As a young girl, my favorite game in the world was Dress Up. I had a giant trunk full of oversized women’s dresses, high heels, hats, veils and boas. If girlfriends wanted to come over, they had to pay dress up or they wouldn’t get invited back again (if memory serves – and it rarely does, mind you – my dress up obsession was somewhere in the 9-11 year old bracket; post-Barbie obsession &pre-sticker collection obsession).
I was also happy to play dress up all by myself, thank you very much. This was the era before $20 ready-made Disney Princess dresses were invented, so my dress up clothes were a combination of my mother’s cast-offs, my grandmother’s leftovers, and feather boas, long gloves, and other accessories my mother would occasionally spring for.
And then there was the motherload.
The Wedding Dress.
The Wedding Dress was an old, secondhand lacey catastrophe that my mother picked up at a yard sale one year, wrapped it in an entire roll of wrapping paper and tape, and gave to me one Christmas.
The Wedding Dress was my absolute favorite present in the whole wide world of all time.
(Yes, we’re Jewish and we celebrate Christmas like it’s the last holiday on earth, get over it.)
The Wedding Dress had about 50 buttons that went down its back – the silk kind of buttons with the loop that hooks around it instead of a button hole. I can only imagine the good times my mother must have had as I forced her to button it up every time I wanted to wear it (every day, many times throughout the day) and unbutton it every time I needed to take it off.
The Wedding Dress was lacy, long, and poufy. I adored it. I worshiped the ground it walked on (with me wearing it).
Plus, it fit me! How in the world did an actual wedding dress used in an actual wedding fit a nine year old? I was always uber-tall, but still… Come on, I was nine! This wasn’t a midget’s dress.
Duh, I’m just kidding, I know why it fit.
The Wedding Dress was magical.
It made me feel beautiful, special, and lacy – possibly my three favorite adjectives at that point in my life. The Wedding Dress wasn’t so much about me wanted to be married (or in a wedding), so much as it was me wanting to outshine Princess Di, who had gotten married just six days after my ninth birthday.
I succeeded, naturally.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)