Just after the hubs and I got engaged, we were out trail-walking because we’re just really rugged like that.
Actually, it was because he’d moved me to the bowels of the South for a promotion that he’d just received, and there was nothing else to do. We were killing time before we felt it an appropriate hour to start drinking on a Saturday afternoon without some meddling family member getting all “intervention” and “rehab” on us.
I remember looking over at him as the sun bore down on us, causing us to work up a healthy sweat. There was something I needed to ask him, and now seemed just about as good a time as any. I think I had waited until I had secured the ring to ask him because I was kind of afraid of the answer.
“Did you only start dating me because I was the only one who would get drunk and have sex with you on Thursday nights?”
The hubs had Fridays off when we first met, you see, and even though I didn’t and still had to head into work hung over the next day, I was always up for a good buzz and the resulting romp. It’s just the kind of classy girl I was.
“Well, yeah,” he said, although with the inflection of his voice and the way he looked at me as he answered, Well, DUH would have been a more fitting response. “But then—after several weeks, or, I don’t know, months—I fell in love with you.”
You know what they call that, my peeps? Mad skillz.
The hubs proposed to me after a year and a half of dating. And I cannot fathom why, but when he proposed in May and I suggested the following September as the wedding date, he sort of hem-hawed his way around my date.
"Um, well, it’s just that…”
“What?” I asked, excitedly moving my ring finger this way and that to watch as my new engagement ring caught the rays of sunlight and sparkled.
"Well, I kind of thought that simply asking you to marry me would be enough to shut you up for a little while about the whole thing?” He raised his eyes to meet mine hopefully.
“Hm. How long are we talking?” I asked, considering his request.
“Oh, I don’t know…as long as possible? Like, maybe we could get married in three years or something?”
“No. But I’ll give you a year and a half to stew on what you just did, and then we’re getting married.”
A big, heavy sigh from my new fiancé. “Alright,” he acquiesced.
So it was a done deal. We were getting married in a year and a half.
Like every wise decision I’ve ever made in my life, I followed Britney Spears’s lead when picking out bridesmaid dresses. I fell in love with the candy apple red gowns that she chose for her attendants during her second wedding, the one to Kevin Federline. It took my little sister and me about five minutes in David’s Bridal to find some in the exact same color a couple of weekends later before hitting the bars for the rest of our afternoon “wedding planning.”
(Unfortunately—because marriage blows—my marriage has lasted like a million times longer than Britney’s longest. But I won’t fault her for that. The bridesmaid dresses were really pretty.)
Next on my list of things to do was find a wedding dress, but I wasn’t stressed because, thanks to my future hubs, I had a year and a half to do it. Strangely, this was the one aspect of the wedding that my whole family insisted on helping me out with. I’m pretty sure it was because they could have conversations like this:
“So you’re going for a black wedding dress, right, Shay? Because you’re a huge whore?” my little sister would say.
“Oh, how original. As if I haven’t heard that one before,” I’d say, rolling my eyes while not letting on just how many times I’d heard that one. It was as if it was the first thought that popped into peoples’ minds when they heard I was getting married…along with the one that was actually voiced by one of my friends when she said, “You? You’re getting married? Oh, well, good luck with not cheating on him…”
I mean, seriously, what the hell?
Anyway, my soft-hearted mom would always pipe up when everyone was tossing around wedding dress color ideas for a reformed slut. “Oh, leave her alone. Shay’s not going to wear a black wedding dress.” A quick look in my direction. “But it’ll at least be off-white, right, sweetie?”
“Seriously, Shay,” my asshole dad would contribute, “you come marching into that church in a white wedding gown, you’ll either spontaneously combust or people will laugh their asses off at the irony.”
I would shoot him a look before he would shrug. “Something to think about, kiddo,” he’d say, tapping his head with his index finger.
I thought about it, alright. I thought about how lovely it would have been to be born into a nice family—a normal, sweet family whose members didn’t make fun of you for your skanky past.
But, like I’ve repeated to myself almost every day since I learned how to talk: This is the lot I’ve been given. They’ll just have to do.
The day I did find my wedding dress was pretty anti-climactic, which isn’t surprising if you know me. I’m pretty simple when it comes to fashion. You say “Prada,” I say “Canvas shoes I found at Wal-Mart for $7.00 on clearance.” All I knew about a wedding dress was that I wanted a somewhat traditional long, simple, WHITE gown.
One day, when the hubs and I were living in sin down South, I happened to walk by a wedding dress shop on my lunch break. They were closing in a few months, the sign on the window said, and all of their dresses were marked drastically down.
Wedding dress shopping on my one-hour lunch break by myself? I shrugged. Sounded good to me.
The bell on the door jingled as I walked in, and before the sales attendant could say “Welcome to the wedding dress store,” my eyes had already landed on my dress.
White? Check, motherfckers.
I pointed to it, and she grabbed it, brought it to one of the fitting rooms in the back, and actually stood there and watched as I tried it on.
It slid easily on, as if it were made for my body. Granted, I’d been starving myself for 3 months (I had a wedding coming up in almost two years, you know) by eating roughly about 6 Brussels sprouts, a can of tuna in water, and a tomato per day, but whatevs, because it looked phenomenal.
The saleslady looked at me, her whole face alighting in a big grin. “Do you model wedding dresses?” she asked breathlessly.
And that was enough for me. “Bag this motha up. I’ll take it,” I replied.
Now, it could have been my imagination, but as I turned to slip out of the dress and the saleswoman opened the curtain to step out of the room, I could’ve sworn I heard a slap that sounded just like a high-five, followed by something that sounded like this: “Now THAT’S how you sell a wedding dress, bitches.”
When I went back to visit family and friends, I told them the story as I showed off my dress. I kept the high-five part out, of course, but it didn’t matter.
“And then the saleslady said to me, she said, ‘Do you model wedding dresses?’” I recounted, spinning around to show off my svelte body, earned from months of guzzling Brussels sprouts.
One of my snarkier friends burst into hysterical laughter. “Holy SHIT, and you fell for that?! Damn, that woman must make a killing on commission!”
Well, she couldn’t have made that much that day, because my dress was only $400. But all joking aside, my friends really did love the dress. And so did I.
And so did the hubs.
Although by the time he saw it, it actually was closer to the color I should have been wearing as a slooter with a past walking down the aisle. Because by the time we got married, the dress had gotten that yellowed-at-the-edges antiquated look from hanging in the closet for a year and a half.
But at least I didn’t spontaneously combust.