Omigosh, you guys, all this time I was innovating vestments! Ahahaha!
Omigod, this kippah! The Kippah of Rightness! I can not tell you how many kippah chats I had, where I would offhandedly mention to a friend (or urgently, like this, "AAAAH!") how I had to remember to go buy Mari's kippah & every time, someone would say a variation on Oh, they will have them at the synagogue.
Oh, omg, like when they let you borrow a jacket at a fancy restaurant because you were too much of a boor to wear your own?
Holy mackerel, people! I mean, ok, I know not everyone knows my husband the way they could, because he is elusive and taciturn, and that's fine, but look at what is widely known: does the guy who would just blunder around like that unprepared have a job like his?
Plus, every time would reveal what people do not know about me. Does anyone think for a minute that I would leave my husband to be fiddling around in the vestibule of someone's house of worship, looking bad, like he did not know what he needed? Does the girl who would let her husband down like that get to stay home buoyed aloft on a job like his? How am I going to make both of us look bad, at once? Particularly after my own headgear took up 87 woman-hours of our life together. Jesus Christ.
When I brought the kippah home, Fifille sized it up & said (after, "Oooh, suede!") "How does it stay on?"
I frowned, because she had cut to the heart of our next homeschool art-school adventure.
"You're supposed to use bobby pins." I showed her, jamming a couple of pins onto the hat's rim.
She said nothing, in a clear disapproval of the aesthetic misery. I knew how she felt.
I had a length of linen trim, so after she and I discussed my plan & she approved (I just can't see everything at once, all the way through in my mind, like she & her father can), I hot-glued a small strip of the trim to the underneath, leaving a gap to make a loop through which we could fit [what wound up being comb clips] to attach invisibly to Mari's hair.
That took 15 minutes in its entireity. The entire affair took one hour, if you include the time spent tracking down the Judaica store & also going there, buying it, and coming home to do the hack.
Mari had to wear a suit & a kippah. I had to wear a dress that for a week I could not find in my closet. Everything else I pulled out was wrong: too short at the knee, too short at the sleeve, too low in the neckline.
Mari asked, "Don't you have a long wool dress with a flat [bateau] neckline?"
I could not see wearing a jacket over my dress along with a veil bc first of all shopping but also omg Greek widow, yk?
Finally, I found in Mari's closet -- still in the dry-cleaner's bag -- my standby jersey dress, more than long enough in sleeve and hemline, though the neckline needed the help of a stretchy, longline-bandeau thing underneath to pass muster. So my body was clad. This left my outfit above the neck, since none of my clothes, not even amended, covered my clavicles.
Ok, so let me not be too-too boring.
On the third day of shopping & searching the entire internet for this nonexistent badass piece of headgear, this day on Etsy, Mari intervened.
"Why can't you just buy [the one on the screen]?"
I explained to him, a tad archly, that there exists a fine line between a veil and a shmatte, between frumpy & fabulous. There was the headcovering drama in a nutshell: Frumpy or Fabulous?
I showed Mari the top video & he let it drop, immediately. Marriage, when you're wrong, I don't say I'm right. Omg, like come on!
Later in that day, I found an actual mantilla. As it made its way to me, from Madrid, I found the series of YouTube videos -- the above-posted one included -- that would make everything fabulous, and also the find on Etsy of a peineta that was not the size of a Russian Orthodox wedding tiara.
It was touch and go the morning the mantilla arrived, when during its big tryout I melted down at the cartoonish Flamenco Barbie-ness. Mari pointed out, drily and with a restrained heroism, that I was a. dressed to clean the garage, and b. not made-up in the least.
Later that day, after my blowout, I did a full dry run & I was so pleased. Plus, honestly, in the end, I was a foot taller than all the other women in the family -- nay, the entire shul -- so what is a little Flamenco Barbie, anyway? Was I going to blend in? LOLOL
The WWII-widow vibe of the black veil & black dress was muted by a pretty pair of freshwater-pearl earrings, this beauty's makeup tips (nothing matte!) and remembering to smile. Also, the earrings served to prevent me being mistaken for some long-lost frumster Sephardi cousin by members of the congregation.
Mari ordered me to shop for the right purse (husband-requisition for a purse, which will never happen again, omg), one which would fit in my hand discreetly while on my wrist. Um, ok, but it has to match my shoes! I found one in a cast-off pile, a sweet, cylindrical, chocolate-brown number from Tod's.
Mari did the extreme honor of favoring me with the technical measuring of a cut & tie, stitching of the mantilla in place to the peineta so that when I was ready, it was not much more trouble to put on than his kippah. I returned the favor of his labor by picking -- from all the Patry Jordan hairdo videos -- the least intense updo which still looked the most.
I had timed my hair & makeup rigorously for a week, and early in the morning of the reading was freshly-washed in our hotel room wearing only my slip, stopwatch ticking like Denzel Washington's character in The Equalizer. I guarantee you that on Friday after check-in I was the first hotel guest to ever make use of the iron & ironing board behind the luggage rack in the closet of our room.
It was such a pleasure to be there, to watch the child step into the light where halacha says he is a man, to hold a glass of 25-year-old scotch later in the afternoon with family & friends. L'chaim, indeed. This is why we are here, and who we have ever been.
Honestly, I told Mari early-on, when he asked, "What note do we have to hit for this event?" I said, Well ... wedding with a Latin Mass ... maybe the mayor's daughter ... the Cardinal might be officiating. And that was all before I knew it was shabbat Rosh Chodesh, srsly.
In the end, it was only as much work as getting ready for our own wedding, ahaha! We looked as good, too! And were glad to have presented ourselves with willing hearts, still, after all this time.
This snap turned up at Sal's house this weekend! Look how Mari is covered in lipstick! Everyone who came near me was always smeared with lipstick back in those days, and a tiny little bit last Saturday. Je vous adore, so much! xoxoxo