Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Marriage, The Roma Way

I have found myself, despite my protestations, succumbing to more and more reality television. I have now been sucked, much to my chagrin, into My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.
I was initially intrigued by the dresses; the ads display gowns so large that the brides spend their weddings tripping and stumbling and poking eyes out. Underneath, the skin is rubbed raw and bleeding from the weight.  Emerging from the wedding day with scars is considered normal. 
I find the dresses magnificent. A bit much, but still fabulous. In an age of less is more, ungepachkit gowns are rather appealing to see. I'm not a fan of minimalist wedding frocks, slender casual dresses lacking pomp and circumstance. 
After tuning in, the Roma culture itself is rather interesting. They marry very young; brides of 16 are normal. "Long in the tooth" can be 22. While their daily attire can be rather . . . revealing, they have very strict moral standards. They don't date nor are they engaged very long. 
The reality show depicts the Travellers and Roma (technically two separate ethnic groups) not in the most flattering of terms, according to the internet outrage, so I shan't relate any more as their culture, like any other, is not so simply depicted. (For instance, I once stumbled upon British reality series about the lives of observant Manchester Jews, and they were happy to make us look insane. The three episodes were available on koshertube, but they appear to have been deleted).

These girls dream of their wedding for years, the same way any other typical girl would. I always found that concept to be sad, how girls can spend years longing and planning for this one day. 

Sure, I think about a hypothetical wedding, and I may have a dress designed in my head, and perhaps I already know which makeup artist I'll be using, but I think that once I have a guy, I would be happy to be married in a rabbi's study. 

The idea of "MY day," and spending entire savings on it, I don't get. For some, the memories of their wedding will have to buoy them for years to come, and they know it. I hope my own joy and lifelong satisfaction doesn't have to depend on one day of celebration. 


Elisheva said...

Firstly, I am definitely one for extravagant dresses - however, these look really tacky! (maybe it has something to do with the image of that trailer...)
Secondly, you are so right about weddings. I don't know why they're so hyped. Maybe just a creation of the market economy to get women to spend $! Do you know that the diamond engagement ring is also a pretty recent development and was just a brilliant marketing scheme to popularize white diamonds? Just saying... :)

Princess Lea said...

Tacky yes, but I still am drawn to them. I'll take more rather than less when it comes to a wedding dress.

Oh, it is always a ploy. I like big stones in general, no matter what type, so I kinda fantasize about an emerald-cut something, but not necessarily a diamond.

Elisheva said...

WOW - I just saw an ad in In Style magazine that perfectly illustrates your thoughts on taking a wedding day too far and my previous comment as well. There's a new ad campaign from the World Gold Council. This is the text:
"Arguing the merits of the swan fold vs. the cat's paw fold makes it a wedding {referring to folding napkins}" / "Gold makes it a marriage"
Thank you Gold Council for clearing up what really matters in life!

Princess Lea said...

Hallmark has destroyed our lives.