TV was not simple in our home. It was a complex struggle for control. My mother limited the TV to 1/2 hour after school and 1/2 hour in the evening. The preferred shows had to be circled in the TV guide and pre-approved. My mother also, not surprisingly, hates TV and has no respect for it's watchers. TV is "garbage". It is obnoxious noise for lazy people. Real, active, productive people with a godly work ethic eschewed TV and listened to Dr. Dobson extol the virtues of spanking on the godly radio while they clean.
My father on the other hand, is a stalwart fan of TV. He loves law, war, and detective shows and anything in black and white. I believe my parents mostly have a truce about TV at this point.
|Does this hoar frost make my rose hips look big?|
When he left, he kept the TV (along with, I've just discovered, most of our wedding photos). And I proudly went TV-less. Although every time I'm in a hotel I basically glue myself in front of the magic box and stare so hard I need eye-drops. We finally bought a used TV three years ago during the big switch to digital. We intentionally bought a TV that doesn't work for anything other than DVD's and VHS. And then over a year ago, the kids got a Wii and we were able to stream Netflix's mediocre, but ad-free, on-demand offerings. And then I got bashed in the head and all TV-hell broke loose. My TV-less-raised daughter now has three hobbies, all of them TV shows. Whatever, it's her life now.
And it's all so fascinating and makes me feel like I'm 18 and stoned again. Story, plot, characters, suspense. All of the things my current condition prohibits me from participating in fully in reality, I can vicariate with TV. I've binge-watched: Parks and Recreation (twice, and the beauty is I couldn't remember anything from the first time around), Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it's spin-off Angel, Mythbusters. I was surprised by the reality show, Clean House, of a genre I normally hate. Clean House de-junks people's homes to re-vitalize the house, giving new life to both the decor and the people inside. Plus Niecy Nash, the hostess at one point, was awesome. I watched this as my house became evermore cluttered and confused from not having me constantly organizing and de-cluttering. And every dream I had was just being in an empty house taken down to it's studs -- no action or adventure or plot, just me and the beams and lathe of old empty houses.
|empty Love in the Mist seed pod in the frozen mist|
Now I have a new obsession: Say Yes to the Dress. Brides shop for wedding gowns at a New York fancy pants dress gallery. "Schlopp!" My friend cried, "For the love of all that is holy, stop watching that garbage!" But I have dealt with "TV is garbage," before and those barbs don't even scratch the surface with me. I've been laying around for 14 months, because I have to, and I have become immune to imagined (or real, but no one's actually said anything) charges of laziness and TV-garbage (that one's real). Okay, maybe not totally immune, but I've got a lot of antibodies.
The brides are New Yorkers mostly, Jewish girls who will marry a man in a yarmulke beneath a chuppah. And also Catholic mob brides marrying men named Sal and Vito who are twice their age and three times their size. And there are Southern Belles and Beauty queens and tom boys breaking out of character for a day, and two dykes (finally!) in white pant suits. And women from all over the world. I have no idea who the brides are in real life: gold diggers, narcissists, two-faced daddy's little precious princesses or maybe sweethearts, thoughtful and kind, adventurers, brave hearts, and generous souls. There's no way to tell, most of the time. No matter who they are, or what their hangups, this dress shopping is a snap shot of magic, in my opinion. Surprised by myself, I've thought possibly too much about why I could possibly like this show and after taking a few pages of notes, I think I've figured it out.
|Frida is wearing my dress!|
|My MIL made the passion flower cake|
Am I standing in judgement over these brides? Do I watch it with voyeuristic horror, a la Toddlers and Tiaras (I could only handle 6 episodes) screaming at the screen. Nah, I don't think so. I wouldn't be addicted to that.
These women try on these dress, bewildered by this rumor that there would be something called "the one," the dress that was meant for them, for their wedding. I didn't believe it either. But show after show, it happens more often than not. They find THE dress. And it's obvious to the bride, the sales consultant and the camera. THE dress transforms the woman and they usually cry. They come into themselves, their own; their essence is enhanced by THE dress. Meeting oneself like this; it's a spiritual experience. Maybe I didn't have that with my wedding dresses, but I've had it with other objects. And it turns dressmaking and designing (and sales!) into a high calling, into yogis, creating a path and an object that calls a woman into her truest self. Fashion (and TV, for that matter) is not all shallow frivolity, as I've always thought. It's a powerful magic. And it's pleasant to think that right now, someone is making something, you don't even know what it is, but it has the power to bring you to yourself, to help you see your best self. And some day you might find it.
The other dresses may be nice, may look pretty. Hell, they ALL look pretty. The bride knows when a dress is great, but not quite. And then they know when it's perfect. There will be a dress that will transform every woman, of every size and age and proportion. She will find this dress that radiates her essence, and she will fall in love again, but this time with her own precious self. Sometimes the dress is exactly what they had in mind. Sometimes the dress is something completely different, not what they were looking for or expected. Sometimes the moment is large and loud. Sometimes the moment needs quietness and solitude to blossom.
|crab apples in their wedding gowns|
|20 years ago|