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Arno
Those that know me know that I am a terrible skin-flint. I hate spending money. I am typing this on an old computer that takes ages to load the games I am playing, so I can play them at low settings, just so I can stretch its use out for another year and spend less money on computers in the course of my life. In that respect, Beedoo! fits well with me; she's rather frugal herself and hates being wasteful. Sure, of course, as a dragon she might eat your stuff or your friends, but that doesn't cost anything, and now none of that stuff will go to waste. See? There is consistancy...

And yet, when she wanted to buy a relatively cheap dress for our wedding, I put a stop to that, and made sure she had a fancy one to her specifications instead. "Why is that, Arno?" you may ask. And that's a good question, that I have asked myself as well. The answer is simple, but like many simple answers, it requires some explanation beforehand.

You see, there are people in this world who will tell you that you are nothing. That you are unwanted and undeserving. That you are no good, stupid, fat, ugly, annoying, weak, slow, too different, too impopular, too unlike the other to be worth anything, to deserve anything, to be allowed to walk through life with your head up high. And these people come in many forms. They are the bullies, who raise their egoes by cutting everyone else's down. There are the prima donna's, who won't accept a world in which someone may be accepted without turning acceptance into a day job. They are the well-intentioned immodest, who cannot fathom a way of life different from their own. They are the terrified and weak, grateful that it is not them at the receiving end. They are the failures, desperately clinging to the notion that failure must be a constant, because they don't want to take ownership of their own...

Beedoo! and I have both been at the receiving end of these people at some point in our lives. It harms you in seemingly invisible ways. In the way you don't think you deserve anything nice. In the way you back out of things from fear of the consequences of failure. The way you shy away from good people because the bad people told you you're not wanted. It stifles you and makes everything that much harder.

And that is why Beedoo! got married in a proper, fancy, expensive dress. Because, frankly, I could afford it without blinking. Because I have been saving my money all my life, out of fear for the future, and because I thought I didn't deserve anything nice. Because I have a good job, since I worked hard to make up for my inabilities and failings.

Because Beedoo! is a lovely, wonderful woman with a great sense of humour and a generous heart. Because she is good enough for me and I am good enough for her.

And because she looked beautiful in it.

11 days ago as of this writing, we got married, on a rare sunny day in Haarlem, The Netherlands, the lost summer of 2013. She looked absolutely lovely.

I am told I looked pretty handsome myself. But, you know, I stopped believing everything that people tell me some time ago... ;)


Beedoo!
This dragon looks lovely. I always hate to see a waste and excess at about every turn... I use every drop out of a bottle or jar, and I can't stand to see a piece of food going uneaten. I get a little OCD about this at times, but never miserly. It's not like I HAVE to save and scrimp... it's more that I don't see a point toward the excess. In fact, I'm happier to spend on a gift for someone else than I ever would for myself. I can allow myself some lavishness from time to time, but there had better be some good reason for it, or something I can use more than once.

The plan was to get a nice but cheap dress off eBay or the like, hopefully with a Victorian style high collar. I had my eye on one for $250 or so.

Arno would have none of it. He said, "I have money just sitting around; I'm going to put my girlfriend in a pretty dress." And so it was. And there was protesting on my part, because, well, I'm conscientious about spending money, especially money that's not mine... and the dress is roughly 10 times as much as my eBay estimate!

So I must've gotten exactly the dress I wanted, right? Welllll... not exactly. We've got a weird set of circumstances, but sum up our assets here:
-Me, American, can speak a little Dutch. Tomboy... knows little about sewing and material and suchlike, especially in a foreign language
-Arno, Dutch, could act as a go-between for the dressmaker and I, but he doesn't know the different names of fabrics or other such terms in Dutch, much less English.
-Martin, the dressmaker, knows what he's doing... he's a sweet man and I'm sure knows his trade. But I threw him a curveball with this high-necked Victorian thing I wanted. I don't think he's used to making anything that isn't your standard strapless ballgown thing.

Don't get me wrong, it came out looking lovely... just among our miscommunications, there are things about it that I wouldn't have done had I given the say-so. I think Martin tried modifying the design to something along the lines of the standard dress with a lace jacket over the top... I STILL think it's really stupid-looking in that aspect, but there's only so much effort I'm willing to go to to make it right, and people like it well enough. When I bring in a picture of what I was aiming for, that's kind of what I'm expecting to get... not that the buttons are on the back instead of the front... that's kind of a major change in the design.

I've got one thing up on other brides: I get to wear my wedding dress twice! If you consider the cost of the dress divided over two uses, it kind of takes the sting out of having had to have paid so much for it. ;p

Last night, Arno told me that he read something about the average cost of a wedding these days. We wet our budget at $8,000 as a jumping off point for everything... the church, the reception hall, the food, the favors, the cake, etc, etc... so when Arno said the AVERAGE wedding cost $20,500, I made a noise like, "Grk!" and fell over. People are taking out loans for a giant, lavish party. I can't do it... I just can't. How do you expect to start our your life together if you're starting it with a massive debt?? Wedding or not, don't be stupid.

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