Unlike Love, Cheap Lace Never Dies

Many years ago, when the crust of the earth was still hot, I got married.

I was 22 and living far from home with my fiancé. Impoverished beyond imagination, we jumped at the offer to have our wedding in a friend's backyard. We exchanged vows in front of their hot tub, and let me tell you, it was magic. I still get misty thinking about the sucking sound the pump made as we pledged to love each other for about three and a half years.

I don't recall where I got the dress, but I'll always have the memory of how butt-ugly it was. A veritable parfait of discount lace worked into a three-tiered gown that gave the overall effect of stacked patio umbrellas. And what short bride doesn't want to be chopped into thicker, stubbier segments? Fortunately, it only cost $170—which, coincidentally, was what I weighed at the time.

My future ex-husband and I were married one October afternoon by two Universal Life ministers, one male and one female. It seemed terribly profound back then, but it's so embarrassing today that I can barely relate it without a few drinks. Fortunately I'm drunk now, so this is just all flowing like water. And as long as we're oversharing, I might as well tell you that the groom played guitar at the reception, and I sang "The Rose"—the second worst decision I made that day.

The food was equally tragic. Our wedding cake was from a supermarket, and it was only by the grace of God that we didn't wind up with a Power Rangers sheet cake. My mother, who was working as a caterer at the time, drove five hours to the wedding with a carful of cheese. I'm still not sure what that was all about, but we lived on grilled cheese sandwiches until Christmas.

I don't remember much else about that day, except that someone gave us matching baseball caps with the rear end of a plush bull sticking out of them and brown pompoms on the bill. Yes, we got bullshit hats on our wedding day. Clearly, our guests knew something we didn't.

Our marriage lasted five years, but the hideous dress enjoys eternal life in my storage unit. Even the bugs won't touch it. Unlike love, cheap lace never dies.

And really, that's my whole experience. I didn't grow up dreaming of the day I'd become a wife and mother. I mean, I did at one point, but it turns out I just wanted to be able to tell other people what to do.

April Winchell
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