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Viva La Difference

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Amy, who is my cousin on my mother’s side, recently got married. According to her, one of the most exciting and at the same time demoralizing parts of wedding planning was picking out her wedding gown. Also, according to her, the only reason she isn’t presently residing in a mental asylum somewhere is because she finally entered the words “bridal shop st louis” into Google, which, quickly and magically, led her to a bridal shop where the consultants weren’t hardcore traditionalists.

You see, Amy is what is politely referred to as a singular personality type, which is where we’ll leave it. We don’t need to dwell here long at all. Suffice it to say that, like Frank Sinatra, she prefers to do things her own way.

Strapless wedding gowns are vulgar. At least that’s what Amy believes. Prior to her Google-revelation, she visited a bridal shop where she was shown really heavy bags on hangers containing intricately beaded, fluffy frocks. After looking at hundreds of dresses, she realized she’d probably have to try a couple on. So she did. The first one was a strapless little number that made her look like a “middle linebacker for the Falcons,” because of her athletic shoulders. In addition, there was another problem: the strapless gown called attention to, highlighted, and underscored her lack of cleavage.

At this point, Amy made an executive decision. She would rather be buried alive with black widow spiders than wear a strapless gown. This executive decision turned out to be problematic, because about 75% to 80% of all wedding dresses are strapless. Strapless is traditional.

This of course, left Amy strapped in a dilemma. Her blatant dismissal of strapless eliminated almost all her options in that bridal salon. There was only one dress she liked. It was a lacy number with an “alternative neckline.” That’s what they call a non-strapless dress – alternative neckline, like it’s some kind of disease or something. Anyway, the one she liked was just okay, which meant it didn’t meet her expectations.

One of the consultants said that strapless dresses were popular because most women want to feel like a princess when they get married, and because covered shoulders tend to make brides look older and conservative. That may be part of the reason for their prevalence, but I suspected it was simpler than that. Because think about it: adding necklines and sleeves has got to be a designer’s nightmare compared to designing a strapless gown.

Amy, of course, pronounced it a conspiracy, asserting that even Vendela would look saggy in a strapless gown. She left in a huff. After fruitless visits to three more bridal salons, she went home, turned on her laptop, and placed her faith in Google.

In the end, she ordered a cream-colored dress from St. Louis, with an appealing, round neckline and cute sleeves. Just like Amy, it was different but very special.

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About Randall Radic