Monday, July 6, 2015

Be Honest

Say Yes to the Dress is seemingly harmless entertainment. Glossy-eyed brides-to-be troop in with their posses, searching for the "One," after finally pinpointing the other "One."
This is "reality" television, so they always manage to put a pleasant spin on interactions, but if one watches them carefully enough, it becomes obvious that the entourages are not as generous as they claim. Sisters, friends, even mothers—all are capable of sabotage. 

"I-I love it!" the bride stammers in delight after she is zipped and clipped into a gown. Ecstatic, she sails out to the main room where her people await. She poses in front of the mirror, exuding sheer and utter bliss, slowly twirling around, face shining in hope. 

Noses curl. Mouths contort. Thumbs get jabbed downward. 

Her smile crumples. Her shoulders slump. 

She returns dispirited to the dressing room, listlessly climbing into the next possibility. 

Sure, sometimes the peanut gallery gets it right. But that's not always the point. 

Many women don't have the best of self-esteems. When they face derision instead of support, they are visibly shaken—they aren't sure they are even capable of deciding what sort of gown style they themselves like. They want her to look her best, but if she has no confidence, even a $30,000 gown (yes, it actually does exist) won't make her look beautiful. 

Some, comfortingly, successfully shoot down the haters. In a re-run, a bride requires a last-minute dress. She has a low budget, no time to order a gown in advance, she's not a sample size, and her height means extra length in required: her options are not many. 

The second gown she dons she adores, as does most of her crew. Except for her "best" friend. Her mouth purses into a moue of distaste. The bride stares at her in shock. 

"I'm just being honest," the friend invokes defensively.

"Fake it," the bride snaps. "Why don't you like it?"

The friend shrugs. 

"That's it?" The bride mocks the so-called-friend's unhelpful shrug. "That doesn't tell me anything!" 

"I don't like the back," the friend feebly and weakly claims. 

The bride rolls her eyes and returns back to the mirror, nodding firmly to herself. With a joyous flourish, she says "yes" to the dress. The closing credits show her looking gorgeous by her wedding in this rushed, miraculous find. 

But that is a rare happening. Too many brides wilt under "dear" ones' disapproval. 

"Being honest" is under woeful mistranslation today. Apparently, it means, "That dress doesn't suit you. I'm just being honest." 

Oh, are you? Let's be honest. Are you, "BFF," maybe a wee bit jealous about your friend getting married? Be. Honest.
"Honesty" doesn't mean hurting people without suffering the consequences of remorse. "Being honest" means sharing with others something true about oneself. That's what vulnerability means; sharing something deep and meaningful with another to create connection.

Let's try this again: 

"You know, Kathy, seeing you there, looking gorgeous in that dress . . . it's hitting me. You're getting married. It's kind of hard for me, you moving on, settling down with Gary. I hope one day I can be as happy as you. And look just as stunning in a wedding dress."    

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