Several months ago, my cell phone vibration shook my nightstand table and interrupted my nap. Through squinted eyes, the phone backlight was nowhere near as blinding as the blinging rock that jumped out of the phone and slapped me in the face. My sister was engaged. "And you know you have to be my maid of honor."
I have to admit that I found it difficult to jump for joy and bounce off the walls the way she wanted me to -- although I deserve an Academy Award for the performance I did put on. The truth of the matter is, not only did a text message disturb my nap and shake my nightstand; my whole world got turned upside down by these impending nuptials.
When we were young, I used to get tricked into playing games I didn't want to play. As the younger of the two, I inevitably got bullied into being the horse when we played cowboys or the baby when we played house. I'm particularly bitter about always having to be the yellow ranger because she had permanent dibs on the pink Power Ranger when we imitated our favorite show.
This habit has apparently continued into adulthood. Here she is, racing up the path lined with shades of peach, flowers and lace to say "I do," and then there's me -- being dragged behind her with bloody finger nails dug into the ground screaming "I don't!"
So I went on a mission to speak with wedding experts in an attempt to understand what goes on inside a bride's head -- and hopefully avoid hating my sister when all is said and done.
"People have been taught to think that they can be queen for a day on their wedding day," New York City wedding therapist and psychotherapist Annie Block Pearl told me. "It brings out that narcissistic quality in them."
My sister seems to think she is queen for the entire time spent planning her wedding -- which I have calculated is exactly 379 days. This is actually a generous estimate considering the fact that she began planning the damn event before her fiancé even considered proposing.
"The most important doll I ever received was my wedding Barbie," said Pearl. "That was the goal to be the bride."
If the first goal is to be the bride then the second goal is to drive the bridal party to drink, while simultaneously sending them to the poor house. God forbid any of these women miss the bachelorette party, bridal shower or rehearsal dinner. After requesting days off and paying for plane tickets, it would be a miracle if they had enough money left to buy a wedding gift, let alone a job to return to.
"It is not the bridesmaids' job to be an enslaved wedding assistant," said Anna Post, great great granddaughter of etiquette guru Emily Post and author and spokesperson for the Emily Post Institute.
Post's words were like that of an angel. She suggested that brides remember to ask their friends about what's going on in their lives, rather than carry on the obnoxious, self-absorbed three-hour conversations about invitations -- which I have had.
According to Post, the maid of honor is traditionally required to hold the bride's bouquet during the ceremony, serve as witness to the marriage certificate signing, and tend to the bride's dress after she leaves for her honeymoon. If that's my job description, then why the hell am I pulling my hair out over invitations, bridal shower décor, and guest flight arrangements? All of a sudden I've gone from a little sister to a wedding planner and a travel agent.
"You don't get married in a vacuum," said Post. "You do it with your friends and family, and with their help and often at the expense of their time and checkbook. Remember people are doing this because they love you. It's not a debt they owe to you."
Since brides won't listen to their bridesmaids--particularly because women will never really be able to get over that deep dark assumption that all their girlfriends are secretly jealous of them -- maybe they will listen to Post.