That Time Pastry Gave Me a Pep Talk (Yet Again)

I’ve been a bit of an anxious pill of recent. I’ve been having anxiety dreams every night around my job, my doctorate, losing our dogs, Pastry not sharing his pie with me.

We had this conversation a while ago in the wee hours of the morning:

“Pastry! Pastry, wake up.” 

“Grrruuummmblrgh, wha?”

“I had a really bad dream and it made me cry…”

“Shwaaaaa? Ssssyou’okay?”

“Yeah. But it made me really, really, really sad.” 

“Wha happen?”

“You wouldn’t share your pie with me.”

“What?” (Alertness achieved.)

“Your pie. We were eating pie together and I asked you for a bite. And, you said no. And IT DESTROYED MY ENTIRE WORLD AND I WAS SO SAD AND I HYSTERICALLY SOBBED AND WOKE UP CRYING.” 

“But, I would always share my pie with you.” 

“I know.” (Sniffles)

“Because I love you.” 

“I love you, too.” (Snort cry) “And, I will always share my pie with you, too.” 

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The Pastry, he knows what to say to calm down his crying fiancee in the middle of the night after a sad pie dream. He’s also just given me another excellent pep talk around all the wedding shenanigans, but we’ll get to that later.

Last summer, we went to the Bridal Expo (as detailed in  The Bridal Expo: We Laughed, We Played Bridal Bingo, We Tasted Terrible Cake). I signed up for a free Bride magazine ’cause why not have a glossy and pastel advertisement for all things wedding directly delivered to your neighborhood mailbox that you forget to check but every two weeks? I would say I waited for its arrival, but I completely forgot about it until my first issue arrived last week.

The cover is a skinny, gently spray-tanned blonde in a delicate white dress (of which the cups are slightly ever so aggressively cupping her non-boobs in a spritz of organza), holding some loosely assembled flowers in a attempt to look like she just casually gathered them from her classic French garden near the ocean bluffs. Her neck is like a Photoshopped swan, elongated and devoid of creases while adjusted for exposure and tone. Her bushy brows have definitely been seeing her brow specialist according to her bridal beauty six month prep list.

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Inside there are hundreds of pages of slender, slightly tan, usually blonde sprites in ethereal gowns with delicate details, slouching delicately on a chaise or grassy knoll no belly rolls to be seen. (To be fair, there are also lots of advertisements featuring puppies, of which I am a fan, and a editorial on Janet Mock’s wedding, of whom I am also a fan, so it’s not all horrible). Flipping through the magazine, I was disheartened. I am loud and fairly fat with bright red hair, freckles, and cleavage that necessitated ordering my bridal gown in a size 20 in order to not squish my built-in flotation devices. I have arm creases (something no one ever has in magazines; see above), neck wrinkles, and persistent hormonal pimples on my chin, moving from side to side every month depending on which ovary would like to mock my skin care regimen.

All the featured weddings in the magazine were pastel, delicate, blush and champagne in a celebration of adulthood’s love. These were adult people pledging their commitments (and perhaps eventual financial ruin considering the cost of eight tier cakes) to each other in appropriate ADULT FASHIONS. And, it made me ponder our wedding, a shindig that my mom pointed out is a perfect combination of my first and grade birthday parties (dinosaurs with an awesome volcano cake to be followed the next year by a Hawaiian themed luau with hot dogs and pineapple on skewers along with giant paper flower construction).

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My first grade birthday party cake looked almost exactly like this one and I still remember it ever so fondly. 

I began to question the purchase of foam dinosaur masks for our photo booth, and thus soon spiraled into a judgey, insecure cloud of wedding anxiety .

