we’ve no time for brevity

So. The last post seemed to cause a lot of unintended stress for some of you. I feel pretty bad about this. You know those times when you’re at a party, and suddenly you’re stricken with an urge to entertain everybody with what you believe is an awesome story, only when you’re done you glance around and realize that your listeners have curled up on the floor in a fetal position and are crying softly to themselves? Yeah, that’s kind of what happened with the last post.

Hence, in the face of a pressure-cooking 2.5 weeks to go, from here on out on the blog I’ll try to temper the potentially rampant anxiety with some nice soft marshmallow fluff. Do you guys like fluff? That seems to be what’s popular out here on the interwebs. That and using very few words. I’ve tried that before. I’ve tried to do posts that feature just one exceedingly insightful sentence such as “Nothing says ‘home from work’ like no pants,” only to stare at it for ten minutes thinking, “Well, that’s stupid.” So then I try to write some elucidatory supporting sentences and suddenly, 239 hours later, I have a 1,300-word essay about something entirely unrelated to both pants and coming home from work.

To that end, um. I make no promises about anything that happens in the next 2.5 weeks.

Now! Let’s talk about some stuff that is not actually fluffy at all!* Like what I’ve learned** during this precious, special time. Because if there’s one thing you get from planning a wedding, it’s the illusion of wisdom.

Things I’ve learned from the wedding planning process:***

  1. The only thing that bridal magazines are good for is making fun of the pictures.
  2. People are fucking insane.
  3. Do not, under any circumstances, discuss your budget. With anyone. Your budget is the wrong number to everyone except you.
  4. Sometimes A lot of times getting stuff done is more important than remaining true to your personal style.
  5. Blog-worthy is not necessarily a bad thing.
  6. You can spend a good part of your life ignoring social expectations, only to end up having them completely rule the wedding day.
  7. If it’s not important to you, let someone else have their way.****
  8. Be prepared to be hurt by some people’s actions.
  9. Be prepared to be staggered by the generosity of others.
  10. You can spend your entire engagement repeating that at the end of the wedding day, what’s most important is that you’re married. You can say that over and over again, until you’re blue in the face. You can spend months analyzing the nature of your relationship and the ways in which you and your partner are growing and learning together. You can meditate on it. You can paint pictures about it. You can choreograph an interpretive dance on the profundity of human connection. You can methodically hunt down every single person at every single place you go and inform each of them that you don’t give a shit about the pretty wedding frippery. That crap is, you know, mere Froot Loops in comparison to your organic multigrain breakfast cereal of authentic love. But the reality of it all still won’t actually hit home for you until a quiet moment in one of the days before the wedding when all these big thoughts come rushing back into your head unannounced, and suddenly you’re all HOLY SHIT MARRIAGE ZOMGWTFBBQBALLSMOKE. And the people around you will be like: slow down, tiger. Try breathing, you’ll like it.
  11. You can pretend you don’t care, but you’ll still desperately want your guests to like your wedding.
  12. Not all of your guests are going to have a humdinger of a time at your wedding.
  13. Keep your head down and your eyes on your work. It doesn’t matter what everyone else is writing down, only that you come up with your own answers.

What have you learned?

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* OH SNAP, I already lied.

** Disclaimer: the things that I’ve learned will not necessarily reflect the things that you’ve learned. Individual mileage may vary.

*** It’s not actually just me here. The beau provided a few of the gems on this list. I just asked him what he learned from planning a wedding, and out popped some meaningful shit. I don’t know how he does it. I’m beginning to think he should be the blogger of this relationship.

**** This is why my mother is making favors for our welcome picnic. If a) it makes her happy and b) I don’t have to be involved, I don’t really care how many yards of custom ribbon inscribed with our names and wedding date she uses.

it’s too late to change your mind

The searching, I think, is the single worst part of wedding planning.

Searching for wedding stuff seems like — from the outset, at least — tangible progress. It’s a necessary means to a specific end. But, ah, searching is not the same as finding. For I can spend the better part of a day looking for something, and not actually have it by the end of that day. And I won’t necessarily have it by the end of the following day, either.

