Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Some Mid-day Entertainment: A Bride Losing It

So I have my doubts that this is real, but it's funny nonetheless. I hope someone gave this girl her meds, or at least a straightjacket. Moral of the story: keep sharp objects aways from Bridezillas.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Q&A: Bridesmaid pushed to the brink

Dear E&V: I'll save the angsty, existential "why her and not me?"- ness for another time, but I have an etiquette-type question today.

My friend is being married soon, one of 9 weddings of my friends this year, and there are five bridesmaids, and we all live in the same city. The problem is that the bride is only involving the maid of honor in any decisions - the dresses, the shower, the hairstyles, etc. The coup de grace is that the rest of us just got a long "itinerary" for the bridal shower from the maid of honor, ostensibly given by all of us, and every tiny detail has already been planned in ten minute increments.

The unflattering hot pink dress was bad enough, but I'm particularly mad about this. Should I address it with my friend, who is deep in Bridezilla mode, the maid of honor who is sure to rat on me to the bride, or just ignore it and be happy that I didn't have to spend hours cooing over scented candle party favors?- Not Pretty in Pink

Dear NPIP- Sounds to us like you dodged a bullet. How glad are you that you aren't the maid of honor? Personally I would rather rock a heinous dress for 6 hours than spend months planning a Lobridemy's big day.

Voicing your annoyance is out of the question. You agreed to be in the wedding party and once you did that, you signed away your right to least to anyone else in the party, who will surely rat you out. Find a friend outside the invite list and complain away.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Valerie's Reality

Let me tell you, my Friday night is a rager! I spent a solid 2 hours catching up on all my reality shows. Over the past two days, I managed to squeeze all these in. Thank goodness for TiVo. I feel (almost) sorry for all those commercials. And doesn't it seem like commercial breaks are way longer than "two and two"? This must be blind greed because even a blind man could see that in our ADD society, give me a five minute commercial break and you will never get me back. Mainly because I'll have forgotten where I was.

Anywho, without further ado, here is my innaugural Valerie's Reality. And if you have a cuter name for this possibly recurring feature, feel free to send it in.

Ego Trip's The (White) Rapper Show
This show works on a number of levels:

1. MC Serch constantly stresses respect and subtracts points for swear words, and not to sound like a grandma, but it's nice to see good values being taught on a reality show
2. There are uncomfortable white rapper moments
3. The rappers do not all suck.

The first episode, the one where you see all of the painful auditions, a la American Idol, was unbelievably fabulous. The rest have not been as fabulous. I would rate it a "look forward to."

Maui Fever: There is some most unfortunate male cleaveage happening on this show, but if you can get past that you'll be good shape. I don't know what to say other than it is an MTV show about early 20-somethings living it up in Maui. Good for those of us who still watch MTV. Oh, and I have a friend who worked on this show. Hi Elizabeth! I would rate this a "am I way too old to love this the way I do?"

Engaged and Underage: When I heard about this show I thought it could serve as an example of our society gone marriage mad, but from the one episdoe I caught, it looked to be two people who had decided to wait for marriage to consummate their relationship. While I think that they may be making a mistake by choosing to hop into a lifetime commitment rather than hopping into bed, who am I to say? I don't want to bash anyone's marriage. I do know that the boy's mom was creepily into her son. He did not really seem to mind, but his new wife did...very much. I also know that this show is a "eh, if nothing else is on."

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Q & A: The Shower Struggle

Dear E&V: I'm in the Bridal Wave right now and already got four save-the-dates for this summer. But just yesterday, I got something I've never gotten before: a bridal shower invitation. I'll go to my friend's wedding and buy her a nice present (even though she's a lawyer marrying an investment banker and I'm still in graduate school), but do I really have to go to her shower, too?--Shower-Resistant Sista

Dear SRS: First of all, we can't believe you've been spared the shower agony before! Lucky girl. Here's the thing: you don't *have* to do anything. If the shower requires you to travel an hour or more, and she's not a particularly close friend, it's perfectly acceptable to decline the invitation. The good news: you don't have to bring a present or buy her one if you're not going. If she is a close friend and the shower is close-by, you better have a full-proof excuse for the weekend (might you have forgotten that it's your Grandmother's 90th birthday party? You can't disappoint Grams!), or else it might be wise to grin and bear it. In that case, check out Ch. 3 "Navigating Wedding Season" for tips on getting through it.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

You make me feel like an unnatural woman

I just read a Daily Express article which has, I think, a fabulously hideous headline: "Childless...the price of being famous." The first line of the article pretty much sums it all up: "To get ahead in the cut-throat world of show business as a woman you should forget having children, it seems."