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Internal monologue: “Will people judge us? What if they think this is silly or dumb or childish? But, who wouldn’t want to be a triceratops in a fancy suit or gown? I mean, I would…But, maybe not. This is dumb. But, I really want a picture of my friend Brian who is almost 7′ feet tall and Pastry’s conservative mom wearing dinosaur masks…”

Then we got our engagement photos back. And, all I could see was arm creases, chin pimples, and bra back fat in my bright purple gown, unruly red hair blowing in the desert wind. And, I know Pastry only saw his own perceived flaws when he saw the pictures as I’m fairly certain most wedding photographers forget about the groom as a person and use them more as a prop, leading to some bizarrely awkward Pastry poses as directed by our paid paparazzi. I’ve also learned that anytime we are directed to touch noses, we should just glare at the camera in our best emo couple look as it will certainly result in a better photo. NO NOSE TOUCHING PHOTOS. NO. There were…some really bad and awkward photos of us both. It was not heartening.

Meanwhile in overall nuptial planning, Pastry has been on a one-man endeavor to get submersible LED ice cubes for the wedding reception. The Pastry loves all things tech and LED with a passion (as in he has a lot to say about the color range of certain LED bulbs over others), and the ice cubes make him very happy. I fully admit these are not my thing. And, queue epic wedding judgement…

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Cubes in question.

Pastry ordered a bunch in a ton of colors so we could decide what might work the best. And, I was less than enthusiastic while he danced about excitedly with his flashing cubes of freezable gel. He put them in drinks for my mom and I while we were constructing a giant flagging tape curtain (a story to itself). My response was “meh.” He brought them out on the town for St. Patrick’s Day much to the great fascination of drunk people. I didn’t say anything, my silence speaking for my now verging on rude response to the light cubes. I said something akin to “well, I guess we could do yellow and orange cubes…You know, keeping it in line with the color palette of the reception space as I want to keep it only in warm tones…” (Please read that again with a snotty affect.) Pastry asked me to rate how against I was the cubes on a scale from 1-5 and how I felt about including his favorite color of purple, five being “if you do it, there will never again be any roasted carrot salad (favorite recipe ever) ever again.” I said a 3.

Here is me waxing poetic about including purple light cubes. Note this is only about the inclusion of purple as a choice, nothing else.

“I’m afraid that too many colors will take our already on the verge of a kid’s birthday party-esque wedding reception with it’s crazy colors, dinosaurs, ribbon curtains, karaoke, and giant dinosaur over into a fully tacky rave. I’m trying to keep the color palette limited. Adding purple will make it look like a Laker’s dance party in Vegas. I want this whole thing to be fun and colorful, but also really classy and carefully curated, and finding the balance of including a giant dinosaur and purple light cubes is hard…” 

Oh, the snobbery. As if I hadn’t been happily ordering dinosaur masks, colorful fans, making fifteen foot long curtains out of bright pink ribbon. The purple light cubes, they so obviously were the ONE thing that was going to take this over the line. (Uh, not really…That may be the 7′ dinosaur cut-out, ten foot tall tree, or uh, the gigantic dress I’m wearing…)

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I’m the owl on the left. Pastry, right owl, is just trying to be nice.

 

So, Pastry sent me this today.

“So, I had a thought about how worried you are about the wedding and the fear that it will all be silly…

And my thought is: fuck it. 

The day is about you and I, inviting our friends to enjoy the celebration of the union of two very silly people. If someone has a problem with the way in which we choose to celebrate? That’s their problem. Because, honestly, who wouldn’t want to attend a free party with free booze, dancing, music, and photo booths with dinosaurs? Eliminating the bagagge that it being a ‘wedding’ carries, what would your reaction be to being invited to said party? You would totally be like ‘BEST. FUCKING. PARTY. EVER.’

Just keep focused on the fact that this shindig is basically us in party form. And, that everyone coming loves us and will enjoy everything that is there. Because if you’re worried what someone might think about dinosaur masks [and purple light cubes], the thought they are going to have is ‘of course there are dinosaur masks.’ Trying to hold an ultra classy affair with people discussing the better part of trade negotiation while they lament the color scheme of the room is not us.

And, additionally, my thinking is that I wouldn’t care if someone didn’t like the dinosaurs or the purple cubes — We’re both going to love them.” 

And, then he drove over to pick me up for lunch and took me to eat fish tacos in the sun. And, we had a discussion about the German pop band Dschinghis Khan, their epic dance moves, and its applicability to our first wedding dance. (Also, how the guy in the blue looks like the love child of Yul Brynner and a Vulcan princess.)

