Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Between a rock and a wedded place

Between a rock and a wedded place there is the bridal shower--that pretentious, tedious, and altogether damnable gift grab by those who've got more gifts coming to them within a few weeks span.

Now, as much as I loathe having to attend a wedding shower--indeed, I loathe the very idea of the shower!--I will attend one for a good friend. It's what good friends do: support one another.

I will not, of course, attend one for someone I barely know--a fact which makes my being the only employee not invited to my boss' bridal shower a mixed blessing.

I've only worked at this place for a few months, so I don't really know my boss.

Unfortunately, though, I feel compelled to chip in for a shower gift. I--the only part-timer, the one who's working only seven hours this week--have been asked to help pay for a shower gift and I don't feel as though I can refuse.

I don't have the money, but I fear not contributing is going to create unnecessary animosity in an already frequently unpleasant work environment.

I hate this. I hate this shower, this compulsion, this feeling as though I don't have any choice in this matter.

I'm reminded of an episode from Sex and the City's last season:

Carrie and Stanford attend a baby shower thrown by their friends Kyra and Chuck. Upon arriving, they discover that Kyra's house rules include the removal of all footwear, regardless if doing so will destroy a carefully crafted outfit. The evening is pleasant enough, but when Carrie plans to leave the party, she discovers that her brand new Manolos have been stolen. Later, Kyra offers to pay for the missing shoes, but balks when she discovers that they cost $485. Carrie winds up leaving the apartment with no compensation, and a sense of shoe-induced shame. She wonders if she has somehow made a mistake by choosing the lifestyle that she did, rather than the more traditional one chosen by Kyra.


Carrie tries to smooth things over with Kyra, but it seems that the two won't be able to come to an agreement. Carrie then gets a brainstorm... since she's always come through whenever Kyra has registered at a store, then maybe it's time for Carrie to turn the tables. Ms. Bradshaw registers herself at Manolo Blahnik, in recognition of her just-announced marriage to herself. The only item that she registers for is a single pair of the missing $485 shoes, and Kyra finally comes around and replaces the missing Manolos.

Maybe you need to actually see the episode to understand the connection. Here's Carrie, wondering as I am now, at the numerous occasions when we are compelled to celebrate couplehood. And that's fine. Really. But shouldn't we be celebrating all of life's choices?

What's more, though, shouldn't we be able to choose whether to celebrate them or not without being made to feel compelled, guilty or cheap?

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