Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Is "No Chicken Nuggets in the Bathroom" Too Much To Ask?

Now the ugly truth: that particular day, I had possibly the least special-bridey-romantic-pretty moment of this whole process so far.

After trying on the first  50  six dresses, I had to use the loo, so I excused myself and made my way to the ladies' room. I walked in, locked the door behind me, and immediately gasped aloud at the filth. In addition to pee-stains (EWWWW) and random clumps of toilet paper clinging wetly in the corners (GROOOSSSS), THERE WERE HALF-EATEN CHICKEN NUGGETS STREWN ABOUT THE FLOOR.

Don't believe me? Oh, I took a picture:

Can you see the pee? And the nugget? And some toilet paper bits?
In one shot, I tried to capture as much of the environment as possible.

I wanted to run screaming from this gross room, crying out a warning to everyone else: "They keep saying words like special and beautiful bride and magic and organza fantasy BUT IT'S A SHAM, THERE ARE CHICKEN NUGGETS IN THE CRAPPER!"

Trouble was, I really had to pee. I knew I couldn't squeeze into any more dresses without doing so, and knew I had several more selections already pulled from the racks from my dear friend and the darling MOB, awaiting my return. So I took a picture, steeled my nerves, then commenced with the task at hand, hovering over the toilet...

... which is when I learned that the lock to the door did not work, because without so much as a courtesy knock (WHEN DID PEOPLE STOP COURTESY KNOCKING?!) some stranger barged right into the room and stared at me on the toilet.

"Oh!" She gasped. "Sorry!"

Then her eyes drifted down to the chicken nuggets, and she continued staring WITH THE FREAKIN' DOOR OPEN, until I said "Please close the door!"

Which she did.

But it was too late.

I felt violated, disgusting, disgusted, and decidedly non beautiful-bride-y.

Come on, bridal shop. Step it up! Is "no chicken nuggets in the bathroom" (okay, and no strangers watching me pee) really too much to ask?

I think not.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I Won't Be a Princess Bride, But...

Okay. After a deeper previous post, which yielded some truly thoughtful comments on what's in a name (thanks, y'all!), I was going to go to my next think-piece. But people keep asking for pictures of me trying on wedding dresses. So, while I may not ever be a Princess Bride, in the words of one famous farm boy...

Enjoy the pictures. (And next time, I'm going to tell you how I *really* feel about a certain major bridal apparel company. And then, back to the think pieces. Probably. And more updates to #TheList!)


There was the dress with the lovely back...

Kudos to the MOB for this artsy shot.

And the dress that taught me I truly hate chiffon...

I like nothing about this. No. Thing.
And the dresses that taught me I actually don't hate lace and/or some delicate detailing...

And the one princess-y dress that I did kinda like...

And the other princess-y dress - the one that wanted to TAKE OVER THE WORLD:

This dress was big.

Dramatically, emphatically big.

*None of these are THE dress. But each of them taught me something, bringing me one step closer to figuring out what to wear for the big day. Even GIANT DRESS. Thanks to the MOB and the Diana for taking pictures, and helping me keep this stressful outing light. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Will I Change My Name?

"It'll be so weird when you change your name," said a friend recently, quite casually.

"She's not changing her name," shot back another friend, before I could even reply. "She would never change her name."

I started working on this post, and Groupon sent this out.
"Well, I might, but I might not," I said, and they both stared at me, equally shocked.

That's the truth, or at least, that's a snapshot of the truth, right now. But now moves quickly, as does truth. And when it comes to the name game, the whole truth is a trickier and constantly-evolving little beastie.

Truth, Then: Despite being raised by a feminist mom (who hyphenated her name, by-the-by) and open-minded dad, I still grew up assuming that someday I'd grow up, find Prince Charming, marry him, and then we'd be the Charmings.

(Incidental Reality: I didn't ever meet Prince Charming. But I did eventually meet a guy who, as it happens, has a last name that essentially translate as Prince. Close enough for this chick!)

Truth, Now(-ish): I'm really attached to my name. I have several publications attributed to this name, a solid professional reputation linked to it, more than three decades' worth of largely-positive-associations with this moniker - to say nothing of, like, Twitter and stuff. I've done a lot as this person, called by my name. It's understandable that my close friend (several, actually) was shocked I would even consider changing my name. Plus, I'm certainly a feminist, progressive person who balks at the idea of having my identity somehow become adjunct, deferring and docilely submitting my own name and allowing it to fade into oblivion as I now don my husband's name.


My current name, let's be honest, is still tied in to the patriarchy. It's my father's surname, and his father's surname (well, his father's post-Ellis-Island surname; really, this name with this spelling has only been in the family for three generations). My mother hyphenated her own name, but my siblings and I all simply had my father's name. I love my father; I'm proud to have his last name...

