Last night, I did something today that I haven’t done in years.
I went to a large shopping mall.
As a child, I hated shopping malls because my mom and aunt would force me to sit around and do nothing as they picked through the 90% off rack for items not fit to be used as dish rags. As a teenager, I changed my tune – the mall was my sanctuary because it was the ONLY place Anyu allowed me to walk around freely with my friends. I spent a good part of middle school and high school at the mall arcade, movie theater, and comic book store – and it was great!
As an adult, I have reverted back to my childhood hatred of the mall. It just bores me. For one thing, there is this brand new thing called the INTERNET, where I can purchase anything I need at 5 am, with free shipping and return shipping (hell to the yes, Amazon prime!) Not just that, but I naturally walk very quickly, so the meandering pace of mall patrons makes me want steamroller everyone, especially the folks that have speed-enhancing electronic devices, such as security guards on Segways and moms on high-end Rascal scooters. The sound of other peoples’ children crying over the radio edit of a Brittany Spears song on a 40 year old sound system makes me want to stab my ears out. I also hate the smell of both Subway and Auntie Anne’s pretzels, even though everyone else on the planet likes them. The mall just makes me a grouchy Gus, I guess.
I have learned that wedding planning usually involves the purchase a wedding dress, and I am not doing any of that “dress shopping” stuff with my mother (I’m not even sure if she wants to *come* to the wedding. More on that some other day). I learned my lesson from the horrors of shopping for clothing and prom dresses that my family combined with a fitting room = torture. And while I know some of my readers encourage me to get into disastrous situations so they can laugh at my pain, this time, I really just want to make things easy and drama-free. Please? Just this once. Come on! Luckily, I have a reasonable cousin that found me a dress online, but of course, Amazon.com requires me to take approximately 8,000 measurements of every part of my body before I am allowed to place an order.
In case you’ve never been a bride before, I have discovered that wedding dresses are created rare silk worms that secrete special wedding dress juices that contour to the exact texture of your areolas. Once the worms have properly cocooned you in loveliness, a flock of white doves gathers twigs, leaves, and unicorn horns to fashion a petticoat. That’s when the angels will clip wings to make your wedding veil, which to your untrained puny human eye will appear to be a couple yards of “the scratchy tutu stuff” sewed into a hair clip with a $150 price tag attached to it. But I swear, they are genuine angel wings and you deserve them, because it’s your “special day”.
To avoid the public shame of having the wrong shaped bustle (whatever that is), I decided to go get measured for a wedding gown by a professional. My friends told me to just use the trusty internet to find a wedding store and pay the $5 or whatever to have someone stick some cloth tape between my legs and cough. And since every single freaking advertisement on my Facebook and Google is about wedding crap, I decided to actually be a consumer whore and listen to an in-video advertisement for a store I will refer to as “Boredstrum”. Boredstrum apparently has something called a “Wedding Suite”, where you are supposed to meet with a “stylist”, get measured, book an appointment to try on dresses that suit your style and size, and then do like 25 other things to make sure you can heave this thing onto your body on your wedding day. Fine.
So, I walked in to a very small corner of this giant department store, to greet a woman that I can only assume was playing Angry Birds on her phone.
“Hi, do you have an appointment?” she said, not looking up.
“AAAHH himin’ hawin’!” said the red Angry Bird.
“Oh, no, I’m sorry, I just saw an advertisement that suggested I should visit this bridal suite, get measured, and then book an appointment and-”
“I see, what are your dates?”
“Well, I just got engaged, but I hear that it takes a couple months to order dresses?”
“Congratulations. Yes, five months. We can expedite a dress, obviously, for an additional cost, if there is any reason that you should need to have a wedding sooner than that,” she replied, finally looking up from her game and right at my belly.
I tried to give her a look that said, “Nope, I’m not actually pregnant, lady; my stomach has just looked three months pregnant since I ate that shoe fly pie with a side of eggnog back in 1999.”
I laughed awkwardly. “I honestly don’t know my size. I’m very tall and I hear that wedding dresses size differently?”
“Oh, yes, we measure you once you buy a dress with us. But you should make an appointment if you are going to try on dresses. We can get very busy.”
I look around. There is no one in the store.
“Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaarr!” said the black Angry Bird.
“Do I need an appointment to just get measured?”
