Gift-wrap that Fry Baby.

Someone asked what I thought of the runaway bride. Truthfully? Not much. If you want to know why, follow that link which, when I posted it, features this apparently irony-free headline:

Runaway bride may forgo $250 ice bucket

Honestly, I don’t know what goes through a woman’s head when she adds a $250 ice bucket to her gift registry; I’ve never been that kind of woman, although I had a wedding and a registry. The difference between my wedding and the runaway bride’s, however, at least in how she planned it to be, was approximately the same as the difference between one of our subsequent marital squabbles and the Civil War. Or between the normal cold feet I felt at the idea of standing in front of 100 of my closest friends and colleagues with a giant bow on my butt, and the cold feet that made the runaway bride get itchy feet and flee for the desert southwest, just to get a little time to herself.

I understand the desert is good for that sort of thing.

Honestly, I think whatever punishment the runaway bride deserves for this wild goose chase has already been meted out by CNN, which sadistically published a click-through gallery of her registry gifts, which is where I found out about the $250 ice bucket. (It’s Waterford.) And yes, I meant sadistic. I don’t know what else you call droll prose like this:

According to her bridal registry at Macy’, the couple could have expected to receive a 16-inch Lenox “Solitaire” Oval Platter, which normally sells for $237 but is on sale for $189.99; the Kate Spade “Union Street” line 5-piece place setting ($55), and the KitchenAid Artisan 5-Qt. Stand Mixer (on sale for $249.99).

The unpurchased items on the registry include the All-Clad Stainless steel lasagna pan ($99.98) and Cuisinart Extra Large Electric Skillet ($130).

A spokesperson from Macy’s was unable to comment on individuals within their bridal registry, although the company will allow returns of most registry merchandise for up to one year along with a receipt.

It’s easy to see what happened, how what might have started out as a relatively sensible girl got steamrollered by the wedding industry. It’s hard not to, especially when your friends are getting married, and it’s all about whether you have salmon or beef tenderloin at the reception and a Vera Wang dress. In such an environment, a $250 ice bucket becomes a perfectly reasonable gift to request. A temper tantrum seems a perfectly reasonable response to discovering the cocktail napkins are the wrong shade. I got a manicure before my wedding (and still managed to chip the polish before I said my vows). Today’s bride gets a manicure, pedicure, hot-stone massage, aromatherapy session and professional makeup job. Don’t get me started on the hair. Last week I surfed past “Extreme Makeover” to see a bride getting a nose job, chin implant, brow lift, breast implants and lipo before her groom lifted her veil (the “reveal” — I shit you not) on national television.

Amy has a discussion going over certain changes in the Catholic wedding liturgy that have brides-to-be in tears all over Philadelphia; I won’t link because ultimately it’s one of those angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin debates and the point I want to make is this: She’s religious, I’m not, and we’re in total agreement on one thing — the wedding industry is evil.

After Kate was born, I came to see the similarities between the wedding industry and the cult of birth, which has less merchandise to sell but an equally warped view of what are undeniably two very big days in a woman’s life, but ultimately, just the first day in two much more complicated long-term tasks — being married and raising a child. Wedding shysters stress “your special day” and birth cultists insist that anything but the perfect birth experience will leave you unfulfilled as a woman and your baby psychologically scarred by delayed bonding.

Poor runaway bride. What a hard act to follow, but maybe not. Her groom can’t say he doesn’t know what he’s getting into, if he ends up marrying her anyway. And she can’t say she didn’t know either. But at this point I’d advise her to burn the gift registry, kiss her deposits goodbye and head for a justice of the peace. In Vegas, maybe.

As usual, Hank is much funnier than me, at least on this topic. OK, on all topics.

Posted at 9:05 pm in Uncategorized |

11 responses to “Gift-wrap that Fry Baby.”

  1. ashley said on May 2, 2005 at 10:03 pm

    My mom arranged the church for our wedding. Of course, she messed up somehow, and they DIDN’T UNLOCK THE FUKKING DOORS! That’s right, we couldn’t get inside. We even had to change outside. The wife was none too happy with this situation.

    Fortuna, however, in her infinite wisdom, had the nicest day of May planned, weather-wise, so we had the wedding outside in the pagoda.


    Mommie dearest then planned the reception at the Elk’s lodge with paper plates and a cash bar. First thing I did was give the barkeep $200 and said “Let me know when this runs out.

    My friend the DJ not only burned CDs for the reception (yes, we had Billy Idol’s White Wedding), but also for the wedding itself. We couldn’t get in the damned church, but the power worked, so we plugged in the PA and had nice classical wedding music.

    Oh, and this was all done the day after my PhD was conferred. Now commencement in the Superdome is another deal entirely!

    I agree with Nance on the Vegas thing. I’d pay big bucks to have Jim Ignatowski do the ceremony.

