Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Little Pink Dress

Several months ago, Austin and I heard that a friend was getting married. We decided to form our family vacation around the wedding date so that we could visit his hometown and attend the wedding.

I was excited, I was elated...I LOVE weddings. I should say that I like them because they are romantic or because they are a chance to see a couple making a commitment before their friends. But instead...I really love wedding cake. I also like seeing what the couple has put together: what kinds of flowers did they choose, what color dresses, how many attendants, etc. I realize that this is a traditional 'girly' thing to like, but I claim it. I love weddings. Except for ugly ones. They made me sad. They make me think of that scene from Little Man Tate when the birthday boy invited so many friends, decorated the house, and nobody showed up. He sits there with his party hat on, and it is one of the saddest movie scenes I have ever seen. I'm sure that reveals a ton about my personality.

And just on the dip-dyed heels of the wedding excitement came the wedding invitee dread. WHAT would I wear? HOW much weight could I lose? WHY was I attending a wedding that any number of Austin's ex-girlfriends could attend?

And thus I spent the months of late winter and all of spring, in that wicked cycle of dieting/manic exercising/late night ice cream binging/pretending that I didn't care/embracing my curvy self/loathing my jiggly self/stress/stress/stress.

You wish you lived with me, right? Yeah, take a number. I'm a barrel of fun.

I took polls among friends, co-workers, and family females. They all said different things: borrow this dress, wear whatever you want with PRIDE, go spend whatever it takes to make yourself feel beautiful, wear a great black dress and buy some fabulous shoes.

In my fear, my stress, my self-loathing, I decided to opt for the last option. I have several black dresses that make me confident. Who doesn't love a good black dress? And new shoes would be much more affordable than a new dress.

And then, as the date drew ever closer, I looked at the wedding details. I have been to fewer than ten weddings in my life, and I guess I assumed that, based on these 10 experiences, everybody gets married in the late afternoon or perhaps the early evening.

This wedding was to take place at 11:30. In the morning! 11:30 pm could have been better, because I could have worn black without an issue. But a.m.? Not so sure that black would be appropriate. So I checked the venue, hoping that something would allow me to wear the black dress.

Outside, semi-formal, late morning California wedding. Not the situation that is made for a black dress and wicked cool shoes.

I stared into my closet, even shedding a tear in hopes that a fairy godmother would Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo my love handles into something useful, like a cure for Turrets.

And then I saw an opportunity, just hanging quietly in my closet.

Last year's Easter dress was perfect. I bought it not really for Easter, but because it was one of those rare occasions where I HAD TO HAVE IT. It hurt me to think about anyone else owning this confection perfection of a dress.

It isn't my normal style, but it was truly a great dress.

Very pale pink, tight sleeveless bodice, and a poufy skirt of big loping petals. I'm not sure what else to call them. They aren't ruffles, because I am over the age of three. But when I move, they slightly flounce, and the overall effect (at least from inside the dress) is fun. The material has a sort of sheen to it, and it fit the bill.

Only problem was that it didn't fit my butt.

I have gained enough weight for my clothes to be...ah..uncomfortable. They still fit, but they don't have the same roominess that I recall from last year. I would like to say that it is all in my head. But it isn't. It is in my hind quarters. I don't know how much damage has been done, because I refused to look at the Wicked Torture Device when I was at the doctor's office.

Fast-forward to the week before the wedding, and I was zipping (almost) comfortably. The dress had always been very form-fitting, and I recall having some breathing issues last year, even before the birth of the Great Cream Puff Butt. I was excited about the dress, and very very relieved that it fit. Ahhh, I was now free to enjoy my vacation without worrying about a thing.

We had a great time, visiting vineyards and enjoying the breeze outside la casa de McDermott. We had cheeseburgers, chocolate chip waffles, big cups of creamy coffee, ice cream decadence, you name it! VACATION EATING IS AWESOME!!!!

And then, one day before the wedding, I decided to do a dry-run of my magnificent splendiferous self in perfect pink dress. Beth and Carly were to behold the beauty of me, sans wedding makeup. I was excited.

And then I almost got a zipper burn on my fingers from trying to coax and then beat the blasted thing up my now apparently chubby back.

I moved things up, I shoved things down, and I even managed to pull things sideways in order to make the dress zip all the way.