The author then goes on to briefly discuss Oprah and Jennifer Aniston (and of course she mentions the whole Brangelina thing) and other successful "childless" women and why they don't have children, never taking into consideration that these women are choosing not to have children because they do not want to be parents. No, that can't be. It must be because they are scared of younger ingénues or worried about their figures:

"Helen Bartimote, a chartered psychologist, said many factors conspired against successful women in show business choosing to have children. “There is a fear of what is going to be taken away from them if they have a child,” she said. “For men, there is simply not the same threat."

“Once they start becoming more successful in their careers, even more opportunities open up for them and they feel they have to take on more to stay at the top and compete with male counterparts.”

I'm sure that much of what Bartimore says is true, but I find it incredibly annoying that she never even mentions that not all women want to be moms. This just further reinforces the tired idea that in order to be fulfilled as a woman you have to be a mom.

The "conspired" comment also irked me. These women are worth more than most of us will ever earn and they have the ability to have children if they want. They can hire nannies or decide to not work at all. When you are worth $100 million or so I think you have plenty of options. (Mom, I think you would agree with me on this one, right?)

Another gem from the article about these poor, childless women comes at the expense of Renee Zellweger: "Cameron Diaz... has not ventured into motherhood. Nor has actress Renee Zellweger – just like frustrated singleton Bridget Jones, whom she played in two films, helping her to accumulate a £25million fortune."

Nice that they are calling Renee Zellweger a frustrated singleton. I am no Renee fan, but I don't think it's fair to liken her to Bridget Jones and assume that she is unhappy with her status. Gracious, she just got divorced last year. There was a blurb from Renee in a recent People Magazine where she said on her single status: "I'm not single, I'm just really busy." I am starting to like her more.

The most annoying bit? Of the top 10 women earners, 5 have kids. That seemed to take the wind out of her entire argument. Here they are along with the money they've earned and the number of kids they have.

The Haves and Have Nots:

1) Oprah Winfrey £750m 0
2) J.K Rowling £500m 3
3) Martha Stewart £320m 1
4) Madonna £165m 3
5) Celine Dion £125m 1
6) Mariah Carey £115m 0
7) Janet Jackson £75m 0
8) Julia Roberts £70m 2
9) Jennifer Lopez £55m 0
10) Jennifer Anniston £55m 0

Thursday, January 18, 2007

More on the NYT's "Trend" Piece

We are about a half hour away from our radio interview on the Rolonda Show (listen live online at 9:20PST, 12:20EST!) but wanted to try to get this in.

I just read a fantastic piece in the Columbia Journalism Review Daily by Gal Beckerman that takes the NYT to task for yet again creating a "trend" (albeit one emailed around feverishly) based on a few anecdotes and very creative interpretation of statistics. Remember that piece about the Yale undergrads who were already planning to opt-out and be stay-at-home mommies, where it was discovered that the reporter basically talked to one woman and her three roommates, and then called this a "movement"? Here are some of the CJR's points (shocking similiar to what Val called me to complain about yesterday):

..There is nothing that will turn our faces red faster than a story that lazily slaps together a few anecdotes, buffered by a minor statistic, and then presents itself as important news. Especially when the "trend" masks a much more complex and dark reality.

The New York Times reported yesterday that, by a margin of one percent, more women are unmarried than married in America. The article, to no one's great surprise, hinting as it does at the problems of sex and love, was the number one most emailed today (or as Gawker, in its inimitable style, put it this afternoon, "Also, 91% Of Women Are Now E-Mailing Spinster Article To Their Single Friends.")

