Saturday, January 25, 2003

Here's the long-awaited recap of Bridal Expo 2003:

Roxanne (da bride), Rowena and I got up godawful early last Sunday morning to go to the Ramada Renaissance. That's one of those hotels that is shockingly expensive but utterly lacking in taste and originality. Sort of a one-night-only suburban McMansion. We stood in line with giddy suburbanites wearing "Very Important Bride" stickers, doled out to those who will battle the first wave of obnoxious vendors. Sort of a "Charge of the Bride Brigade."

While we were standing in line, one of the staff members decides to "entertain" the crowd by informing us that it is indeed an expo and there will indeed be vendors. Gee. However, he had one of those New England must-enunciate-the-hell-out-of-everything accents - like Eric Sturm's, for those of you who know him (hi, Eric!). Evil Eric Sturm noticed that Rowena looks sleepy and bored and started picking on her - in a flailing-standup-comedian sort of way. The line finally moves forward and I discover that Roxanne was whimsical enough to register me as a bride. I invent a groom, wedding date, home address and budget on the spot.

The next hour was spent visiting various relentless vendors, who acted like Roxanne is the greatest person on Earth - I swear one of the florists tried to lick her. We then sat down for the fashion show. The "fashion show" had all the class of a Flowbee infomercial. It started with a DJ/Limo Driver warming up the crowd by doing a goofy booty dance. Which was amusing, until it turned into an hour-long old-fashioned tent revival. Except instead of coming to Jesus, you had to go down to the stage and perform long-dead dances such as the Macarena. During the Electric Slide, Rowena fell asleep and began to drool on my shoulder. It was cute. Even Roxanne looked bored by the Booty Call.

Finally, the revival ended, we're all saaaaaved for Jesus, and they hauled out a woman I'll call Patty. Everyone knows a Patty - mid-forties, divorced, shoulder pads, big hair in a hairbow and enough false enthusiasm to spend days faking orgasms. She reads off raffle winners, one of whom is Patty's Soul Sister - hairbow, gonna hold on to her man THIS time around. Patty's Soul Sister screams and runs down to the stage like she's on The Price Is Right.

The so-called "fashion" show begins. Dress after foofball dress is rolled out for every sponsor. They ranged from mildly tasteful to Angelina-Jolie-would-find-it-tacky-and-goth. Sandals resorts had to take a turn, and this next bit cracked me up for days: the models came out in flourescent Sandals logo swim trunks and tank tops, and did a weird spinny dance with beachballs. The most enthusiastic dancer was...Evil Eric Sturm! He was doing something oddly sexual to his beachball and almost fell off the stage. They mimed playing golf, scuba diving, and swimming for the mindless bridal horde. Then they came out again on behalf of Target resort wear and Evil Eric Sturm did a dance with a golf club. You could tell Evil Eric Sturm thought this was a springboard to Hollywood. More dresses, more vendors, another round of Patty, then off for home.

I learned several important things on Sunday:

1. It's fun to scatter free bridal magazines around the boyfriend's fear has been palpable.
2. I have no inner fairy princess. The very idea that I might one day pick out a dress, flowers, limos, and so forth practically gave me an anuerysm. Vegas, baby, Vegas!
3. Most importantly, when you hear about the "Bridal Subculture" you can really just shorten it to "cult." Many of the brides were 2 steps away from selling flowers in airports.

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