Sunday, February 22, 2009

Keeping Up Appearances -- For Posterity

It's been well-established throughout, but for those arriving late to the party let me reiterate: Our primary preoccupation leading up to, and on the big day?  Exactly. 

Clearly the lovely bride does not require the time and effort we need to prepare for W-Day. She already has the advantage. Apart from the premise everyone is coming to see her in the show-stopping dress, etc. She's at least 20-some to 30 years younger than we are and no matter how desperately we want to believe 50 is the new 40; 60 the new 50 (and I admit in some cases it appears to be true). Fifty is not the new 30 and most definitely not the new 25, no matter how intimate one's relationship with the medical community.  

Yes, it's all about us.  Of course we'll play our official role; fulfill all our duties dutifully; support our darling daughters through the traumatic labyrinth of preparations for our big day. However, none of this precludes losing sight of our major objective: Our up-coming public appearance.

Until recently I had forgotten yet another argument for why we must look gorgeous on W-Day, apart from the well documented reasons:  ex-husbands; new and old ex-wives and girlfriends; various children involved in all those alliances; friends and relatives we haven't seen in decades; relatives of the family into which our offspring is marrying; people we've never met (and will probably never see again as long as we live) and obviously all the photo ops.  

What did I leave out? Paintings(!)

Yes indeed, an oil painting commemorating the grand event to hang in pride of place chez the newlyweds for the rest of their lives.  Too exciting.

Now this is a tad delicate, but with our usual aplomb I have no doubt we can pull this off with grace and grandeur.  Note artwork above by one of my close friends.  She paints under the name "Bouchon" (when I asked her if I could use her real name here -- because bouchon 
means "a small, rustic restaurant"* -- she said, "no," actually she said, "non" -- she's French.) As you can see these are her naive paintings of weddings.  Talk about the gift that keeps on giving.  

In fact, in the last picture above Andrea is the third bridesmaid from the left in the mauve dress she has never worn since. She and a group of friends gave this commemorative painting as their gift to the bride and groom.

I bring this up because "Bouchon" who lives in France paints wedding from all over the world using the photos and the directions (hold this word in your mind) from the gift giver.  Are you following me?  If we're in charge of the directions, who do we put up front in the painting? You've got it.  And our control doesn't stop there. We can ask the artist to make the following adjustments in her final oeuvre, for example: make us look 20 pounds thinner; nip-in the jacket at the waist; touch-up the hair to a more caramel than platinum shade, or vice-versa; reverse that shocking spray-on tan; make the pearls larger than they were in real life and whatever else we didn't have the time or the prescience to correct prior to the big day.

I do not recommend changing one's clothes or miniaturizing the newlyweds.  I believe that would reflect badly upon us and our raison d'├ętre is to burnish our image on all fronts. But I see no reason why we cannot request people we do not like to appear the size of fly-specks if for some familial obligation it would cause an enormous brouhaha if they were completely eliminated from the canvas.

A short review of the paintings from top to bottom:
  • Excellent size and placement of the MOB, i.e. front-and-center. The eye is drawn right to her.
  • Well placed, note bride has back turned to viewers -- not bad at all.
  • Iffy, it seems the MOB is next to the bride which is obviously a well thought out position, however we can barely see her.  I would suggest Bouchon darken her outfit slightly. (Who's going to remember?  Dark grey, light grey?  Not to worry. I would also change the color of her shoes from black to something else, but that's just me. . .)
  • Well-balanced with a generous positioning of the couple, but perhaps the MOB could be slightly larger(?)
(*Yes, I know for all you oenophiles, bouchon also means "cork" but that's not the way Bouchon is translating the word.)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Details, Details, Details

It's true.  I am relentless.  And with good reason.  Rarely does life offer occasions on which one can not only burnish stellar reputations on all the superficial levels for which we care so deeply OR --  and here is where we have a truly exceptional opportunity -- where we can re-establish, re-create or completely re-invent ourselves.  

Hello?  That day has come (or is coming).

Once again I must emphasize:  Every detail counts.  I realize you may think, ever so fleetingly, all I do is carp, carp, carp, but au contraire. When one seeks perfection, one must be rigorous. We're planning for one of the most important events in our lives.  

Nothing is insignificant.  For precisely that reason, I bring up a subject some might consider inconsequential:  Handkerchiefs.  They are not.

Under no circumstances should your lovely little shoulder bag (in the future we'll be discussing the pros -- there are no cons -- of shoulder bags for the MOB) be stuffed with tissues.

On the outside chance you forget you paid a makeup artist to apply every hi-tech, light-reflecting, beauty-enhancing product that exists and you feel a tear spilling over your lower lashes: For heaven's sake catch it with an exquisite, lace-trimmed handkerchief. 

You see what I mean about details?  A kleenex could be a reputation breaker.  Seriously.  

You will note in the Picasso painting "Woman Crying" (with handkerchief I might add) her makeup is a complete mess.  

Some women have a shoe fetish, I have a handkerchief fetish.  (I happen to know two other perfectly normal women -- well, one is a little crazy, but the other one seems OK -- who also collect handkerchiefs.)  We needn't discuss this further, suffice it to say you will need at least one beauty for your bag, just in case.  Not to be a priss or anything, but a lady should always have a beautiful hanky with her at all times even if it's nestled up against a plastic pack of paper tissues, just for the sake of appearances.   And what do we care most about in this world? You've got it:  Appearances.

Almost forgot.  While searching for handsome hankies to illustrate my point I found one embroidered with the following message:  "This loving reminder, For all the years, You dried my tears."  I guess the bride is supposed to give it to her mother. . . I thought about including the photo in a "don't even think about it" postscript, but was afraid someone might try to sue me.  The others pictured are from the Irish Linen Company.