Sex Ed in Higher Ed

College instructor teaching human sexuality rants about the dumbing down of America, the lost art of manners, grammar and (the perfect combination of both) the thank you note. Also includes random rants about life, pet peeves, and sometimes raves about favorite things.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Not What I Expected

I started worrying about my face-off with Bridezilla as soon as I woke up yesterday. I began wondering about the likelihood of an attack of appendicitis or other sudden onset illness that would require my hospitalization. Anything to get me out of a day with the crying bride from hell who tells her fiance that she hates him.

I arrived at the venue an hour before the bride. Everyone there from security to housekeeping had something to say about her: "This one? She's a trip," and "Yeah. She's a real pain in the ass." "She's a card." "She's a nutjob." Before she even got there I started humming to myself, "How do you solve a problem like Bridezilla?"

Then the photographers arrived. I immediately got a HUGE girl crush on both of them. They were cool and we instantly bonded. I asked them both, "What's the deal with this bride?" They just laughed. "Oh, she's fine. Seriously. She's a bit high strung, but the deal is, you just need to tell her what to do. She wants someone to tell her what to do. Once she knows someone else is in charge, she relaxes and really she's fine."

I didn't believe them, but since they were my new best friends, I figured they had no reason to lie. Finally, the bride and I laid eyes on each other. She was stunning. And she was 23. The groom was 43. It was officially the creepiest and saddest wedding I have ever seen.

As soon as I introduced myself, she started talking a mile a minute. First, she pointed out the groom's 12-old-daughter. "That's Maggie," she said. "She has ADD/HD, OCD, anxiety disorder, two other things she's been diagnosed with that I can't remember and her mother abandoned her." I didn't know what to say. That's certainly way more information than any bride has given me before. Before I could comment, the bride (let's call her Laci) started flipping out about the musicians. "I totally don't trust them and I don't think they're going to play the song I want and also, I do NOT want my guests to-" and I did what my new photographer friends told me to do. I played the bossy Alpha dog card (which I just now realized I should have done with Inappropriate Sister on the first day of the semester, but, oh, well - as they used to say on Ally McBeall, "bygones."). "Laci," I said seriously and firmly. "Yes?" Now she was all Bambi eyes, looking like I was about to give her the most important piece of information she would ever get in her life. "Are you marrying the man of your dreams?" She didn't even hesitate. "Yes." "Okay, then. That's all that matters. Everything else is icing on the wedding cake. Let's get you married to this wonderful fella, then!" She visibly relaxed. And then she hugged me!!!!! "Oh my God. Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

Then I got the family tree, which today is pretty important to know for some weddings. I got strict instructions to NOT call the woman who gave birth to her "your mother." Laci said, "That is not my mother. That is Gina. The woman who is my mother is that woman over there." Let me break it down for you: FOB (or "Father of the Bride") is on his third wife. Laci is Dad's first kid with his first wife. Then, we had 15 year-old surly teenager dude, Alan, dad's son with his second wife. Then we had the ring bearers, Tommy and Timmy, 6 and 4, who are dad's kids with his third and current wife who apparently has done something right, because Laci calls her mom. And FOB, by the way? Looked to be about two years younger than the groom and definitely had more hair. (The groom was struggling with some serious male-pattern baldness.)

The rest of the evening just made me want to cry, and not for the reasons I might cry at other people's weddings. This poor girl (because really, she was a very young 23 - she was just a girl) that everybody (including me) had written off as a Bridezilla just wanted (although she'd never admit it) and needed a mom. As soon as the ceremony was over, I led the new Mr. and Mrs. over to the cocktail reception area. Laci pulled me aside and whispered, "I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to do now." I looked her in the eyes. "You have fun. Do you drink?" She nodded. "I will get you a drink. What would you like?" She looked at her new husband/clear Freudian father figure. "What would I like?" she asked him. "Wine." She looked back at me. "I would like some wine." "Red or white?" She looked at him again. "Red or white?" This groom was clearly in charge. "Red." She looked back at me. "Red," she repeated, like a sad, modern Stepford wife. I went off to get her red wine and as I type this, I have tears in my eyes.

Although I probably have no business making assessments about this couple and this family after spending only 6 hours with them, here are my thoughts:

This 43-year-old groom married this child bride who says she hates him because he is no dummy. His daughter? That kid is a serious handful. She managed to piss off everyone working that wedding. If you piss off people who work weddings for a living, you are definitely off-the-charts obnoxious. These people have seen everything and if you send them over the edge, you can bet that it's with good reason. The photographers, who were the most mellow photographers I have ever met called her "Heinous bitch" and "spoiled rotten awful diva child." The catering manager called her a "hideous brat" and I will just say she is clearly not on the right meds, obviously going through a bad time and getting NO discipline or guidance from her father. I can't tell if the father has absolutely no clue what to do with a special needs child who happens to be a girl, or if he just feels too guilty to mete out any discipline or what. But it doesn't matter because 23-year-old Laci has clearly taken over the monumental task of raising this child. And although she's still just a kid herself in many ways, she's good at it. Wild child/spoiled brat listens to her. Women twice Laci's age might have liked this man, met his daughter and then run screaming for the hills. Either Laci is a saint in mortal's clothing, or she's too young to know any better.

