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The Black Underwear Bride

August 9, 2010
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I’m standing in an historic farmhouse.  My white dress is hanging from an old bathroom door with a sign below it that says, “toilet $.05.”  The sequins and faux crystals shimmer in the light as I sift the fabric through my fingers.  My hair is up and pulled back so tight that my facial features are barely distinguishable.  I have little pins in it that sparkle.  The veil is in place.  It blows delicately with the breeze through the open doorway. Grandma’s pearls are on.

“It’s time,” my mom says, “smile.”  Apparently I had not been smiling enough.  “Look excited,” she reminds me as I undress and prepare to put on my dress.  I’m already looking frustrated that some guests have arrived way too early and I’m not entirely sure the curtains in the windows of my dressing room cover the soon-to-be view. “Oh my God,” my sister says as I slip out of my shorts, “why did you wear black underwear on your wedding day?”  What?  Who cares what color underwear I’m wearing?  The answer eludes me, but apparently it’s one I’m supposed to have because she is still looking at me.  Why am I wearing black underwear?  Because in a rush that morning it seemed like a good idea.  It was the only semi-pretty pair I could find.  I don’t have pretty underwear.  I have boring underwear.  My underwear is from Gap or the plastic Fruit-of-the-Loom 3-pack baggies you get at Target.  I thought my black pair would be cute.  A horrible thought starts to form in my mind.  Dear God, did I cast a horrible omen on my wedding day?  Have I cursed myself by wearing the color of witches and devils and wanna-be punk high schoolers?  My throat is suddenly dry as I realize I may have doomed my marriage, and still needed to answer my sister out loud.

“I don’t know.  I thought they would be cute.”

“Oh,” she says, “I just thought you’d wear the white ones I got you.”

Right.  Brides should wear white on their wedding day.  I should have known that.  Underwear should have been one of the first things I planned and thought through, but in typical self-style, I did not.  I was proud enough of myself for even thinking of grabbing the “cute” pair, well alone white ones.  It dawns on me while standing in the beautiful old room with the brand new sparkling dress and the sister that knows more than I do, that I am just a little girl playing dress up.  The setting, the attention, the smells, the incessant phone calls of congratulations and flower arrangements and catering set-up questions are all meant for someone else.  Someone who remembers to wear white underwear, who doesn’t freak out about misplacing her toothpaste, who feels freedom and calm and peace at the very mention of her wedding day.  Everyone is still waiting for me to show up as “the bride,” right down to the color choice of my underwear.  What if that person never shows up?  What if all they get is just me?

I get my dress on.  My sister helps me slip into my signature red peep toe shoes with little pearls on them.  My mom is beaming.  My sister is oohing and awing.  I’m just trying to breathe in my corset.  Am I now what they expected? Just smile, I remind myself, just smile.  I can’t recall all the details, but I remember being told that I could go see my soon-to-be husband.  We had (shock-gasp!) planned to see each other before the ceremony.  I couldn’t get out of that room fast enough.  I remember walking through the backyard of the farmhouse, through an arbor and down a dirt path littered with crab apples that had fallen from the orchard trees.  I remember clinging desperately to all the dress fabric that was bunched as far as the tips of my thumb and index finger would reach.  As I went through the clearing of a path I saw the man I was about to marry standing there, his back to me, in a Navy blazer and his hands down at his sides.  I felt a little vulnerable, a little shy.  I muttered something like “hi” and he turned around.  I wish I could remember what he looked like.  I don’t remember his smile, or what he said, or the way his eyes went wide at seeing me in my wedding dress.  I just remember the feeling.  The feeling of home.  Relaxation, warmth, pride, rest.  In that moment, I felt the transition into our new family – just he and I.  No bridal expectations.  No strange newness to being someone’s wife.  No failure at forgetting white underwear.  In that moment, it was just him and me.  Just as we always have been, and as we always will be.  It was a surprisingly normal moment that carried into a surprisingly normal day.  We got married, cut cake, ate, danced, and let ourselves be completely given over to all the love and joy that was extended out to us.  And whenever I got lost in the glitter and twinkle and expectations of it all, I’d look over at my husband.  At this man who didn’t want anyone else to show up that day except me.  And it would suddenly feel right again. So easy, so normal, so us.  I felt all of that, even while wearing black underwear.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Jenna permalink
    August 9, 2010 11:10 pm

    Lauren, you have a gift! SO funny and touching. What a beautiful way to express the moments of that day. You are a blessing. Keep writing. This is brilliant!

  2. Sally permalink
    August 11, 2010 11:13 am

    Beautiful writing and don’t worry, you couldn’t even see the black…..

  3. Erika Wolberg permalink
    August 14, 2010 10:51 pm

    I love it Lauren. It’s beautiful and charming and real.

  4. Hermanito permalink
    August 15, 2010 11:42 pm

    Oh Lauren how your entries make me laugh. I love reading your blog and getting snapshots into your life while I can’t be there. I am so blessed to have a sister like you and I love you so much. You and Evan are awesome and I love reading about your experiences. I thought it’d be nice for you to read some physical appreciation of your writing, please keep doing it.

    With love
    Hermanito

  5. Jaena Barker permalink
    August 22, 2010 8:41 am

    Lauren,
    I am LOVING your blog. All of them! Your “Black Underwear Bride” has caught me this morning (on your birthday) drinking my morning coffee with tears rolling down my face. Who knew our babysitter was so talented??

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