Not bad...it always looked snug....ok....would stop eating vacation food immediately.

I walked sheepishly but hopefully into the room where Carly and Beth sat, no doubt thinking that I was conducting experiments or applying for citizenship in the bathroom.

They were everything a girl could ask for in friends....they assured me that I was HOT, that the dress was PERFECT, that I was radiance and beauty personified, and it wasn't nice of me to take the attention away from the bride.

I ate up every morsel, and kept asking for more.

So the next day when I got dressed, Beth was on hand to pet and prod my pride. But I was really feeling rough. The dress was more ill-fitting than the day before.

Austin, who knows (usually....usually) what to say to a woman to make her feel pretty, told me that I was everything that Beth had said and more. Then he also kindly asked me if I wanted to unzip the dress juuuust a bit, to allow for breathing room. He promised to make sure I was all zipped and ready when we arrived at the wedding. I was awfully worried about literally splitting the dress in two while in transit to the festivities. So I agreed.

We stopped for gas, and I went inside to get Aus a drink. The dress was only unzipped about half an inch, so going in public wasn't really a big deal. For all the public knew, I had just forgotten that top part, and it was mostly obscured by my hair anyways. As I sucked in all my vacationing excess and walked slowly on my very tall shoes, I heard a small group of people laughing.

At me....NO TIFFANY, NOT AT YOU....I get waaaay too wrapped up in myself, and I KNOW that they weren't spending their time laughing at a total stranger. Still...the doubt caused my already waning self-image to flicker dramatically.

I bought the drink and came back outside, trying so hard not to look at the ruffians that I'm sure they could feel my Not Stare as much as if I actually had. More laughter...and then...someone said WOW. But not in the nice way. No, not at all in the nice way.

I got in the car, exhaled loudly and had a very large frowny face. The kind where I want Austin to ask me what is wrong. I expected him to chide me for 'making it about myself' and 'being ridiculous'. Instead he confirmed my fears. He had heard them making fun of me and restrained himself from causing them bodily harm.

Self-esteem was now to be scraped off the floor. It was in a puddle, all warm and gooey from just having melted. Like candle wax was my pride.

I begged Austin to stop at Target, J.Crew, ANYWHERE that I could buy ANYTHING besides this dress. I had imagined that I looked cute, but instead I probably looked like Sarah Jessica Parker in one of her get-ups that should be funky and cutting edge but instead is just strange.

Austin reassured me (in that tone that sounds like an exasperated male) that I was LOVELY and that they were hicks with no taste. After all, they were wearing flannel shirts and cut-offs, as if we were still celebrating Nirvana's rise to fame.

And thus I went to the wedding, armed with a lack of breath and hankering for cake.

The wedding was more beautiful than I could describe, and just totally incredible. Best wedding I've ever been to, aside from my dress.

I was looking around at the other guests, and starting to feel superior that I was actually following the prescribed dress code. Some people were wearing sundresses and flipflops, so at least I could be the exotically dressed one.

I was waiting to sign the guestbook when I realized I couldn't bend over far enough to do so. I motioned Austin to sign our names when a vaguely familiar face said hello and then I was shaking hands with someone I had met, friend of Austin's friend, etc. several years ago. Nice guy, he and Austin really had a great time talking, and so we decided to all sit together. He then caught up with a vision in blue, a blonde haired, tanned and white toothed beauty that I instantly hated but couldn't stop looking at. To top it off, she was nice. It was his wife, and he brought her over to introduce to Austin and I.

Oh, but Aus had already met this perfect goddess who had skin just bronze enough to be summerish, but not so much to look like Lindsay Lohan. Her hair was just coiffed enough to look stylish, but of course also effortless at the same time. Her teeth were whiter than a new soul at a Pentecostal Camp Meeting. And her dress was the ultimate perfect mix of carefree California orchard party and semi-formal wedding elegance.

She really was nice though, so we all sat together and laughed at the sweet nervous groom and teared up at the beautiful bride (who, as you well know, I did not eclipse).

Only then did Austin find the time to lean over and whisper in my ear: 'Does she look familiar? Because she is Miss California, and she has been on two seasons of Amazing Race."

At this time I stopped sucking in and went for two large pieces of wedding cake.

I should have worn the black dress. Or maybe flannel.

I hate weddings.

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