, paralysis analysis, indecision, avoidance, denial, panic, morbid self-loathing, compulsive cuticle chewing, apocalyptic visualizations, and stress eating
- Telling people that wedding planning makes you "barf" and threatening to punch well wishers who remind you that it's your "day"
No one tells you that the months before your wedding will accentuate every flaw, every insecurity, and every chink in your armor. I'm guessing that no one tells you this because most people don't go into an utter tailspin of dread and anxiety when faced with the task of planning a joyous event. Take last night for example when I ended the evening rocking back and forth and muttering, "I'm not good at this I'm not good at this I'm not good at this" after a particularly stressful planning session with my parents. God love them, they were just trying to help, but clearly the kind of help I need involves a prescription for Xanax and a bottle of bourbon.
Chief among my concerns is that the dress I was planning to wear at my wedding - for sentimental and financial reasons - is my mother's, and when she wore the dress in 1960 she was a twenty-four year-old leggy ingénue with a tiny waist. While I have many shining qualities, legginess, a tiny waist, and a firm grip on reality are not among them. Which is why I approached the dress with some trepidation. After several months of gentle prods from concerned parties, I rang my parents' doorbell to confront the dress.
"OK, let's do this," I said grimly. "I just want to get it over with and move on." Oh, the joy! The anticipation! While my mother prepared dinner, I slipped into her bedroom and unearthed the dress, which lay embalmed in a large, heavy box. I'll just try it on while no one's looking, I thought, stepping into the dress. I'll just...
After lubricating my body with animal fat, I managed to get the dress - which never made it past my kneecaps - off and back into the box.
"Let's see it on you!" my mom said, brimming with excitement.
"I don't think it's going to work, Ma. I can't even get my elbows through the ARMHOLES."
"I'm sure it's not that bad...just put it on for me. No one else has to see."
If you've ever slipped a condom on a cactus, you'll know how easy it was to get that dress back on.
"I AM FUDGIE THE FUCKING WHALE." Fortunately, my inside voice (which is prone to obscene language) held itself in check. The dress was clearly not doing wonders for my self-esteem.
"We can put a panel in! I'll call my costumer! Look at all this fabric! He can do wonders! We'll make this work!"
"Perhaps he can craft something out of plastic sheeting for me to wear, SINCE THAT'S THE ONLY THING I'LL FIT INTO."
"You'll be a beautiful bride," my mom reassured me, tugging at the dress. "Radiant. If we can JUST! GET! THIS! OFF! I'll make an appointment with the costumer and everything will be fine."
"OK, but promise to tell him like it is, Mom. Don't sugarcoat it. Tell him straight up that your daughter is Big and Tall."
"I don't think I'll be using those exact words."
"OK, tell him that your daughter played rugby at Smith. Tell him I wear Lands End bathing suits. He'll get the picture."
My mother laughed and rolled her eyes. Apparently I was the only one attending my pity party. Which is why, dear friends, I am inviting you to join my festival of self-indulgent whining.
Please feel free to bring nachos. I really like nachos.
Images: Marie Claire Italia October 2009.