Yet, objectively, am I any more or less a part of the patriarchal system if I keep my dad's last name, as opposed to taking my chosen partner's last name?

Still, even if it trotted its way down a patrilneal path to get to me, my name has now been mine for thirty-two years. After this much time, I have claimed it, shaped the perceptions associated with it, and giving it up seems ludicrous. So as of a few weeks ago, I made the decision - and even announced to a few close friends - that I would be keeping my name.

And then...

I had yet to fully discuss these thoughts with The Fiance. (BTW, I'm going to preempt the "why doesn't he change his name?!" question and say that honestly, he has a really cool name - an alliterative name that he loves, and makes him feel close to the alliteration-addicted-allies he adores, like Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, etc. Not to get a dig in about age, but he's had his name even longer, and for a variety of genuinely-not-Neanderthal-ish reasons, him changing his name is not on the table.)

And then, yet another chatty friend said, in front of The Fiance, "So, like, are you keeping your name or what?"

I just stared at her for a second. Poor thing had no idea how big a question she'd just asked, especially since she asked it of me, and my mind has thirty thousand thoughts swirling around in it on a slow day.

Luckily, The Fiance, who is rarely at a loss for words and always quick to look out for my feelings, took the opportunity to make this lovely statement: "Oh, I pretty much assumed that you would want to keep your name, and that's totally fine with me, of course. I don't see it as any sort of litmus test, does-she-love-me-enough-to-take-my-name or anything. Anyway, it's a good name. (Says my full name.) I love that girl."

And right then, I realized that dammit, no litmus test required, I do want to share a name with him. The feminist in me pouted, but then she got a little less petulant and a little more poignant about it. It's still my choice, after all, and isn't that what it's all about? Not the ultimate choice we make on issues like this, but the fact that we're empowered to have our own choice in the first place?

People change names to mark transitions. When someone takes on a new faith, or confirms their faith, they often receive a new name: a Hebrew name after conversion to Judaism, a Christian name after baptism, heck-- the Pope gets a new name when he gets the big gig, and far as I know there haven't been too many lady-Popes. So it's not just a gendered thing - although speaking of gender, trans* persons go through the process of finding themselves a new name that honors their identity. People change their names for plenty of other reasons: to advance their career, to better reflect their personality, to mark themselves in some way as something different from how they felt encased in their old name.

I do believe that marriage will be a transition; that something about my identity will shift, though I will remain autonomous and very much myself. I will be committing, publicly and wholly, to throw my lot in with another person's, and create a new family. (Let's not even open the issue of having the same last name is easiest if there's kids - this post is already looooong.) It is a transition, and thus many things will change - but will my name be one of them?

The Inconvenient, Clock's-Ticking Truth: I still don't know. At the moment, I'm considering hyphenation for daily life, but maintaining my current name as my professional name. I still don't have a final decision... but I did buy that Groupon, just in case.

What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear from folks who took their partner's name, folks who kept theirs, who hyphenated, whose partner took their name, folks who changed their name due to another change or transition in their life... What was this decision-making process like for you, and when (if ever) did you "know" what the right name would be?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Ladies & Gentlemen, WE HAVE A VENUE!

Now that the deposit check has cleared, it's official: WE HAVE A VENUE!

And the winner is.... THE ECLECTIC ART MUSEUM! 


There are no pictures of the two of us there, yet. But there will be. Oh, there will be.


So, hooray! And holy (bleep). We have a lot of other stuff to do now...

...but at least we know we'll have a place to *do* that other stuff! :)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Bachelor vs. Spinster

Okay. Before I jump back into this whole bridal-awesome-weird-hot-mess-shebang, I have to rant for a second about something that has bothered me for YEARS.

Bachelors vs. Spinsters.

Let's do a little word-association, shall we?

When I hear BACHELOR, I think...
  • "Swingin' bachelor pad"
  • Fun, life of the party; smooth, slick, flirtatious...
  • Single and loving it
  • Red smoking jackets (I'm just being honest)

When I hear SPINSTER, I think...
  • Sad and alone, and bitter about it
  • Rocking chairs and afghans
  • Hermit-like, afraid of bright lights; prefers radio to television and knitting to basically everythng else...
  • Too many cats and not enough teeth (I may be confusing spinsters with Appalachian hicks - but again, just being honest)

Maxine, The Classic Spinster.
Thanks a lot, Hall--- I mean,
Copyright Hallmark.
Maybe it's just me, but I don't think so. I think the way that I, and presumably plenty of other reasonably bright and open-minded people, envision women who do not marry vs. men who do not marry says a lot about society. Social expectations, and gender roles, and how we value people. If a woman can't land a man, there must be something wrong with her; if a man never gets tied down, he's living the dream, the lucky bastard!

