Feb 22, 2008

Dear Interview with Newsweek,

So I received a call from DC yesterday- a talented journalist looking to speak with a future bride. She was directed to me by a mutual friend. I was asked to talk about the great lengths brides go to so that they might look beautiful on their wedding day ... I've put my response below. I'm starting to think I might be framed to be a superficial bridezilla... so when they requested a photo I declined, as to maintain some degree of anonymity... here goes nothing...

I think it's reasonable to say you've hit the nail on the head.
I'd like to consider myself the well-grounded, good-head-on-my-shoulders type- priding myself on my resistance to plastic surgery, hair dying and the aesthetic obsession that plagues young women- but approximately 13 hours after becoming engaged I threw all that out the window!

My roommates, some of whom are bridesmaids, and I immediately started a wedding slim down diet. Without divulging personal statistics, I'm a strong athletic build with a BMI of 20.3… exactly where I should be. Despite any attractiveness I may already possess, here are some of the shallow "To Dos" I've set forth to accomplish in the next 4 months:

1. Drop 12 pounds- a healthy and doable 3 per month, which will allow for optimal physical fitness and dress fitting (yes, I ordered my dress a bit snug knowing that – or at least hoping- I would slim down!) How to accomplish this goal … cutting back carbs, portion control, lean protein and 4-6 90 minute gym sessions a week. Do I have time to work a full-time job in advertising, maintain some level of a loving relationship with my fiancé, accomplish the tasks and chores of everyday life- AND hit the gym for an hour and half each day? Absolutely not- but life is about sacrifices, right?

2. I've resurrected the high school retainers in attempt to obtain that post-braces alignment that seems to make every picture beam a little brighter

3. Teeth whitening- take off that enamel and do permanent damage just as long as they're pearly on June 27th!

4. Tanning- as minimally as possible to mitigate the cancerous effects of the 20-minute cat naps. When rationality sets in and I ask myself, "why would you do something that you KNOW will harm your body" I justify by saying I'll wait 'til closer to the wedding to start. Did I mention that I'm Italian and have naturally olive skin?

5. Hair shine treatments- no color, just that illustrious Pantene pro-v shine that only a salon can provide.

6. Waxing of eyebrows and any other unsightly hair that may exist

7. Monthly facials to clear the "congestion" and facilitate skin regeneration

8. I visited the dermatologist about a week after the engagement to start a skin regimen which now includes antibiotics, pills to control hormonal acne, skin cleanser, topical creams, toner, and face lotion….

I drew the line at accutane despite the fact that he told me "It was the only sure way to cure" my skin problems and have the wedding skin I wanted. Let it be known I do not suffer from severe acne, but I am in pursuit of the highly coveted porcelain/ peaches and cream complexion. He explained to me the "rules" of accutane – monthly blood and pregnancy tests, side effects that include terribly dry skin, joint pain, potential depression AND the possibility of skin getting worse before it gets better… I MEAN SERIOUSLY?!?! Basically sending me to hell and back for clear skin that isn't guaranteed to last. I decided to take my chances with antibiotics and topical creams.

Why would a self-assured, college-graduate with a good job, great family, wonderful fiancé, common sense and at least average good looks disregard logic, spend buckets of money, endure exhausting workouts and clench her jaw through skin treatments and waxing sessions??? It all makes sense when the answer is given, she's getting married of course. Since being engaged I haven't been asked how happy or in love I am. No one has inquired as to our future goals or plans for happily ever after. People don't seem to care how or why we came to this lifetime milestone. I've fielded a barrage of "what are you going to do with your short hair?" "do you have a dress?" "what will your make up be like?" "did you pick out shoes?" and so on… it seems we all value more how a bride looks on her wedding day rather than the decision to devote herself and her life to one man.

My fiancé has repeatedly encouraged me, "You're beautiful" "I love you EXACTLY how you are" "You don't need to change" etc. My response- I'm not doing this for him. I'm doing it for the immortalized pictures that will forever be on the mantle, the facebook perusers and the reception attendants. And so I've sketched out a plan to achieve red-carpet-worthy good looks, a svelte figure, and toned triceps- the bane of every woman's existence.

I may devote time, effort and money to the pursuit of these goals but should I fall short come June 27th I'll still be the happiest girl in all of New York. If my teeth aren't perfectly straight, or my tricep muscles don't ripple when YMCA-ing, I won't let it ruin my day. Perhaps that is where I differ. Many have seen the you-tube bridezilla post, of the stressed out bride who quite literally chops her hair off and shatters glass with her shrieks of anger because she was displeased with how she looked- as staged as it may be, everyone laughed because they recognize the undertone of reality and truth in her antics. Bridezilla exists within every bride-to-be, and it takes effort to reign in that inner demon.

My fiancé and I have set worthwhile goals for our future, that don't revolve around aesthetic appeal or superficial beauty…
We're saving money, learning through books and seeking council to better our communication skills, studying the works of world-renowned marriage psychologist Gottman, taking time to appreciate one another, finding small ways to do acts of service, reading books on our religious faith together, spending quality time together and conversing on topics that don't have to do with floral arrangements tuxedos or honeymoon plans. At the end of the my wedding day it won't matter if my hair was perfect, my teeth were blindingly white or my body was a hard as the rock on my finger – but that doesn't mean I won't try!


jenny said...

this cracked me up. i love your writing style; you are so articulate. and i think you should send them your picture! you don't sound that crazy to me!

kimmy girl said...

i know bridezilla...well...and this is in no way shape or form bridezilla. so no worries my love, you are golden

Brittmae said...

You will look beautiful! And you aren't a bridezilla, but you are stressing a bit too much about your skin/body/teeth when they are perfect anyway! I mean seriously, you are a lean mean fighting machine, and you will look gorgeous. But, I know that you are the kind of girl who will run on that treadmill till you can strut with style--do whatever you have to do--but enjoy you engagement time, for what it is. It all does change when you get married, not bad, but different. Love ya'!

E.F.G. said...

just read your article...i feel good about calling it yours because while the writer did " " you, he/she also liberally used your idea and voice--without quoting.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you came off as superficial at all. I think it came off as someone who recognizes these are all silly things that you're probably only going to do once and be done with it.

IMNSHO, most women have been dreaming about their weddings for as long as they can remember. It's only natural that you want it to be perfect, just as your dreams have been. If you want to go and jump through a bunch of hoops to make it perfect, so be it.

The important thing to remember though is your husband is going to love you if your BMI is 20.3, 25.3 or 15.3. He loves you. Not your blemish-free skin, not bronze color or your straight teeth.

I hope you have a great day in June.

Stephanie said...

I would like to be identified as the (awesome) mutual friend.