“Once you commit to purchasing a dress from our store, we will measure you and then custom order one to your exact specifications.”
“But how can I commit to purchasing a dress if I don’t know which of these dresses I can even try on? Can I make an appointment for measurement so I can know a ballpark of what size I am and look in the right section?”
“I should warn you, for liability reasons we cannot tell you your measurements because you might go shop somewhere else based on those sizes, and if they are inaccurate, we cannot be held liable.”
“Wouldn’t you be more liable if you measured wrong and delivered me the wrong dress yourself?”
“We re-measure you ever time you come in for a fitting, in case you gain or lose weight, so we can be more accurate.”
“But I’m not allowed to know the measurements of my own body, even if I pay to be measured?”
“No. Because measurement is free with purchase of a dress.”
“Alrighty then. Let me…think about it. Have a great day.”
“Here’s my card! Call me for an appointment. We need 48 hour’s notice because we are very busy.”
“Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaarr!” said the black Angry Bird again. She sucks at this game.
I threw the card out as I huffed and puffed out of the store into another bridal shop. Similar answer, this time, “We need to keep measurements on file and only use them when placing the final orders.” And then another bridal shop.
“Sorry, we don’t measure. We’re an ‘off the rack store.’ A lot of these dresses are weird sizes, so if it looks like it might fit, just try it on. Do you have a few hours?”
Finally, I called my tailor. He is awesome at his job, but he is 87 years old and speaks mostly Italian. I don’t know what I was thinking.
“Nick, can you measure me for a wedding dress?”
“Yah, you bring dress, I fix. Giovedì!”
“No, I don’t have a dress to fix, I need my measurements so I can order a dress. Do you know how to measure for a wedding dress?”
“Yes, you bring dress Thurs-a-day. Riparare! Riparare!”
“I don’t have a dress.”
“Den what cho calling me fo, Stephania?”
“Measure! Me! My body! How big? My bust? How big? My waist? Capisce?”
“Okay, den. Fri-a-day. You bring dress. I fix.”
I’m not going to go. I love Nick, but if I even manage to explain what I need, I bet he’ll hand me the measurements in kilometers or microns or gigawatts or whatever unit of measurements Italian brides must use.
Finally, I took my fiancée (bleh, that word sucks) to Dude’s Warehouse, where a large group of friendly-looking men, all holding measuring tapes greeted him with huge smiles.
“Hi, here to get measured for a tux,” he said in a deadpan voice. “Not gonna get it today. Just not sure what my size is.”
“Right away, sir!”
They ran off with him while I stood there befuddled. In under 2 minutes, he came back with an elaborate card with every single measurement on it, for him to keep.
“We hope you decide to purchase with us in the future, sir, but even if not, it has been a pleasure to be of service to you,” said the man with the gleaming smile.
“Um…do you do measurements on women, too?”
The man’s smile faded. “What for?”
“I know it’s random because you are more of a suit store, but I need to get my measurements so I can order a wedding dress. I will gladly pay to be measured, I just can’t seem to find anyone to help me.” I explained my experience at the bridal stores.
“Oh, I’m sure we can help somehow – let me check.” He looked over at the only female employee in the store.
She glared at me. “No!”
“Sorry, ma’am. Measuring women…that’s…something else.”
So, clearly, I smell or something so no one wants to measure me. So I am going to just go back to my trusty old internet and learn how to measure for wedding dresses myself. I own a cloth tape measure and have access to my own body – I mean, how hard could it be?
Dress Order for SYUHAS Order Number: 12345678
Color: White. Maybe throw a little red in there, I’m kind of a hussy.
Style: Cloth-like funnel, please.
Length: Uh, long. I’m pretty tall. Like 5 ft 10 or 11? I guess leave some room/a hole for my head.
Upper Bust: No, I have no boobs.
Under Bust: No boobs hiding under there, either.
Length of Shoulder to Bust: If I have no bust I guess then “0”?
Shoulder to Shoulder: I’m not great at dancing, but thanks for asking.
Bicep: None yet, but I have been eating me spinach.
Armseye: No, I do not have any eyes on my arms.
Length of Armpit to Elbow: That tickles.
Waist: Yes, I have one of those.
Nipple to Nipple: Is this for some type of…clamps/chain device? It’s not that kind of party.
Payment: Paypal!!!! Yay, I got one right!
Done! We’ll see what I get.