(Unless, of course, the bachelor is suspected to be a confirmed bachelor, but that's a whole other don't-get-me-started-right-now post.)

I get kind of ticked when I think about the fact that if D never married, he'd be cool, and if I never married, people would worry about me. Just because he identifies as a dude, and I as a dudette. The more I think about it, the more this extends not only to marital status but to pretty much any relationship interaction.

Think: sexual activity. Try some free associations around the words we hear thrown at sexually active unmarried women vs. the words we hear proudly clapped on the back of sexually active unmarried men.

I'm not getting married to avoid becoming a spinster, but I'd be lying if I said that I'm not a little relieved that I'll never be referred to as such. Still: why can't we have a nicer, more fun, robust, bachelor-y word for women who decide not to walk down the aisle?

And in the meantime, here's another problem. Know another word I've never liked?


(But I totally like the sound of husband.)

What about the rest of you? Just semantics? Any positive associations with spinster? Chime in!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

It's Piper's Fault, Really

I've had a busy week.
It's all her fault.

I'm trying to recap the recent visit from the MOB, a post which'll go up soon. Hopefully.

Running around doing theater stuff.

Taking on too much work.

And - full confession time - we started watching Orange Is The New Black, which has eaten up my pre-bedtime hours. D & I have both been busy and tired, and being able to just collapse on the couch, cuddle with the pets and watch a well-acted series that makes us both frequently exclaim "LET'S NEVER GO TO PRISON" (frankly, a worthy goal) has been a good end to the day.

But I should be spending that time writing, I know. And planning. So I'm gonna get back on track. For real. Setting deadlines. Making lists. Updating #TheList.

(Just as soon as we finish OITNB. Damn you, Netflix, and your terrific original programming!)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Visit from The MOB

This past week, I had a visit from the MOB.
The MOB.

Don't worry - I'm referring, of course, to my mama, not the mafia. Which reminds me: I put together the Off Season Acronym Glossary (TCOSAG, natch), which will probably continue to grow. So anytime the alphabet-soup gets confusing over here, head over there.

Even with the help of fun acronyms, I don't even really have the words to describe how grateful I feel at this time of my life - at least, when I'm paying attention, like right now. I ran out of fingers and toes with which to count my blessings quite some time ago. This week, in particular, with my mom in town, The Fiance busy but around whenever he could be, a local production of one of my plays selling out here (The Show being part of the reason for this trip's timing, along with some early-stage W-Word planning)-- I just have a lot for which to be thankful, and I need to remember that. 

Especially when I'm sniffle-y about my mother being a thousand miles away again, and not seeing my dad, and feeling exhausted and slightly overwhelmed by how much is on my plate at the moment, I need to remember: I have it really freakin' good right now. These are the good days, and I want to savor them.

So without further ado, though this post can't do the week justice, here are some fun pictures and stories from my week with the MOB, day by day. Incidentally, this packed itinerary should also help explain why I've fallen behind on the blog. Totally justified.

The MOB arrived. We celebrated with some wine and cheese at the house, along with some chips she had brought (an inside joke recently established). The MOB and I dashed over to the theater to work the box office for The Show, greeting audience members and then watching a great opening night performance. We went out to the pub after the show to celebrate with some food, drink, and theater-storytelling.

Beautiful Bloody Mary.
We got up, took the pups for a walk, then headed to Coffee Shop #1, and commenced caffeinating ourselves while writing and working (like mother, like daughter). We took a brief break for lunch with The Fiance's coworkers, who also happen to be my former coworkers, so those rendezvous are always a good time. From there, we went to Coffee Shop #2 to get the rest of the work/writing for the day done... and may have squeezed in some W-Word shop talk, too. Then it was time to head home, grab a bite, and head back to the theater, where the MOG and FOG were also awaiting - they had driven in for a weekend mini-visit to see the show. Friday night's performance was even better than opening night. Post-show, following a quick interview with a reporter, we decided to head home rather than go out on the town this time. Instead, I introduced MOB to The Walking Dead. Sorry, FOB... she's coming home addicted.

After starting another day with a pup-walk, we had what I'll call the Acronym Brunch: breakfast food and Bloody Marys with the MOB, MOG, and FOG. We were able to recap the show, talk a little W-word, and fix our own fabulous Bloody Marys at the 101 ingredient bottomless Bloody Mary Bar. What could be better? Then the MOG&FOG had to hit the road, the Fiance had to head to rehearsal, and MOB & I went to grab my friend Diana.. I could then screw up my courage and try on a few DRESSES. Aaaaaaaiiiieeee! That will warrant its own post. (Here's one picture to tide you over for now. No, this is not THE dress, but it's pretty, right?)