Laci's family is a mess. Both the caterer and the DJ warned me that Laci had told them how only 38 people were attending because of numerous family "rifts." I asked the DJ if I needed to have the police on stand-by. Would this be one of those weddings where punches were thrown and members of the wedding party ended up in jail? He assured me it would not. "The bride talks a lot," he said. "There's just a lot of 'issues' in this family, apparently." Indeed.

To repeat myself: It was just the strangest, saddest wedding I have ever worked. There was no "joyous energy." I have been working weddings for eight years now. I can walk into a room and instantly pick up on the energy. I can usually tell if the bride and groom are getting married because they're crazy in love with each other or . . . for some other reason. This wedding was . . . I don't know. Just flat. No joy, but no sense of panic or stress or other "Bridezilla-y" emotions. Just resignation, I guess.

I will end this post with the father of the bride's toast (one I have never heard before): "The vows have been said, the cake has been cut, now let's hope Laci doesn't get a big butt."



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wasn't really convince just how sad that wedding was until I got to the FOB's speech. No wonder he's on wife number 3 and frankly I can't believe he got 3 women to marry him. I hope her husband/new dad is nicer to her.

June 05, 2006 6:44 AM  
Blogger Jewels said...

o.k., I'm crying now, too.

What an amazing story.

I'm so very happy that you were there, both for her, and for you. You have a compassionate heart (hush now, yes, you do)

And, now, you have inspired me to take the reins of a situation, just as you did. I will be calm and firm, and later the quiet of my blog, I'll be just a little sad and reflective and truthful.

You rock. Thank you for writing this entry.

June 05, 2006 7:04 AM  
Blogger Fraulein N said...

Wow. That's just sad. Both of those fathers sound like they dropped the ball. If there's one bright spot, it's that Laci at least knows how to handle her problematic stepdaughter. Maybe there's hope for both of them.

Hey, where'd cynical me go this morning?

June 05, 2006 8:04 AM  
Blogger ColoradoCastaway said...

"You May Now Kiss The Bride!" and so it goes, Laci turned out to be a little screwed up but not the Bridzilla you expected. the rest of that crew just adds to the pain. as for the dysfunctional daughter; My daughter is Bipolar and has ADHD If there is ever a time to step up the the Plate and be a Parent it is when your child has problems such as these. I Love working and I truly enjoy my career. I was doing Really well in Vegas, had a nice house, nice car, money to blow on vacations and general fun crap, etc. But, my children are the most important thing to me(besides my wife). Hence the move out to here to BFE. It is my opinion that "dad" shuold be spening a little more energy taking care of his daughter. On second thought, Maybe that's one of the reasons he decided to marry Laci.

June 05, 2006 9:29 AM  
Blogger Schietto Sister said...

I hope Laci gets to make up for her lack of being mothered by mothering her new step daughter. It is a tall order for a 23 year old, but maybe this will be what saves her. How lucky Laci was to have you see her as the girl she is rather than join the chorus of people who labeled her a nut.

June 05, 2006 12:16 PM  
Blogger Glamorous Redneck said...

Wow. . .I just. . .wow. That poor, poor unBridezilla. And the daughter too. But maybe they have a common bond with the needing a mom thing and they'll turn out well. But like others said, she must know how to handle all the ADHD and other things the poor girl was diagnosed with.

June 05, 2006 12:16 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

I feel so bad for that daughter. I am the pseudo-stepmom to a child that was abandoned by his mother. It is so hard raising a child like that because the emotional issues run very deep.

I only hope that Laci is happy and able to stick it out and stay married and in this child's life. My SS was abandoned by his bio-mom and his first stepmom, all before the age of 6. He's now 14 and I have been in his life longer than the other two combined. So sad.

Anyhow, I'm glad things turned out better than you expected.

If my father would have said something like that FOB, he wouldn't have been given the opportunity to speak. In fact, I might have superglued his mouth shut.

June 05, 2006 1:29 PM  
Blogger Mrs. T said...

THAT is the saddest FOB toast I've ever heard. At weddings, I usually look at the dad's face as he's walking his daughter down the aisle and it's so sweet and emotional. But THIS guy sounds like a big asshole, totally undeserving of female companionship. How sad that the whole event seemed devoid of any sense of family or togetherness.
I bet you went home and appreciated your own husband.

June 05, 2006 5:51 PM  
Blogger Teacher lady said...

You know what? It didn't occur to me to appreciate him. However, I stopped by my parents' house on the way home and said, "Dad? In case I never thanked you for NOT marrying three different women and having kids with all of them, I'd like to thank you now." He said it was no problem, really.

June 05, 2006 5:59 PM  
Blogger drstaceyny said...

OMG! It was an unreal story to begin with, and then we hear the FOB's toast! Unbelievable--and the poetic meter was all off, too. ; )

I'm glad you were able to connect with Laci.

P.S. I wrote my diss. on sexual communication.

June 06, 2006 10:54 AM  
Anonymous Julie said...

What a sad story -- but it made a great post. I got teary too. Especially at the end: tears of anger.

June 11, 2006 8:19 PM  

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