I hadn’t planned this as my topic for today, but I wanted to touch on a Modern Bride article that was posted. You can find it here. I originally found it from a Jezebel link, which I didn’t really read. I instead chose to write my own review (but once I wrote mine and read theirs, I was happy to see we were in sync).
My own ideas about weddings aside, this article is horrifying. It is sexist and seems to imply that most bridesmaids are either going to be a slut, bitch or slob. I have been in a few weddings, and the bridesmaids all got one thing: it was about the bride. The issue I have with Modern Bride is that they didn’t say “this is rare”, rather they wrote an article that implied that slutty, bitchy bridesmaids were an everyday occurrence and you have BEST be careful. The bride this article seems to be intended for comes off like Jane Fonda in “Monster-in-Law” (yeah I saw it, shut up), which is every bit as insulting.
Let’s start with this quote regarding “The Love Machine”:
Forget about love. This potential bridesmaid is looking for sex—and plans to add another notch to her bridesmaid’s dress at your reception. When a bridesmaid acts out, sexually or otherwise, try not to take things personally. “It’s helpful to view the people in your wedding party observationally—almost like watching a play,” Dr. Fischer says. “Detach yourself and concentrate on the positive aspects of the relationship.” But you can also protect yourself by setting boundaries before potential mishaps occur. If the thought of a bridesmaid getting busy in the banquet hall’s bathroom makes you cringe, rigid requests, like a 12-hour vow of celibacy on the big day, are perfectly legal.
Can we talk about the final point of “The Love Machine” Bridesmaid? Impose a CELIBACY? WTF? ARE YOU SERIOUS? First of all, don’t you know this about your bridesmaid? Secondly, as long as she is not having sex during the ceremony, why do you care? Unreal, but lets move on.
Mia*, a 31-year-old Los Angeles writer who was getting married at the end of April, invited a European friend to be a bridesmaid. Never having been in an American wedding, the woman wouldn’t buy matching shoes and hinted that she might show up with funky, dyed hair. There’s always one bridesmaid who sees the backless sheath you’ve selected as an excuse to get a new tattoo. Be cognizant of friends who march to the beat of their own drummer. In this case, Dr. Fischer urges the bride to let go of control issues and have a little faith. Few brides make it through a wedding without having a “laugh/cringe at your bridesmaid” moment. In the stress of it all, you may even appreciate the comic relief.
Ah, the “Fashion Faux Pas”. It seems the crime here was that the bride had no friends, so she called some chick she knew once, a European! How…EUROPEAN! To be a bridesmaid. She lived in Europe so she had…Never. Been. In. A. US. Wedding. Let’s recap. She was from Europe. She had never been in a US wedding. Bride’s issue: STUPIDITY. I will say, I appreciate the fact that the article says to relax…this bridesmaid may be fun! And comic relief! What is insulting is how being an individual is construed as bad, or, at the very least, someone to be laughed at. That’s what we should concentrate on as brides, lets find someone to LAUGH AT. What is this? Mean Girls? Are we Heathers? Jeez, people.
You’re getting married. She’s not. In addition to being thrilled, your friend may also feel jealous, lonely, and betrayed at the prospect of your new life. When you first feel the tension, both of you should lay your cards on the table. “Acknowledging the transitions you are both going through is the way to keep the lines of communication open,” says Dr. Fischer. “Working through these feelings when they are small will keep the friendship from suffering larger traumas.”
“The Fork in the Road” – she’s JEALOUS! Beware! On this one, the advice is solid…I guess. I would think if she is jealous now, it would have come out at other times in your friendship…and maybe asking her is now a bad idea. But, you know, maybe you aren’t a good listener.
My college roommate, Sue*, never fit in with the rest of my bridesmaids—who found her to be a love machine, a fashion faux pas, and a fork in the road all rolled into one. I had turned a deaf ear for years as they begged me to end the friendship—and paid the price with a lot of stress before the wedding. In addition to other annoyances, Sue called me an hour before the ceremony to see if I could give her a ride. Since she was 45 minutes away, I told her she’d have to leave the bride out of it. She was cold to me during the reception, then ran off to Atlantic City with an usher. The moral of the story? If all your other friends don’t like someone, listen to them. There is a reason.
Now, “The Misfit” is someone who maybe shouldn’t have been a friend in the first place. I agree with this advice wholeheartedly, but wonder how this category came to be. I hate the word “misfit” anyhow, but maybe this category should be “The Bitch you Kept Around Because You Felt Sorry For Her and Now You’re Sorry…”
What I find truly offensive about this piece is the ending
You’ve dreamt of your wedding day your entire life. To execute your vision in a supportive atmosphere, Lara Webb Carrigan, author of The Best Friend’s Guide to Planning a Wedding (Regan Books, 2000), suggests picking a practical bridesmaid, a funny bridesmaid, a calm bridesmaid, and a responsible bridesmaid. These will be friends and family who are empathetic to your needs—the type of people who have tissues (and chocolate) on hand without your having to ask.
I am not a Modern Bride kind of bride. But I have a few friends who are, yet all of them are accomplished, amazing young women who have done OTHER things with their lives. I resent the fact that the Wedding Industrial Complex makes assumptions about how we all went to college to get our MRS degree, or we did nothing but play WEDDING as kids (I rooted around in dumpsters, for one). The the article asks you to TYPE your bridesmaids. Notice, they don’t say “If you choose GENUINE, good friends – good listeners and compassionate people, you probably won’t have this problem”, instead they want you to choose according to some bizarre type, which is so unbelievably shallow I don’t know what to say. Modern Bride also seems to go ahead and think it is ok to pit women against each other. Damnit, we are our own worst enemy. And we will read this shit and show it to our friends and all vow to have ‘perfect’ bridesmaids.
Point of fact: I have a friend who, as a person, is a bit of a “Love Machine” and a “Fork in the Road”. If, however, I asked her to be my bridesmaid, those qualities would melt away. She would be true, and helpful and joyous.
Modern Bride needed an article, but I would imagine the best real advice would be to choose your closest, supportive friends. They will put aside their personal bullshit on your day, because if they are true, good, genuine friends, no matter what category they fit into, on your day they will be your bridesmaid.