Thursday, 31 January 2013

Do I?

I've never been much of a wedding person. Personally, I haven't seen the point. Its an awful expense for one day, money which could be better spent on travel or a deposit for a house. But for some people it is a fundamental milestone. To me though, it's just never seemed necessary.

I never grew up in an environment where weddings were the norm. Not in my family and not in the books I read; mythology seems to care surprisingly little about the institution of marriage, particularly in comparison with the 'happily ever after's of most people's Disney upbringing. I never spent my childhood dreaming about the big white dress, who my bridesmaids would be, my Prince Charming... any of it. It just never seemed relevant.

Its only now as I prepare a talk in connection with the Unveiled exhibition at the WA Museum, that I find myself drawn in to this entirely new world. A world of white and lace and ostentation... and envy. My [ideology] has not been stirred, but my vanity has. Wandering through the exhibition researching, it's impossible not to be tempted by the skin-tight sheath of the Charles James, or wish for a coat as striking as Sara Donaldson-Hudson's hand-painted Bellville Sassoon. Each item was crafted with care and chosen with love, from the gentleman's embroidered waistcoat to the vivid red silk worn by a female electrical engineer during the war. Each one was worn with a reason, a symbol of their time or of their own personality, shining though as it filled the (verbal and written) gossip columns of the day.

Marvelling in the beauty of each piece, I wonder that my decision will be when my turn comes... if my turn comes. Would I contemplate wearing something as spectacular ( for it is still a spectacle) and worthy of display, or instead an ensemble that is simply endearingly identifiable as me. With so much subtext, so much symbolism at stake, what messages about my self would I feel a need to convey? What do I hold so dear to my personal identity that I could not let a little wedding tradition subsume?

And what customs would I adopt and make my own? Do I want 'something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in my shoe'? Or is the language of flowers more fitting? And so I leave contemplating ideas of a wedding. Contemplating the practicalities of the dress, and veil and flowers and ... and ...

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