 

I am very lucky. And, he is very right. The expectations, guidelines, and overall weddingness of weddings got to me.

So, I looked at our engagement photos again with a new viewpoint. In the less staged pictured (see NO NOSE TOUCHING guidelines), I can now see us. I can see how Pastry looks at me with his eyebrows raised in jest, how he holds my hand naturally in promise, and how I look at him like he’s going to share his pie with me forever. It took us both a little bit to become okay with the flaws, the bad angles, the chin pimples, and all. And, now all I see is love and a future of purple light cubes, dinosaur masks, and pie with two forks.

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Traditions: Fingering the Garter, Symbols of Virginity, and Public Mortification

Picture a lovely wedding in a floral bedecked reception hall, guests more than a few free drinks into the evening milling about post-cake looking for a bit of wedding revelry.

“Ah, look, it’s time for the garter and bouquet toss!”

“I know! Such an exciting tradition! I never catch it though…One time my aunt Suzy literally knocked over four bridesmaids to catch the bouquet though.”

“Yeah. Besides, it’s so awkward when the groom dives under the bride’s skirt for the garter, especially when they do things like put on goggles and gloves, or drunkenly reenact Magic Mike in front of Oma. No one wants to see that…”

This isn’t awkward at all.

Enter nosey third guest, likely clutching an Old Fashioned and wearing sensible shoes (a sure sign this is not her first wedding adventure).

“Well, did you know that the garter toss originates from an early 14th century French tradition called ‘Fingering the Garter’ and has evolved as a way to protect the bride from literally being felt up on her undercarriage by drunken wedding guests trying to confirm she was no longer a virgin post-nuptial shindig?” (Hiccup.)

“Way to ruin a fun party, Cucumber.”

This video is only 2 minutes long and so excruciating to watch I had to stop it several times. It’s also been viewed over 125,000 times. Ugh, why is this a thing?! Should you want to spend a dreadful afternoon watching terrible male strip-dancing in front of huge families, elaborate prop usage, and a mortified women wearing expensive gowns trying to look amused, Youtube is a wealth of awful garter videos.

So, the garter toss. When starting the whole wedding planning shenanigans a few months ago, we made a general list of traditions worth doing and others that we both found questionable. And, then when looking at the history of the garter toss, the tradition I have always hated the most or at least unhappily cringed through at every wedding, I felt oh so vindicated as the origins of the tradition are, well, really appalling. If you are a garter toss enthusiast/wedding sadist, you might want to skip the rest of this all.

Weddings in most cultures have been considered a special moment to transfer luck or fortune, be it money, land, inheritance, good fortune, the possibility of future weddings, etc. In ye olden European wedding traditions, obtaining a trinket from the bride was always thought to be a harbinger of luck or at least future nuptials. After the couple exchanged vows, the attendees would sometimes rush up to the bride, ripping sections of her wedding finery off of her in order to obtain some of her wedding providence. The bride, in order to protect herself and her fashion choices, would then sometimes throw favors to the crowd, scarves, tokens, ribbons, garters, in order to make it to her own reception. If not quick enough though, her clothing and her garter would be forcibly removed, attendees flipping over the bride to remove her garters with her skirts over her head.

Nothing like a few vows followed by a public ripping of your hand-sewn skirt to start out a life together! Ah, the romance of marriage!

Meanwhile, the whole virginity and consummation of the marriage was pretty important, too (understatement of the 9th through 20th century). Post-wedding ceremony, couples would retire to the wedding chamber to consummate their marriage in order to make it all legally binding and ascertain the bride was an untouched virgin (and thus all offspring where genetically linked to the groom and his inheritance). Guests were then invited up to the room to see the groom’s deflowering handiwork, usually in the form of showing off the bed linens with their telltale post-virgin blood stain OR claiming the bride’s garter as a symbol of said consummation (likely a leftover from the tradition of the wedding girdle removal). In French the term for this was “fingering the garter,” guests checking to see if the bride was no longer a virgin by feeling near her garter.

