Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Don't Give Up Your Name


The last wedding shower I attended was years ago since most of my friends are a) not stable enough to even consider marriage or b) already married. I don't know a lot of on the brink types, the girls who comb through Bride, Bridal Magazine, or a recent magazine I saw called, disturbingly, The Knot. One of my divorced friends joked, "It should be called The Noose." So I cast back to the last time I squeezed myself into some dreadful pastel get-up lest I be the only one in black like some godforsaken haint there while the bride-to-be opened small appliances and china she would probably reserve for special nights. The last part of the shower consisted of all of us giving the bride a piece of advice about being married. Don't give up your name unless you want to, I said. Or anything else. Your husband will forget you made a sacrifce, but you won't. This didn't go over so hot in the early 90s in Texas, but I'd just been scared out of my everloving mind by Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives and was at the tail end of my own marriage. So, not to put to fine a point on it, I did not give a rat's ass how my advice went over. Like Cassandra, I reported the news; I did not make it. At that point, I realized I should have gone ahead and worn black to the shower. My nervous twitches had started in earnest, and I could tell that I would have bloody circles under my eyes the next day from rubbing them so hard. Boredom and anxiety had blended to make the ugliest undereye concealer in the world.
Most sacrifices we are required to make are not large ones and perhaps this is the difficulty. Many people I know fantasize about being in a heroic position, risking his or her life for someone in need. But nobody I know fantasizes about making beds or doing dishes, cooking endless meals or taking out the trash yet again. The constant renewal of life can exhaust the most stout-hearted of us! I don't know if I'll ever be invited to another wedding shower, but if I am, I hope I get a chance to play the game again. Since my luck has been all but perfect in love, I'd have a better answer now. I'm not so concerned with whether someone keeps her name or not. After all, what we call ourselves often changes. But as for sacrifice, well, it's only real when the other person doesn't know you're making one.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"The only alternative to burying your friends is that they will have to bury you." Raymond Carver
Cocktail Hour
Venus In Furs
1 part Chautreuse
1 part Cognac
1 sugar cube
Serve chilled in an appertif glass.
Benedictions and Maledictions
Many condolences to the victims of the shooting at Virginia Tech. There are no words for such sorrow.

23 comments:

eric said...

Never give it up! You have a great name. gotta go to work. sux

Herman Northrop Frye said...

I used to know a famous professor of literature whose name evolved in her marriage. She started out by keeping her maiden name. Then she adopted the hyphenated combination of her maiden name and her husband's last name. Finally, she just went with her husband's last name. Her record of publications in her field testifies to the evolution of her name throughout her married life. Kind of cool.

Victoria Pasecret said...

My cousin would always give the bride to be a gift of lingerie at the wedding shower. My cousin's shower gifts were so tasteful and popular that she was motivated to start her own lingerie shop. She named it "The Chest and Drawers."

Adriana La Cerva said...

I had a bridal shower in the Sopranos, but before I could change my name to Mrs. Christopher Moltisanti, I was shot to death in the woods by Silvio Dante for ratting out to the feds. I do however, appear on the show in dream sequences and through the verbal references of other characters, especially those of Carmela Soprano.

the walking man said...

After 23 or so years I am still waiting on the old lady to change her last name to Man. Funny until now I never thought about her changing her last name. In our house there were three last names, mine, hers, and her son's biological father. Confused the hell out of the mailman for a long time because at the same time we were still getting mail for the previous owners.

Huge sacrifices are great, they are what get you the Congressional Medal of Honor, which in turn gets all of your kids free college at any of the military academies. But that's what heroism is, a fantasy for most people. Most hear gun fire and rather than try to be a hero they run for cover and wait for safety, see a house afire and go in as far as their own sanity will let them and then it's "fuck this, I have to live"

Nope you're right it's the small unknown sacrifices that get one to where they want to be, because those are the ones we are confronted with on a daily basis. Give the begger some change or yell at them, stop and get the milk with your last three dollars because you know the other partner would have to rustle themselves out of bed to do it.

"Let not the left hand know what the right hand is doing" is the way the Christian text puts it I believe.

woody allen said...

I know all about small appliances

Charles Gramlich said...

Good point about how no one fantasizes about doing dishes. There's a lot of that kind of work I don't daydream about.

longly said...

speaking of carver, had you heard about this yet?

