Monday, October 4, 2010

Why a Man Might Shop for a Dress...

If you have been reading my blog, then you know that there are areas of the store, namely, the dressing areas, in which we don't allow men. Sorry, guys! Most men don't mind being excluded from this most feminine of rituals (they roll their eyes and yawn at the 17th dress and everyone gathered round saying, "do you think THIS might be the one?"...!) and are happy to remain out of the bridal area.

But what of the handful of men that arrive and are surprised, even annoyed not to be allowed in this area of the store?

They fall into several categories. The first and most common is the "Dad Shopping with his Daughter". He sometimes cares about the dress, and sometimes not. But he always loves her and thinks she's beautiful and wants to share in whatever makes her happy. And, of course, sometimes he is footing the bill. He comes to make sure Mom doesn't go nuts giving her little girl the dress of her dreams!

Occasionally, a Dad is shopping with his daughter because Mom has passed away. This always makes me get a lump in my throat. I don't know what I would have done without my Mom during the planning of my wedding and picking out my dress. In these cases, Dad is usually fumbling to be a "Surrogate Mother" to his daughter, trying to offer advice he thinks she would have said had she been there.

I have discussed in previous posts about another category of men disappointed not to be allowed in the bridal changing areas. These are men who would like to be the ones wearing these dresses. But this is another discussion for another time!

The other big category of men arriving who wish to enter the bridal area of the store are fiances. Now, I am kind of an opinionated woman, so if something I say frustrates you, please leave a comment and I'll let you have your voice (as long as it isn't vulgar or profane!). But this kind of irritates me. Now when I say that, I am not referring to the number of cultures in which the groom is responsible for selecting and paying for the wedding gown. I have taken too many etiquette lessons, cultural differences classes, and sensitivity training seminars for that.

No.

I am referring to the irritating overbearing fiance. The one who wants to control his girlfriend, from what she wears, to who she talks to. I am a strong-willed woman, so it is hard for me to understand how some of these girls can tolerate the prospect of spending the rest of their lives being in a partnership with someone who won't let her make her own choices and express herself.

I remember one man who arrived to take his bride shopping for a dress. It happened to be a slow day, so we were able to set him up in a separate room where he wasn't in the bridal area, and his fiance, let's call her Jaden, had to be dressed in the dressing rooms, and then take a long walk with each gown to the room where he waited, only to look her up and down, order her to spin, and ultimately give each dress the thumbs up or down. It was such a emotionless kind of experience for me that I wondered if he would ask her to open her mouth so he could check for wear on her teeth. (Get it? Like at a horse auction? Okay, bad one.)

Anyway. He picked a dress. Pulled out a credit card. I measured the Bride. That was it. I didn't see any love or excitement from either of them, and even wondered if this was some sort of arranged marriage or mail-order-bride kind of deal. Kind of weird.

So if you are a bride looking to shop for your dress, and you have a man you'd like to bring with you, do yourself a favor: call the store ahead of time to check whether men are allowed, and in which areas. There is nothing more awkward for the man in your life, as to feel as though he is unwanted by the store. And that may not be the case, it may just be at your store, as in mine, the concern needs to be for not just you and your guests, but the feelings of the other brides shopping at the same time. Remember that the other brides are trying on dresses that are sample sized and often don't fit properly, and they may be hanging out of the gowns. So although there are private dressing rooms, they may not be fully covered when they emerge to show their group their dream gown!

10 comments:

Kaylee said...

I am so glad that you posted this. I have worked at a bridal shop for 5 and a half years and EVERY time I see this situation, it makes me cringe. I am very much of the opinion that a wedding gown is a very personal thing and it should be what the bride wants. If she'she feels beautiful wearing it, then the groom will be happy too. And if he's not- then maybe there are some deeper issues there.

One thing that REALLY irritates me is when the same situation happens in the prom department. Nothing bugs me more than a 16 year old needing to ask her boyfriend if she looks sexy/beautiful/sweet enough for him to take her to the prom.

PS- I love your blog. :)

Fiorella said...

Kaylee,

I couldn't agree more! We have a prom department too, and we have instituted a no men policy there as well. I bet you can visualize the looks on the faces on some of these boys when they find out they don't get to pick their date's dress! I disgusts me the control they want to have - and from an 18 year old boy! We have begun saying no men and no cameras/camera phones in the prom room because of all the liability it exposes us to - just what we need, pictures of half dressed underage girls posted on youtube..

Kaylee, do you have a blog? I am always looking for more real-world wedding industry blogs to follow...

Mommy on the Spot said...

That is a creepy story. Perhaps it was a mail order bride thing. Ick.

As for the prom with the boys being that controlling, where are the parents? That's so sad.

Fiorella said...

MOTS - I DO think it might have been a mail order bride thing - the bride hardly spoke any english and the groom was this ugly, controlling man with a wallet. Ewww. Shudder! And to answer your question about the Prom girls, most girls DO shop with their Moms, but the trend is to Pre-Shop with your girlfriends, or, in this case, boyfriend, so you have an idea of what you want Mom to get you. On a side note - you are a Mom, with a daughter, like me, are you ever surprised or saddened about the grooming sophistication of girls these days? All these girls have acrylic nails, waxed brows, frosted hair and fake tans. I didn't learn about all that stuff until I was an adult! The expense alone must be crazy!

Mommy on the Spot said...

Yes, it does make me sad. When I used to teach junior high, these girls all had a full head of highlights, fake nails, and super short shorts with words printed across their bottoms. Not cool.

Fiorella said...

MOTS - I am trying to figure out how to have this conversation with my 9 year old daughter. She's still more girl than teen, but soon that'll change. I want her to have the freedom to make her own choices, but I also want her to understand the concept of dignity. Does anyone think about dignity anymore? I remember one prom girl coming in to shop, and asking for the "sexiest" dress we had. We showed her our version of sexy, and she said, "no, like, sluttier"...

Mommy on the Spot said...

I think the conversation of dignity starts young and evolves through the different ages. I have yet to start those conversations, but I do try and teach her about self-confidence. I think self-confidence and self-respect go hand in hand. Someone who has self-respect isn't going to ask for a "slutty" dress . . .at least I hope so. I am actually working on a post that's in the same vein as this. Do you mind if I link up your post when I get it done?

Fiorella said...

It would be an honor! I love your blog...

Kaylee said...

Fiorella,

I don't have a blog at this time. I've always thought that I should keep a record of all the crazy things I've seen, but I never get around to getting one going. But it I ever do, I'll let you know.

I used to work at a bridal shop (before I moved out of state and now work at a different one). It was owned by a 60 year old man. He thought for a long time about getting the "slutty" dresses that the designers are putting out these days, but we all decided that if you wouldn't be comfortable buying that dress for your 16 year old daughter, then we weren't comfortable selling it to them. We carried a few more provocative styles, but when people asked for something more low cut or slutty we just said we didn't carry anything that we considered inappropriate.

The shop I work in now is a completely other story though. It's difficult to even find one dress that isn't a little bit racy in our racks.

Fiorella said...

Kaylee, please keep checking in - I am ITCHING to compare notes. Maybe I can get you to do a guest post or something? Keep reading and commenting! Tell your stories!