Sunday, March 31, 2013

Potato-sack

The Jezebel ring-threads I find so fascinating now have a companion piece: the comments on a personal essay about one woman's journey from expensive Bergdorf's wedding dress to a somewhat cheaper Bergdorf's wedding dress. The essay itself is... as good as an essay on that topic is going to be.

The comments, however, are spectacular. Wouldn't you know it but NYT comment-leavers and their spouses/mothers/whatever got married in "a simple white drees [sic] that back then probably was a hundred bucks," "a $75 dress I'd found on the clearance rack," "a lovely regular length white dress (a hand-me-down given to me by another friend)," "a very inexpensive, non-wedding dress I got from an amazing little shop in Antwerp, Belgium," "a $35 vintage 40s black dress," "a very simple, white, almost 'peasant' number with flared sleeves and a scooped neck," "a beautiful used wedding dress at Value World for about $10," and however many more.


And it's very much like the ring competitions, except that here, the woman is actually deciding for herself what she wants to wear. The oneupmanship over who has the cheapest and most ethical and most original engagement ring are a big harder to take because many (most?) of these rings were selected for the woman in question. It becomes this pseudo-feminist competition over whose fiancé/husband is the most sensitive to his fiancée/wife's progressive, independent spirit. Unless there was a gender-neutral or gender-reversed proposal and both spouses got a ring. Then there can still potentially be sanctimony (as well as ignorance re: the provenance of gems that are not diamonds), but there's at least consistency.

The dress version is, for those reason and others (namely my subjective assessment of such matters), less off-putting. I mean, this is a dress you wear once (twice if you celebrate with family in two different locales, or this was my approach), and there is a huge markup on bridal-looking white dresses that are officially wedding dresses - one that's readily avoided either by just buying that kind of dress at a normal (even high-end) store, or by going with other formalwear. Or a potato sack. As wary as I am of fauxbivalence, the Cheapness Studies angle might cancel it out. 

2 comments:

Noelle said...

This has nothing to do with weddings, but I noticed what seems to be an actual YPIS poem, and couldn't help but bring it to your attention: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poem/245584.

Phoebe said...

So it is!