Monday, 11 October 2010

To Have and to Hold.....

Yesterday, a friend asked me a bizarre, nonsensical and utterly baffling question. “Do you want to get married one day?,” she asked. For a split second I thought she might be proposing;, that her panic at her impending 30-and-single status and the apparent non-existence of any normal single men in the World had driven her to lesbianism. But no, upon further examination it transpired that she meant exactly what she said – Did I want to get married one day?

‘To whom?’ I enquired. ‘Whoever’ she said. ‘You know, someone’.

‘But……’ I responded, brows knitted in earnest ‘….I’m not even seeing anyone’.

‘Yeah….but…. Do you want to get married? One day? To someone’.

After several minutes of this seemingly impenetrable conversational loop we established that she perceived marriage as a stand-alone ambition. Something one worked towards. Like becoming an Executive, or travelling round the Globe. I differ somewhat fundamentally, in that I always envisaged that, in the eventuality of my entering into nuptials, I’d meet someone and think ‘I’d rather like to marry YOU’. To me, marriage is person-subjective. But, it seems, if the evidence of my mate is anything to go by, a lot of women are walking around nurturing the idea that THEY WANT TO GET MARRIED.

I’m intrigued. How do these women function, cerebrally? What’s it like in their universe? Are they constantly assessing every man they encounter, thinking ‘ooooh, I could marry you’, or not, as the case may be? The mind boggles.
Anyway, the entire conversation got me thinking, unusually, about wedding dresses and their implication for the body confidence debate.

Now, I’m aware that there are lots of different types of wedding dresses and what I am about to say may potentially be a hugely offensive mass generalisation, but one can only speak from experience.

The reason I have a fundamental objection to the prevailing wedding dress trends is this – They are designed to conform to the generally quite patriarchal structure of a bygone society, as is in fact the entire traditional wedding ceremony. “Giving the bride away?” suggests that she is property to be passed ceremonially from one man to another like cattle. “Love, honour and obey” – Obey? Hardly words inspired by enlightening times.

The strapless bodice and enormous great puffy skirt trend instantly transforms the most independent, capable woman into someone who has all the appearance of a six year old at her first tea party. Fairy princess chic is a contradiction in terms, as far as I’m concerned.

If life takes me on a meeting-someone-suitable-for-marriage type trajectory, I envisage myself wearing something that makes me look like a formidable Amazonian Goddess Queen type person. That makes me look like a grown up. For pledging your life to someone by means of a legally binding contract is a really rather grown up thing to do.

I saw a grown-up vision of resplendent elegance in a Bride once. Admittedly, she was my mother, who I can confidently assert shares at least some of my views on the whole marriage issue. She got her dress from Bodice and Bustle, a boutique run by a woman so devoted to finding you a flattering dress and, more crucially, fitting it correctly (if you will insist on the six year old at a tea party look it is at least important to NOT look as though you borrowed the dress from your Mum), I have my doubts as to whether she ever sleeps.

So, brides to be, do it for me – I want to start a revolution with this blog – A trend for women who look like women when they marry their dream man (or, at least, a half decent man, if you’re the ‘I want to get married’ type). A protest against all the androgynous, little-girl-lost images we’re so used to seeing in fashion and therefore shouldn’t be seeing in aisles up and down the country. Go to www.bodiceandbustle.com

2 comments:

  1. When I asked a few girls at work, as an experiment, the same question "Do you want to get married one day?", their responses were broadly the same - 'yes'.

    Upon further probing, the more elaborate answer which I came up with is (mostly my own viewpoint):
    "I would like to be in the position one day where I am so in love, and so devoted to someone, that I feel ready to make a lifetime commitment to them, share everything I am, have and ever will be and have with them, and express through marriage, our love for each other".

    I see your viewpoint entirely however, and I completely agree; I would never just 'want to get married' as an ambition. That's a bit like having an ambition to buy a car.

    As a wedding photographer, I spend some time researching weddings and what brides and grooms want from them, and yes, there are some whose sole ambition it is to be married (some for devious reasons) just for the sake of it, but most couples seem to want to get married as an expression of love. No offence to your friend, but I'd hate to think that every woman's sole ambition is to just get married for the sake of it.

    As a side note, would you really like to dress up as a 'formidable Amazonian Goddess Queen type figure'?

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  2. Yep, for I am a formidable Amazonian Goddess Queen type figure, and I should very much like to look like me.

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