Leaving aside what struck us as strange methodology (like the fact that the survey counted anyone over the age of fifteen as a woman), there was something else disturbing about the piece. It had a tone of exuberance that spun the numbers as an unambiguously positive piece of progress for women. A quote from William H. Frey of the Brookings Institute captured the mood of it. The shift away from marriage, Frey said, represents "a clear tipping point, reflecting the culmination of post-1960 trends associated with greater independence and more flexible lifestyles for women."

But America is not a monolith. As much as we would like to persist in thinking that we are a classless and race-blind society, the Times, of all papers -- having run groundbreaking series on both race and class -- should realize that a phenomenon that might bode well for middle-class white women might be absolutely disastrous for poor black women.

Apparently, though, we are the only ones to see it like this. Because apart from a tossed-off paragraph that reminds us that, buried within these statistics, seventy percent of African-American women are single, there is nothing to indicate how the epidemic of single parentage in the black community contributes to this statistic. We imagine -- though aren't told -- that many of these women are raising children alone and being dragged deeper into poverty because of their unmarried status.

The NYT is possibly the most-marriage obsessed publication in the U.S. Stay tuned for a list of articles in the past year, and their mixed messages.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

How much is that Bridal Wave in the window?

We just got an email from a friend (OK, one of Val's relatives, but still) that The Bridal Wave is sitting pretty in a B & N window display in Burlington, MA. Is The Bridal Wave in your neighborhood? Send us a pic!

Thanks, Joel!

Wow- did they really do that

So I just got the actual NYT article about more women being unmarried than married and I CANNOT BELIEVE that they went with the woman and her cat shot!!! Priceless.

More women unmarried than married

Last night I saw a story on the NBC NIghtly News called, "Watch out, men! More women opt to live alone." A similar story ran in the NY Times* on Sunday and is still one of the most e-mailed articles. The big news is that according to the Census, more than 51% of women are unmarried.

Let me first say that Erin and I discuss the declining rate of marriage in the conclusion of our book, which makes me feel sort of like a smarty. Thanks for letting me get that out of the way.

Here are some of the reasons they mention for the changing stats:
"Women are delaying marriage. And they're living longer as widows. Or, like Baltimore attorney Catherine Flynn, they are in no hurry to get remarried after a divorce. Some have partners and just choose not to marry. Those who follow such trends say it's another sign of women's independence."

That the NBC story only interviewed a 51 divorced women left me wondering if they spoke to any of these couples who are choosing to remain single or to any of the single woman who are choosing to delay marriage. From what we heard in speaking with hundreds of young women, marriage pressure is alive and well. Take a look at any newsstand and you'll see myriad bridal mags and tabloids speculating on who will get hitched next.

The stats do not lie, more women are single than married, but why then do we continue to feel the pressure? Why is the wedding industry still growing? Why is there a whole People Magazine devoted to celebrity weddings?

One statement that made me quetion whether the statisticians had any cultural understanding, came just after they listed Oprah and Condeleeza as two examples of women going it alone: "marriage rates for African American women are especially low, just 30%." Is that a good thing? Are African American women choosing to not get married? I get the feeling that the demographers need to take a sociology class.

And, my last disjointed question: what about men? If 51% of women are unmarried, does that mean the same is true of men? Are there more women than men? Why are they just reporting on women? Last I looked, it took two to make a marriage.

*I have not read the NY Times piece yet so if they cover any of this, please do not blast me.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Our first Q & A

Yay! I am happy to report that we received our first Bridal Wave question. We welcome all questions/comments/thoughts.

Dear E&V:
Help! I have a friend who has decided to forgo the traditional ceremony/reception thing. She is having a small, family-only ceremony in her hometown of Eugene and a big party in her adopted home of LA. The thing is that I live in Portland and cannot afford to fly to LA for a party. Is it tacky to ask her if I can come to the family ceremony in Eugene? -Poor in Portland

Dear PIP: I want to say that it depends on your relationship with the bride, but really it doesn't. Your friend has decided to have a family-only party and if you are not family, then you are not invited. You can't RSVP to an event to which you are not invited. This is the decision she has made and now you have a decision to make: to fly or not to fly. Maybe if you're lucky, your friend will notice your decline and will invite you to the local ceremony instead.