Look, I like to try to be funny, and 96.793% of humor is exaggeration. Maybe I am lying to you when I say that I arrived at that number via extensive scientific research. But I am not lying, for once, when I say that the vast majority of items left on our wedding task list involve searching. I need to find gifts for my wedding party, for example. I need to acquire undergarments, lest I inadvertently shock our unsuspecting wedding guests. I need to find shoes, lest my poor bare feet be trampled by someone’s stilettos on the dance floor. I need about 30 more vases. I need to procure candles. Wedding jewelry. Cheap frames in which to display the table assignments. Cake plates for dessert display. Serving utensils for the welcome picnic. Miniature clothespins. The infernal hairpiece. That’s not even the whole list, but you get the picture.

Each time I come back to it, this all seems entirely manageable. I look over my list and I genuinely believe, somehow, that I can get all of this done within an hour, maybe an hour and a half, tops. I mean, all I have to do is find things I like on the internet, and then buy them, right? So I set to work. I click, and click, and click. I press CMD+T to open new tabs like a pro. I conduct new searches while simultaneously managing old searches. I do side-by-side-by-side-by-side comparisons. I search the shit out of the internet. If there was an award for internet prowess, I would nominate myself. And win. And yet? By the end of the day, I have maybe narrowed down my search for one of the aforementioned items to about a half-dozen options, and I haven’t even started on any of the other items. Haven’t. Even. Started on them.

Okay, crazy lady, you are saying. You’re taking this way too seriously. Just find something and buy it, for chrissake. Anything! Whatever! As long as it works, just get it and move on, woman. DAMN. You are freaking me out with your overly dramatic take on internet shopping. Wait… or maybe this is me saying this to myself. Because trust me, I am completely over the search for wedding supplies. I want to just have it all already, jammed inside my tiny house in haphazard piles that I continually trip over (future blog post spoiler alert!). But it’s simply not that easy. Take, for example, my search for a ceremony processional song. Which is not an actual object I can trip over inside of my house, but STAY WITH ME HERE. There are so many aspects to consider when choosing a song. Tempo, for one: is the song set at an improper pace? Too fast, and the beau and I will end up sprinting towards the officiant. Mood: is the song too somber or too peppy for its context? Lyrics: does the song in question contain lines about raiding a friend’s parents’ liquor cabinet while they were away on vacation? Because my original processional song choice did, and despite my liberal attitude regarding song meanings at weddings, I struggled to see how that would set the right tone for the ceremony.* No wonder this particular search effort dragged on for several days.

If we take that search process and apply it to any other actual item on my list, similar attention to details must follow. Is the object appropriate for its ultimate use? Does it need to “match” any other wedding stuff, and if so, in what way? Is it the cheapest option out there? Is size an issue, and if so, what are the required dimensions? And so on. It’s enough to make your head spin. Trust me, I am all for making snap decisions and moving on. I just don’t want them to be the wrong decisions, because that would just generate even more work on my part. So every point requires careful contemplation.

AND YET.

I must remain vigilant. I must police my mind regularly for any sign of weakness because, as with every aspect of wedding planning, the search lies malevolently in wait for just the right moment to leap out and sucker-punch me in the gut. A moment, for instance, such as this: I was on Etsy, searching for some metal marquee letters. DON’T ASK ME WHY.** I actually found some that would work within the price I wanted to pay, and purchased them. All within span of a lunch break. I know, right? I felt powerful. For once, the search was working with me, and not against me! And then. Not 43 seconds after I paid for the damn things, the smugness abruptly faded and was replaced by panic. OH MY GOD, some insufferable part of my brain shrieked at me in horror. Those letters are midcentury modern, and the venue is Spanish-Moorish! None of it works together! I made a horrible mistake!

This is the dirty side of searching. The side that’s full of doubt and second-guessing. This is the part you must fight tooth and nail, because really. Who the eff is going to notice any of the things you have so painstakingly collected over the past several months? And of those people who do notice, who is going to care? Here we’re erecting all these tiny monuments to our unique snowflake personalities at our weddings, and they will matter to no one but ourselves. That’s a hard fact that’s even harder to let go, because all these choices we make feel so intensely personal. It boggles my mind that there was once a time, for example, when there weren’t 2,498 ring options to scroll through online. There was pretty much, you know. Just one. You got a plain band, a goat if you were lucky, and then you got to go have seventeen children. Not anymore.*** But that’s the plight of consumerism, right? Navigating the minefield of options to choose one that reflects you as an individual. But I think the real lesson we can all take away here is that — ooh, look! These candles come in mulberry! Oh, but I can also get them in cottonwood. That might look better. Wait, what’s the actual color difference between cottonwood and linen? Should we mix and match different colors? Do I need tealights or votives? The short votive or the tall votive? And the reception is outside, what if it’s windy that day? Maybe I should get really tall glass votives to protect the candles at the bottom from blowing out? Hold up, these tall ones cost how much?

