Snapshots: The bride, the new dress

1.  There's a snapshot, a bride and her cell phone.

The bride-to-be fears her wedding will be an earthquake casualty.  She rushes through a park holding up her white dress with one hand, the phone with the other.

My first thought, "Great dress!"

And a millisecond later, "But she's on the phone!  Really?  In that dress?  It doesn't fit.  She must be a doctor."

But she's not.

Valeriya Shevchenko, 18, evacuated a NY courthouse during the earthquake panic but the eye-catching photo of her wedding-dress dash created complications. The young bride and groom were keeping the nuptials a secret from their disapproving families -- not such an easy feat with the highly circulated image that is now being called the “Earthquake Bride.”

“They’d say we’re too young and not for each other,” Shevchenko told the New York Post.(Photo: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images, cropped to oblivion by therapydoc)

The show did go on, a few hours later.

2. Someone told me a story about a different young woman. When asked what she wanted for a college graduation present, she replied,
"A new dress."
Her parents thought it a little odd.  They had been thinking:
Box as furniture concept
She must want something practical, maybe even the gift that keeps on giving. . .

She's up to her eyeballs in student loans, has an apartment to furnish.  She might want to replace the box as furniture concept.

So a kitchen table.  A lamp.  A painting.

Or something sentimental. A bracelet, a pendant.
But it's not weird at all, a new dress. If you haven't shopped for yourself in years, have had a nose in the books and haven't dropped more than a dollar on rare occasion at a pick-it-up-off-the-floor-and-buy-it department store sale, then the thought of taking a few Franklins and feeling pretty is very, very seductive.

The nouveau-riche get it, those who never had money and suddenly find it. This doesn't happen often any more, finding money, but in the days of prosperity, when it did happen, the newly endowed were known to spend it like crazy, and who can blame a person for that, deprived for so long. 

Not all do, of course, spend it, even after a lifetime of deprivation. Many immigrants and second, even third generations who make it here don't find it so simple. Some never get the hang of it, which is why, in this dreadful economy,  they still have some.

But back to that new dress.

3.  In my tribe we have self-imposed eating, drinking, and shopping deprivation for different reasons.  For a full year, after a parent dies, more observant people who have lost a parent don't listen to music, go to parties, or buy new clothes (not unless work demands it).   Ironically, wine and spirits are still permissible, and there's no mourning on Saturday. It's just the way we do things.

So shopping the year after losing a parent is a No, No.  And if that parent has been ill before the loss, then the nouveau mourner might have spent the year prior to the death trying to work and still juggle a thousand other things, shopping for food for these elderly parents, shlepping to the life support doctor appointments, running to emergency hospitalizations.  So it is likely that this person hasn't shopped for two years by the time she finishes her official year of mourning.

Then, when it is all over, a person doesn't necessarily have the will, or the psychological energy to get out there and look at price tags, deal with the people in the stores. You have to be ready for that sensory light show, the women in the cosmetics aisle offering make-overs and perfume, the wait at the register, and the countless floor people and personal shoppers showing you to the dressing room that you will inevitably never be able to find again.

But when you are ready, when you get it together to shop, there really is nothing quite like the new dress, and nothing better than putting on your contac lenses and a little make-up, showing up in it at a party and hearing people say, 
You look so young! You look wonderful! Where, oh where, did you buy that dress?

And your partner, if you have a partner, is watching you walk, is steering you away from the crowd to a quiet room to talk about his day, your day, and later, that night, after the party, he says to you, 
"The men were watching you all night, you know."
And you say,

"No, dear. I didn't notice."  And you didn't.

He looks confused, so you add, 

"I did it for you, dressed up, you know."

And until that moment you thought it was the women, their opinions on dresses, that counted.



Glimmer said…
I love the whole stream of this. From the girl in the wedding dress to the graduate wanting "just" the dress to the someone, ahem, who finally goes out and buys a dress but is too numb to notice the effect of it or even what is going on around her.

Very beautiful. Very very beautiful, Doc.
Have Myelin? said…
this made me smile.

and i want a "new dress" too. =p
therapydoc said…
Thanks so much. I had writer's remorse, almost took it down. Too personal. But if you two liked it, well, okay!
Ms. Adventuress said…
Beautiful. SO glad you didn't take it down.
tuesday@11 said…
Glad too that you did not take it down.I do not have the words to express how wonderful your posts are. I love how you change directions in a story and tie it all together. It was not too personal. Now, if you started writing about what happened after the dress came off that would be too personal.
therapydoc said…
I really did LOL there. Thanks.
Mound Builder said…
I thought it was very sweet, not too personal at all. I'm glad you didn't take it down.
porcini66 said…
Agree with the rest...this post speaks to the cycles in life, and the stages, so beautifully. Thanks, as always for writing. :)
therapydoc said…
Great hearing from you two.
Syd said…
Such an innocent post that says so much about you. I like it when you shed the therapy mode and just tell us who you are through your words.