Monday, April 23, 2012

To all mothers of the bride, just say, "I do!"

There's no question about the stress. It's a party, it's important, you've spent a lot of money and you want your child to be deliriously happy. Having just thrown a party, an important one that cost a tiny fortune and made our child deliriously happy, I wanted to share some hard-found wisdom. The correct answer after every question is, "I do!"

1. Do I really need to wear Spanx? If you're old enough to be the mother of the bride, you're old enough to need some help somewhere. Spanx has become a billion-dollar industry thanks to us. Congratulate yourself on contributing to Sara Blakely’s success as SpanxMeister and buy one. They are not as painful as the old girdles we wore before panty hose and they add a little firmness where some may be lacking.

2. Do I really have to buy wardrobe tape? If you're a clever girl--and we know you are--yes, a thousand times, yes. You'll congratulate yourself. Someone will need it, and in this case, it was me. I neglected to try on my Spanx with my outfit. Fortunately, I did remember the wardrobe tape (search for that in Amazon or Google “fashion tape”) and that took care of it, with the help of one of the bridesmaids. Be sure to remove it post-wedding or you will stick to the sheets when you go to bed.

3. And SuperGlue? Do I need that? You'll thank yourself. I don’t think anyone should go anywhere without it, especially if you’re wearing the strappy little sandals that your shoe store salesman said you should never wear again. You know why he said that? Because you have no arches but you do have bunions. There’s pretty much nothing you can do about the arches if you’re in sandals, but if you find sandals wide enough (and you can, on Zappos or FootSmart, God love them, and they’re festive), you can accommodate the bunion. The problem, ladies, is this: The straps may sit on either side of the bunion thus drawing attention to the ugly little protrusion you sought to disguise. The solution? Wardrobe tape (see above) on the bunion, SuperGlue on the underside of the strap that you want to stay in place squarely over the bunion. Be careful not to spill the glue on your foot or you will be wearing the strappy little sandals for life.

4. Do I need to take a laptop or a tablet? Yes, and you also need to curse yourself for not being a better geometry student. At some point you will turn to YouTube for something like “how to create a trifold pocket square.” If you look at the wedding pictures, you will see that Carl’s pocket square is a puff and here's why: One set of instructions involved six folds and turning the square at a 90-degree angle. I know that Capt. Hyde, my 10th-grade geometry teacher, is nodding somewhere in heaven and saying, “She didn’t understand it in 1970, and she hasn’t improved with age.” OK, Capt. Hyde, you’re right. And it was wrong of me to make my skirt shorter when I knew I needed help to avoid getting that dreaded C in your class because I still cannot figure out how to do the angles that will create the folds. The good news is that there is a very instructive video on how to do a the perfect puff. Final tip: Don’t do this the day of the wedding. This took me two hours, including ironing time.

5. Do I need a minder? You might not think so since your job is to oversee the bride (in our case, it helped that she was a little older and that she knew this was completely the right thing), but someone needs to oversee you and it can’t be your husband. Yes, I know you are strong competent women, but even we have a breaking point. I never got completely to mine, thanks to my sister Vicki. Seven weeks ago, she received a brand new hip. Seven weeks later, she was on a plane to the wedding. Seven weeks and two days later, she was helping me with my hair, telling me how beautiful I looked and dancing in the conga line. I did not ask her to do this. She did it because we are sisters and she knew. If you don’t have a sister, ask a friend.

6. Do I need to stay hydrated the day of the wedding? Definitely. Just not with martinis—not till well into the wedding evening. I switched from water to vodka the minute the vows were over. Fortunately, the bride and groom’s signature drink was fruity and tasty and mixed nicely with quarts and quarts of water that were already sloshing around.

7. Do I need to follow tradition? Of course. But only when it suits you. Defy convention if you want, doing so gracefully. I know it is traditional for the bride’s father to give the toast, but he detests speaking in public and I do it often enough that I no longer vomit before doing it, so why not? Plus I am much funnier than he. And we were able to reinforce the notion that this was our party, done in our own, special, unconventional, California way. But you can still frown when others involved in the wedding refuse to follow convention because you know the rules. After all, you made them up.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Take this old lady and shove her? I think not

Recently, while interviewing someone about a company's labor problems, the interviewee said it was time for the Baby Boomers to step aside and let Gen Y, all bubbly and enthusiastic, take over.


It’s been only recently that the age thing has become a thing for me. I am not 57 year old woman. I just play one on TV.

On second thought, I don’t know many 57-year-old women on TV so my attempt to be lighthearted has merely provided another avenue for my seething resentment.

Because here’s the thing: Gen Y, Gen X, Gens R-Z, you need us.

We are your moms. I don’t care how wicked your mom is, you still need her—or an idealized version of her. If it’s not the woman who raised you, find another one. We’re everywhere, and we will care about you.

We are your voice of experience. The first time you need a root canal, we can coach you through it. Or you get hit with an unexpected tax bill. Or someone decides to steal from you. Been there, and, unfortunately, done that. We learned from our mistakes and, we hope, you can learn from our mistakes. We may not have wealth, but we do have a wealth of experience.

We are your compasses. Most of us, by this age, have found our true north. You may not have found yours. We’ll share. And give you a map--a personalized one, if you want it.

We are your protection. We hate it when our kids are hurt, and most of you are our kids or could be our kids. We’ll fight like tigers to keep you from harm. That might make us a little over protective, but think about overprotection in terms of being on a precipice: Would you rather we almost caught you?

We expect so little. We aren’t expecting you to fall all over us. We expect you, oh, I don't know, to return a phone call or a message. We expect the occasional thank you.

And we don’t ask much. Just don’t be mean. Because someday, someone will tell you to get out of the way, and you can take comfort in knowing that you were kind.

Because it’s one thing to be shoved out of the way, and it's quite another to be ushered to the next stage in life. Which one would you choose? That’s what I thought.