In a New York City apartment, two women are chatting surrounded by pastel papers, flower samples and ring binders.
“It’s just too much sometimes you know?” Hannah exclaimed with much exhaustion. “Plus ones or not, distant cousins or not, vegetarians, vegans, gluten frees! I waited 28 years to get married and now I just want to skip to the inevitable divorce!”
Handing Hannah a glass of wine on the larger side of medium, Laura responded absently and automatically with, “Hmmm”?
“Laura, it’s only just turned 12”, Hannah said despite readily accepting the wine.
“Yes but this is a 9pm two glasses deep rant, I can feel it” she said knowingly.
“Too right it is!”, Hannah responded half-jokingly, “No, but come on Laura, it’s just every other thing causes someone or something offence. Hell i’m even booking in secret dress trips just to, god forbid, experience my own wedding and exercise some of my own choices!”
“Wait, what?” Laura re-engages with the conversation, “You’re going wedding dress shopping without me?”
“Erm…what?” Hannah suddenly went wide-eyed and sipped her wine.
“You just said secret dress trips?”
“No i didn’t”
“Yes you did!” Laura started to get irate.
“No, I said, secret fess trips” Hannah explained sheepishly.
“And what is a ‘fess trip’!?” Laura replied angrily with aggressive air quotes.
“I’ve just been, erm, you know having lots of unhealthy pre-marital thoughts and needed to speak to the vicar about them, so i’d go and sit in those wooden booth things and confess”
“Wooden, booth, things?” Laura couldn’t quite believe the Hannah’s lie couldn’t support itself with the actual name of church furniture, “Are you telling me you, you’ve been going to confessionals?”
“Confessionals! Yes that it, ahem…yeah” Hannah said not even convincing herself.
“Bullshit” Laura said pointedly.
“Look, i’m getting married soon, in a church, with a steeple and everything. I’m a woman of God now” Hannah felt a growing confidence, this wasn’t a bad line of argument, she was actually getting married in a church to be fair.
“You. The 29 year old, sex loving, club going, vengeful drunken mess of an atheist has finally found salvation in the chaste arms of god?!”
“Hey, cheap shot. I’m 28 not 29”
“Ha okay so the rest is accurate is is? Exactly. No I’m not having it, you’re planning on going dress shopping without your Maid of Honour, Hannah how could you do this!” Laura started to turn the knife of guilt now that the pretence of a lie had been dropped.
“Ugh fine! Have you not been listening to everything I’ve just said though, it’s exactly this that’s annoying me. You are of course welcome to come along to any part of the wedding, but I’m also allowed to just go and have a look myself am I not? Free from the pressure that every element of it needs to turn into an event somebody feels they should be attending?” Hannah pleaded strongly.
Laura, not listening, responded with, “Sorry babe, but this is your fault”
“My fault, how is you being mad at me for wanting my own space my fault?”
“Because you’re making the first mistake in wedding planning”
“Thinking it’s about you!”
“It is about me!”
“Noooooope. It’s for everybody else”.
Hannah and Laura retreated from their debating positions with very different mindsets. Laura, high on her victory from interrogation and guilt, and Hannah, angry at herself for letting it slip. Hannah glowered into her glass and in doing so, noticed a flyer that had fallen out of a bridal magazine advertising a Wedding Dress one day only flash sale. She immediately recovered, and found her smile.
“I’m sorry Laura, you are my maid of honour, and I would very much appreciate it if you could come with me tomorrow”
“Yay! Thanks, I won’t be annoying I promise, you can still have your space”
“Oh I’m not worried about that at all lovely. It’s at a dress store in Brooklyn that’s having a 50% sale on”
“Brooklyn!?” Laura said shocked “That’s 40 minutes away there’s dress stores in the Village, let’s go to one of those”
“They’re having a one day only 50% sale here though! It’d really mean a lot to me if you were there” Hannah said, turning the tables of guilt on Laura.
“What’s the place?” Laura said, desperately trying to think of a way out of it.
“Cleanmens” Hannah said,
“Clean. Mens?” Laura replied doubtfully
“Yeah, no wait, Kleinmans” she says picking up the flyer and handing it to Laura.
“I see, it really is one day only huh” Laura was quickly realising her fate, and thinking long and hard about her trip to Brooklyn tomorrow. She hated the subway.
“Oh no, oh dear no, can you not make it? Is tomorrow not a good time for you?” Hannah said now increasing her sarcasm to eleven.
“Well, erm, no that’s fine, I can make it, i just need to go and move some stuff around” Laura replies hurriedly drinking her wine in a gulp whilst putting on her coat. “8am, tomorrow, Kleinmans. I’ll see you there”. She rushes out the door, held open, but swiftly slammed shut, by Hannah.
“No you won’t!” picking up the wine and imitating Laura in a high pitched voice, “I’m the maid of honour, I want to come too, blah blah blah”, then in her own voice, “Kleinmans? Noooope”, and threw it into the trash.
It was a grey chilly day in Brooklyn, an the uninspiring shop front had an equally uninspiring window that said Kleinman’s 50% off annual sale today only!. A sea of white women with mouse brown hair bustled towards the thin aluminium and glass door. Hannah hung around the back of the crowd looking for Laura, and then it dawned on her. She said aloud:
“That bitch! That’s how she got her precious space, and now I’m doing her dress shopping for her. Well you know what, I’ll not be the petty one here, I will do it, and I’ll pick the best dress ever, that’s what a maid of honor is for”.
She got a few strange looks for talking to herself but they were quickly re-directed once the doors opened and a woman literally fell over with excitement. Despite beginning with the best intentions, Hannah quickly experienced a fade in enthusiasm as the mania reached fever pitch from brides to be.
She made her way into the heart of the madness after an hour of pulling dress after dress off of the racks. At one point she paused and loudly exclaimed “How can there be this many variations of a white dress, they’re dresses, and they are white! That’s it!”
4 or 5 racks deep, Hannah was prepared to call it a day, she was already practising her excuses now, “There’s a reason they’re 50% off babe”, she thought. One final look through this rack and she’ll be away from the passive aggressive bridezillas who seem to be made entirely of elbows.
Perhaps it was just the acceptance that she’d lost against the sea of white foamy dresses but this one actually looked nice, she leaned over a small woman wearing a denim jacket and her hair in a pig’s tail and was met with a disproportionate amount of aggression, “Don’t crowd me!” the woman said, getting so close Hannah she could count her eye-lashes.
Hannah thought to herself: forget this. This is your brain normally, this is your brain on wedding fever. Normal people don’t react like this. But then I can’t walk away defeated. I need to get into the head of my enemy. I’ll be needing some real confessionals after this. If Laura wants to play games, let’s begin.
Hannah stepped outside briefly, rolled up her sleeves and stormed back into the store, flinging dresses and soon to be brides out of her way as she did so. She was determined to earn her title as the Honorable Maid, by any means necessary and this was her first trial.
Source: Crane and Kauffman’s Friends