I’m not sure what initially drew me to Say Yes to the Dress, Bridesmaid-zilla edition, but I’ve seen several episodes over the past few weeks. I don’t usually watch SYTTD, although I did watch the “Big Bliss” segments featuring plus-sized brides. I enjoyed those episodes for showing that pretty brides come in every size and shape.
Anyway, in the Bridesmaid version of the show, we see bridesmaids of all sizes, shapes, and disposition, including a pre-teen bridesmaid who wanted to wear the exact same dress as the older and curvier bridesmaids, a lesbian maid of honor who was completely uncomfortable in the girly-girl frilly dresses her twin sister (a.k.a. the bride) seemed to favor, and a big and bold drag queen who was having trouble fitting into any dress. In between, we’ve had a whole assortment of dramatic moments, as wedding parties are usually made up of (mostly) women of all body types: busty and un-busty, thin and plump, short and tall. I’ve enjoyed seeing how the stylists find solutions that make everyone look good and feel good. Well, as much as anyone can look good in a bridesmaid dress.
So anyway, in this past week’s episode, I was struck (read: fixated) on one bride’s segment. There was some doubt as to whether a bridesmaid’s dress fitting was going to be successful, since she had been advised to order a size 10. The bridesmaid didn’t want to order “a dress that big” (!!!), so she ordered a size 4.
I don’t know (and probably don’t want to know) what she did to make it happen, but the dress did fit, and it’s a good thing because the bride was on record as stating the bridesmaid would be out of the wedding if the dress was too tight, saying, “I don’t want any sausages in my wedding.”
Really? This is how you speak about a (presumably) cherished friend who’s paying $$$ from her own pocket to be in your wedding? It doesn’t say much about their friendship, IMO, or the bride’s character. (Confession: I secretly hoped she’d trip as she walked down the aisle, but if that happened, they didn’t show it. And yes, I realize I’m probably going to hell for that thought.)
I don’t know why this story bugged me so much, but I thought about it a lot over the weekend. (It was a slow weekend.) I think I found my answer when I came across my “souvenir tags” in a box in my dresser.
At some point in my weight loss process, I decided to save the size tags as I progressed into a new size. Mile markers, if you will.
While I’m sure it surprises no one that I didn’t collect size tags when I was wearing size 22s and 2Xs, I wish now that I had saved those tags. Not only were they part of who I was, they’re part of who I am now. To paraphrase an Anne Lamott quote, I am every size I’ve ever been.
I’ve been the girl/woman whose dress/uniform/jacket didn’t fit, whether it was too big or too small, and I’ve been the girl/woman who wasn’t chosen for this or that based on size or appearance or general geekiness. I know what that feels like–the embarrassment, the hurt, the shame. Despite my weight management (mostly) success, I can’t un-know those feelings.
What’s really odd is that in this moment, and for what I think is the first time, I am feeling grateful for those memories, because a) I may feel them again someday and my older wiser self knows my value to the planet isn’t related to my size or appearance, and b) I’m acutely aware of my power to cause someone else to have those feelings.
As for the bride and bridesmaid in question, well, we can only hope that they develop older, wiser selves soon.
And that they learn that a size 10 (or a size 20 or 30) is nothing to be ashamed of; dumping a “best friend” from your wedding because of the fit of a dress IS shameful behavior. But that’s just my opinion.