When a close friend got engaged last autumn, I knew that meant a wedding to attend this September. No big deal, I figured: just slap on a smile, a dress and bring a small home appliance as a present.
But the wedding’s been one of those social engagements carried around in the back of my mind because I’ve had suspicions that it’s not going to be as straightforward as originally thought. The event meant adjusting my and my “plus one’s” work schedule and just a couple weeks back I was asked to read in the ceremony. As for finding appropriate wedding wear? Oh, the horror.
As a fashion conscious, if not fashion forward, individual, you can imagine my shock when I leafed through my closet and discovered exactly two dresses. One, an all-white number, reeked of “raining on the bride’s day.” The other, all-black, dress was too casual and too dark to wear to a couple’s proclamation of undying love. Luckily, a spring trip to Chicago allowed me to hit up the shops along the Magnificent Mile. As I swished and twisted in a strapless gray and pink floral print dress in front of the fitting room mirror in H&M, I was sure I’d found the perfect dress. It was modern, fun and not one bit country bumpkin.
But you should never buy a dress months in advance, especially not when, at the time of purchase, your body is still rocking the extra five pounds of butterfat I gain every winter. In the warm summer sunshine, on long paddles and brisk walks, the butterfat melted away and the perfect strapless dress began to slip sadly down into my armpits.
The sunshine was responsible for other crimes against my vanity too. I started developing odd tan lines: a sunburned swoop at my neckline, a decided farmer’s tan on my arms and lovely tan strips across the tops of my feet, compliments of my sandals. Then in the pursuit of this year’s 7 gallons of blueberries, I stumbled down granite boulders face first and got tangled in the pokey branches of fallen burnt trees. By mid-August my shins and forearms were a canvas of scraps, gashes, and mysterious bruises. And one day as I stood in front of the mirror, wondering if some of those nastier gashes were ever going to heal, I realized those two fuzzy chinchillas who have been hanging out over my eyes in the spot where my eyebrows used to be are going to have to be plucked down before the wedding as well.
But my real mistake was worrying way too much about my own appearance and not paying any mind to what my date might be wearing until we were within two weeks from the couple’s big day. While Andy has a wide selection of clothing perfectly suited to daily life on the Gunflint Trail, the fact is, his regular get-up of Carhartt pants in varying degrees of wear, Polarfleece pullovers with burn holes and t-shirts splattered with motor oil just aren’t wedding wear. In a frantic bout of online shopping, I found myself staring down what seemed like the impossible goal: finding something vaguely wedding-appropriate that Andy’d actually be comfortable in.
The gashes I accumulated this summer won’t have all completely healed by the time we head down to this wedding. My dress may be held up by safety pins and Andy’s outfit may smack slightly of country bumpkin. We might not exactly give out the aura of Northwoods power couple I’d originally imagined when we received the invitation, but at least we’ll be wearing garments free of motor oil and burn holes.
After all, they say truth is beauty and if that’s so, well, the truth of my glorious summer is splattered across my body. As for beauty? Well, that’s in the eye of the beholder.
Airdate: September 20, 2011
Photo courtesy of Tiffany Yelitza via Flickr.