We dress-ed, and then we had some Mai Tais and variations on Mai Tais. Then, though there was another performance that night, I said we didn't have to go (the cast, full of favorite friends, had informed me that it scared the crap out of them when I was in the audience). "Well, if you don't want to scare the crap out of them," the MOB said simply, "We'll wear wigs."

So we did. Which probably did scare the crap out of some people. But ya gotta give the woman points for style. We saw the show AND went out for cast/crew dinner post-show... in wigs. Yep.
I didn't come from nowhere, people.

Sunday we had the smallest bit of blessed downtime, so we all sat around on couches reading for awhile (bliss!), then I made us a big breakfast, we lounged a little more and watched some Orange Is The New Black (DON'T EVER GO TO PRISON, y'all), then headed to the city shelter to bathe and tend to some pups. From there, we came home and re-hydrated, then the Fiance stayed in while the MOB and I headed out for some shopping and secret-sharing. I can't tell you the secrets, but I can tell you this: we are both really, really, really bad at shopping. Specifically, we are bad at letting salespeople help us. When salespeople get aggressive, we bail. We went to several clothing stores, bought nothing, then went to Fresh Market and bought a lot of groceries. We are very good at grocery shopping. And making dinner. And talking. Take that, salespeople.

Monday, the MOB got to stay at home with the pets while the workweek beckoned for a bit. But I picked the MOB up at lunch, we had some Mexican for lunch (her request - true story: the FOB ate too much Tex-Mex when we road-tripped to Arizona when I was in high school, and claimed he'd eaten so much he never wanted to eat Mexican again; that was in 1995, and he's sticking to his guns on this one), then worked side-by-side for the afternoon before taking the pups for a walk, then grabbing dinner and heading downtown to see some friends in an improvisational comedy show. Mostly what we remember about this is how FREAKING HOT it was in the venue. Seriously. Freaking. Hot.

I tried to get the must-do work done as quickly as possible, so the MOB and I could enjoy lunch with the Fiance (Indian, this time, per the MOB's request - she has good taste). Then we had some coffee, and buckled down and got some W-Word stuff done, including putting together a spreadsheet for the guest list, and talking some turkey about structure of the weekend and such. We made a brief appearance at a friend's farewell party, and tried to go to a cool new bar, but it was too crowded.
Our writer-nails

So then, since D had rehearsal and it was our last night of the visit, we had a truly glorious girl's night in. We had some wine. We painted our nails and embellished them with newsprint to make epic writer nails. We had some cheesecake for National Cheesecake Day. We watched some more of The Walking Dead. We talked. I mean, come on - wine and cheese(cake), girly-talking and nail-painting, and zombies: best mother-daughter night ever!

Early the next morning, I woke up crying and wrote the MOB a note thanking her for her visit, and for everything else she is and does. And then she began her 1,000 mile drive back home, to the FOB, who missed her intensely while she was here.

Because that's how it is with the MOB. Wherever the MOB isn't, you keep looking around...

And so, to dry the tears and keep forward momentum, here's a bonus quick update on THE LIST:

1. A Partner
2. Two Men of Honor
3. Fantastic Family
4. A Tentative Date
5. A Chuppah Builder
6. A venue!! (Drum roll, please...)
7. Photographers!! (More on that soon, too!)
8. An officiant!!! (Yes, yes, more updates soon!)
9. A guest list spreadsheet (Boring, but vital. Now, to start plugging in names...)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

TCOSAG: The Complete Off Season Acronym Glossary

We're gonna use a lot of acronyms, y'all.

Why? Because acronyms are fun.

So here is The Official Complete Off Season Acronym Glossary, or TCOSAG.

See? TCOSAG. Laugh riot! Anyway, I'll keep adding to it as we go. You may want to bookmark this post, for handy reference.
  • ASAP - As Soon As Possble (overused)
  • FOB - Father of the Bride
  • FOG - Father of the Groom
  • MOB - Mother of the Bride
  • MOG - Mother of the Groom
  • MOH - Man of Honor (note: in other weddings, this might well stand for "Maid of Honor", but this is the off-season)
  • OS - Off Season; can modify anything (i.e. OS-Venue, OS-Dress, OS-Bride)h
  • #TheList - Tasks completed for The W Word
  • The W Word - Other people say wedding all the time, I try not to overuse it
  • ZOMG - ZOMBIES OH MY GOD! (I never understood why this became a thing, but it cracks me up and I'm co-opting it for this blog)
Last updated August 1, 2013