My First Bridal Shower: No Wonder I Sucked at eHarmony!

Bridal shower gamesYesterday I attended my very first bridal shower.  It confirmed what many of you have suspected all along: I’m not ready to get married.  Not by a long shot.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it; the bride-to-be was my old babysitter/art teacher/next door neighbor and she looked so damn happy that I found myself thinking, “Hmmm… maybe there’s something to this whole marriage thing after all?”

I mean she was seriously glowing and her husband-to-be (who made a brief appearance at the beginning of the shower) seemed like a really sweet guy but in case you haven’t figured it out by now, the thought of actually settling down with someone scares me to death.

I’m sitting there picking at my appetizer when I notice that aside from my mom, the bride, the mother of the bride and a few old the bride’s older relatives, everyone is pregnant.  Or holding a baby.  Or both.  Granted, my brother and I were the youngest kids on the block growing up so the majority of the bridal party has a few years on me but still…

I shudder and dive back into my pasta.

I don’t like babies.

I think toddlers are awesome and I think preschoolers are even better but babies?  I’m still waiting for the “I want a baby” gene to kick in and with my 26 birthday just two months away, I’m starting to worry that maybe there’s something wrong with me.  Maybe I’ll never want a baby.  Maybe I’ll be one of those women who dies alone and surrounded by dogs, books and priceless antiques because she never had to baby-proof anything.

By the time the bride starts to open her gifts, I’m in total anthropologist mode.  I’ve been invited to plenty of showers but this is the first one I’ve been able to attend and I’m fascinated—absolutely fascinated—by the sorts of gifts the bride is getting.

Cleaning supplies.  Cutting boards.  Cookbooks.  Scrub brushes.  Lingerie.  More scrub brushes.  More lingerie and finally, a crock pot.

From what I understand, this is pretty standard bridal shower fare, at least in the US, and I saw the bride’s gift registry beforehand so it’s not like I should be all that surprised but I can’t help myself— What do these things say about marriage?  These are not fun gifts.  In fact, judging by all of the boxes and baskets on the gift table, it would seem as though marriage boils down to three things: cleaning, cooking and sex.

What the hell?

At the end of the meal, the bride’s mom (who’s known me since I was five), gives me a big hug and says, “Well Kat, you’re next!”

I recoil in horror and my first instinct is to say “Perish the thought!” but then I remember that I’m at a bridal shower and it’s not my bridal shower.  As such, today is not about me and even though I feel like a hot mess (happy, jealous, disappointed, confused, lonely, hopeful and hopeless all at the same time???) this really isn’t the time for an existential crisis.  So I just laugh it off and say, “I don’t think so.  But I’ll keep you posted!”

On the way out, I reach for my phone and text Date #7.  He replies with something scandalous.  This, for better or worse, is more my speed.

12 Responses to “My First Bridal Shower: No Wonder I Sucked at eHarmony!”

  1. ancaparema

    I love your writing- candid and humorous 🙂 I’m getting married soon and getting some flak for the non-traditional gifts we’ve registered for… but I’d rather have a set of iPod speakers than a gravy boat, so there we are.

    Reply
  2. theladyofvermont

    I’m so glad that I’m not the only person who has an “anthropologist mode”. It definitely helps to ensure that I’m never bored.

    Reply
  3. michaeleriksson

    What do these things say about marriage? These are not fun gifts. In fact, judging by all of the boxes and baskets on the gift table, it would seem as though marriage boils down to three things: cleaning, cooking and sex.

    Gift-wise, what would be wrong with this? Marriage has to be a practical affair and a significant contributor to all failed marriages is simply having forgotten that real life follows the honey moon. The romantic aspects are best dealt with by the husband and the wife themselves, and are not realistic targets for a gift list: We cannot buy you a walk in a moonlit park and if we give your husband a gift certificate for flowers, well, it is probably works better if you do not know.

    Besides, there is an element of tradition here: The wedding day was also often the day a new household was formed, and the pots and brushes of the parents were no longer available.