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/15/movies/15mcgr.html

longly said...

Speaking of Carver, have you heard about the new Australian movie based on "So Much Water So Close to Home" with Laura Linney? It's directed by the same guy that did Lantana a few years back. There's an article at the NY Times Web site about it.

the walking man said...

Michelle go back to JRs Blog I threw down a gauntlet for you both on his post of the sixteenth.

I still love you though no matter what i said in the comment hahahahahahahaha

my wife dropped mr off at the coffee shop and i am happy as a school kid with an A on a math test.

Michelle's Spell said...

Hey Mark (ie, Walking Man),
I answered the challenge on Jim's, but I'll do it here too. Hell, no! Why would I go into a writing competition with a brilliant writer like Jim? I'd support him all the way.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Are you crazy Walking Man? I'd have to go to the House of Sternberg for a refresher course in poetry (oops, I meant short story writing). Anyway, if I had to sit down and write for a contest or a duel, I'd clam up and be at a loss for words. Only good news I have is that the computer I usually write on has died. I'm so glad, because it had a program that would inform me of the level of my writing - 5th grade tops! Michelle, on the other hand, would bury me in vocabulary. Oh, and I've read her tongue-lashing of a certain gentleman. See, you've already got me rambling and stumbling over my words.

the walking man said...

So a challenge between two EXCELLENT writers...it would be a short story poetry like slam!

Don't either of you be wary, if you both agree we'll figure the details out like an old fashioned duel at ten paces.

and you also know Jim would support YOU so there would be cancelling votes.

First rule though...new work only not something already written and you both would have to agree to a word count and time line no longer than a week.



I posted exactly the same thing on JRs page don't be girly about this! hahahahahaha

the walking man said...

JR you can do this man, win, lose or, draw, it certainly would be a fine thing because you write so well and have so much to say as does your opponent.

Ther is not even bragging rights involved...just story telling that gives us a chance to give props to two very different styles.

Napoleon said...

Eleven hours later and I so hate work. Would have wrote more in my first reply, but when you're rolling a dube and trying to read thoughtful work in a like manner and not be too late for work, you don't have time for chitchat.

Guess I shouldn't blog, then.

Good post. You're right. It is similar to some of the work you've done in the past. Glad you made the addendum for experience gained prior to now. You've grown, m!

By contrast, I can say that I have taken part in more than 95 battles and never did I once learn anything I didn't already know before setting foot on the field. Fear me, cretins, for I am the emperor of France! Booya-shaka!

French E Nobility said...

Why don't you take me on, M? I'm not brilliant and I'm barely a writer, so I might meet your stringent criteria for opponents!
Shuck and jive, shuck and jive...

just kidding!
(please don't hurt me)

frenchy said...

i take that back. it would be mark's stringent criteria.

melvis said...

wish this was the bar. Its still midnight by this here blog clock...

the walking man said...

Oh guys and girls c'mon it was a challenge between two writers that are both together a hundred times better at the game than I will ever be. Nothing to get all twisted about.

If neither side will duel then I guess there can't be a duel can there?

So just put what was a stupid idea back on the shelf and leave it sit. But please don't anyone get on my case for putting it forward and doing a little egging it on.

*sigh* just thought it might be a way to have a little fun at no ones expense. So just forget it.

peace

Dan said...

Michelle, another wonderful thought-provoking post! Names are just labels, that's all. As I grow older, I'm beginning to hate labels more and more. They're handy shortcuts, but we often confuse the person with the label, with our idea of him/her.

By the way, this is my new favorite photo of you!

Michelle's Spell said...

No harm done, Walking Man! I'm sure someone else will take up the challenge . . .

the walking man said...

Don't care one way or the other anymore Michelle. I could do it myself and not be afraid but for fucks sake I didn't mean to cause such turmoil in the hearts and minds of such serious WRITERS and READERS.

Especially when I get called a dick, among other things for a suggestion, that may have been just a little bit of fun.

But I have my own shit to contend with and I certainly don't need a lot more from this hyper educated crowd that inhabits your and JR's boards. I already wrote it out of my system on my own blog.

hungover frenchman to a passing spaniard said...

So everybody's backing down from defcon 1? No two suns in the sunset? I've been cheated!