When we left off, I was cradling my quarry — an unforgivably small ostrich feather bridal gown — and beelining for the checkout. Channeling Johnny Cochran, that king of fallacious reasoning himself, I gazed lovingly at my Baby Bird and rationalized: “If the wedding dress does not fit … you must buy it.”
Still mouthing my new mantra like a woman possessed (bridal fever: ~104°), I ran smack into Deepak. I normally don’t subject him to my Loehmann’s trips, as the store has a punishingly small men’s section. And due to the aforementioned disarray in the women’s departments, I typically plan to lose whole hours in the place. But we’d swung by on that day because we were running errands nearby, and I’d promised to make it quick.
“Oh, hey there,” I said in a weird voice. I’d just narrowly evaded the watchful eyes of the chaotic communal dressing room and its stern-looking sentries against Loehmann’s larceny. Little did these thousand yard-staring Eastern European guardian women know, the true worry lay in what I intended to legitimately buy.
Deepak looked alarmed when he glanced down at my cart and saw the telltale stark white beaded sprays of my avian gown (I call it this not because of the feathers but because it will take a year of eating like a bird to fit it).
Deciding immediately to own the whole situation, I announced, a little too loudly: “Yes, that’s a wedding dress!” Suddenly, the all-female crowd — stern sentries notwithstanding — were in rapt attention. A few scattered pistol winks were wunk.
Feeding on their energy, I added: “I’ll either be using it with you or with someone else!” Now, half the crowd’s smiles turned to grimaces; the other half’s broadened into demented sneers with a side of “You go, girl!”
Were I soundtracking this scene in my movie-life, I’d here insert a swelling crescendo of that Pussycat Dolls song in which Nicole Scherzinger leads the gals in boisterous pronouncements such as: “I don’t need a man to make it happen! I get off being free!” As you can see in the music video, their expressions of liberty are completely belied by the blindingly shiny gams that they keep throwing over their heads.
“I don’t need a pant!” The modest clothing item, that is — sexually suggestive huffing and puffing is de rigueur.
Finally, it was time for my coup de grâce as I announced to the growing crowd: “This wedding dress cost less than half what my mom paid for hers 30 years ago, and that’s not counting inflation!”
Deepak called off the dogs — “Forget it, Jake, it’s [someone from] Chinatown.”
Here, continuing to edit my life-movie, I would insert a quick flashback montage of all the penurious highlights of Deepak’s and my relationship. Starting from our meet cute (“meet alarmingly cheap”), in which I exhorted him to load up on chicken skewers, because they came gratis at our speed dating event. Years later, shopping for a deeply discounted wedding dress years ahead of schedule upheld the ethos of our origin story.
There was the one small hitch: The dress couldn’t hitch. But fortune doesn’t favor the small-minded, now, does it?
Update: Now, with an actual wedding in clear view, the dress doesn’t fit yet. But I’m visualizing a day when I can easily zip up my ostrich gown. And also, in a related way, when I can turn on the TV and see a comedy show of my own creation. I will think back fondly of the scrappy bird who originally inspired me.
Wedding dress — as well as “sitcom-inspiring dead-end job” — is the thing with feathers.