Shower Power

In my best Jerry Seinfeld voice: What’s the deal with bridal showers? Given the obscene level of gift gouging, they should be called bridal shakedowns. Or maybe, given that we can’t open any of the presents until after the actual wedding (and possibly not even then), it should really be the bridal catch-22.

We drove up to northern Jersey on Sunday for Ana’s big to-do. I was very resolute in my decision not to stick around and be one of those guys — you know, the creepy grooms who hang around and open presents with all the girls. If there had been pillows available, and scantily clad co-eds pissed off enough to use ’em, I might have stayed. But as it were, there were a dozen or so women teasing me in a foreign language and more than a handful of my mom’s charmingly, annoyingly chatty friends, and so I got out of there fast. I had a nice visit with my brother and nieces at their new house in White Plains, NY. When I got to the door, Winifred ran to me (as fast as a one-year-old can run), hugged my legs, and then said “Teddy.” At least, I think it was “Teddy”; could’ve been “Freddy” considering how much time she’s been spending with gramma lately.

When I got back to Shower Central, Ana’s sister-in-law’s house, there was an unholy mountain of presents waiting, expectantly, for me to transfer to the car. I guess this was the first shower I’d ever been exposed to, because nothing had prepared me for the frightening level of gift-giving that had taken place. We packed our Pontiac Vibe to the roof, filling it up like a Tetris puzzle, stuffing bags between Ana’s legs and the driver-side pedals. And still, we only managed to cram half of the gifts. The rest will have to await our return to Scotch Plains.

Of course, we aren’t allowed to open or use any of the gifts until after the wedding. Thus, right now our apartment could easily be mistaken for a Crate & Barrel stock room. In fact, I often make this mistake when I come home from work.

My favorite part of the shower, or the ex-post-facto version I got from Ana’s nieces, was the scrapbook that Ana’s maid of honor, Vicki, put together. There were pictures from friends, poems from cousins, and nice notes from Ana’s and my family. But my favorite part of the album has to be my friend Gwynne’s creative take on Ana’s favorite bedtime compulsion.

Gwynne was kind enough to grant me one-time Internet blog permission to reprint her masterpiece here. Hope you like it, too!