Let’s just pause here for a moment and try to envision that happening. Ah, the romance!

As pieces of the bride’s clothing were considered good fortune, likely inebriated guests (as humans are at least generally consistent in their revelry) would then sometimes snatch at the (most likely terrified as I cannot imagine this being pleasant) bride’s remaining clothing in order to grab hold of said good luck plus some souvenir lingerie. In English traditions, guests would sneak into the marriage chamber to then attempt to throw discarded lingerie and stockings on the couple, whoever hit the noses of the couple with a stocking being the next to marry. (Do NOT get any ideas, dear friends.)

In order to protect the bride from this groping crowd, grooms began throwing the garter to the mobs in order to keep them at a distance from their new bride. Lo, the garter toss was born.

The garter toss has also evolved over time, some grooms throwing to a sedately assembled crowd, some to a competing forces, and some taking the garter on a whirlwind ride by horseback or foot race. (Thinking about this aspect and the percentage of friends I have who run marathons, this could be a long and tiring race for a scrap of lace.)

In modern times, the garter toss has been paired with the bridal bouquet toss as a parting symbol of departing marital luck. The modern garter toss also seem have made its way to a new intersection of awkward and kitsch, grooms grinding on their new wives to the amusement/horror of their watching families and incorporating props such as magnifying glasses, car jacks, flashlights, goggles, and forceps. (So classy! Ah, romance!)

Another thing that has become recently popular (Thanks, the Wedding Industry Machine) is the FOOTBALL GARTER TOSS. The menfolk can now forcefully toss a football into their male cohort with the attached garter, symbolizing their innate manliness whilst handling the lady’s lacy elastic band with a bit of manly oomph. Okay, so I get it’s a chance to toss a football (which is fun!), but the very genderedness of this whole thing just drives me slightly crazy. Also, way more likely to result in black eyes.

Ugh.

Personally, I cannot imagine inviting Pastry to rustle around under my skirt in view of our combined communities in order to divest me of a symbol of my (spoiler alert – long past) virginity. Departing good will, luck, and hope of love to our guests is fairly important, but I’m pretty sure we can figure out a way to do so without a bit of my lingerie attempting to learn how to fly.

On the gender flipside, why not rip Pastry’s decorative, superhero-themed jock strap off him and slingshot it into the crowd of waiting ladies instead? I could dance around him to Guns N’ Roses “Welcome to the Jungle,” doing my best Demi Moore Striptease impression, to them pull out a tiny pair of bandage scissors to pantomime cutting his underwear/jock strap off of him, eventually reaching for a giant prop chainsaw to mime the difficultly of the task. The DJ would then switch to R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” as I slingshot Pastry’s underoos into the crowd of elated single women, yelling, “Enjoy that ever so slightly sweaty intimate apparel, ladies, you might get married next!”

(This has great potential, really.)

For the actual wedding, if Pastry doesn’t go for my glorious plan featured above, I think we should get a stuffed toy dinosaur, attach a few scratcher tickets to it, and lob it into the crowd as we depart. How’s that for some transfer of wedding good will without the bad dancing, public lingerie sightings, icky symbolism, and family mortification?

Ready for future love? Catch a T-Rex and Win a Million Dollars!

Traditions: A Passive-Aggressive Community Noise Parade

What goes together like two birds of a feather? LOUD NOISES AND WEDDINGS.

Here comes the very roundabout way to whence we came to tie cans to the back of the wedding car…

cha·ri·va·ri, shivaree or chivaree [French, from Old French, perhaps from Late Latin carībaria, headache, from Greek karēbariā : karē, head; shivaree, American alteration of Mississippi Valley French]

  1. a discordant mock serenade to newlyweds, made with pans, kettles, etc., often played as a joke
  2. a confused noise; din
  3. an elaborate noisy celebration

