The last few days have been rather dull, for the most part. I enjoyed a temporary return to my Bachelor existence last week because Fiancee S. went on a much-needed vacation to Disneyland with her cousin K. and family. Feeling under the weather on Monday of last week did indeed turn into a cold for me, and one that lingered until yesterday.
Fiancee S. returned on Friday and then spent the next two days with friends. She had another bridal shower on Saturday, this time with her bridesmaids and family and friends who are about our age. She also had her bachelorette party/hen night with her bridesmaids on Saturday night. Me, I just did what perspective grooms do in this situation: I show up to say hello so anyone who hasn't met me can meet me, leave, and then return to load gifts into the car. I used the remainder of the time to rest and recover from my cold.
The bridal shower on Saturday aggravated one of the potentially touchy political issues about our wedding, however. Cousin K's daughter A. is a junior bridesmaid in our wedding party. I emphasize the word junior because A. is twelve years old. A. and her mother K. seem to be enjoying selective dyslexia when it comes to the term junior bridesmaid; they are leaving off the word junior.
Why does this bother us? It comes down to how Fiancee S. and I were both raised when it comes to girls, makeup, jewelry, and being twelve years old. K. is letting A. go the whole 9 yards for our wedding: full length strapless dress, high heels, professionally applied make-up, professionally created "up" hair style, professionally applied hair highlights, and large earrings that hang from her ears almost to her shoulders. In short, A. is dressing like all the other bridesmaids (even though most of them aren't wearing strapless dresses -- see below), who are almost three times her age. We think that will look tacky on a twelve year old.
This tends to irk Fiancee S. and myself for a few reasons. First, Fiancee S. and I were both brought up to think that twelve year olds do not wear full makeup; my mother only let my sister wear lipgloss or maybe a little lipstick at that age. Anything more smacks of JonBenet Ramsey and junior beauty pageants. As a practical matter, A. has also not yet developed to the point that she can fill the bust of a strapless dress. Fiancee S. dreads the idea that A. will be sitting in the choir stalls in the Sanctuary of a Catholic Church during our Nuptial Mass tugging at the top of her dress because she lacks the curves to hold it up. Finally, there are courtesies involved. Fiancee S. has gone to great effort to NOT be Bridezilla about our wedding. Bridesmaids are being allowed a variety of dress styles to choose from in periwinkle blue (thank you David's Bridal) based on what they like and makes them look the best. In return for not forcing everyone to wear the same sea foam green or Pepto Bismol pink taffeta dress (as some brides have done in the past), Fiancee S. would at least like to have some part in the final approval process. So far, A.'s appearance and attire on the day has been all about A., and, K. only seems interested in catering to A.'s every whim despite any hints we've given about our disapproval.
I appreciate where A. is coming from. Just by looking at her you can tell that she wants to be thought of as "older". She refers to herself as "twelve and a half" rather than "twelve", and A. and K. both say that A. "will almost be thirteen at the time of the wedding." When I saw her at the bridal shower on Saturday, I almost didn't recognize her at first because she's wearing her hair down and affecting shoes with an inch heel -- making her taller in photos of the day than nearly all of the other bridesmaids.
Does anyone else see why this might be a little bit of a problem for us? Does this not smack of the JonBenet Ramsey School of Beauty and Charm? Or have we just become old grumps in our 30's in this age of Christina Aguilera, Pink, and Britney Spears? Is being twelve years old these days just about trying to flaunt your budding sexuality like all the older girls?
In any case, this issue has agitated Fiancee S. and she has gotten me agitated by it in turn. I offered to "fall on my sword" and play the bad cop on this one by writing K. to more or less say "I am very concerned about how your daughter is presuming to dress and appear in our wedding... I feel that certain proprieties must be maintained for a 12 year old junior bridesmaid... I also feel that the wishes and tastes of the bride and groom have not been sufficiently consulted on a day which is ultimately ours, not hers."
Alas, while saying that might express the truth for us, it can do absolutely no good for anyone. It would be an opening skirmish in a family conflict that could rage for years to come. I try to live by the maxim "don't make war". As with so many other things about our wedding, it is a day for others just as much about us -- and we must keep the peace by keeping our mouths shut.
We only have one comforting thought. If, by chance, we one day have a daughter who will be a junior bridesmaid in A.'s wedding and who wants to wear something over the disapproval of the bride, who will we be to say no to our daughter?
Especially since that will be the only day she gets to wear a strapless dress before she's at least 16.
on 2004-04-20 at 11:14 a.m.
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