Off-White

This essay first appeared in the anthology Little White Dress



I’m not the frilly sort. 

I’m bling-free in a sparkly world. 

I do not own a set of pearls. 

The first dress I bought was a hot little number.  White, simple, short, tight.  If I’m going to suddenly believe in marriage, I reasoned, I might as well also believe that this dress is appropriate.  It was not.  


On ginger toes my mother offered a shopping trip. 

“I won’t go to a bridal shop,” I vowed, “I don’t want a wedding dress.”

“I know,” she said, “I’m your mother.”

She herded me to the mall, to a store I don’t remember, which probably morphed into a food court additive or cell phone retailer a decade ago.  There was the dress.  Found, affordable, agreeable, done.  It was elegant, a touch of class to counter my tattoos and Marlboros. 

We could have forgone the elegance if we’d eloped as planned, but we stupidly publicized our Vegas itinerary.  My in-laws pleaded.  And triumphed. 

We took a car to a plane to Alaska to a boat to an island to wed.  Intermixed with thanks to my groom’s parents for handling the logistics were my demands of no guests and no God.  My wishes were honored.

On a privately owned island off of Sitka, Alaska, we gathered with parents.  Siblings have yet to forgive us the exclusion, but just as I didn’t want a real wedding dress, I also didn’t want a real wedding. 

Mike and I dressed together in the bathroom of an exquisite cabin.  Inadvertent elbows took up the tiny room.  He zipped me up.

“Isn’t there something about the groom not seeing the bride in her dress before the wedding?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I answered, “but I don’t believe in that crap.”

“I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

He wore suspenders as I requested.  I thought they were handsome.  In our wedding pictures, we look Amish. 

A woman we’d never met before spoke.  We repeated words, giddy and light and desperately trying not to mess up our lines.  I was 22, he was 21.  We were young and stupid and miraculously lucky, still married in love and lust twelve years later. 

Hot little number did not go to waste.  I wore it at our in-lieu-of-reception keg party the following day.  I wore the wedding dress again on our first anniversary.  I tried it on ten minutes ago.  It fits, though the body underneath is child-weary.

I’m not the sentimental type.

I own no lace or veil. 


I’m keeping the dress. 


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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing! I loved your description of your body as child-weary. I'm stealing that. :)

    ReplyDelete