Monthly Archives: November 2008

Wedding bell blues

“You could do this! It would be depressing singing at wedding after wedding, but if you’re good at it at least the money you get off them would ease the pain a little.” – Mom

Tonight I attended my first wedding dinner since coming back to this country. The bride’s mother is a scrub nurse who worked with my mother, and whom she’s known since her houseman days in the 1980s. Unfortunately it will not be the last wedding dinner I’ll be attending.

I’ve always harbored a theory that a wedding invitation says a lot about the bride and groom, and the wedding itself (and sometimes the parents). As soon as my mom showed me the invitation for tonight’s dinner, I knew we were doomed: it was red and gold, written in Chinese on one side and English on the other. “It’s going to be one of those,” I told her. “Where they’ll have Chinese karaoke and a Chinese wedding singer and the emcee will speak in Chinese more than in English and everyone will have to do that awful bawdy toasting.”

Et voilà, it was one of those.

I’ve never been a fan of weddings, much less wedding dinners, especially of the circus variety. The last time I attended a wedding dinner in this country was in 2005, when Becca’s sister got married. In a ballroom of a thousand-odd people, it had been relatively easy to shut out the general goings-on and just talk to Becca, Angie and Joyce at our table (until a pseudo-acappella rendition of an N*Sync song managed to hold my horrified attention for a good few minutes). And the last time I attended a wedding dinner in this country with my family was probably when I was in my late teens, before I moved to Buffalo. So, now that I am in my twenties and threatened with an impending birthday, it was to my chagrin when almost all my mom’s friends who were there asked, “So Lilian, when will it be your turn to do this?”

My mom, who is only slightly better than I am at keeping a poker face when taken by surprise, and who knows about one tragedy after another where men are concerned, shrugged and said, “I don’t know…”

But it came as a suprise when the bride’s mother took my mom aside and told her, as later narrated to me by my mom, “Don’t hope for it to happen so soon, not because she’s too young, but because when the time finally comes, it will be difficult for you, especially since she’s your only daughter.”

“And that’s why I’m not freaking out that you’re still single,” my mom said. “Well, not yet, anyway,” she added a few seconds later.

As much as I want to be living on my own before the end of 2009, I loved her for saying that. And just for that, if and when the time ever comes, I will never put my mom through what we were all put through tonight. And — if my abovementioned theory has any ring of truth to it — you’ll know it from my wedding invitation.

Not for the faint-hearted

Or claustrophobic. Or just extremely irritable.


Macy*s Herald Square a.k.a. Hell On 34th Street

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone — the first Thanksgiving in four years that I wasn’t around for. My most vivid memories of it are in 2005, when my mother flew to Manhattan to meet me during Thanksgiving break, her first time in Manhattan since we moved to Florida eleven years prior. And the one thing I remember the most clearly about that Thanksgiving was Black Friday, when all of America was out risking life and limb for the 80% discounts that were only available on Black Friday and Boxing Day.

The Macy*s Black Friday sale in Herald Square, Midtown Manhattan, surpasses all other sales and flea markets. Security is increased significantly, and there is traffic control within the store, not to mention lines for the escalators and elevators. And even though everyone knows full well that it will be hell on earth, they still go for it, getting in line long before the crack of dawn to ensure they’re among the earliest in.

That was the first and last time I ever went for the Macy*s Black Friday sale. Or any Black Friday sale, for that matter.

A few days ago, I thought of attending the FJ Benjamin Warehouse Clearance that was going to be held this weekend. Not the sale for the common masses that will be held tomorrow and Sunday, but the HSBC Cardmembers’ Preview that’s on today. I had decided I would ask my boss for an hour off, run over to Parkroyal Hotel when the sale began at 10AM, and dash back to the office after seeing what all the brouhaha was about. But then yesterday I was informed that I would have to attend a meeting scheduled for 9:30AM this morning, which promptly threw a wrench in my plans. Which turned out to be a good thing, because a very reliable source attended the sale and barely made it out alive, it was that crowded. “I can so picture you running out of there as soon as you get in!” he later told me.

Needless to say, I no longer felt as though I’d missed out on anything. As much as I had wanted to check out Raoul and Banana Republic (which is only worth it when on sale, even in the U.S.) for clothes for work and Gap for my everyday knock-around T-shirts, I figured fighting the masses wouldn’t make it worth it.

My point to all this is that I hate crowds. Hate them. Loathe them. [Insert synonym here] them. The human traffic during sales is exactly like the vehicular traffic on the streets during the holiday season — teeming and uncivilized. Even the Isetan sale — which incidentally begins today for members and I’m still contemplating attending — walks that extremely fine line I draw between Crowded and Insane. I can’t stand the shoving and elbowing, and that sudden bout of possessiveness that overcomes shoppers when they’re determined to keep others from their own prospective purchases. And everything that looked so appealing before the sale began suddenly looks ratty and knocked around, thus taking all desire for it out of my system.

For now I’ll stick with Gardens, Bangsar Village and Pavilion. Silent and empty though they may be, at least I’ll emerge with all body parts intact.

Bergdorf Babies


My Advertising & Promotions Manager just had a baby boy last week, his second child after a girl three years ago. So since I was alone for lunch hour today, I decided to make the rounds of the fifth floor of Pavilion where the baby stores were, and I came out of Baby Gap with a box of bibs and onesies and a big foolish smile on my face.

I had never been partial to children before, and up until Shirley became pregnant last year I never gave children a thought. But then she broke the news to me, and all of a sudden I had this one other person to take care of  — which makes me sound like the father (figure) — because her then-boyfriend was a lying, cheating, mass-procreating scumbag. And before I knew it, I was godmother to the brightest, happiest little boy who insisted on arriving five weeks early and sending everyone into a frenzy.

rockstarAnd what did I do when Shirley told me it was going to be a boy? I waited until my next trip to Manhattan and scoured the baby departments of Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, and the other high-end stores I myself frequented to look for baby clothes and accessories. I ended up buying a Dior feeding bottle, D&G onesies, Juicy Couture bibs and socks, and the Lucky Brand Rockstar onesie that Shirley swears she’ll keep forever because it was what she called him even before he was born. It didn’t even matter that he would outgrow all these things — except the bottle and bibs — in next to no time at all, and if I’d had absolutely no self-restraint at all I would have bought him a pair of Gucci baby sneakers.

dior-bottleSo yes, I have an odd — and probably perverse — love for shopping for babies. I don’t know if it’s because I find baby clothes ridiculously adorable, or it’s my body’s way of telling me that buying gifts for friends’ babies is the closest I’ll ever get to doing anything maternal, but I love doing it.  And odder still, I like shopping for boys’ clothes, which, according to Becca’s mother, means that my firstborn will be a boy (completely contradictory if said shopping habit is a sign of permanent childlessness), even though I only ever wanted one girl, after watching my mom tear her hair out raising my brother.

I know. I can’t imagine myself being a mother either.