Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's Raining (Wo)Men, Hallelujah!

I bet you are expecting me to tell you that the heinous red rash making its domino effect-like march across my face cleared up in time for my Bridal Shower and that I looked gorgeous and smooth-skinned for my day of raining presents. I'm sorry to inform you (and more sorry to actually be me) that this was not the case. Instead, I pretended I was starring on an eighties nighttime soap and slapped enough beige mortar-like liquid makeup on my face to resurrect the Berlin Wall. (And I finally got to the dermatologist this morning who was oh-so-helpful in her analysis: "It looks like you had an allergic reaction. I'm prescribing you some creme. It should go away in two weeks." Thanks, Doc.)

But back to The Shower.

I have attended many a wedding shower as a guest, but I have to tell you I had no idea what to expect as the guest of honor. And to tell you the truth, I would love to be snarky and tell you it was terrible, but it wasn't. It was lovely (now that I'm a bride I use words like lovely. And darling. My vocabulary is becoming more genteel by the moment. Hold on, I have to go get my crumpets. Whoopsie daisy, I just tripped over the Victorian Era.)

Really though - I was so touched by all of the people who traveled so far to come to my shower. And my bridesmaids really put a lot of thought into details of the shower, making sure that everything matched my wedding colors and picking things that I loved. (Black & white cookies - check! One special salad made just for E&E without strange smelly cheeses (I hate the trifecta of crumbly cheeses, i.e., feta, blue, and goat) - check! Bellinis - check (and praise Jesus!)).

It was a really nice time.

And I think I've adequately conveyed that I'm appreciative and it was a good day, yes? So I'm moving on here.

Because despite the loveliness of the Shower, I have to confess that I still find the tradition of the bridal shower really wacky. I understand that the idea is the bride is "showered" with gifts. But why must she open all of them? As a guest, I always found this weird. Aren't there other nuptial things the group could be doing with the time? Or other non-nuptial things? Or anything? If the whole point of the event is to give gifts and therefore we must acknowledge the presents, er presence, then couldn't we do something more fun with them? Like play gift Jenga and see how tall we can stack them? Or build a present fort covered with 500 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets?

And now that I have been the Gift Opener, I stand by my feelings. Dude, it's weird. My hands were literally shaking as thirty-five women watched me open the presents they brought. And read cards. No one gave me a primer on the appropriate card-reading-time to gift-opening ratio and within minutes, I felt 70 eyeballs focusing on me and my inability to quickly and masterfully open gifts. (You have to remember that as a Jew, I don't have years of practice ripping open gifts under a Christmas tree. Chanukah was an orderly Type A affair in my house. One night of Chanukah equals one carefully-selected and slowly-opened gift. I've never opened up more than four or five gifts in a row in my life.)

Gauging the crowd's increasing restlessness and my own rapidly overheating forehead (which I hypothetically attributed to the rash, but without a mirror handy, could only assume had taken on scarlet letter-type proportions and had formed a sprawling "B" on my forehead.) Given the heat and the itchiness, I made the executive decision to skip all of the cards (although I did look at the pictures - because in my book, if someone spent $5.95 on an applique card with satin ribbons stuck on the front in the shape of a wedding dress, I assume it's pretty much considered part of the gift).

And so instead of promoting literacy, I just unwrapped the gift and held up the coffee maker / steamer / juicer like it was the Lion King / Holy Grail / a fully formed T-Rex skeleton and announced for each gift that it was "perfect" because "I love coffee" / "Wrinkle-free clothes make me happier than a junkie on a 2-week bender" / "Juice rocks."

Now don't get me wrong. I actually love coffee makers, steamers, and juicers. That's why I registered for these exact items. Myself. Months ago.

Therefore, I found it hard to muster up unique and authentic sounding exclamations for a series of gifts that likely meant I will be doing more cooking and/or cleaning than I ever hoped for and were less of a surprise than the Britney Spears/Kevin Federline divorce news.

Indeed, as a general matter, while I am pleased with the convenience that today's modern day appliances provide a family of two, they don't exactly inspire...well, teary-eyed enthusiasm and jumping up and down along the lines of an episode of Oprah's Big Give. Thus it should be no surprise that two months ago, Mr F and I walked down the aisles of Bed, Bath and Beyond, and our conversation sounded like this:

"Look. It's a clothing steamer."

"Yeah. That's cool."

"I think we should get it."



Sorry, that's all I've got for you. If you're looking for a longer trip down memory lane, I'm pretty sure "It's A Wonderful Life" is playing on a loop for the next 5 days on TCM.

Does it matter who said what in this little snippet? No. Because it's a steamer. Will it make my life easier? Absolutely. Does it make me writhe in ecstasy? No.

To summarize: I like gifts. I like getting gifts I have picked out. I do not like pretending to be surprised about said gifts. I also do not like opening said gifts in front of scores of onlookers who expect me to make comments about said unsurprising gifts.

Isn't there a better way? Maybe people should just forgo the paper wrapping. Hasn't anyone noticed that it's crap for the environment? Just bring an unwrapped gift to the party and place it around the perimeter of the room. Then everyone can see all the fabulous gifts and instead of watching someone open presents for an hour, you can put on some Gwen Stefani, break out the lemon drop shots, and dance around the room. Or, if it was like my party and 75% of your guests are post-menopausal, then throw on some Carole King, open up the family photo albums and throw eclairs in your mouth two at a time.


Rebekah + Justin said...

if i wasn't in such a pissed-off/panicked mood because i'm simultaneously wrapping gifts, putting together wedding favors, and addressing "Happy New Year's from the Future Mr. and Mrs." cards, i would take more time to tell you how hysterical your blog is and how much i enjoy commiserating with you. but that's all i've got. cheers!

agirl said...

Laughing my ass off. Your posts are wonderful jewels of comedy. I think I'd have to cry a little if you started enjoying the planning process 100%...

Krista said...

Oh my gosh, you're hilarious. Per usual. I am used to Christmas, so I think I'd be okay with it. But that's just me, and I appreciate that you aren't okay with it. Oh and I'm outgoing and love being the centre of attention, so obviously I am really looking forward to my bridal shower.

I love your post. And as much as I do enjoy shower games (and I do - I'm the anti-cross leg champion), I think a jenga contest followed by 500-thread count Egyptian cotton sheet castle making contests would also be fun!