What’s a juicer got to do with it?

There’s something about planning a wedding that can turn the toughest modern woman into a girlish expert on china patterns, lace and etiquette.
  Take me, just for instance.
  I consider myself a feminist. I always went “Dutch” on dates. I attended college for an M.S., not an Mrs. I never dreamed about how my wedding would be.
  But in the seven months since my fiancé and I decided to take the plunge, I’ve learned all about different shades of white and the symbolism of various flowers. I purchased a poofy, ball gown-style dress. One recent afternoon found me practicing how I’ll sign my married name.
  While I’m having fun, I’m also concerned that some more useful information is being displaced by all this new wedding trivia.
  Worse than all of that, however, is the infamous bridal registry.
  Yes, I know. I should be grateful that people will buy us a gift and even more delighted that there’s a way for us to make “suggestions” about what they choose. And I am.
  But the fact of the matter is that this is the moment when supposedly long-since-abandoned patriarchal traditions combine with unbelievable materialism to make a woman feel that her marriage will be incomplete without a juicer.
  At first, I didn’t think we’d register for gifts.
  “We’re a modern couple,” I reasoned. “We already own a toaster and dishes. Plus, our guests know us well enough to buy or make a present on their own.”
  Not so fast.
  “You have to register,” a friend told me soon after I got engaged. “We didn’t and we now are the proud owners of six crystal bowls shaped like hearts.”
  The conspiracy now in full force, I started thinking about it.
  Then my relatives joined the charge. “Where are you registered?” they asked, a full year before the wedding.
  The maid of honor and several other friends soon chimed in. Each had her own story about someone who hadn’t registered or — even worse — hadn’t registered for enough.
  And so I gave up.
  There we were, standing in a department store picking out all the items we “need” to start a new life together.
  A Dustbuster? Sure, that’s fairly practical. Especially given the way our cats shed.
  New silverware? I guess that would be nice.
  A new clock? We have a dozen already, but why not?
  China? How have we lived this long without a gravy boat? Put us down for that plus 10 place settings.
  Then things got truly ridiculous.
  We signed up for every small appliance known to man — or maybe I should say woman.
  An iced tea maker. An electric frying pan. A food processor. A juicer. A cappuccino machine. Even an electric screwdriver. They’re all on the list.
  We were leaving the store last weekend when a new problem dawned on me. “Let’s just say our friends and family actually buy us some of these things,” I said to my fiancé. “Where are we supposed to put all of this stuff, anyway?”
  He turned to me and — with total sincerity — said, “I guess that’s just one of the joys and challenges of married life.”
  I didn’t think I’d hear him say something like that until we were ready to have children.
  Rachel Dickler is Weekend editor at The Daily Star. This column was published April 1, 2000


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