This makes me wonder, if your friend is having a "party" and not a wedding reception, then I would think there would be no registry, right? Is she registered? If she isn't, maybe you can take that $100 and apply it to the airfare?

News & Reviews

It was pretty exciting for us to pick up the January 22, 2007 issue of OK! Weekly, which featured not only news on "How Jessica got THIN for her new man" (WTF?) but a review of our book:

But the best review we've gotten so far? We got an email from a reader this weekend:

Thank god you wrote this book! I was starting to think I might be certifiably insane. I'm 26, have my MA, and work as a school psychologist, so you think I would be able to keep a level head with all the wedding craziness, but I couldn't!

It most likely has a lot to do with the fact that my mother (who was also my very best friend) had been diagnosed with cancer, and all she wanted in her life was to plan a wedding and have grandchildren (no pressure, right?). Then my little sister (who doesn't even believe in marriage) got engaged before I did. I pressured my boyfriend of almost two years into proposing by setting deadlines. Unfortunately, my mother passed away before getting to see any wedding, and we broke off our engagement because he 'didn't want to stop trying to be an actor (at 34).' Of course, I did the whole 'I won't find anyone better and he is comfortable' thing, so we got back together. Now, we're on a break and your book made me realize I'm just trying to fit a timeline I made when I was 17, and that this guy really isn't right for me. I may have even ruined what might have been a perfectly good relationship by pressuring him to commit.

My friends are all obsessed with wondering, analyzing, and questioning when their boyfriends will propose. I'm so glad I can now back away from the insanity, worry about myself, and be glad I don't have to spend all that money on a wedding! I'm going to Costa Rica instead!

I swear she's not related to us, nor do we know her personally. So keep sending us your stories, your questions, and everything else to And dear reader, send us a pic from Costa Rica. We love to hear from you.
Brenda Dickson

Style is as important in your life as your look.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Can't get enough Sex and the City

I feel like the title of this post is very 1999 but it's true. I truly cannot get enough of this show. I tirelessly watch the edited for syndication version as well as the episodes that my Time Warner Cable parcels out to me through On Demand.

In December Time Warner (I so miss Comcast just because I like saying Comcastic!) started back with the first episodes and I feel compelled to watch them all AGAIN! At night I tell myself that I will watch just one, but one turns into two and then I can't stop. The only reason I show any restraint is that I know that I will not be getting new episodes until January 22.

I never read books more than once (except ours, which is so incredible I read it over and over) and I do not own movies but SATC never fails to grab me. As I get, ahem, older, and where I am in my life changes, I take away different things from the episodes. Now that I am in the everyone-I-know-is-having-a-baby years, I identify with different episodes than when I was just entering The Bridal Wave.

Another example of my perspective changing: I used to think that Aidan was Mr. Perfect, but just the other day I watched the episode where he and Carrie are standing outside near a fountain, he in a tux and she in a white dress, and he trys to get her to marry him that night. When I watched it the first time i thought she was a fool not to go for it but this time I thought that she made the right decision. He did not trust her and thought that if she married him it would solve the problem, which it wouldn't.

I may have to rethink my whole Anti-Big stance. Luckily the episodes will be on plenty long enough for me to do so.

Monday, January 08, 2007

When Grandma Attacks

This just in: Nicolette, who was featured in the NYDN story "The Bridal Wave" because her family is always on her to get married wrote in to tell me:

"You'd appreciate that I showed the article to my grandparents. They had no idea what it was about but saw the top pic with the bride and my grandma said, 'See, I want to see you in a picture like that.' It was classic."

Usually the League of Concerned Citizens' ruthless leader is mom. Check out Ch. 5 for tips on how to deal with the Grand Inquisition.

BTW, that is NOT Nicolette's granny, but I think she kind of represents grandmothers everywhere, don't you?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Visiting the book

Thanks to all of our friends and family who have visited the book! My parents are dutifully checking stores and then filing reports. Below is our book in the Howard Hughes Borders. This is a busy store in a most awkwardly built shopping center. Lots of good foot traffic since it is near an office park and a movie theatre. And people cannot seem to resist the Nordstrom Rack, though I've have never found anything there.

Thanks to JoAnn for the photo. Feel free to send in your own snaps of the book. We get exctited every time.

