Saturday, 2 July 2011

Always a bridesmaid

It could, of course, have been worse.
Having been a (blushing) bridesmaid twice in the past 18 months, I am starting to feel a little panicky about the old adage.

So it was with great interest, and a slight sense of the autobiographical, that I headed to the cinema to see Bridesmaids.

I needn’t have worried. I was holding onto the seat in front, convulsing with laughter as tears streamed down my face. And, even at my young age, was considering the merits of tena ladies.
If you haven’t been to see it, then stop reading this and go immediately. It is very funny. And definitely do not judge a film by its poster. There is not a pink dress or cowboy hat in sight.
And, for anyone that has ever worried about what hideous dress their bride-to-be friend might put them in, loathed a fellow bridesmaid, or fretted over a hen-doo, it may be a little close to the bone.
I’m going to tell you a story. It is January 2010. One of my two University best friends has just gotten herself hitched. I was a bridesmaid at this wonderful wedding alongside my other university pal.
The bride and groom looked as if they were straight off the pages of a wedding magazine. The historical village church was touched with frost on an icy January morn. Save the toastmaster, who was dressed a little like a lion-tamer, it really was the most perfect and romantic occasion.
And then, just like that, I was home. Alone. In a freezing cold Scotland, with post wedding blues, January blues and blue digits.
I was in a depression worthy of Bridget Jones. My best friend was married; I was pushing 30, and definitely going to die alone surrounded by cats. This was especially distressing given that I really hate cats.
And so, on a bleak January evening, as I ate my pasta and pesto dinner (did I mention I was also having the broke-as-hell-blues?) my phone rang. It was University best friend number 2. I joked to my flatmate, ‘If she’s calling to tell me she’s engaged, I’m probably going to have to kill myself.’
Luckily for everyone I am prone to exaggeration.
And so I empathised somewhat with Annie, as Lil, her old and dear friend announced her engagement. Panic. ‘I’m feeling a bit hot’, said Annie as Lil flashed her rock. Annie must whoop and hug with delight, but in her heart, she is horrified by Lillian's disloyalty at leaving her behind in the dismal pit of spinsterhood.
NB: (as they may be reading) being bridesmaid for my best friends was a delight and an honour. I still maintain that there is something intrinsically strange about dressing adults in the same clothes, but it was moving, special and an utter pleasure.
But, as anyone who has ever been a bridesmaid will know, that there is something about someone else's impending marriage that makes your existence seem second best.
In this brilliant film, even the married bridesmaids – those who have attained the great prize – instantly become disenchanted with their lives. A gentle bridesmaid, newly married, confesses her discontent with never having sex. A bridesmaid mother confesses her horror at sharing the house with three teenage sons "There's semen everywhere. One blanket actually cracked", and at her husband's insatiable conjugal needs, "I just want to watch the Daily Show once without him entering me".
I spat my malteasers clean out.
There is vomiting, there is drunkenness, there are jokes about sex, (all of which featured in my own bridesmaid experiences) but at its heart this is a lovely little film about friendship, and what it means to be female.
This film is not clichéd or lazy. It is witty and honest, providing a refreshingly true portrayal of what it is to be a modern woman; not one of the dreadful vacuous chick flick stereotypes that we have come to know and hate in so many films of recent years, but one of the lass who is suffering frostbite in Scotland whilst her best friends are getting hitched left right and centre.
Luckily for us, reality has made its way into this Hollywood movie.
Unfortunately the reality is that many of us are just one engagement away from a breakdown.
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1 comment:

  1. How have I only just read this? No idea how I missed it but I love (i) your description of our wedding (including lion tamer) and (ii) the film - I am seeing it this week and have heard SUCH amazing things about it. this has made be doubly excited. super. x