I didn’t spend my childhood fantasizing about my wedding day. Instead, I spent my adolescence trying to get as many chemicals up my nose as possible. This type of behavior didn’t align with daydreams of meeting my husband and being treated like a princess on my big day. Due to my debaucherous lifestyle, I instead spent every waking hour envisioning my funeral. It was gonna be great. I was gonna play The Beatles White Album and you were all going to feel so horribly about the way you had treated me.
In a cruel twist of fate, I got sober instead and decided to live. Since my formative years had been spent racking up D.U.I.s and attempting to catalog my STDs, marriage still hadn’t piqued my interest. My time was split between relentlessly chain-smoking and trying not to drink. That was how I spent the bulk of my twenties. Ultimately, I ended up marrying my junkie ex-boyfriend and he too could not have been less interested in the minutia of our wedding day. We were so happy to be alive, we just wanted to make it legally binding before one of us relapsed or died. It was super romantic.
Since I had “insisted” on having a “destination wedding,” I was forced to also have a Chicago Wedding, Chicago Shower, and Chicago Bachelorette party. This was in addition to LA Wedding and LA Shower. The entire thing was ludicrous but, inevitably, if weddings don’t interest you, you will be bombarded with wedding hysteria.
Despite the knowledge that Chicago Wedding was on the horizon, I had paid no attention. Aside from agreeing to physically be in Chicago that weekend, I had offered no additional help or guidance. I figured our parents could run the show and that I would just show up and eat sausage. LA Wedding = Cheeseburgers. Chicago Wedding = Sausage. Beyond that, I cared zero about what was going to transpire.
But once again, I got hoodwinked by my family. I say “small wedding,” they invite 250 people; I say “casual BBQ,” they hire a staff of 17; I say “I don’t drink alcohol anymore so none of this is fun for me,” they concoct some sort of magical boozy lemonade drink that I cannot partake in but turned out to be the centerpiece of Chicago Wedding.
It wasn’t until the week before Chicago Wedding that it occurred to me that I’d need an outfit. Los Angeles Wedding Dress did not go well and I ended up looking pregnant. I had a new strategy this time. I’m not skinny BUT I have a huge ass and monstrous breasts which people seem to be into. For Chicago Wedding, I figured I’d just work with what the Good Lord had given me. So I bought a dress that basically made me look like street walker. Husband was very concerned by this approach. I had a mini-fashion show prior to leaving for Chicago and he was basically horrified:
Me: So what do you think?
Me: OMG, you think I look fat.
Husband: Nooo…I didn’t say that.
Me: Do you not want to get married anymore because I’m unattractive?
Husband: We already got married. This is just a reception.
Me: So you hate me?
Husband: Alison, I don’t hate you but that dress is too short. As a matter of fact, all your dresses are too short.
Me: ARE YOU SAYING I LOOK SLUTTY?!
Husband: You literally always do. I don’t even know what to say anymore.
But it was too late. That was the dress I bought and we were leaving the next day. At this point, I started to panic. Perhaps I should have put some thought into Chicago Wedding and how it was all going to shake out. I started thinking about all the things I should have done. For starters, my mother-in-law was hosting this fiasco and I probably should have contemplated thanking her. I immediately called actual mother and put her on the case.
Me: I never bought anything for mother #2. Is that bad?
Mimi: Why don’t we get her some flowers?
Me: I assume “we” means “you.”
Mimi: Fine. I’ll put something together and you can bring it. What kind of arrangement would you like?
Me: I don’t care. I trust your judgment. See ya tomorrow.
Note to self: Do not let Mimi go rogue when it comes to flower arrangements. My plan upon arriving in Chicago was to get my hair and makeup done and then pick up the flowers Mimi had orchestrated. Needless to say, what should have been a simple task resulted in a full-blown suburban meltdown.
For starters, I don’t pretend to know where one should get their wedding styling done in the suburbs so, again, I left this to Mimi. I was slightly concerned when I walked into the “salon” and all the styling stations had been fashioned with tool boxes. It looked like this had previously been an auto-shop dedicated to NASCAR and that these broads had just taken over and opened their salon “as-is.” In addition, there was a lot of suburban fashion happening in that place. The trend in Los Angeles right now is to dye your hair gray-purple — grayple, if you will. While we can all agree that grayple is ridiculous, at least it’s fashionable — to some degree. None of these suburban broads had heard of the grayple trend that was sweeping the nation. They were still locked into the Kate Plus Eight buzzcut and blonde highlights. Clearly, I’m not attractive — but I knew enough to know you should not mirror yourself after a woman who had a small army rip their way through her vagina. No one can think rationally after such an event and she did not strike me as the fashion idol everyone in the suburbs found her to be.
