08 January 2009

Lunatics, lovers and mad women

“May one so easily catch the plague?” – The Countess Olivia, Twelfth Night

The “plague” that the Countess Olivia refers to is not the legendary disease that wiped out much of Europe in the Middle Ages; she is, of course, speaking of the “plague” of Amour: the infectious, ridiculous, delicious malady we call Love.

And one of the resulting, and long-lasting conditions of this ‘ailment’ is lunacy. And I feel myself falling steadily into its grip. In other words: Give a girl a ring, and she’ll lose her mind!

“Bridal Lunacy.”  The frenzied, slightly breathless feeling that leaves you dreaming of ivory tulle, tossing and turning in the night, murmuring: “Vera Wang, Vera Wang must have dress by Vera Wang…”

What have I become??

Since we returned home from our wonderful New Year holiday in the Lake District, I have become a Bridal Zombie! Life has become very simple: eat, sleep, eBay!

I shouldn’t complain really, I am very happy indeed. And what a joy to finally, finally, finally to be doing this! The this of dreaming, planning, hoping, making a wedding with my darling D.E.B.! (Thank you, dear God for second chances! For giving a mad woman like me another go at love!)

Here is an honest, public apology to all of my married friends, particularly those for whom I’ve served as a bridesmaid, usher, flower girl, wrangler or witness:  God, how I have envied you all! More than I even realized. 

Important clarification: I don’t mean “envy” in a dark, snarky, nasty, bitter or spiteful way. My smiles, hugs and tears for you were very real and sincerely heart-felt. What I mean, if it is possible, and perhaps I should just find another world, I mean “envy” in a silent, deeply solitary and utterly unknowing way.

I had no idea I wanted such things, I had no idea I was so “girlie” after all. (Maybe the tiara I wanted and wore for New Year’s Eve should have been a clue…)

Here’s the thing. I like to think of myself as quite a practical, sensible person. I did confess recently that I have never bought a pair of $700 shoes. Although I admire my friends who have, and who keep such shoes as pets, I do honestly find it hard to get my head completely round such a purchase.  So, I have no serious doubts that this coming year of wedding planning and purchasing will become a saga of: “When a Sensible Girl Goes Wrong.” I am strong enough--and broke enough--to keep my wits and credit cards about me. 

However, I am fascinated by the way this whole “Bride” thing works, and the dizzying culture (and countless sub-cultures) that have been created and developed around it. And, I am all the more fascinated as I watch myself slip into this bridal vortex. The temptations are great, let me tell you!

I believe/hope the challenge lies in balance. Developing a balanced sense of “romance” and “realism”. These are uncertain and difficult economic times, yet, we are told, lead to believe that this (ones wedding day) is the highlight of your life. A woman’s “Oscar moment.” Yes, those are ideas that are promoted by a very commercial world, yet, I feel that there is some grain truth in it.

It is a very important day. Marriage is not something that should be entered into lightly. We should bring to it the best that we have, the best that we are. And as such, the wedding day should be marked precisely as the couple jointly see fit. An excuse for excess? Or, an event that is a couple’s crowning glory?

I think these factors are heightened and have even more meaning the second time around. Added to the standard frenzy, there is also a heart-felt sense of “I’m going to get it right this time.” (The wedding and the relationship.)

When I married previously, I was younger, greener, more headstrong and rebellious. There was no church, no family, no sense of occasion or celebration. That wedding lacked all the things that are—I see now—truly fundamental and important to me. Everything about it was matter of fact, happenstance, on a whim, thrown together, piecemeal, living on the edge. And, if I’m honest, it spoke volumes about a relationship that was very much the same. I own and regret my share of the blame.

So, this time. Older, wiser, better.  In every possible way. With or without Vera Wang.


Elizabeth Harper said...

Vera Wang is my favorite wedding dress designer!

How can we be so much alike?

Welcome back... and I loved your favorite hat shop in NY.

We need to talk...and soon.

she's not from Yorkshire... said...

Your post made me laugh, congrats on the wedding planning! At least you can SEE yourself "falling" into Bride-zilla dome.
Most of my friends don't realize until its too late. Way too late. But you seem highly intelligent and self-aware so your chances of being more realistic seem better.