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  2. alex said on May 2, 2005 at 11:52 pm

    Yes, Nance, marketing and advertising’s a worse thing to whore for than law, even if you can point to your work in the former. Weddings are evil. So are funerals. So are births. It’s a wonder nobody’s made shitting a curved one into an invite-only social occasion with showers and registries.

    Can a family have services and bury the dead without the help of the funeral industry? It’s probably illegal not to do it their way.

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  3. Jeff said on May 3, 2005 at 7:23 am

    It is in Indiana (years of county coroners being not doctors but funeral home operators built a strong political power base); in Ohio you can get away with less mortuary science, but it takes careful research and preplanning. Oh, and a doctor willing to fill out all the right paperwork certifying death and releasing the body for immediate burial on a family plot, which takes a permit from the county health dept. (not all bad, water table and all). There are cremation societies in a few places in the state, and some funeral homes are much less predatory than others, and will cut a pre-plan deal for nothin’ but cremation . . . but in Indiana, you *must* embalm the body by a licensed mortician *before* you cremate. Sweet deal, ‘eh?

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  4. Carmella said on May 3, 2005 at 8:10 am

    Last night Paula Zahn showed some of the ‘Runaway Bride’ items that have popped up on EBay. There was a runaway bride kit, with haircolor, sunglasses etc; shoes; t-shirts; but the best thing was a piece of toast with the brides ‘image’ on it!!

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  5. Dick said on May 3, 2005 at 8:17 am

    This story brought to one of the morning TV shows the author of a book with this great title: There Goes the Bride.

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  6. 4dbirds said on May 3, 2005 at 10:28 am

    Hubby and I got married by a Justice and had cold cuts for the reception. Still together after 25 years. My nephew had a 50K wedding and it lasted barely two years. Anyhoo, if I had to do it over again, I would do as Nance suggested and go to Vegas and get married by an Elvis impersonator.

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  7. Miss Beth said on May 3, 2005 at 12:11 pm

    All this talk isn’t helping. I’m slated to get hitched in October and the bets are starting to come in. (This is engagement no. 3–you can’t say I haven’t been busy!) I too wanted an Elvis wedding in Sin City, but hubby-to-be (also known as “the sensible one”) said no. Too many hurt feelings. Does anyone know how much a bus pass goes for these days?? Not really sure if I’m joking or not…

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  8. mary said on May 3, 2005 at 1:06 pm

    I was married in a park with my former next door neighbor officiating, attended only by a bum sleeping under an oleander bush and several large white ducks. The now ex and I had been living together for nearly ten years, and probably would have continued that way if I had not needed some expensive medical work. He had much better health insurance than I did. We got married, I went into the hospital the next day. The marriage ending ten years later didn’t have anything to do with the wedding. Let’s just say neither of us was cut out for marriage for different reasons.

    Before splitting up, though, we produced two great kids, and yes, lots of people out there really want to make you believe you have to experience childbirth in some specific way or you aren’t doing it right. These same people will be annoying throughout your child’s development. Older son didn’t crawl long enough, according to another mother I knew, and younger son crawled too early. I wondered just how I was supposed to control these things.

    My kids are 11 and 14 now, and I still hear occasional suggestions that I’m not doing enough of something or too much of something or whatever. I find a tight smile with a low growling noise convinces people that unsolicited advice is not welcomed.

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  9. Mindy said on May 3, 2005 at 2:53 pm

    Cousin #1 married a woman who should have opted for the bus ride to New Mexico. At the impromptu reception, a bunch of us were placing bets on how long it would last. Cousin #3 won the pool — six weeks.

    Another bride who should have been on that bus had a lovely wedding, lived in her new husband’s bachelor pad until their new home was completed, moved in, suffered a trial separation and then divorced all while I was living in the same apartment and driving the same used Honda Civic. And here I thought that used cars and apartments were temporary and marriages were meant to go the distance. (A funny post script about this bride: She got canned from her cushy government job, not for roller-blading in the parking lot in her thong bikini on company time, but for doing so in full view of busloads of tourists. Only. In. Florida.)

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  10. brian stouder said on May 3, 2005 at 4:51 pm

    “As usual, Hank is much funnier than me, on this topic. OK, on all topics.”


    Reading Madam Telling Tales is really very, very satisfying, on most topics. OK, on all topics, even including (truth be told) politics!

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  11. harry near indy said on May 3, 2005 at 7:08 pm

    seems to be some inverse ratio at work here — the bigger the wedding, the more dog is put on during the service, the shorter the marriage itself. and those that don’t end in divorce in 5-10 years usually are lousy.

    as for the bridal industry … capitalism at work. i wonder why the hoover institute or the american enterprise institute never condemn such shit.

    but … lenin was wrong.

    the capitalist will NOT buy the rope you’ll hang him with.

    the capitalist — in this case, the businessman, which is the applied capitalist, as opposed to the theoretical capitalist, whom the rightist think tanks praise — will buy the rope he’ll hang himself with.

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