There were three cardinal rules that I, as well as every other event planner, knew
When one’s child is getting married, it seems there’s nothing more important than how you look. If said child is your youngest son and he is marrying the oldest daughter of a much younger set of mechutanim (and the wedding will be in their town and not yours), your faith in praying that you can keep up, as well as your trust in the aestheticians who will get you through this, takes on all the intensity of the waning hours of the Day of Atonement.
In my previous life, because part of my job was helping others plan their own joyous occasions, there were three cardinal rules that I, as well as every other event planner, knew:
Never get a new coif for the wedding. Period.
Look, I get it. You’ve put off buying something new in anticipation (finally) of this upcoming affair and have been skimping and saving, setting aside every extra dollar (what extra dollar?) so that you can make this purchase prudently. You won’t.
You need the time and patience (neither of which you have right now) to work with it even though you’ve already justified its overpriced purchase to yourself and to all the skeptics in your world. You’ve repeated the practiced script so many times that your recital sounds like a three-year-old trying to explain why she needs a pony. The only one who doesn’t recognize it for the lemon it is is you.
Don’t buy a gown that’s too small and don’t alter it so that it’s too tight, promising yourself you’ll diet your way into it. You won’t. Please don’t ask me how I know this. The proof is in the safety pins I always carried around (and used) at every event I ever coordinated. I carried them in my discreet emergency cross-body shoulder bag… along with the spot cleaner, needle and thread in every color, rubber bands, paper clips, scissors, hair pins, tissues, super-glue, and Band-Aids for the blistered skin on your feet because of the….
New shoes. Don’t buy them. I don’t care how beautifully they match the off-colored taupe gown that the 22-year-old salesperson promised would make you look so young and chic. I don’t care that the 23-year-old salesgirl told you you’d get used to the three-inch stilettos in under ten minutes. You won’t. Since you’re not going to listen, at least wear those heels around the house for the month or so before the wedding. Unless, of course, you bought them ten minutes before you left town. Talk about denial.
I may have known these rules, but it doesn’t mean I followed them, and that’s how I found myself, on that glorious wedding day, sitting in the chair of a premier magician wearing pointy, too-tight, ugly taupe shoes, trying to ignore the hunger pangs I was experiencing from fasting for the past week so I could fit into the equally ugly dress.
My new coif wasn’t right. I’d known it the moment I bought it. I had played Jewish Geography making the necessary phone calls to find out who knew who in our destination city. This wizard’s proficiency was legendary and I was counting on her to somehow wave her magic comb and save the day.
The glorious morning dawned and following the compulsory makeup sorcerer’s work (I needed extra help), I raced over to the coiffeuse’s castle and eagerly hopped onto the chair. She watched as I ever so carefully unzipped the box and placed the new blonde-highlighted curls, softly teased and sprayed with fairy dust, on my head.
It looked just as “meh” as it did when I took it off the week before.
Taking a deep breath, I began my show-and-tell lecture while pointing out how this wasn’t quite right and that needed tweaking and how, after all the time and effort, not to mention the cost, this wasn’t quite what I expected. I sat there and implored her, with tear-filled, lash-enhanced, and mascaraed eyes, to help make this right.
After I finished my monologue with an overly dramatic sigh, I turned to face the mirror patiently waiting for the transformation to begin.
She took her time. Slowly she looked at me and the new hair I was now wearing while gently gliding her practiced fingers, casually adjusting a few strands here and a few strands there.
After several silent moments she turned the chair around so that she was facing me directly, looked into my eyes, and said the wisest words I have ever heard:
“Make it good.”
I gulped. Make it good? Are you kidding me? I needed someone to make it better! She was supposed to make me young, thin, and give me another 12 hours of sleep plus a sack full of patience. Was that too much to hope for? How could she be telling me to just make it good?
As if she had seen those jumbled words in my subconscious printed across my forehead, she repeated it once more — this time quite emphatically.
“Make it good,” she said again.
And so I did.
It’s been a few years since that wonderful day, and those parting words have been with me ever since.
I’ve used that mantra again and again because honestly, it works.
The shoes, on the other hand, still pinched.
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 867)
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