Sitting Down in the Gown

Aurora in White

Didn’t we all want to see Sleeping Beauty’s wedding dress? I did.

Last week, I traversed the plains of Illinois and arrived at the threshold (or “Gateway”) of the west in my fair hometown of St. Louis to shop for a wedding dress.

Due to some circumstances not under my control, I was not able to choose to have my wedding in St. Louis, so the next best thing was being able to dress shop there in order to have my little piece of the Lou with me on my special day.

I wasn’t sure how indecisive I was going to be throughout this process. I had given myself only one long weekend in the middle of one of the coldest winters in twenty years to find my dress. I had done some research with magazines, of course, and Pinterest, and The Knot, and speaking with friends who are also planning weddings. But I hadn’t gone anywhere in person yet and had no idea if I was going to have a Say Yes to the Dress bridezilla meltdown or whether it would be whimsical and practically effortless.

Let me just put this out there right now: the women who go on TV shows to try on bridal gowns are brave! As giddy as I was to go to a few shops and try on dresses, I would have felt twenty times more anxious if I knew my experience were being filmed and eventually televised. Props to you, Regular Ladies of America who appear on TLC.

I had lined up three appointments for the long weekend and given myself enough time to go to a shop on impulse, should the need arise if I wasn’t finding anything.

As fortune would have it, I only had to go to two shops and try on six dresses before I found The One. (I was told later that this was very Zoe-efficient of me.)

Prior to my second day of shopping, I was given some solid advice by the daughter of a close family friend. She told me to try on serious contenders twice. I kept that little nugget stored away until the time came for me to make a decision. It came in handy, since I ended up loving my dress but came back later to try it on a second time before going forward with my purchase.

For anyone who will be dress shopping in the near future, here is some insight I thought I could share on this whole process that may help you out:

  1. Customer service at bridal boutiques is key and will make or break the shopping experience. While there are plenty of do-it-yourself places out there (and are more budget friendly, certainly), if you are able to afford going to a place with reputable customer service, I highly recommend doing so. I gave both shops I tried positive reviews on Yelp, even though I only ended up buying from one place.
  2. Bring or wear a bra that will look good in low cut and/or strapless gowns. Even if a gown has sleeves, it’s probably going to be sheer up top, and bra straps can take away some of the illusion you’re trying to create.
  3. Unless it’s summertime and unbearably hot, pantyhose isn’t a bad idea. It helps slide you into dresses more easily. This was one thing I wish I had done, though I was shopping in the middle of winter, so it wasn’t a nightmare.
  4. Dresses get HOT once you put them on. The sheer tonnage of material and being under hot lights gets you warm really quickly. To prepare, use a little of this ingenious powder gel on yourself. For those who aren’t aware, that powder gel also contains the same active ingredient as the fancy foundation primer out there, so you can use it on your face if ya want!
  5. Dresses you don’t like hanging up might look stunning on, so keep an open mind. Such was the case with the one I eventually chose. I saw it hanging up and pooh-poohed it. Then I got it on and was in awe.
  6. If you’re absolutely unsure if you like a dress after you’ve been wearing it a while, you probably don’t. And pay attention to details that bother you, e.g. a corset back vs. a zipper vs. buttons. They can be surprising dealbreakers.
  7. Accessories can make all the difference in the world.
  8. Be prepared to have your consultant see a lot of you (definitely shave and get yourself all tidy). If she’s doing her job well, you will feel relatively comfortable throughout, despite someone you never met getting all up in your business.
  9. Take lots of pictures from different angles in case you can’t decide right away. Thank goodness for cell phone cameras.
  10. Sit down in the gown before you say yes to the dress! This was one of the key things one of my relatives made me do before going forward with my purchase. She wanted to be sure I would feel comfortable sitting and moving around in it. After all, I’m going to be in this thing for twelve hours or so. Sitting proved to be fine, though I won’t be able to slouch at all. I’ll have lovely posture on the big day.
  11. Pace yourself and have fun!

Realizing how fun–and to some extent comfortable–it was to wear the gown made me laugh. I don’t wear fancy stuff on a regular basis, so I felt like the gals on Friends when they wore the wedding gowns because it made them feel good. I totally get it now! It’s hard to go back to jeans and sweaters once you’ve had a wedding dress on.

And aren’t they totally rocking sitting down in those gowns?

friends

The Beauty of Quiet

The Purple Tree

Real silence: as rare as a purple tree.

I live in a two-story apartment, known commonly as a townhome in the U.S.

One thing that is sacrificed when you choose to live in an apartment building or complex is true silence.

