Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wedding Anxiety

I don't usually have a problem with sleeping--I'm one of those people who can take naps, fall asleep on airplanes, and fall back asleep after the cat races through the apartment at 6am. Lately, however, I've been laying awake at night, going over lists in my head, thinking about the massive amount of shit I have to do for my clients and my wedding, and all the writing I'm not doing. So, last night after Matt and I got into an argument about the wedding menu, I popped two Tylenol PM, eager to embrace the enveloping fog. Is this when you know you're old? When Tylenol PM is your drug of choice instead of alcohol or other substances?

I wasn't really that stressed out about the wedding until I spent last week in Kansas City with my mom, running wedding-related errands and making wedding-related decisions nearly every waking hour for four and a half days. Among other things, we went to 11 shoe stores looking for wedding shoes, went to 5 stores looking for a guest book and sundry other crafty items, went to the printing place 5 times to look at ink colors and paper choices, looked for a dress for my sister (since the one I ordered for her was the wrong color), met with the caterer, met with Rabbi and the synagogue coordinator, looked at chair and table covers, got my wedding dress fitted, picked up my marriage license, spent hours choosing photos for our video montage, and met with the videographer. Am I missing something? I'm sure I am.

It turns out that I have two qualities that make me ill-suited for wedding planning: I want things the way that I want them, and I am a terrific procrastinator. Fun.

I'm having some mixed feeling (let's call it what it is--anxiety) about my upcoming nuptials. No, not about getting married or not about marring Matt (although I'm sure that will come soon.) I'm wondering if I should have a wedding. Specifically, if it will be worth it.

Is it worth spending 10 months preparing for one event? Is it worth stressing out about every single detail like getting the exact right color on the invitations, making my own guest book, and finding the perfect Ketubah? Is it worth pissing off my future in-laws because I refuse to have children running around at the wedding? And finally, is it worth it financially? Instead of throwing a party, we could use the money to go toward the down payment on a house. I'm fortunate in that my parents are paying for the wedding. It's not like Matt and I are taking out loans or forced to choice between having a wedding and, let's say, a car for example. But still, if we eloped, none of this would matter. So, is it worth it?

I don't know. I'm trying not to get caught up in the minutia of the Wedding Industrial Complex and remember that it's about our celebration, not about our cupcake tower, but with the overwhelming amount of details and decisions, sometimes it seems like EVERYTHING is important and sometime it seems like NOTHING is.

I guess, like so many things, I won't know until it's over.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Labels and Love? Comsumption Overload

The Long Island Bat Mitzvah blogging has been interrupted by all SATC all the time. Yes, I saw the SATC movie yesterday. My friend Kara works at HBO where they offer free screenings of their movies and premiers of their shows in the company theater. Since I make my own schedule now, watching a movie at 12:30 in the afternoon seemed perfectly appropriate.

Think I have opinions? You bet I do.

Underneath the manipulative (and uber-predictable) story-lines and swelling musical scores, there were moments when I felt genuine emotion. Charlotte's Mama-bear face and guttural "No!" while protecting Carrie from Big, moments after Carrie pelted him with flowers? Heartbreaking! Steve and Miranda's reconciliation on the Brooklyn bridge? Heartwarming! Carrie going to meet Miranda on New Year's Eve? Heart wrenching!

But underneath these glimpses of characters we've bonded with and want to love is the ugly message of the movie: consumption. Nearly every scene is about and only made possible by consuming--whether it's sex, food, shoes, dresses, closets, apartments, or vacations--nearly every problem in this movie is solved with money.

When Carrie tells Miranda and Samantha that the two of them could "rule the world" after they buy back her apartment and hire a team of laborers to pick up her boxers, what she really means is that money rules the world. Money allows three women to buy tickets to Mexico on a day's notice. Money allows them to join their friend at a five star resort. Money allows Charlotte and Miranda to have nannies who watch their children while they attend their friend's honeymoon.

And that's just one plot point.

Money allows Miranda to move out when she's having marital problems, meaning that she can spend thousands of extra dollars each month on her new apartment and her new life instead of exploring other options. No, I'm not suggesting that she should have stayed if she was miserable, but having the luxury to set up an entirely new house is one that many women don't have when they hit bumps in their relationships.

Money allows Samantha to fill a void that is left when sex is no longer her outlet. What does she do? She consumes. She goes shopping for labels and more labels. She needs a labeled car to carry home her ladens of labels. She buys a sex-starved dog as a replacement for own libido. She can watch as another animal acts out in the way she wants to. And, she literally consumes, gaining so much weight that her friends have an intervention at Charlotte's baby shower.

And Carrie? She goes apartment hunting with a man whose finances she apparently knows nothing about. She doesn't know what their budget is for an apartment. She doesn't know what he can and can't afford. And she claims to not understand what could break up a couple who have such a fabulous apartment.

What goes wrong for the co-owner of said fabulous apartment? Carrie plans a million dollar wedding in order to showcase a dress instead of a relationship. Big is not blameless (and they way he sat there calling her repeatedly and never calling her friends is just stupid), but the structure of the movie is about how Carrie went overboard with consumption. It's the only time someone in the movie is punished for excess. And what does she do to fix the situation? She spends. She hires someone to get her life back together. Who among us could hire someone to go through their mail, respond to their emails and unpack their boxes? Who could reward that person with an UGLY $5,000 purse?

