Thar she blows! 

Posted 1/25/23

“Not now,” I scolded my intestines. “Bad timing.”

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Thar she blows! 


“Not now,” I scolded my intestines. “Bad timing.”

I was riding the afternoon rush hour subway to Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where my daughter had made an appointment to look at wedding dresses—you can’t walk into a bridal salon and just look around—when my bowels started making themselves known. I did not want to fart around lace, chiffon and tulle.

My butt cooperatively went into full clench mode.

As I rode, I was watching her engagement video on my phone and getting teary, as I do every time I watched it. 

When I got off the train, I tried to pull myself together with a few minutes of the Power Pose—said to increase testosterone by eight percent, and thereby, confidence and daring—hands on hips, legs akimbo, head up, shoulders back. All powered up, I strode purposefully towards the store. 

But I couldn’t find the address, and then noticed the street sign reading 1st Avenue. The store was on 3rd. My testosterone-fueled confidence had carried me two blocks in the wrong direction.

In the drizzle, I scurried in the other direction until I reached the correct location. One of her bridesmaids was already at the front door; my daughter Diane appeared across the street through the mist.

We were met by a lovely and gracious saleswoman, who took us to a mezzanine, where we flipped through some bedraggled wedding dress samples. Diane was using vocabulary I didn’t know: eyelash lace, Cinderella-style, sheaths. I saw fluffy dressy things, where those more versed saw mermaids. 

We found some dresses we had liked online, grabbed a few others that looked appealing—or at least possible—and the saleswoman brought us to the bridal fitting area, a corner with dressing rooms, couches, and mirrors with little stands for the brides to model on. 

Aslant against a wall, behind the guest couches, leaned two detached wooden doors, mimicking the bridal styles, bare wood peekabooing from under peeling paint. It was impossible to tell if they were left over from a recent renovation, or were part of faux boho decor.

Despite my urgent internal rumblings, I did not dare to leave to use the bathroom. A TV commercial on incontinence had shown a mother and daughter in our situation, but the mom could not contain her bladder and had to dash off. Upon returning, she found the salesperson and her daughter hugging and jumping in excitement at finding the dress. 

My thought on seeing that was, “What a rude child, not to have waited the few minutes it must have taken her mom to empty her bladder.” But I did not want to be the mom who missed the moment by being off farting in the john. So I stayed, hoping my Vesuvius of intestines would hold on just a bit longer.

Diane went in the dressing room; the saleswoman offered us champagne and cookies she said were left over from an earlier celebration. Diane’s friends and I were giggly, and I was nervous. The champagne came in little juice boxes, with plastic pouches stuck on their sides holding colorful cylinders. I honestly had no idea what they were, until one of the bridesmaids showed me they were drinking straws in two pieces which telescoped out and then bent, with a pointy end to pierce the foil on the top of the box.

A future of not understanding newfangled basic packaging for the rest of my life flashed before my eyes.

As we were figuring out our drinks, Diane was in the dressing room long enough that the saleswoman knocked on the door to ask if everything was going OK. Muffled sounds came out and the salesgirl went in. A few minutes later, festooned with clothespins holding the dress to her, Diane, my daughter, slipped out of the dressing room in a slim fitting satin sheath with a lace overlay, a train gliding behind. While the dress wasn’t quite right, it was still my little girl decked out in it. The dress was not as beautiful as she was. It must have been the dust making my eyes water again.

This was just the first look; she was not going to decide on a dress that day. We left and returned to the street, going to our individual subway lines. Diane and her attendant went arm in arm north, I turned south a block to get back on the subway. No one offered me, an obviously tired older woman, a seat. I turned towards the center of the car to hold onto one of the poles, turning my back to those seated, and slowly relaxed my butt.

story, shopping, wedding


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