Approximately 700 years ago or so, some French folk decided that a great evening activity after the wedding of their neighbors would include a cacophony of sound under the couples’ window, forcing them to reappear in their nuptial finery (pre or post tumble) and perhaps invite the revelers in for a drink of celebration. The French also seemed somewhat confused as to their purpose for this grand, noisy event as some accounts discuss how this impromptu literal pan percussion was used to either utilized to encourage couples to marry, dissuade couples to marry, distract from the sexy times, or celebrate said sexy times. Nonetheless, if you got married, you ended up with drunk Phillipe from down the road under your window, banging a kettle, likely yelling helpful tips about consummation, and possibly demanded a midnight snack of cheese (a snack I assume drunk French people have always enjoyed). The crowds in general did not take to being ignored by the couple in question, and some accounts go into detail on how the bride or groom was then abducted from their home in retribution. It’s like a Middle Age Taken with Liam Neesen, but with more wedding stuff and perhaps less killing.

It’s all fun and games until grandma gives someone a concussion with a spoon.

In ye olden Western European days, most people married others in proximity to their hometown by either arranging it or “stealing” the bride. When a groom from outside the town would marry a local girl, another practice of this grand parade was that the local men would bang things loudly under his window to wake him up and then demand a meal as a price for stealing away a local bride.

Here is my description to Pastry as I was trying to explain this practice:

Basically… “Yo, dude, Mary is super hot and you got her! Damn! Bring me pizza, bro, as I wanted Mary but I’ll settle for pepperoni tonight! Also, since you inconvenienced me by landing the local hottie so I have to maybe go look for someone else, I’m going to inconvenience you by waking you up at midnight for my munchie needs.”

So, the baroque equivalent of death metal under your window in the wee hours of the night either means your family wants you to hurry up the hitchin’ or to not hurry it up at all. Then the French made their way to the North American frontier…

Charivari in Europe was not such a pleasant experience and tended toward the punitive. The practice was essentially was hazing for almost/just married people. When it made its way to the western frontier, it eventually became more of a lighthearted teasing/hazing. Think more crooning under the window in It’s A Wonderful Life than fighting off drunk Phillipe with globs of cheese and a sharped fork.

Shivaree (ah, we Americans are so good at bastardizing words) was common practice until the early 20th century. Here’s a lovely drawing of a crowd outside of the White House, happily taunting President Grover Cleveland and his 27-years junior, daughter of his law partner, and FORMER WARD new wife Frances Folsom (youngest first lady at the age of 21). He called her Frank, and I assume there was a lot of “Oh god, Frank” that night for various reasons. (I also may know a lot about Grover Cleveland as I did a 4th grade book report on him. Ahem, like how he was both the 22nd and 24th president, the only president to serve two terms non-consecutively. Or, how the Baby Ruth candy way named after his daughter Ruth. Or, how he had a secret surgery in the middle of a bay to remove a tumor as he did not want anyone to know about it. Good stuff.)

“Oh, Frank!”

Though shivaree slowly lost its onetime prominent tradition in American culture, there is a bit of a remainder seen in how loud noises, banging of metallic objects, and generally taunting the pair marrying in a fun way. And, thus we began attaching tin cans to the getaway wedding car, providing a lazy American solution of cacophony by letting the car bang the cans.

An efficient noise parade.

I’m honestly a bit surprised this tradition has not made its way back in a cute, charming Wedding Industry Machine way yet. Enter breathy wedding planner who speaks in intense, hushed tones and ends every sentence with a question:

So, Bella/Sophie/Suzie/LadyName (’cause let’s be honest, most of this kind of chat goes on with the lady in modern American wedding planning), imagine what a precious experience it would be to have an accordion band of your nearest and dearest wearing matching pearlescent gowns and ties arrive outside your quaint honeymoon suite at the stroke of midnight, holding reclaimed wooden signs with hand drawn calligraphy on your favorite song lyrics, to then play romantic songs dearest to you and your beloved? We could incorporate making artisan percussion instruments into your reception, so each guest would have a handmade spoon mallet and recycled percussion instrument! Obviously, we would also tie it back to your theme of rustic rodeo clown in Paris…”

If someone shows up with a pan and a kettle under my window after my wedding, all they are going to get is beat down and perhaps a kettle to the head. I’ve seen Taken. Liam Neeson taught me well.