After spending two hours in the salon, I had a headache from the 500 bobby pins that were used to fasten what was essentially a Toddlers-and-Tiaras-style bun to the side of my head. I was miserable. It wasn’t until I arrived at Chicago Wedding that I realized how dire this situation actually was. My friend Laura pointed out that I looked as though I was about to enter the Ice Capades. She was right. Instead of looking like Kate Plus Eight, I looked like Nancy Kerrigan, and quite frankly my heels were too high and I was wobbling so I was channeling Nancy post Knee-Gate. It was regrettable.
It was in this state that I walked into our local grocery store, Jewel, to pick up the flowers real mom had ordered for mom #2. I was already suspicious since Mimi had chosen to order flowers from the same organization that brings us corn dogs as opposed to ordering flowers from, say, an actual flower shop. But it was too late. I walked in and was presented with what can best be described as an ornate funeral arrangement. I was horrified. I slowly toppled out of the grocery store, leaving the funeral flowers where they were and headed home to meet up with my friend Morgan. She took one look at me and understood that I had reached full levels of mania. Chicago Wedding was not going well.
Me: I’m falling apart. We need to cancel Chicago Wedding.
Morgan: Just relax. What is happening?
Me: I can’t feel any portion of my skull and Mimi bought funeral flowers.
Morgan: I’m sure they’re fine. Is that what you’re wearing?
Me: YES, IT’S WHAT I’M WEARING, MORGAN! Oh God, how bad is it? Do I look slutty?
Morgan: I mean…no more than usual.
Morgan: What?! It’s sort of your thing. Just embrace it.
Me: I hate everyone.
Morgan: Listen, we’re going to go back to Jewel, pick up the funeral flowers, go to Chicago Wedding and have a great time. You look adorable. Get in the car. We can smoke there.
Those were the sweet words I needed to hear. Morgan took control from there. And just as I was beginning to feel like everything was going to work out, I entered Chicago Wedding and was faced with the realization that I am always right and that I have every reason to believe that nothing in my life will ever work out.
Here’s the thing. I shouldn’t have been wearing a short dress nor are hooker heels an appropriate choice for anything beyond sex for money. But Morgan had made me feel so confident that I completely forgot what was happening. She had at least talked me into wearing underwear instead of a thong and I will be forever grateful. Because as I was greeting my guests, I embraced my friend Charlie for a big hug and realized that something was pulling at my dress. Of course Charlie didn’t know what was happening, thought I was trying to get out of hugging him and therefore just held me tighter so at this point I was basically in a choke hold. I had a hard time escaping his grip and when I did, I turned to see my brother-in-law behind me.
Me: What the fuck are you doing?
Brother-In-Law: What are you talking about?
Me: Someone just lifted my dress.
Brother-In-Law: Alison, you’re barely wearing a dress, I’m sure it was the wind.
Me: HOW DARE YOU!
At this point, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Charlie’s son, smiling like the devil and grasping a handful of leaves. Apparently, because he’s a small child and therefore a literal monster, he had seen my ice-skating dress, walked up behind me, lifted my dress from behind, and tried to stick a handful of leaves in my underwear thereby having me flash the entire Chicago Wedding. It was the equivalent of wrapping dollar bills into a stripper’s G-string and who could blame him? Despite my attempts to look quasi-attractive, I once again looked like a hooker. And clearly I couldn’t spank the future sex-offender toddler because then I’d be giving him what he wanted. Sicko.
Ultimately, everyone at Chicago Wedding saw my ass. This is not the type of grace I was hoping to exude, but who was I kidding. Even when I spend every waking moment trying to be appropriate and demure, I end up with an ass full of leaves and unwanted propositions for sex — it’s who I am. It took everything in me not to start pounding the lemonade concoction and eventually I just changed into pajamas. I had tried and failed to be wedding appropriate. At the end of the night, my family spent over an hour getting all those God damn bobby pins out of my hair. I slept like a motherfucking baby that night. It could have been because my blood was finally circulating after removing all of those pins; or because I had just made the most I’ll ever make as a stripper; or because I had found my One True Love and married the shit out of him. But mostly I slept a beautiful, restful slumber because all wedding festivities, all trying on of dresses, all vendor hiring and food ordering and pining after alcohol-infused lemonade concoctions was finally… over.