Monday, June 09, 2008

Part Three

I go into the dressing room and put my regular clothes back on. I seriously think about walking out of there and not giving them my business. I think about my mom, how pleased she was to give me this amazing gift, how my parents would be out a significant chunk of change for the deposit. I think about the store owner going to church and telling everyone about this crazy liberal bride for whom she jumped through all kinds of hoops to get the right dress who ended up not taking it in the end and why. I imagine them telling her she did the right thing not to do business with a sinner, closing her mind even further. With an eye toward self-preservation, I think about scrambling for a new dress with exactly two months to go.

I call my mom, who says she'll eat the cost of the deposit and support me if that's what I want to do. She also says she thinks that honoring my contract with the business would be, well, honorable. She reminds me of the videographer Joel and I didn't hire. She reminds me that here's only so much anyone can do ensure you're working with people who share your values and points out that nobody goes to pick up their dress expecting a homophobic outburst.

I call Kelly, who shares a story about working for Planned Parenthood and finding out that they get a lot of supplies from Sam's Club, when the Wal-Mart corporation has a terrible reputation for being anti-contraception and anti-woman. She tells me about the debate in the office: putting their money where their mission is vs. not being able to operate at all if they only want to do business with people who agree with them. She asked me who gets the bulk of the money from the sale of my gown: the designer or the store?

The designer does, and damn, she earned it, having eaten the cost to reship the dress back to Canada overnight and back. I understand she fixed the dress herself, which was probably an enormous time commitment involving sleepless nights.

The store probably only gets a 10-15% commission if I go through with the sale, which is several hundred dollars less than the deposit they would keep if I walk, AND they would profit from re-selling the dress to the next size 14 bride who walks in the door. Their profit margin is the smallest if I complete the sale. Ultimately, that's how I make my choice to stick with this gown and never patronize the store again.

And so we move forward, with two months to go, toward a wedding for which the site fee supports a botanical garden, toward a wedding cake made by a breast cancer survivor, toward a DJ, photographer, and videographer who are all women running their own businesses out of their homes, toward a feminist officiant who will unite us with fair, equitably-traded and mined rings, and most importantly, toward a wedding that brings two families, three faiths, and diverse friends together for a man and woman who love each other very much.


shannon said...

Good for you, lady.

Jillian said...

WOW. Thank you. Seriously. For all the time, thought and love.

I'm sorry you had to deal with all this around your wedding dress. And for the record if you called me, I would have told you to get the dress in a heartbeat. Because the dress is the dress. And that's not a stress you need with two months to go.

At my fitting, the seamstress told me to tell me boyfriend to get a diamond white (apparently the color of my dress) shirt for his tux. And I just rolled my eyes. I so wish I had said something at that moment. So proud of you for saying what you said. You never know if you changed their viewpoint on things and you can't control, but you are an amazingly persuasive person. I'm sure that store owner will be a little more careful in what she says in the future, regardless of how she feels.

Carl said...

There's no need to work up justifications. Don't assume people never change. To change, people need to undergo some kind of reaction with respect to their present ways of thinking. People have to feel the clash of their ideas against reality. They have to be seared by them. If such reactions never occur, all those old, outdated notions remain abstract and flat and unexamined.

You put feeling behind your assertions and those ladies can identify with that. It's good not to muddle the issue by investing it with commercial concerns.

shannon said...

Why not Carl?
Shouldn't we reinforce our opinions by refusing to shop at places that have viewpoints that are polar opposites of our own?
People always say money talks. You might not be able to change their minds simply by voicing your opinion, but if enough people stop shopping some place supporting views we find offensive, it may not change the mind of the shop owners, but it at least makes them take notice we find it offensive.

michelle said...

Angie, you have gone above and beyond the call of duty in the planning of your wedding, and you shouldn't feel bad for one second about buying the dress. It would be impossible for anyone to never, ever give any money to a business that has differing views from them. Absolutely impossible.

I have no idea how this relates to your story, but it seems fitting somehow...
SO MANY people here in Seattle have these bumper stickers on their cars that say: "Run on biofuel. No war required." They think they are saving the world, and they slyly chastise the rest of us for not following suit. Well, I want a bumper sticker that says this: "If we planted all the arable land on earth with corn, we would produce enough biofuel for LESS THAN 10% of the drivers on earth. And we'd have no other plants. None at all. And we would still have 90+% of drivers and ALL OTHER MACHINES running on something other than biofuel. Instead of supporting biofuels, why don't you do support an energy plan that would actually work."

It's just that there is no way to know everything you need to know about everything. There is no way to do it all right, all the time. And you should be thrilled that you managed to make so many aspects of your wedding "world neutral."

Lo Lo said...

Angie: It is incredibly frustrating to read that you had to go through that. It is so unbelievably hard to say what you said and to make the decision that you made.

It still shocks me when I meet people with such close-minded views. I have to remind myself that I came from a very liberal background and went to school surrounded by those who share my views. It scares me sometimes to think of all the people out there who feel the same way as the dress store owner. But I remind myself that sometimes change is slow, and that you can change the world one person at a time.

Keep your head up :)

the Centurino Family said...

This comment was the best thing I read in your post -

"You know, I can't think of too many problems resulting from too much love in this world. It's your hate you have to watch out for."

I am glad you said it to her. Good for you for standing up for others.


Anonymous said...


You have a heart of complete gold. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being you.

I can NOT wait to see you in your fabulous dress, and to celebrate you and Joel starting your lives together.