Frumpy Middle-aged Mom: Going wedding shopping with the daughter

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One of the joys of having adult kids is that you no longer have to buy clothes for them. They buy their own clothes, with their own money, with certain exceptions.

For reasons that are not clear to me, I still buy socks for my son, even though he’s 25 and perfectly capable of purchasing his own. This has something to do with my Costco membership, and the fact that you can’t walk out of Costco without spending the legally required $300. If I glance at my cart and reckon I’m below that sum, I’ll go over to the socks-and-undies aisle and load up, so they’ll let me out of the store.

But I didn’t come here to talk about socks. I came to talk about a dress I am planning to buy for my daughter, the one she expects to wear for her wedding in May. No, I’m not telling you where or when she’s getting married, because you people will crash the wedding and drink all our Grocery Outlet wine.

I originally had this laughable idea that my daughter could have a nice outdoor wedding in nature with all our friends, including dinner and dancing, for $5,000. Those of you who know better are now laughing hysterically and, soon, so did I, when I realized I was living in a fantasy world. Of course it’s possible to get married for $5,000, but only if you do all the work. I don’t want to do anything. I just want to show up and be handed some champagne.

Despite this, I know some of you are going to write to me and tell me about the beautiful wedding you held in your backyard in 1968 for $300. I think that’s just lovely and good for you. And, no, thanks, but Curly Girl doesn’t want anyone’s used dress. She wants a new one. And not a rental. I tried to convince her, but no.

Anyway, the daughter has been working a billion hours lately, so she’s just now getting around to thinking about what she’s going to wear when she walks down the aisle. Some of you may recall that this young man with curly hair showed up at our house a year ago on Christmas night with a bouquet of white roses, before taking my daughter to the movies. Seemingly in the blink of an eye, he advanced positions from “Not a Date” to “Not a Boyfriend” to “Not A Husband (Yet).”

Do I think they’re too young at ages 22 and 23 to get married? Hell yes. Do they care what I think? Not even in the slightest. So here we are, talking about wedding dresses.

First of all, let me say thank you to Curly Girl’s birth grandmother, Judy Bowen, who has offered to pay for her dress. Thanks, Judy! So kind of you. I had already told the daughter that her budget was $500. I know, even more of you are on the floor laughing at the thought of finding a $500 wedding gown.

Well, as a cheapskate and former writer of the Deals Diva column, you’d better believe we’re not spending a fortune on a gown that will be worn once. For only a few hours. I know women who’ve spent thousands of dollars on their gowns. Sorry, my friends. But I think that’s just obscene.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that TV show “Say Yes to the Dress,” where so-called experts bamboozle young women into spending vast sums on their gowns at a fancy bridal salon full of friends and family, but I always focus my attention on the face of the bride’s mother. She invariably looks horror stricken, because she’s realized her daughter is standing up on the dais wearing a dress that’s 10 times more than she can afford. But if she says no, she will disappoint everyone. So she says yes, the daughter is jumping with joy, and the mom is contemplating which of her other children she can sell to pay for it.

Since Curly Girl is so busy right now, I’ve been shopping online for her, at night while I’m watching TV. It took me awhile to come to terms with the type of dress she wanted — one with a bodice that’s so skimpy you might mistake it for the wedding night negligee. But she’s headstrong, and I didn’t stop her many tattoos or piercings, so I know she will pick the exact dress she wants regardless of what I think. Now, as long as you can’t actually see through it, I’ve adjusted.

Fortunately, I was able to find some dresses she liked at a store in the downtown L.A. garment district, so we have an appointment to head over there tomorrow to try some on. Amazingly enough, they are within our budget. Hopefully we won’t get there and discover they’re made out of Charmin bath tissue.

In the past, clothes shopping with my daughter has not always been joyful. Usually, she’ll pull something off the rack and I’ll say, “Is that a cleaning rag?” and she’ll get huffy and stomp off. Then I’ll pull out something truly adorable, hold it up to her and she’ll take one look and glare at me like I’m the stupidest person alive to even think she would ever put that on her back. We usually end up leaving the store by separate exits. Hopefully this will be better.

I’ll report back next week.

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