Category Archives: Furrow

Registering Continues to Suck

Last Sunday Collin and I attended a Crate & Barrel “registry event.” We dropped in the store (which is brand new to Pittsburgh) a few weeks ago to check out dish patterns and were immediately made as an engaged couple and invited to this event where the store opens early for registering couples so they can be given lots of attention to manage all their annoying questions like “is this carafe hand blown?” all while  mingling with other engaged couples over mimosas and pastries.

It was disappointing. First of all, growing up without religion has left me extremely ill-prepared to do anything outside the house before noon on Sundays. The event started at 9:00AM.  There was coffee, but it wasn’t enough.

Particularly because the mimosas did not exist. There was a  carafe (and I don’t know if it was hand-blown, but I’ll get to that in a minute) of freaking seltzer water with strawberries floating in it. And the pastries amounted to one stale apricot danish cut into thirty thumbtack-sized pieces.  Sorry to be an entitled bitch, but when I’m promised mimosas and pastries, I need more than fruit chunks in seltzer water and crumbs, especially at 9:00AM on a Sunday.

It got worse from there: the woman running the event pointedly handed the scanning gun to the dude in every couple, and a checklist to the woman. UGH.  BUH. BOO! I wonder what she would have done if there were a gay couple there? Given the gun to the more butch partner? I WISH I WERE JOKING.  This whole idea that men can only be made to tolerate wedding planning/domesticity when given toys, and women crave ever more wedding-related check boxes makes me feel pukish. And goddamnit, I want to use the scanner gun! That’s like 2% of the reason I got engaged in the first place!

The tour of the store was very spend-pressure-y (“be sure to register for furniture, just so your guests have an idea of your taste. And you never know, maybe a group of friends will go in on a $1,200 chaise.”1) and not nearly as informative as I wanted it to be (“The type of cookware you want depends on what kind of cook you are.” Full sentence. No follow-up. Not about what kinds of cook there are, and not about which cookware suits which.).

The lameness was not all Crate & Barrel’s fault, though. None of the couples talked to each other. I tried a few times to break the ice (“A multi-use avocado tool? What a space saver!”) but heard only crickets. Wedding blogs have spoiled me into thinking everyone else getting married around now will be awesome and friendly.

We’re also to blame. Collin and I were both grumpy and indecisive. Collin has bizarre issues about receiving gifts/attention that I blame on him having grown up with a twin sister, in particular one who is abundantly enthusiastic about everything she encounters. He got his painfully uncomfortable “present face” from the moment we started (or should I say HE started, grr) scanning. He wouldn’t make choices because he doesn’t like getting presents. I wouldn’t make choices because I don’t like making decisions. It was a very unpleasant stalemate.

And I couldn’t help but conflate Collin’s lack of enthusiasm about registering for a lack of enthusiasm for getting married, even though intellectually I knew that wasn’t fair. Plus, all jokes aside, I really do want that avocado spoon thingie. Registering isn’t all bad.

1Confidential to Liz: I only included that link because I know you already have a chaise. If you didn’t, I’d censor that for your own good. You know I love you.


Not Cool, Marty Stew

Martha Stewart Weddings’ email of the day promises “our favorite wedding dresses.”  Clicking through to the link, this is what pops up:

REALLY? Really, Martha Stewart Weddings, you’re leading off your wedding dress feature with THIS? During THIS?

I’m… just. I just—Gah. I am so embarrassed for Martha Stewart Weddings I can’t even really be properly outraged.

Ok, I gave it a minute, and yes I can:

It’s creepy enough to digest a city of 8 million people into FASHION INSPIRATION for American brides.  But showing a white lady in a flowy gown in front of a freakin’ tourism painting and blathering about Cleopatra while the Cairo that human beings actually live in is in crisis is disgusting.

The Egyptian government choked off its people’s access to the Internet, but the people were still able to organize a protest of two million.  Meanwhile, Martha Stewart Weddings is sending out casual e-blasts about thousand dollar dresses that will make American brides look fashionably Cairene.

Photo from BBC News


Showering in Sexism

My mother-in-law Viki called me earlier today and asked what I thought about having a co-ed wedding shower. “Awesome!” I told her. Dividing the attention with Collin? Still getting presents? Sounds like I’m making out like a bandit.

She checked in with Collin, he approved, and plans started hatching for a super-chill BBQ shower.  And then she headed out to a stationary store with a friend and fellow shower-host and looked at invitation options.

And then she called me.  “Robin… some of these invitations they are selling… you’re probably not going to like them very much.  Maybe we could send them as a joke, but I think you would be too upset by them to laugh.”

“What could be so upsetting about shower invitations?” I asked.

Stupid question.  Whenever the wedding world has the opportunity to bewilder, irritate, and outrage, it finds a way.

