The Bride Wore Botox
I'm not a fan of big white weddings for a host of reasons that I won't go into now, but there are relatively reasonable big white weddings and then there are crazy, out-of-control big white weddings. Unreasonable expectations of bridesmaids is one way to tell the latter from the former. While I personally would advise anyone who sought my wedding-planning advice (and, sadly, no one yet has) to just skip the matching dresses thing and let their friends and family wear clothes of their own choosing, if a "bride" (in the parlance of our times) can't live without a string of her closest female loved ones lined up in identical dresses, then she should at least exercise restraint. For example, she should not ask them to spend inordinate amounts of money on their dresses, unless she plans to foot the bill. She should also stop at the matching dresses, not going so far as to ask her attendants to wear identical hairstyles, jewelry, and/or bras. (And, yes, I have friends who have been asked to do all three.)
But I'm clearly living in a wonderland of naive and outmoded thinking. Now there are actually women out there, "brides," who are asking their closest female loved ones to undergo cosmetic surgery and in various other ways submit their flesh and skin to the machinations of "aestheticians" (a title that is, as I write, making Oscar Wilde spin in his grave.)
When my dear sister-in-law got married last summer, she gave me and all her other bridesmaids the chance to participate in a "pamper party" with facials, mani-pedis, and whatnot. She arranged for a hair stylist and make-up artist to be available to help us with our hair and faces, if we so chose. This all seemed a bit much to me, but, she did not require these things, thankfully, and she did not set up botox parties, group boob jobs, collective tooth whitening, or spray-on tanning sessions to turn us all the same shade of orange-brown. And, for this, the New York Times tells me, I should be very thankful.
If this exact article had been written on April 1st, I would have read it as a hilarious send-up of Bridezilla culture and a critique of the cult of feminine-beauty-at-all-costs, rolled into one. But this is no joke. There are actually women out there, in our very own land, telling their friends and family that they need to go under the knife or the needle in order to be presentable to appear on their wedding altar and in their photo album.
And, as the Times tells it, this is A-OK with many women:
For Karen Hohenstein, who held her party at [unnamed Spa] in Chicago, convincing her friends was as smooth as a Botoxed forehead. “It wasn’t me saying, ‘Hey, we all could use a little something,’ ” she said. “It was, ‘I want to do this,’ and a couple of people said, ‘I do, too.’ ”
There are, however, a few crazy dames who, for some unimaginable reason, balk at having cosmetic surgery in preparation for a stint as a bridesmaid:
But for every accommodating pal, there’s another who feels going under the knife is beyond the duty of bridesmaid. Becky Lee, 39, a Manhattan photographer, declined when a friend asked her — and five other attendants — to have their breasts enhanced. “We’re all Asian and didn’t have a whole lot of cleavage, and she found a doctor in L.A. who was willing to do four for the price of two,” said Ms. Lee, who wore a push-up bra instead.
Well, thank God for push-up bras! Jesus H. Christ. If any friend of mine asked me to get my tits done in honor of her nuptial day, I would not only say no, I'd refuse to take any part in her wedding and cut off all contact with this maniac. What the fuck!
The Times, on the other hand, is downright chipper about these interesting new developments in the multi-billion dollar wedding industry (This is, after all, the "Fashion and Style" section), going so far as to offer advice to anyone who might want to take a running jump at this festering bandwagon:
Just as timing matters when it comes to securing a hall, it’s best that brides-to-be don’t delay scheduling appointments, aestheticians and doctors say. “You wouldn’t get a cut and color the week before,” said Dr. Jessica Wu, a dermatologist in Beverly Hills who advises coming in three to six months before the big day.
Ms. Meyer of [another unnamed spa] suggests that a bride contact her the minute the question is popped. “Brides really appreciate the fact that we put everything in a regimented schedule for them,” she said. Since February 2007, she has staged more than 30 bridesmaid parties and has 18 planned so far this year. “If you have to do eight treatments, six weeks apart, that could take up to a year,” she said.
The Times does admit, though, that these batshit crazy pre-wedding rituals can cause some tension between brides and their buddies:
A bride’s request that you whiten your grayish teeth can strain a relationship. Samantha Goldberg, a wedding planner in Chester, N.J., recalled a bride who asked her attendants to get professionally spray-tanned for a Hawaiian-theme reception.
Alas, two women were claustrophobic and couldn’t bear standing in a tanning capsule. “They asked the bride if they could use regular tanning cream from a salon,” Ms. Goldberg said. The bride refused; she wanted everyone to be the same shade. The women ultimately declined to be bridesmaids. “Friendships of 20-plus years gone over a spray tan?” Ms. Goldberg said. “Sad!”
No, actually, it's probably for the best. When you have a friend who has been driven insane by a combination of her wholesale acceptance of the sickest standards of feminine beauty currently in circulation and her monomaniacal devotion to a wedding ideal that features friends and family in matching, medically-perfected bodies, it's better to find out sooner rather than later so you can run as fast as you can in the other direction from the evil pod person who has taken over your friend's body.
I can just imagine this bride looking through the photo album years after her wedding. "It's too bad Kathy and Cindy couldn't have been there. But damnit! they just weren't willing to paint themselves the right shade of brownish-orange!"
Oh, well, sometimes big life events like marriage show you what's really important. And what could be more important than having a friend with the right shade of skin, a pornstar-worthy rack, ivory white teeth, and a face smoothed by strategic paralysis induced by a reaction to botox, also known as botulinum toxin? And let's remember that botulinum toxin, the bacterial neurotoxin that causes botulism, is one of the most poisonous naturally occurring substances in the world and the most toxic protein in existence.
Kinda makes you feel a little bit sentimental, doesn't it?