Extra! Extra! The Bridal Wave

We've got Big News! Check out the article in today's New York Daily News magazine.

I wish I could write more, but I'm hopped up on Benadryl and feel like I'm going to fall asleep at the keyboard.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Barnes & Noble, 6th & 18th St.

Being on Radio Ritas was a blast. Who knew Gloria Steinhem was one of the founders of Greenstone Media?! Very cool.

During our post-interview confab, Valerie told me our book is already at the Barnes & Noble in The Grove, so after coffee & a bagel, I took my sleepy self over to B & N on 18th St. to see if it had hit NYC yet. They were just unlocking the doors and I headed back to the "Relationships" section. Here it is! (Love how it's parked next to something titled Crazy Time!)

And look, Borders on the "new paperbacks" table!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

8:06 in the morning!

We received official confirmation that we'll be guests on Radio Ritas tomorrow at 8:06am! We'll be calling Val at 5:06am her time. Sure, feel bad for Val, but remember that she'll probably be doing the interview in her PJs in bed while I have to go into the studio in NY looking somewhat presentable.

(And due to the holidays, a certain mug of Sidecar on New Year's, I'm still on Pacific Standard Time myself!)

Tune in tomorrow live to see if Val or I are able to get complete sentences together!

Gifts Held Hostage!!

One of the many benefits of working out of your home is the ability to receive packages/repair people. Coming over between 8am and noon? Not a problem, I'll be here. So when a friend sent a pacakge to me containing Christmas presents for me and her sister in law in LA I thought nothing of it, even when she told me that she sent it "signature required."

The package took a long time to cross the country, but thanks to the tracking number we knew it would arrive sometime Friday, December 22, plenty of time for me to play Santa and deliver the gifts.

That day I went to the flower mart downtown (a fun experience and much cheaper than going to a florist) had lunch and hit the new H&M at the Beverly Center (very disappointing now that it is here in LA and not a special destination and way too 80's for me.)

I got home at 3:00 and saw the Fed Ex slip on my door. I figured I was in a game of get the package of the truck before Christmas. Wrong, a neighbor had signed for my pacakge!! WOO HOO! Thank goodness, right? Wrong.

The package came at noon according to the slip. It was 3:00. I headed over to my neighbor's. I could see the box through her french doors:

She was not home. I didn't think much of it but I went ahead and left a note on her door letting her know that she could just leave the box in front of my door.

When she was not back by Christmas I was annoyed. I mean she tried to do something nice and all and I hate to complain but, come on! Then I saw a neighbor who mentioned that the girl who signed for my box had gone to London to visit family!!! Who does that? Just don't sign for the package. Let me try my luck with getting it off the truck. She signed for it and then less than 3 hours later headed overseas!

It is now January 2 and she is still not home! Really? Who does that? And how do I act when she does get back? Grateful? Am I allowed to say something to the effect of what the heck were you thinking? Thoughts?

Old Story: Women May Have it Worse

Val sent me this L.A. Times article recently, which examines how once solidly middle-class or upper middle-class women find themselves facing severe financial difficulties in their retirement years. If you remember all the Caitlin Flanagan/Linda Hirschman brouhaha a few years ago, this was also pivotal issue in the stay-at-home mom debate: women who later end up divorced may have enormous gaps of years where they didn't contribute to Social Security, pensions, or 401(k)s because they were raising children, and not in the full-time workforce.

Says one of the women profiled in the piece:

"Maybe I'll be that old lady on the cruise ship working as a singer, and I'll supplement my income working in a nursing home," said Tucker Emerson, who lives on the coast of Maine. She added, "We need to teach our daughters that you have to take care of yourself for the future."

In the spirit of the New Year and making changes, please check out our book and the chapter called "A Shoulder to Lean On, Not a Bank Account to Sponge Off." The message: forget about devoting energy to the manhunt, or marrying well. It's about getting your sh*t together so you always know you can take care of yourself, man or no man.

I realize this isn't as easy to accomplish as a tagline--this is as much a political issue as it is a personal one. But apparently there are some things in the works: a bill was introduced last September. The Women's Retirement Act of 2006 could be the first of many societal changes to help level the playing field--even in the game's later innings.