Oh, shit.

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* Tangential detail you are entirely uninterested in: we ended up solving this matter by cutting these lyrics out and just looping the instrumental part of the song, but then the DJ informed us we needed to pick a song for just me and the beau to walk in to. So, the goddamn search began anew. HOORAY.

** The wedding made me do it.

*** Praise be.

if not caring is wrong, i don’t want to be right

This past weekend the beau dabbled in the fine art of flower-arranging. By which I mean: he took apart a bouquet of flowers from the farmer’s market and spent seven or eight minutes jamming the flowers into various vases on whim. Then he sat back and said, “These look pretty good.”

And they did.

Here’s all of the test vases together:

I mean, I may be biased, but I think that for the amount of effort that went into these, they look fucking awesome. Of course, the alluring morning light helps make them appear, uh, alluring.* But seriously. For having no theme, no specific flower type or color, no matching vases, and absolutely zero desire to take flower arranging seriously, somehow it all works.

Which makes me happy, because we’ll need a lot of these vases. About 70, to be exact. Our loose plan is as follows: We’ll have long eight-foot tables for dinner seating, and each table will need three centerpieces. We’ll use at least two or three vases per centerpiece, depending on size. Each centerpiece will be comprised of vases that contrast each other, whether it be in terms of tall/short, thick/thin, round/square, or a combination thereof. The final effect will be something along the lines of this:

Except that for the actual wedding, the vases will not be sitting atop a side table in my living room. Also, fun fact alert! The little glass “vase” in the photo above is actually an old oil and vinegar bottle I found inside the built-in ironing board closet in our house. End fun fact alert.

For the number of vases we need to fill, we’ll probably end up spending a grand total of $100 – $120 on flowers. Of course, the fact that we’re not doing any bouquets or boutonnieres helps keep the cost down. Yeah, I actually did just type that. Permit me to repeat it in boldface: We are not doing any bouquets or boutonnieres. I do not want a bouquet, either made of real flowers, found objects, or otherwise, because I am 1) batshit insane, 2) not actually a woman, or 3) all of the above. I don’t know why I’m not interested in bouquets, I’m just not. And if there’s anything other blogs have taught me, it’s to concentrate only on the wedding things you care about the most. This is why I spent roughly four days trying to figure out how to get custom fonts to display on our website, and a few minutes figuring out what to put on the tables. Hence, our poor man’s centerpieces above; born of a burning desire to decorate for the least amount of money and labor possible. The takeaway? You can do whatever the sam hill you want with your wedding. Trample The Rules and make your own! Damn the torpedos, and damn the man! Or something!

Speaking of rule-trampling, let me just say I am not wholeheartedly opposed to the idea of carrying a bouquet at my wedding, of course. I’ve heard some people say that their bouquet gave them something to do with their hands, which is fair enough. So I figure that if I decide at the last second that I need to distract my evil, nervous hands from doing evil, nervous things, I’ll pluck a few stems from a nearby vase and grasp them tightly in my sweaty fists until the ceremony begins. I am also not wholeheartedly opposed to the idea of boutonnieres for all the guys, because I think they would look nice. But I am too coarse and cheap to go to a florist, too afraid of DIY to make them, and whenever I go on Etsy and look at the alternative boutonniere options, my eyes sort of glaze over and I feel the overwhelming urge to click away, CLICK AWAY! So. Since they are near the bottom of my list and very likely to fall off any second, I am already assuming we won’t have them. Feel free to make fun of me heartily in the comments, for I’m certain our marriage will not survive our ignorance of these details.

What’s on your “do not care” list?

