April 1, 2017 — We’ve known about the three family weddings for a year. Three of our nephews are getting married this spring, each blessed day six weeks apart. The first wedding is a week from today. Somehow, it evaded me that I might need to have something to wear to these special family events. My Beloved bought new Florsheim shoes a month ago, so he’s a bit ahead of me.
As aunt and uncle, we have no visible role. We buy an acceptable gift. We show up and try to stay low key, looking normal, not like a flamboyant Auntie Mame character or clueless Marvin from “Office Space.”
The bride and groom tell everyone the same thing; we want you to be at our wedding. Don’t worry about the details. You being there is the most important thing to us.
But we know the underlying message is that we need to stay in the background. Our day is past. We want to have a Low Profile. Staying out of the spotlight is difficult because we both possess qualities of each character, well, mostly me. (Ones of my prized possessions is a red stapler I won from Radio WOWO in 1973. Sad life.)
My Beloved knows how to stay under the radar. He looks respectable every day, because (unless it is Saturday) he won’t go out in jeans and a sweatshirt. He wears nice slacks and neatly pressed collared shirts (by the dry cleaners, not me) every weekday. (We’re not counting that time we ate the 100 Swiss franc lunch in Lugano when he was wearing his Allis-Chalmers orange sweatshirt from Rural King. I’m telling you, he’s Ralph Lauren business casual most of the time.)
We rarely dress up. The suits I wore when I worked for a Fortune 100 company are long gone. Husband has the requisite weddings and funeral suits. Wednesday night we canvassed his closet and had a “try-on” session. He was wearing no shirt and Marvin the Martian fancy pants. Real sexy stuff.
He found three identical blue sports jackets. Helpful for when we summer in the Hamptons. Seriously, why does he have these? My theory is that in the last 21 years (that’s as long as we’ve lived in this house), some occasion arose that he needed a blue sports jacket, so he bought one. And then another. And then another.
Then he found five nearly identical suits in dry cleaning bags. One of the outfits had two red Christmas tapers packed in plastic attached to the bag. Was it a giveaway from the dry cleaners? Were they in his pockets when he took the jacket into the cleaners? We thought we might surprise the bride and groom as we walked up the aisle each carrying a red candle, but realized that would put in the Being Noticed category.
Four of the five suits fit, and I insisted he put the fifth (a leftover from about twenty years ago) in the Goodwill pile. He didn’t want to, but I reminded him that having four identical suits that fit qualifies him for a new career as a funeral director. He’s not interested in changing jobs. We agreed to find a shirt and tie to match whatever I wore. This is problematic.
I have nothing to wear.
Nothing. I purchased a dress for another nephew’s wedding in 2015, and well, the dress was hideous. There was also a minor incident with a slip. A slip is a piece of women’s lingerie from Queen Victoria’s era. The only other dress I have is my “funeral dress.” I wore it to my mother’s funeral because my father requested I wear a dress. (I will not be wearing one to his funeral, should he proceed me, as he won’t be there to observe.) There is something acceptable I can wear to Wedding #3 because it’s colors are black and gold, and I happen to own a summery, shimmery black and gold two-piece top with a pair of black summery, shimmery slacks. This look fits into the vision of being stylish but not overly visible.
I made a trek to the mall today (a place I never visit) and found a helpful clerk and found something acceptable and low key. Now if I remember not to call the groom by his childhood nickname, not carry lighted tapers down the aisle, pull my red stapler out of my purse, and for God’s sake, not dance at the reception, we will be under the radar. — Amy McVay Abbott, April 1, 2017.