You know what's wrong with America today? Brides. At least, this is the theory of one Emily Yoffe, the perpetually shocked-and-awed etiquette columnist for Slate. In her article, entitled "Run Away, Groom! Prudie's Advice for How to Tame the Bride from Hell" (I suppose you tame her by fleeing, as Shakespeare would surely also advise), Ms. Prudence takes out all of her years of pent-up aggression about the skyrocketing levels of contemporary American bridal entitlement. Now, I'm sure this woman gets a lot of very troubling letters about the insane things psychotic brides do, but any number of people can get out of hand with respect to a wedding: mothers of the bride, grooms, mothers of the groom, drunk bridesmaids, drunk best men, etc. etc. etc. But Prudence is only up for bride bashing, lamenting the willingness of these feeble-minded sheep to follow anything they read in bridal magazines when they should really be doing what Microsoft-controlled Internet magazine advice columns say instead. All in all, Prudence compares some truly appalling bride behavior with some not-that-bad stuff (like a bride being troubled over not receiving gifts for some friends and wondering if she should ask about it) and even some totally reasonable innovations (like honeymoon registries, for couples who don't need lots of extra crap in their house and don't want people buying them things that will end up in a landfill). She bemoans it all as the horrifically rude detritus resulting from the willful detonation of social mores and human decency committed by "the Bride from Hell," which, in this article, seems to be just about anybody wearing white.
Now, this issue of Slate seems to contain a lot of wedding-industry hating, which is fantastic if you ask me, but let the blame lie with the pushers and not their general audience, would you please? I don't have a diamond engagement ring, but I do have an engagement ring, so the front page headline that reads "Engagement Rings are an Immoral Anachronism" would seem to apply to me. Of course, the article in question goes on at length about the evils of the diamond, which I do not have on account of them being evil. So I guess the "immoral" part was an overgeneralization. The other main argument made is that engagement rings are one-sided, as only the bride receives one, which assumes that couples don't exchange engagement gifts (we did, and I think we can all agree that he did pretty well for himself in that category). Anachronism? I don't know. I don't think that me wearing a ring for a few months longer than my husband-to-be (who gets one on the wedding day) is on par with signing over the deed to my independence, and neither do all the hot chicks I make out with every week! Sha-pow!
Just kidding honey.
Just kidding about kidding.
So anyway, it's not the critique of the crazy brides, nor the critique of the fucked-up wedding culture, but rather the careless conflation of all brides with the insanely rude and conspicuously consuming variety. The engagement ring article actually has a line that declares: "Women are collectively attached to the status a ring bestows on them." Dude, seriously? I am? Well damn! I shoulda held out for a giant fucking sparkler then! I must have really low self-esteem!!
Either that, or maybe I'm one of those (non-existent, in these articles) women who bucks some of those tides, and maybe my partner is the same way. Sadly, while these writers kvetch and the industry kvells, non-trads like us remain entirely off the radar screen. Not a very prudent assessment, if you ask me.