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* I was 20 minutes late to work yesterday because I decided that I absolutely had to take pictures of the vases right that very second. You’re welcome, internet.

some words of advice

In the interest of posting something that does not take me 239 hours to compose, I present to you: Things I can simply type from a written source! I’ll have you know that I scored 82 wpm on that typing test I took down at the temp agency. Who knew the keyboarding class I took in 10th grade would provide me with my most valuable career skill to date?

After the beau and I got engaged, my mother got to work scrapbooking. What she came up with was a collection of marriage advice from my family. She presented this book at the engagement party my family threw for us during our trip to Michigan last autumn, but it wasn’t quite done then. This week the finished book finally arrived in the mail, and I want to share with you some highlights.

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“My thoughts as you begin your lifetime journey together:
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Things that seem like a crisis at the time often end up being nothing at all or slight bumps in the road. Concentrate on what’s important and always try to roll with the punches.
The most important thing, however, is to always make time to have fun. Doing things together that you both enjoy not only lightens the everyday load, it also keeps you close as a couple.
I’m very happy and excited that you have found each other (thanks Napoleon Dynamite!) and wish you the very best!”

– Mom

“From the kitchen of C&L!
The following ingredients are for the base of your recipe. You can add your own spices depending on your tastes.
C: Caring, Conscientious, Cuddly, Comforting, Cute, Creative, Curious, Crafty, Cozy, Consistent, Clever, Courageous, Crazy, Cheerful, Cocktails at the end of a long day!
L: Love, Laughing, Listening, Learning, Light-hearted, Loyal, Lounge, Lover, Lighting, Lazy, Live every day!
If you work together, and combine all of the ingredients the right way, you will have the recipe of success for your future happiness.”

– Aunt L.

“Communication is the key to great marriage. …  Straight  talk no hinting around.”

– Aunt T.

“Grandpa and Grandma.”

– Grandpa

“A few words of wisdom —
Always make time for each other.
Never allow “acceptable practice” determine how you live. [Ed. note: huh?]
Stay best friends.
Dream a little.

– Aunt J.

“Marriage is a great institution but who the hell heck wants to be in an institution.”

– Papa

“You guys are great together! There’s not much else I can say. And I can’t offer any advice because, hell, I’m still single! Maybe you can offer me some advice?”

– Cousin S.

“A few thoughts as you start your life together:
Always take the opportunity to make each other laugh. Humor has a way of helping to maintain the proper prospective — I would not recommend this at a funeral, however.
Don’t forget why you fell in love in the first place. Appreciate the truly positive and important attributes that you see in one another because leaving the toilet seat up is not a felony, at least not yet!
As Tolstoy once said, ‘When you love someone, you love the person as they are, and not as you’d like them to be.’
All the best!”

-Dad

***********

Have you received any marriage advice?

them ol’ weddin’ plannin’, apostrophe slangin’ blues

Guys, it’s been a hard go of it here in Lyn+Beau Land™ recently. The beau spent the past week working his butt off at a taco booth to raise money for his rugby team,* only to turn around and take off on a work trip for another week. Basically, the beau has become very scarce around these parts — an elusive animal who sometimes skitters in from the dark of night to shower and sleep in my bed. He’s being pulled in so many different directions right now, which means that I’ve stepped in and taken over all of the household chores we normally split plus the bulk of the wedding tasks. While part of me wants to write a moving, meaningful perspective on how these cycles of give and take are the essence of a true partnership, the other part of me wants to stomp around a bit and maybe slam some doors.

Because I am stressed out, too, over meeting the responsibilities of my own day job(s) and the unyielding wedding planning and the relentless stream of chores, dear God, the chores. I had just finished up all the cleaning this past weekend when someone** walked in the house wearing dirty shoes and dripping ice cream all over the floor,*** and I could quite literally see the filth forming before my very eyes. On the floor! The floor I’d just mopped, that had just dried! For the first time in my life, I understood that perpetually unhinged look in my mother’s eyes. Why isn’t there a grace period for this stuff? Can’t we enact a universal law that decrees nothing is allowed to get dirty for at least one week after it’s been cleaned?