    As an aside, I hope you do not see sex as a chore, but as the fun it is—otherwise, you really should think twice before moving on to marriage.

    Reply
  4. Jess Killmenow

    Marriage is interesting, these days permanent only half the time though expensive to terminate. The one-on-one commitment is terrifying but if done right results in a vortex that magnifies the force of your intentions enabling you to achieve more than you could otherwise alone.

    Pleasure in the mundane minutiae of self-care is paramount to a mindful and gratifying lifestyle, and household drudgery divided is better than solo. Indeed, the gifting ritual of the bridal shower celebrates drudgery as a sign of homemaking, the cornerstone of the home, that basic unit of society. A lot of what life’s about is cooking, cleaning, and talking about boring things like household expenses.

    I am sure you did not mean to include sex in the household chores, but after a few years, cleaning the bathroom becomes just as important as if not more important than having sex.

    Babies are less trouble than toddlers, actually. They start out at the most rudimentary level of human existence. The fun part of them is in their unbelievably rapid development during their first year of life, no less a miracle than birth itself. They are easy because their needs are simple and they sleep a lot. They are challenging because they cannot communicate at all. Very interesting people, really. 🙂

    Reply
  5. Landlord

    “I am sure you did not mean to include sex in the household chores, but after a few years, cleaning the bathroom becomes just as important as if not more important than having sex.”

    LOL, I think that the listing was referring to what types of gifts were given and that they fell into 3 categories, not in any particular order of prominence or whether they were chore based or not. But the above quote is funny anyway 😉

    Reply
  6. Lavender Blue

    This may be one of the best blog posts I’ve ever read, ever. And I”m not just being nice. With a pregnant aunt and little sister (yes, little sister) I find myself in the fray of wedding showers and baby business. This is with all my co-workers’ weddings and babies and business of this sort, as well. I am 31. When I was 21 and said, “I don’t want children” the women in the salon where I worked poo pooed me…..but nothing has changed. But it’s funny, too, because I’ve seen myself in your situation with this shower and it’s just funny as hell. And liberating to be able to leave the plastic cups and plates of a shower, the wrapping paper and crotchless panties that’ll never be put to good use, and go about your own business. This is not to say I might not be persuaded to marry Mr. Tall Hairy and Handsome one day, but not today. Excellent writing.

    Reply
  7. Jill

    I agree, another great post. you manage to put your finger on the truth unflinchingly, which is a very valuable skill, not to be underestimated. I agree also, not to worry that you don’t want a baby now. That is a good thing. In my experience, borne out by several of my acquaintance, the baby-want, when it hits is powerful, all-consuming and undeniable. Baby must be had.

    I was married for a few years before I caught the baby-want. However, and here is a little gem for your anthropology files, I did know from way back that I wanted children, and by the time I had my own bridal shower at 25 I had several friends and relatives who had struggled with infertility. And the baby-want just gets more powerful.

    Where I come from the number of ribbons (wrapping the gifts at the bridal shower) that you *break* (as opposed to untie or cut with a scissors) predicts the number of children you will have. It was customary for the blushing bride to deny baby want (or whatever, some anthropologist should figure that out) and not break any ribbons. Stupid. Don’t mess with the superstitions, I say. I broke four ribbons exactly. Which I guess means one was an insurance ribbon since we only have three kids. Make of that what you will. Oh, largely Italian-American, Rhode Island, 2nd half 20th century. Make of it what you will.

    Reply
    • Kat Richter

      Hmmm… excellent food for thought! Although now I’m curious about the possibility of a 4th pilgrim-in-the-making… 🙂

      Reply
  8. Jenny

    What’s wrong with not wanting a baby? I’m 24 and hoping that the baby wanting hormones will NEVER kick in because my boyfriend and I STRONGLY dislike children of any age. But I’m terrified that hormones may try to override all the logical reasons we never want kids. We do want to be surrounded by dogs, though!

    Reply
    • Landlord

      Dogs are definitely easier, you can leave them home alone, they comfort you when you are sad, love you unconditionally, and never ask you for the car keys 😉

      Reply

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