I owe you all an apology:
For those of you who read Wednesday’s post about the BHLDN sample sale and wondered why it ended so abruptly, mea culpa! I was blogging in bed on my iPhone because sometimes it’s more comfortable to lie on my stomach than sit at my desk but somehow the second half of the post disappeared and I didn’t realize it.
For those of you who read Wednesday’s post, think I’m crazy for even going to a sample in the first place and can’t wait for me to get married so I’ll shut up about it and go back to blogging about, you know, important things, I’m sorry. You’ve got to bear (or is it “bare” in this case? I really don’t know…) with me for a few more days.
Now, getting back to the sale.We left off with my attempts to form some preliminary shopping alliances while waiting in line. Not long thereafter, my friend Katie finally arrived and we donned our Special Bridal Flair. (Special Bridal Flair, in this case, being defined as handmade tissue paper flower corsages and matching crowns in none other than bright pink. The sale’s advertisement encouraged brides and their ‘maids to wear “matching T-shirts.” My 3am self said, “I see your t-shirts and raise you tissue paper flower corsages and matching crowns.” Anthropology, after all, is all about participating, about blending in, about embracing whatever insanity comes your way. Plus the advert said there would be prizes… Of course in order to qualify for said prizes you have to not lose track of the time and your Maid of Honor has to not oversleep. But I digress… Again.)
The line inched forward and we eventually found ourselves around the corner and within sight of the front entrance. Across the parking lot, victorious brides were emerging in dribs and drabs, carrying carefully packed paper bags like the trophies they were.
I took this opportunity to return some of my arsenal to my car (the now-empty coffee cups and matching glittered suspenders which, although definitely worthy of Special Bridal Flair status, were eventually deemed too cumbersome and possibly even dangerous so far as the sport of speed-stripping is concerned.
(Did I mention that I’m a speed stripping champion by the way? No? Well I am. I won a contest at a pub once for Fastest Bra Removal. Let’s hope my future mother-in-law isn’t reading today…)
I also took this opportunity to avail myself of the restroom. And to leave my cell phone is said rest room. (What is it with me and my cell phone at the Navy Yard? If I’m not throwing it in a trash can, I’m leaving it in a port-o-potty.) Fortunately my efforts to endear myself to my fellow brides paid off and a November 2017 gal returned it to me.
By the time we finally reached the inner sanction, we were practically salivating. There were gowns everywhere, hanging from garment racks, windows, mothers, doorways, and of courses brides themselves. They were initially organized by size but by that time of day, the warehouse had descended into anarchy (if of course anarchy involves a bunch of budget-conscious super-shoppers scouring the racks and disappearing beneath armloads of tulle.)
It was all a bit Hunger Games, really. Hunt or be hunted and all that. But seeing as I didn’t really need another gown, I just grabbed a few frocks and stood back to survey the scene.
There were a surprising number of men present. Surprising not only because men aren’t supposed to see their brides’ dresses, but also because there weren’t any fitting rooms, so most of the brides were basically just running around in their underwear. Seeing as I was wearing a leotard and tights, I didn’t really care, but it was a bit odd.
There rules of engagement turned out to be a basic grab-and-go, first-come-first-served sort of deal, with brides slipping out of one dress and into the next as quickly as possible. The more popular gowns came with their own stalkers: “Are you done with that yet? Can you hand it to me if you don’t get it???” Some brides were nice, like the one next to our stash of gowns by the window who offered to button me up while Katie ventured out for another round through the racks, but some were bitchy and kept hoarding dresses.
Hoarding dresses, while a successful technique for vanquishing ones-enemies-of-the-same-size, is the ultimate sample sale taboo. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen—it most certainly does—but it earns the hoarder bad karma.
Being the benevolent two-gown-owning bride that I am, I made sure not to hoard. I returned every reject to the rack the moment I got it over my head, much to the chagrin of the bride who had commandeered said rack as her own personal dressing station but whatever… Rack commandeering is almost as bad as hoarding in the grand hierarchy of sample sale faux pas.
The thing about being benevolent though is that it extends to my practice of anthropology. And a good anthropologist would never leave the site of her fieldwork with a modest contribution to stimulate the local economy…
A contribution, say, in exchange for a souvenir of sorts…
A souvenir that represents the local aesthetic, in keeping with contemporary bridal trends…
Originally priced at $1,600 but reduced to a mere $100 and $8 tax…
It would have been bad form to leave the sample sale without buying something.
So I did not.
(And yes, this makes me a slightly horrible person. But I intend to only get married once and have, to the very best of my abilities, ensured that every other element of our wedding is fair trade, eco-friendly, made from recycled materials or being recycled afterwards for some other purpose. I’m already planning to dye Dress #3 after the big day, so there. Slightly horrible. But not completely.)