And cue the feelings of futility. Why do I bother cleaning in the first place? Why do I bother doing anything? Take blogging, for instance. I don’t need to blog, but I like it. It’s become my hobby, like how some people assemble model airplanes, or how others simply huff model airplane glue. Which is all well and good except for the fact that it takes me approximately 239 hours to write a single post. For instance, I started writing this post last week. How on earth can composing a series of useless paragraphs about how challenging life can sometimes be take me so long to finish? Why can’t I just knock out some sentences and be done with it? I must be doing something wrong. Seriously. If they made a Lolcats meme based on me, it would depict me staring quizzically into the air above my laptop and the caption would read, “BLOGGING: UR DOIN’ IT RONG.”

It’s not just blogging, either. On an average day, I feel like I look up at the clock and realize it’s 11:45 pm, and somehow all I’ve accomplished since getting home from work is some chores, dinner, dishes, 2/16ths of a blog post, and roughly 80 minutes’ worth of clicking around the internet in search of something to wear in my hair for the wedding. And the next day after that and the next day after that are all variations on this same theme. How on earth is anything ever going to actually get finished?

Don’t mind me. I’m at one of those unavoidable wedding lows. It’s like a black cloud raining anxiety on my brain, and the harder I try to knuckle down and get stuff done, the harder it storms. You know it’s bad when you see a couple walking down the street laughing, and you are instantly resentful. They don’t look like they’re planning a wedding, the bastards! And you know it’s gotten really bad when you and your own partner seem to have forgotten how to talk about anything besides the list of stuff that needs to be done. I met the beau for a drink while he was on a 45-minute break on Saturday — the only time together we had that day, mind you — and I spent that time talking about cleaning the bathroom and what we should serve as our wedding dessert. Trust me, I eventually tried to change the subject to something pleasant, but I could not think of anything else to say. Where did my personality go? When did my brain stop functioning? Who are we anymore?

Here is where I used to wistfully say something about how we should have just eloped, but you know, it’s gotten way too late in the game to entertain fantasies of running away in earnest. And besides, we had damn good reasons for choosing to build this type of wedding in the first place. Even if I seem to have completely forgotten what those reasons are.

Now, lest you start to think I’ve gone and permanently changed my name to Debbie Downer — I’m assuming here that “you” are still reading this — let me assure you that I realize this is all just temporary. We will persevere. The beau and I are going to kick this wedding’s ass. We’re going to beat it senseless, and when it’s all over we’ll stand on top of it and shout, “We win, ha ha!” And then we will go to Vancouver, where I will sleep for seven days. And when I wake up, I’ll wonder where my honeymoon went. But I’ll nevertheless feel rejuvenated and happy, because hey! I don’t have to have a wedding anymore, ever! What do you know about that!

Here’s to the future, man. In the meantime, I’ll close this post on a positive note with this brief list of happy, gorgeous, and wonderful things that are also happening in my life right now:

  1. My friend’s mom has just informed us that she wants to bake homemade pies for our wedding dessert! For free!
  2. I am really enjoying Spoon’s latest album, Transference!
  3. I love avocados!
  4. The internet continues to be neat!
  5. My future mother-in-law sent me an email in which she said she was looking forward to having me as a daughter-in-law! In the beau’s family, this is akin to enthusiastically jumping up and down before enveloping someone in a big old bear hug!
  6. My cars starts every single time I turn the key in the ignition!
  7. I am still alive, so I must be doing something right!

Whew. Looks like things are shaping up to be pretty swell.

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* It was the annual Old Spanish Days Festival here in Santa Barbara, which coincides with the Annual Festival of Feral Douchebags in Sombreros and Shrieking Girls Unsuitably Dressed for the Weather Who Drink Watery Margaritas from Novelty Glasses and Throw Confetti-Filled Eggs at Each Other. This is immediately followed by the Annual Festival of Finding Stray Confetti in the Most Unexpected Places For A Minimum of Three Consecutive Months.

** The beau, of course. During the few hours we had between him packing up the taco booth and leaving town on business, of course.

*** He brought ice cream to me! While wearing his filthy taco booth shoes! Never have I been so “OMG I LOVE YOU” and “OMG GO AWAY” at the same time!

making it up as we go

Get this, guys. It turns out that, to kick off this whole wedding event, we’re going to have to have somebody marry us. So that’s what the big party’s about, eh? Who knew!

