My failures as a bridesmaid began at David's Bridal. Maybe I have body dysmorphia or something, but I find the idea of wearing an outfit that other people will be wearing hellacious. Some people call this concept "uniforms," but I call it a disillusion of the self.
I had, of course, missed the big bridesmaid event when all the girls tried on their dresses at the same time in Jersey. I don't live in Jersey, and never have, and I couldn't be there. So I was left to procrastinate endlessly. The bride called me a few times, gently prodding: "Hey beautiful, have you had your fitting yet?" I'm rather runty. I was the shortest bridesmaid by a few heads, and they don't sell petites to accommodate busty, bootylicious, short Jews at David's Bridal, which is definitely an establishment run by Christians, or at least, by tall people. So it was inevitable that the dress would need to come up, in and out to the side in places. I was putting the whole thing off for a multitude of reasons.
The bride, my extraordinary and beloved friend, Helen, gave us gals several options. My favorite was a definitively gorgeous option that looked good on her skinny sister, but on me looked like... well, bad. But I did fall in love with one of the choices: a beaded, empire-waist option that accentuated some bits, and hid other bits, a.k.a the perfect dress. I called Helen from the shop. I was ecstatic. I had survived the lonesome dress selection of the prodigal bridesmaid who fails to attend the fitting, and is then an hour late and accidentally spends $72 getting to the bridal shower -- a trip that only costs $14 if you know how to navigate New Jersey transit.
"Emma, I'm so glad you like the beaded, empire-waist dress! Unfortunately, that's for the maid of honor (another beautiful sister)."
Oy. I am fundamentally incapable of not trying to upstage other people. Of course, I pick the dress that's obviously for the most special person. It's in my nature. I did think it was weird that one dress "option" had all these awesome beads, and the others didn't. Left to my own devices, I'd probably have just shown up in a puffy, white dress, only to be shunned out of the church in a hail of angry rice, saying: "But I love Helen, I just wanna support her!"
But the dress I did choose, the remaining option, the only option, looked lovely in the end -- once the dour, resting bitchy-faced Yugoslavian seamstress was done with me. She deftly took up all the parts of the dress and transformed it into a watermelon-colored, satin ideal of a perfect fit.
But the time came this winter to sell the dress at the consignment place down the street. I have a gentle abdominal paunch forming, nothing serious, but it's not ideal for this particular dress. Perhaps if it was an empire-waisted beauty queen dress with lots of beads all over the titties -- Yes, that might have been nice.
Originally published on Comediva.com.