For a movie all about money, there are very few times an actual figure is ever mentioned. One is when Samantha's dog humps Carrie's new $300 pillow. Another is when Carrie corrects Louise from St. Louis (UGH) about the real price of her shoes ($525, not $400). I know that the absence of figures is a way to maintain the fantasy, but it reasserts that if you have to ask what the price is, you can't afford it.

And Louise? She moved from St. Louis to New York to find love? No. She moved to New York for the fantasy. She moved to New York to prance around with rented purses, trying on someone else's goods and someone else's life. Barf.

I moved from Kansas City to New York because it was New fucking York. Because it offered every exciting possibility imaginable. Because I wanted to begin my career. Because I wanted to go dancing until 6 in the morning. Because it was the manifestation of everything grand and fun and fast-paced that I had seen and loved in movies.

If I was a young girl, this movie would make me want to stay as far away from New York as possible. And that might be why I'm most disappointed.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

SATC is for Everyone!

I know I need to write about the Bat Mitzvah party, but I had to write this post.

When people read my post about why I hate Carrie Bradshaw, they often think that also means I hate Sex and the City. I don't. While I think the Carrie is (among other things) immature and selfish, there are many aspects of the show I like. I can relate to the friendships, the dating and the love of New York City. And it's fun to watch. In fact, like many women, I've watched all the episodes.

I was surprised to learn that someone close to me has also watched all the episodes.

On Monday, I was talking to Matt's mom about wedding shower invitations when she mentioned that she had gone to see the Sex and the City movie the day before.

"Oh, are you a fan?" I asked, not really expecting an enthusiastic answer. After all, my mom had gone to see the movie after only seeing 2 episodes.

"Yes!" she cried, "I love that show. I've seen every episode. I watch them over and over--I love it!"

Um. She's watched every episode? That means she's seen the one where Charlotte gets addicted to her rabbit; where Carrie smokes pot in a bar; where Carrie smokes pot at the comic book guy's mom's house; where Miranda had a guy lick her butt; where Samantha, well, did everything Samantha did. How is it possible that Matt's conservative 67 year-old Long Island Jewish mom is an avid SATC fan?

And why does it make me so uncomfortable to know that these are things she enjoys watching?

Monday, June 02, 2008

Enough with the hair already

It's not like I'm one of those people who doesn't like compliments; in fact, I like being told that I look nice or am talented or whatever. What I don't like and what makes me extremely uncomfortable is when people compliment me on weird things. I'll back up.

Like I mentioned in my last post (and will elaborate on in my next post), I went to a Bat Mitzvah party yesterday. Matt's cousin's daughter had her Bat Mitzvah on Friday night which meant we went to Long Island for the service on Friday and returned on Sunday for the massively elaborate party. Why the party wasn't on the same day as the service I don't know--it's one of those things that's just differently in other parts of the country.

Anyway, at the service, Matt and I were sitting facing the bima (or stage) like the majority of the people there. There were also seats against the wall facing inward, basically at a 90 degree angle to us. I thought a tall, slim man in his 50s or 60s with one diamond earring might have been checking me out, but it was hard to tell. After all, he had to look in my direction. So I tried to ignore him along with the cantor's aggressively sonorous service.

On Sunday, we arrived to the over-the-top party and were immediately enveloped by family and friends. I've met most of the relatives, but there were certainly people there I didn't recognize. And, sure enough, earring guy was there and he smiled and waved at me so I smiled and waved back. I just thought he was someone I hadn't been introduced to yet and wondered who he was.

It was about two hours later when I realized he wasn't a future relative--he was trying to flirt with me. I was taking my future 4 year-old niece out of the party room because it was too loud and overwhelming for her. Hell, it was too loud and overwhelming for me. Earring guy left the main room with me, turning to smile.

"Hi," he said.


"You know, I love your hair. I noticed it on Friday and I've been thinking about it since then. You look great."

"Uh, thanks," I mumbled, steering Rachel away from him.

Gross. Just gross. I'm used to the randoms on the street saying things to me, but someone twice my age? At a family party? Where I'm obviously with someone? Wrong.

And I'm so sick of the fucking hair compliments. I have red hair. I've experimented with color since I was 16 and several years ago I found a red that looks natural with my very pale skin. (Think Julianne Moore. I mean, not that I look like her - I wish - but I have her coloring). For some reason, men think that commenting on my hair is a good opening. I've heard comments about my red hair from cab drivers, a co-worker's flirtatious husband, a chatty gyno, and randoms in bars and on the street.

Enough with the hair already.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Hangover at 9pm

I have a hangover. It's 9 pm. This is what happens when you get drunk at 3 pm. Ugh. I NEVER drink during the day. And by never, I mean I've probably gotten drunk during the day maybe a half a dozen times. It's because it's always the same--I have a few drinks, then I fall asleep and wake up all groggy and gross and grumpy. When I feel better tomorrow, I'll write about the INSANE Bat Mitzvah party I went to today. It was seriously like a wedding. For a 13 year-old. But more so. Ugh. Hangover. Boo.