Here, it is with the assumption that the theme of a couple’s shower must be Fundamental Gender Differences. Observe:

[Source: Invitation Consultants]

Men like:

  • Hammers. MEN SMASH!
  • Fishing.
  • Golf.
  • Malt liquor.
  • Belts and/or microplanes (probably not a microplane because you can use that in a kitchen, which is where girls go!)
  • Items that can be used to cook meat outside. (Inside cooking or non-meat cooking is GIRL STUFF.)
  • Cigars.
  • Champagne and champagne flutes. (Probably the most progressively gender-neutral item pictured! I thought men only drank red wine. Or, preferably, beer!)
  • Tickets to public events (presumably to use with his buds, because womenfolk should stay in the homestead).
  • Power tools.
  • Other hardware, but most importantly: HAMMERS!

Women like:

  • Wisks.
  • Spatulas.
  • Spoons.  Anything that lets us stir!
  • Standing mixers. For motorized stirring!
  • Chopsticks! Cheese Graters! Other things that will make us feel less alone in the kitchen.
  • Recipe books for party food so we can be great hostesses.
  • Napkins. Ladies are neat, and love things made of fabric!
  • Flowers.
  • Necklaces.
  • Piiiiiiiiiiiiiink!
  • Picture frames. (We’re sentimentalists.)
  • Martini glasses. GIRLS’ NIGHT! WOO!

Men’s gifts and women’s gifts are so different that they should be physically segregated, preferably by buckets.  Otherwise those flighty ladies might start stirring something with a hammer!  Can’t have that.

I assume what is going on here is that a wedding shower is considered a girly event, so invitation designers are trying to restore the included groom’s masculinity. What better way to do this than by reminding the guests how even though this groom is going beyond his traditional role of “just showing up” on the wedding day, he still has a Y-chromosome, one that constantly yearns to hammer something.

Fortunately, Viki tells me she found a couple’s shower invitation that doesn’t involve creepy gender policing.  Which is great, because we really don’t need another hammer, and I don’t want people buying Collin one just because they think it’s the secret to saving his masculinity.

Wed Abbrevs I H8

I use abbreviations all the time.  In law, it’s unavoidable: the style guide for legal writing mandates hundreds of abbreviations.  And even though I’m not really a lawyer right now, I still need to abbrev sometimes, like if my tweet1 goes over 140 characters.

But wedding writers need to cool it with the abbreviations.   Now.

I get it. Wedding vocabulary is chockablock with long, hard-to-spell words.  Like “engagement” and “boutonniere” and “mother-in-law.”  But I literally just clocked it and I was able to type all three words in just over five seconds.  Even though I misspelled boutonniere the first time.

“E-ring” sounds like an electrified form of birth control.  I read “bout” and think about a boxing match, not a lapel decoration. I always hallucinate an F after “MIL.”

I can barely handle calling the women in my bridal party “bridesmaids,” but I still do sometimes because “the women in my bridal party” truly is a mouthful. But wedding magazines’ insistence upon shortening it to “‘maids” is disturbing. It makes it sound like you’ve got a cabal of spinster servants following you around in matching not-matching-but-color-coordinated dresses.

The jokes about “STDs” are too easy to make. [Here’s one: Joking about abbreviating “save the date” is like herpes: it never goes away.]  Why can’t we just stop calling them “STDs”?  And didn’t we all decide to call herpes, etc. “STIs” back in like, 1997, anyway?  Get your abbreviating act together, people!

Finally, in the name of all that is holy:  “Invites” is a VERB!

Please. For the sake of my sanity: take a break from brevity.

1A warning to anyone considering following me on Twitter: only about 5% of my tweets are about weddings. And I sometimes use the re-tweet button that everyone but me hates.

Dead is the New Sexy

Collin was just driving me home from the doctor, who was all, “Yeah, you have ATOMIC eczema… that will be 25 dollars.”  Tragically, he had his eyes on the road instead of where I was pointing and mumbling, “Holy… um… holy… UM HOLY POINT POINT POINT.”  So you’re just going to have to take my word on this one…

But I swear to god I saw a woman in a bridal gown lying upside down on the steps of the Mellon Institute.

I think she was being photographed.  I mean… I didn’t see a photographer.  But… why else would that be happening?

She maybe was just some poor bride who finally fell down after trucking through the ceremony, the reception, the after party, the after after party, the post-wedding brunch, the brunch after party, the brunch after after party, the brunch after after after party, a Monday at work where everyone kept asking her why she hadn’t changed since Saturday morning (how rude), happy hour, running back to the office to grab her brief case and a few cruel steps away from the bus stop tripping on the concrete steps and dashing her wifely brains out.  But I guess it’s OK because she didn’t die single?

Which brings me back to the photo shoot possibility: assuming there WAS a photographer hiding behind a column or something, why is “dead bride on concrete steps” something that should be the subject of a photograph? Maybe I don’t get art.

Or maybe I hallucinated the whole thing.  That’s somehow the least upsetting possibility.

In Which the Weddingstar Catalog Hurts My Soul

My future mother-in-law sent me a care package filled with wedding literature, including the Weddingstar “magazine,” which is actually a catalog for superfluous wedding paraphernalia, like monogrammed cake cutters and ring pillows to match your color theme.

They also have several pages of cake toppers.

I don’t know why I looked through them. Collin and I haven’t even decided if we’re going to have a cake, much less something on top of it. I should have known I was going to see the cake topper that has been annoying every feminist bride for decades:

But it. gets. worse.

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