When the beau and I first broached the topic of our ceremony officiant, it felt like wandering into a large, white, empty room and sitting down in front of a typewriter filled with a ream of blank paper. Where do you even start? The beau and I are rootless, tetherless islands unto ourselves. We have no family nearby, no hometown. We have no shared cultural background. We have no religion by choice — having been raised in two different religions that neither of us practice anymore. In short, we have none of the readymade communities from which many people are able to draw an officiant. All of which not only sounds really heartrendingly sad, but also makes finding the right person to marry us, in the sage words of Avril Lavigne, “complicated.”

Yeah, I’ll admit I got just a wee bit jealous of other couples that do share a traditional community. From my spot on the part of the hill where the grass is all brown and dry, those couples have it made — or at the very least, they have a clear foundation on which to build. We, on the other hand, were left to do what we do best in situations such as these: stab blindly at the dark and hope a little light shines though.

First, we scanned our mental lists of people we knew for officiant-ability. Family? Um, apparently our respective family trees did not bear any pastor-cousins, devoted siblings, or wise, engaging uncles.* Friends? Well, our closest pals either had other wedding duties, or were terrified of public speaking, or both. Sigh.

Next, I selected names at random from the county’s list of local officiants and conducted some good, clean research on them online. From this activity I was able to surmise that professional officiants in our area run anywhere from $300 to $600, at which point I frowned and muttered, “Hmmmm.” That was a good bit of money, yes, for someone we couldn’t necessarily be guaranteed would actually do a good job.

So then I started asking local acquaintances who’d recently gotten married about their officiants. We followed the tip trail to a woman I became very excited about. She was a warm, kind, and open-minded. She also had a base price of $500.

I received this quote right after Ye Olde Federale Taxe Bummer of ’10, and I was like, well, shit. Not to cheapen the value of the officiant — I mean, I know that it takes a lot of work for a one to get to know a couple and to craft a personalized ceremony for them — but five hundred dollars? Really? I remember walking down the street with the beau, making sweeping arm gestures to communicate just how outside of our budget that dollar amount felt. After stabbing at the air with my hands one last time for dramatic effect, I turned to him and said, “Are we sure we don’t know anyone who can marry us?”

The beau looked at me. I looked at him. Somewhere, dawn was breaking across a meadow gilded with glistening dew. A young doe raised her head from the tender buckbrush on which she was feeding just as a cluster of meteoroids fell into the Earth’s atmosphere, sending arcs of light silently streaming across the deep azure sky.

“Randall,” we both said.

Randall. It made so much sense, I wondered why we hadn’t thought of it before. Even though I didn’t know him before I met the beau, I’d heard the stories. Back in college Randall was an intimidating-looking punk kid with a mohawk. Yet the front door of his house was always — quite literally and figuratively — open, for friends, strangers, and homeless folks alike. Randall was the common denominator in the beau’s circle of friends — he’s the the sole reason any of them met in the first place. These days Randall is a teacher, a father, and a partner — his wedding was the inspiration for our own. My own brigadier was the one who married them, thus cinching the invisible bond between us all even tighter.

We asked him, and he said yes. He was actually so enthusiastic about being our officiant that he decided to get ordained on the internet instead of applying through the county to be a one-day Deputy Commissioner of Civil Marriages. Just like that, we had an officiant. And just like that, the world rolled over anew. Where I’d once found nothing but the places we didn’t belong, I now saw the connections we’ve fostered along the way. While I’d been busy ticking off the things that the beau and I didn’t have, I’d missed the network of support that was right in front of us the entire time.

Your community is not a thing that necessarily looks like anyone else’s community. Your community is what you make of it. We know so many amazing people, and that’s not just by accident. In our lives we’ve managed to surround ourselves with people who matter to us, and now I want them to surround us on our wedding day. Randall exudes the values the beau and I aspire to in both ourselves and our relationship — love, compassion, acceptance, and a fine appreciation for a rollicking good time. He just is those things. And so for us, this makes sense. He’s an excellent person to help us frame our baby family in the context of our surrounding community.

I believe we’re starting out on the right foot.

