O.Henry Ending

Mad Bride Sydrome

Going whole hog — or whole Dog — over weddings

By Cynthia Adams

The average American wedding now costs over $33,000. Everything about a wedding reads like fiction. Case in point: the wedding of a young friend I’ll call Heather.

Heather, a normally even-tempered girl with a serious job, descended into MBS — Mad Bride Syndrome. Notably, she opted into an honored wedding tradition: attention-hogging. She was careful not to include attractive women in her party.

Heather’s a looker — sleekly athletic — but not a single one of her bridesmaids was of more than average looks and none had Heather’s stunning figure. Even the flower girl was cute, but not too cute.

I love weddings. Where else do you get so much theater and drama, with champagne and cake served at the end? And though I may seem a willing party to many, I am the last person anyone should consult. (I tied the knot at another friend’s wedding, discretely taking my vows inside a utility closet during their reception rather than going through the whole drama. We splashed out on a great honeymoon instead.)

The fact that brides still sometimes seek my opinion tells me something: Their inner circle threw up their hands and gave up. As someone known to court disaster, seeking my counsel reveals a level of total desperation with wedding planning.

Heather began texting me things that had me questioning her rational mind:

What did I think about script versus block text on the wedding program?

What did I think about a Tyrannosaurus rex groom cake for Les, who loved dinosaurs as a child?

What do you think about the playlist for the reception? U2 first, or Fergie? Lex likes U2, but I dunno, she texted.

Huh? Heather’s increasingly nutty messages made me gawk but, this doozy zipped onto my phone screen at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday:

I don’t want visible panty lines at the wedding. What do you think if I tell the bridesmaids not to wear underwear?

Bridesmaids going commando?

Heather hammered out this message while testing 10 different fingernail polishes — each fingernail a different color — while working her power job as an assistant district attorney.

She spent that day asking felons, court reporters, and even one probation officer, what they thought of the various polish colors — Shell, Veil, Whisper, Nice and Naughty, Sassy and Bridal Slipper. Heather has a good memory, so she had each color memorized. She was truly ticked off at what one uppity clerk had to say.

Thing is, I don’t even recall what I replied to Heather’s panty query. But on the Big Day, I could not drag my eyes from their derrières as they made their pantyless way down the aisle. The only competing thing that drew my eyes away from their bottoms was their hair.

Bridal hair deserves its own essay.

Heather’s bridal hair was Marge Simpson–huge, and the bridal party’s up-dos appeared to be sized in descending order of importance.

But Heather isn’t alone in lusting for something magical atop her head. My mother has dedicated, by my quick calculations, at least $99,600 and more than 204 days of her life — nearly a full year — to her hair.

My sister inherited the trait. On her birthday, she sent me an email about a recent hairdo gone wrong. When I asked exactly how bad her hair was, she emailed back something about Dog, a TV bounty hunter and his mullet.

I asked if she had wanted a mullet.

Actually no, she replied. But if I knew about Dog, I also knew about his wife, who had a hair color even worse than his. Whose hair looked more chewed than cut. My sister added she was pretty certain that when she sat her ass down at the salon, she hadn’t requested to be a reality celebrity look alike to Dog’s wife.

It was a slow morning, so I mulled over Dog’s mullet and chewed-off hair. I mulled over Heather’s quest to be perfection from fingertip to wobbly bottoms and towering tops.

At Heather’s outdoor wedding, I was tapped to do a poetic reading, as lightning flashed and a deluge broke. Rat wet, with multiple hair products streaming down my face, I determinedly, gamely, gripped the microphone and invoked Pablo Neruda’s poetry.

Taking my seat, I am sure I heard the whisper: “You know who she looks like? Have you ever seen that bounty hunter’s wife?”  OH

Cynthia Adams has spent the past year trying to undo a hair-misfire. She remains mesmerized by weddings.

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