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The Bride in Her Head, by Lena Dunham

Because, like everything she writes, it’s funny, fiercely honest and whip smart. And because, on some level, I’m pretty sure we can all relate to a lot of what she’s talking about.

 

“Recently, I found a drawing from tenth grade, an anime-inspired rendering of someone meant to be the adult me wearing a shredded lace gown and combat boots.
Recently, I found a drawing from tenth grade, an anime-inspired rendering of someone meant to be the adult me wearing a shredded lace gown and combat boots. Like most little girls, I had a fluffy white approximation of a bridal gown that I wore around our house until it lay in tatters. I often begged my tomboy cousin to play groom, a job she bore with sufficient humor. A wedding was, I imagined, an incredible day, better than your birthday, Halloween, and Hanukkah combined, with all eyes on you—a chance to be the star of your own show.

This wedding fever had not been contracted from my mother. Like many feminist women of the eighties, she had married with some hesitation. She wore a sharp suit and spectator pumps to a morning ceremony in the basement of a synagogue. Her opinion of weddings seemed to be much like mine is now on sex in public places: enjoy yourself but get it done fast, and let’s please not get caught. Her wedding photos seemed to me an utter waste of time and resources. She wasn’t even wearing her signature red lipstick. Sometimes, I would take her wedding shoes out of her cedar closet and try them on, hoping to absorb some of their special power.

Eventually, I outgrew my bridal fantasies and moved on to other areas of imaginary play (being the President’s daughter, joining a sorority). But, when I was eleven, my babysitter Noni got engaged, and wedding mania swept our home once more. We spent every day after school flipping through bridal magazines and discussing the details: Sleeves or strapless? Hair up or down? Surf and turf or chicken? My mother would come home to find us deep in wedding plans, drawing up seating charts and designing place cards. This had to be a confusing sight for a woman who had once given me a T-shirt emblazoned with a picture of handcuffed suffragettes. My work as junior wedding planner could only have been a disappointing mystery to her.

When Noni walked down the aisle, in a dress encrusted with every shiny doodad in the known universe, her enormous family filled the church with the echoes of their sobs. I cried, too, but for a different reason than I had expected: I was embarrassed. Something about the spectacle of the ceremony—Noni being handed off from father to husband like a doll at a yard sale—struck me as patronizing, outdated, and terrifying.

As a teen-ager, I continued to imagine my wedding, but now it was an alternate version, informed by my newfound status as a self-proclaimed “weird girl.” Recently, I found a drawing from tenth grade, an anime-inspired rendering of someone meant to be the adult me wearing a shredded lace gown and combat boots. Beside the image, I had listed details of the wedding: Tofurky would be served. The White Stripes would play, followed by Sade. My mother would walk me down the aisle. But, despite my self-regarding rejection of tradition, despite the riot grrrl costume, there she was, drawn in my own hand: thin, blond, breasts perky as hell, and veil perched daintily. A bride all the same.”

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