Most people don’t care about white noise. Heck, I have a fan on every night that helps soothe the too quiet of the night. I crave silence during the waking hours, though.

Between being able to hear faint noises of neighbors or loud noises of neighbors’ dogs (I’m pretty certain everyone in my apartment complex has a dog), there are also street noises that reverberate back to our apartment. Sometimes it’s construction or a lawn mower.

These sounds aren’t unusual for city living, apartment or no apartment.

But I find myself cherishing the truly quiet minutes in my life. This morning, for instance, I heard a bizarre shrill sound. It kept repeating itself in a pattern. I followed my ears to the hallway, wondering if a small child or animal was being tortured somewhere. Perhaps my ears were playing tricks on me (I’ve had tinnitus in one ear for a few years).

It turned out to be a mosquito or mosquito-like flying insect, whose wings were making that infernal high-pitched squeal that makes me paranoid I’m going to get bitten, and also drives me insane. Instead of water torture, someone could play that whiny sound of a mosquito’s wings beating for less than a half hour and I’d certainly give up any information I had. That or whistling.

Despite having a moment of, “What IS that??” I realized that I was grateful to have such quiet in my apartment that my bat sonar could pick up on it. On any other occasion, it would have been drowned out by any number of things: the dog wooing, the blare of the TV, the sound and feel of others’ apartment doors slamming, music playing on my computer.

I come from parents who revel in quiet and silence, especially in the morning. At my house growing up, having the television on before leaving for school was absolutely forbidden. I never quite understood why. I just thought my parents were strict. Now, I get it. Aside from not allowing their children to develop an unhealthy habit of staring in a zombified stupor at the television for an hour before heading off to school, they also valued the quiet of the morning. To this day, my mother gets up at dawn to sit in solitude, peacefully journaling. My father has similar routines. He writes constantly and he does not play music or have the television on while doing so. (For him, music is something to which one intently listens. TV and movies are attentively watched.)

I love having music on to carry me through my day but more and more, I find myself turning the music off when I’m deep in writing. I’m also discovering I have a visceral reaction to loud, jarring, and/or repetitive noises. The other day, someone loudly pounded on our patio door, and I about jumped out of my skin. I frequently pause the TV to go,  “Do you hear that? What’s that sound?” It drives my dude a little crazy. It was yet another reason why our former neighbors were the absolute worst ones to be paired next door to, as their lifestyle was ALL noise.

Friends-Ross-quiet

Me, most of the time when it comes to other people’s noises.

Perhaps by the time I’m 70 or 80 years old, I’ll embrace any hearing loss that happens with age. I can swim in my own silence. For now, I’ll ask you to <mimics Ross’s hand gesture.>

No. You didn’t SEEN anything.

Um, can we talk about something serious for a moment?

There is an epidemic in this country – an epidemic of extremely, extremely ignorant grammar, speaking, and writing skills. I understand colloquialisms. I do! I say ’em, too. But when you write these things out as your actual manner of speaking, it just puts the nail in my tightass coffin.

I don’t like to preach a lot about grammar here and if I can help it, I won’t write another one of these for a long time, if ever again. But I can’t help it this time. No, it’s not the You’re vs. Your thing; which is appalling, by the way. “Your welcome” always makes me want to say, “But is it my welcome?”

The issue at hand is the misuse of the word “seen.”

Seen is a conjugation of the verb “to see,” which means that if you want to use it, you may do so in the present, past and future perfect voice. Which also means that there is always another verb in between subject and the word “seen.”

Examples:

  • You have seen
  • I had seen
  • We will have seen
  • They had seen

and so forth. There is absolutely NO conjugation that has subject + seen. None. Zip. Really! If you say, “I seen with my own eyes” or ask, “You seen it?” I strongly but gently advise you or your friend who does this to go back to elementary school grammar and brush up on this verb. (I won’t comment on, “You done seen it, too?”) I don’t know why this one thing in particular motivated me to write a post about it. I mean, yes, I can write bitchy rants, and I know that many people frown on those who take time to write stuff like this, but it just cooks my cactus – whatever that means.

It gives us, as Americans who speak English, an even worse reputation than we already have for being (proud) uneducated morons.

I am not without humor – clearly – so I am also posting one of my all-time favorite Friends scenes here with Ross and Rachel having yet another one of their epic fights, in which Ross corrects Rachel’s grammar in the letter she wrote to him. If for some reason you have never seen this, you’re welcome.

Thank you for reading my rant when you could have been doing any number of other things on this lovely Sunday afternoon.