Randall at his own wedding

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* It did, however, bear a creepy step-uncle, a looney aunt, a gossipy cousin, and a supremely bizarre, extraordinarily obstinate grandfather. Hooray!

in which homey don’t play that

I don’t know what it is about a wedding day that makes the simplest of tasks suddenly seem like landing the space shuttle on a skyscraper in a hailstorm while eating two jelly rolls. And smoking a cigarette.*

Take personal grooming, for instance. On a typical morning I shower, dress, apply some deodorant, brush my hair, put on some makeup, and cry into my coffee** before heading off to work. But on my wedding day these small, manageable habits inexplicably require mountains of effort and planning which must be agonized over for months in advance. It’s not just the same daily routine anymore, no. When you get married it’s SHOWER. DRESS. DEODORANT. HAIR. MAKEUP. CRY. WORK. Yeah, I trotted out the boldface and italics. I am already fatigued just typing about it.

Hair and makeup, in particular, have eaten up an ever-increasing amount of my brainspace since the day the beau and I got engaged. Part of the problem is that they need to stand up to any number of situations and occurrences that might not normally occur on the other, more pedestrian days of the year. Will my photographer be making me leap up off the ground repeatedly in an attempt to capture that classic, vaunted “wedding party suspended in the air” shot?*** Well, my hair and makeup must be prepared for that. My hair and makeup must be ready for shoulder-heaving ugly cries, freak gusts of wind, wayward streams of champagne, and sweaty moves on the dancefloor. They must defy gravity and outlast the cruel hand of time. They must be able to withstand the most righteous of stares from the most judgmental of people. In short, the wedding day is like my hair and makeup’s version of the bar exam, with significantly fewer discussions regarding tort reform.

Then there’s the part where you have to smell good during the entire wedding day. This became a substantial source of anxiety for me recently when my underarms suddenly broke out in an itchy rash. For a few terrifying days, I thought I might have to cease spritzing lemon furniture polish all over my body for that classic post-shower sheen. How relieved I was to finally discover that my deodorant was actually the culprit. That day the beau was going grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s, so I had him pick up some new deodorant for me there. What he came back with was Tom’s of Maine Unscented Original Natural Care. “Here,” he said, nonchalantly tossing the stick at me on the couch. “Here’s your hippie deodorant.”

Hippie deodorant, psssht. I was delighted to learn that Tom’s active anti-odor ingredient is hops extract, and as a consequence I fondly began to think of it as my “beer deodorant.” Unfortunately, its efficacy level is equivalent to actually rubbing my armpits with beer every morning, minus the added benefit of smelling like a brewery.**** Activities that I never thought it possible to sweat from, such as clicking hyperlinks in my browser window, are now making me want to stuff toilet paper in my armpits just to absorb the excess moisture. I’ve taken to holding my arms away from my body as much as possible, in hopes that an errant breeze will sweep through my clothing and maybe dry things off up in there. Lately, my body language constantly screams HELLO! I am casually hanging around with my elbows thrust out jauntily because HAVEN’T YOU HEARD the akimbo look is all the rage?*****

At any other time of my life, this would be just another mildly embarrassing anecdote posted on the internet in a halfhearted attempt to amuse strangers. But the other day I suddenly realized that oh yeah, I have this wedding thing that is fast approaching, and JESUS MARY I need to sort this deodorant issue out right now. Because I can see it all now: Instead of being remembered as the “I CAN’T BELIEVE THEY DIDN’T SERVE US CAKE” wedding, our guests will gleefully recount stories of the “B.O. BRIDE.” Friends, I am not having that.

So. With six weeks left until the big day, it’s desperation time for all the little details. How do I find a deodorant that works really, really well, without causing my armpits to raise up in giant, red welts? Where do I get makeup that doesn’t slide off of my face the minute I step outside to greet my guests, and how exactly do I apply it? What’s going on with my hair? Where do I find shoes to wear that aren’t ugly or uncomfortable? What about crying? Is there a way I can inhibit my tear ducts for that day and that day only? What about all the damned work it takes to put on a wedding? Whose responsibility is that? Surely not mine, right? Can I get a nap? Can I get a witness?

This stuff is as incomprehensible as rocket science. How did you guys figure it all out? Holler?

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* I’m sorry, but I think I’m legally obligated to cite Kids in the Hall’s Mississippi Gary: “Smokin’ on a night train, chewin’ on a jelly roll.”

** What? Maybe I like my coffee salty.

*** No.

**** I knew there was a damn good reason I was offered that promotion.

***** IT TOTALLY IS: