As a well-liked girl in my mid-twenties, in possession of all my teeth and the requisite little black dress, I attend a lot of weddings. The damned things are unavoidable. Second cousins, friends from college, and my next-door neighbors are all determined to have me drink champagne and throw rice at them. This is fine. I love a good wedding! Who doesn’t enjoy watching well-dressed people pledge their eternal love and dance awkwardly? Plus, there’s cake. I have no arguments with people feeding me cake. (Which, incidentally should be white with white icing. If you decide to forgo this old standard in favor of cake balls or pie or – horror! – an ice cream sundae bar, I will not-so-silently judge you for all eternity.)
Unfortunately, sometimes one of your closest friends decides to don the veil. This means one thing, kittens: you will attend her bridal shower. I know. It sucks. Don’t worry, it happens to everyone. This past weekend, I myself even fell victim to one of these quiche-ridden events. We will get through this together.
The Bridal Shower, A Primer. What horrors await you and how to survive them sanely.
- Small Talk With Your Elders. While some of your friends will surely undergo this shower with you, most of the attendees will be friends of the bride’s mother. If your friend’s mum is a former trapeze artist turned roller derby queen, you’re in luck. Her friends will be awesome. They will regale you with stories of their lion hunts in Africa and that time they made out with David Cassidy backstage at the Grammys. If she’s a suburban mom with highlights and a BMW, prepare yourself. You will be asked: what you do for a living, if you’re married, if you think what you do for a living is keeping you from marriage, and if you know that fertility drops sharply after 30. In my experience, it’s best to lie. Lie like a rug, my darling chickpeas. It’s not that you’re single, it’s that you just got out of a bad relationship. (No need to elaborate that said relationship was with your old iPod. Those click wheels are so finicky!) If you’re happily in a relationship, but not ready to get married? Let it slip that it’s not legal to get married in your state yet. The Man is so harsh on kissing cousins, yo! Your goal is to get these ladies moving on to someone else. You need to get some more champagne.
- There Will Not Be Food. Look, I know your friend is having this event catered. I know it’s noon on a Saturday, prime lunch hour. Logic would say that you’ll be fed. Don’t believe it! You’re going to need to grab some Chick-Fil-A beforehand, readers. What your friend, her mind clouded by an extreme pre-wedding diet, really means is there will be display food. It was chosen to be photogenic, not filling. A dozen mini-quiches on a bed of lettuce, a party tray of vegetables, and an artful tower of cucumber sandwiches – this is the fare of a bridal shower. If you’re lucky, there will be a bowl of crackers next to the Low-Cal Ranch Dip, with which you can stave off starvation. When groups of women attend social functions together, we like to pretend that we eat like birds. This is fucking ridiculous. Perhaps it’s unladylike, but I will always prefer a cheese-heavy fajita to a cup of pasta salad. Woman cannot watch brides unwrap bowls on carrots alone.
- There Will Be 1950s Undertones. We are well into the 21st century, but bridal showers exist in a time warp, my dears. Prepare to hear jokes about how long it took the groom to propose, how your friend must learn to cook, and how that apron she just opened will be great to don with heels & pearls while she vacuums. In the real world, most of these attendees are normal, awesome women. When a girl gets married, however, many feel the need to pass on ridiculous wisdom about maxing out her man’s credit cards and suffering in silence when the groom watches too much football. It’s best to just bite your tongue. No one wants to be that girl who was pepper-sprayed at the shower, after starting an argument about the gender breakdown of sports fans.
- You Will Play Soul-Crushing Games. Similar to elementary school holiday parties, you may find yourself called upon to do IQ-diminishing “fun” things. Expect to be wrapped head-to-toe in toilet paper by your fellow party-goers. This is meant to recreate the bride’s wedding dress! Charmin is so much hotter than Vera Weng, y’all. Alternately, there may be a quiz about the groom’s vital statistics. If you wrote that his nickname is TwinklyBooBooBear, you get a point! If you’re lucky, your hosts will pass around “Vow Sheets,” on which attendees can write their own vows for the bride & groom. Hooray! This is the time to make your minor grievances against either party known. Some popular choices are: I vow to stop making fun of your penis size to my friends! I promise not to be an asshole and cheat on you again with that girl from college! I swear to cut your ironic hipster mustache in the dead of night!
- Prepare To Be Amazed By A Fork. You use kitchenware everyday – pots, spoons, even plates. How different can bridal shower gifts be? Oh, just wait. When your dear friend opens up a crystal bowl she registered for, because one of the perks of getting married is choosing your own gifts, the room will erupt in squeals of joy rarely heard outside a Justin Bieber concert. Someone will remark on what a wonderful size it is, how hard to find! Someone else will enunciate the uses of such a magnificent specimen – you can put Christmas ornaments in it or pistachios! At some point, the bride will open a silverware setting. That setting will then be passed around, so everyone can properly appreciate it. When this happens, have something encouraging to say. I usually go with: Oh my God! It’s a fork! How wonderful! Said in a joyful manner, as if you’ve spent the last two-and-a-half decades twirling spaghetti with your fingers, this will seem befitting of your envious single status. One day, someone will assure you with a pat on the hand, you’ll deserve a fancy fork too.
Hopefully, this will help you in your time of need, lieblings. Arm yourself with champagne, a wide, manic smile, and diversionary small talk. You’ll survive. Just remember – grab something to eat first, because there will not be food.