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Judging localtakes on sex and gender.

Here it is, Friday, and the Washington Post‘s Wedding Week 2008—-the most romantic, special, important event of the Style Section’s life—-is drawing to a close. But not before their coverage offends my delicate sensibilities one last time. To the judgment!

Naughty: A Second Time Around by washingtonpost.com staff writer Janet Bennett Kelly, a fashion piece for brides taking their second trip down the aisle. In fairness to the author, I’ll note that I object to this piece on its concept alone: No matter how soaring Kelly’s account of wedding-redux fashion, I’m still going to hate it.

While I welcome the idea of bridal fashion departing from the traditional idea of white-on-white princess costumes with protective veils meant to shield the bride until the groom chooses to reveal her, I don’t see why there ought to be any special “rules” for women with a few failed marriages behind them. My rejection of Kelly’s piece revolves around its reinforcement of the idea of first-time brides as virginal, pure, innocent girls, and older, more experienced women as tainted, used, less desirable mates. Let’s review the rules:

Unacceptable for second-timers:
– Dress hue should provide visual cue of sex notches: “[Brides Magazine‘s Rachel] Leonard advises staying away from white-white,” writes Kelly.
– No need to wrap hand-me-down gift: “strict etiquette says no veils for second-timers”
– Blushing cheeks (product of youthful vigor)

Acceptable for second-timers:
– Color-me-“experienced”: Opt for “off-white, soft pastels or even the crème caramel-colored gowns that are popular now,” writes Kelly. “Try a cappuccino-colored gown … or a lavender shade.”
– No need to continue to feign modesty: “A second-time bride may prefer a short dress.”
– blushing cheeks (product of shame)


Nice:First Dance” by Post Rock writers J. Freedom du Lac and David Malitz. The main asset of this piece, about choosing the right song to showcase at your ceremony, is that it’s written by two dudes who appear to not give a shit about weddings. Check out the lede: “Food, centerpieces, invitations, location, gown/tuxedo … those are all very important elements of a wedding that require plenty of decisions.” That out of the way, the Post Rockers are free to riff on the tunes, including Al Green‘s “Lets Stay Together” (“sexy”), Velvet Underground‘s “I Found A Reason” (a nuptial-friendly “song by a band best known for eardrum-shatteringly loud songs about drugs and sexual deviance”), and R.E.M.’s “The One I Love” (“Would your significant other really want to be called ‘a simple prop to occupy my time’? Shouldn’t you at least wait until a good dozen years or marriage before that sets in?”) Plus, I’m a sucker for any and all cheap shots at Eric Clapton‘s “Wonderful Tonight.”