There are blatant inequities when it comes to wedding attire for males and females. Men do not try on tux after tux, tossing them over the fitting room door with sighs of exasperation, rejecting cummerbunds five, 10 and 20 at a time, vowing to give up carbs and try Pilates.
Men walk into a formalwear store, have a few strategic measurements taken and return the day before the wedding to pick up their penguin suits. The entire process takes roughly eight minutes.
By contrast, Columbus sailed to the New World in half the time it takes a woman to find a dress for a special occasion.
As a woman who will soon be an MOB (mother of the bride) I have to say it is great fun watching the bride-to-be try on dresses. It is great fun watching the bridesmaids try on dresses. It is great fun chumming with the flower girl, who says her job is to, and I quote, "drop flower petals, walk proud and not goof around."
But when it comes time for the mother of the bride to begin the dress hunt, the fun quotient plummets like an Olympic diver springing off the high board.
On the upside, preliminary shopping can be done on the Internet. Yet, there seems to be some disparity between how a dress looks on the computer screen and how it looks in the fitting room.
The silver dress with the straight skirt and square cut jacket, the one that whispered understated elegance on-line, takes on a different look when covering my actual person. Yes, it now has the distinct look of a stainless steel refrigerator. The dazzling jewel trim on the right pocket can even pass for the ice dispenser.
The flowing gown with the full skirt that looked so graceful online looks like a frock worn by Mary Queen of Scots. "Bring me my scepter! Where is my tea?"
My shopping companion says that my narration is not helpful. I say the models online were probably all seven feet tall and gave up eating solid food when Bush was inaugurated. Bush 41, that is.
The ruffled number with the flounces that looked so sleek and sophisticated on the Web site looks like a dust ruffle without end in front of the three-way mirror.
The dark green suit that was breathtaking on my monitor looks like a pup tent, and the teal blue number guaranteed to camouflage middle-age "flaws" could double as a slipcover for Yankee Stadium.
It is a nix on the black number with the long train and long sleeves a little too Adams Family-ish, and a no go on the one with the ostrich feathers there will be no fan dancing. The halter that plunges to the belly button is a reject while still on the hanger and the jungle print with the slit to the upper thigh can return to the rack as well.
I am ready to call it a day when the daughter shopping with me whips into the dressing room with one more outfit.
"I think this is it," she says.
"That's what you said 300 dresses ago."
She zips it up and pronounces it "the one."
At this point I could be wearing mechanic's coveralls with Bubba written across the chest and she'd say it is "the one."
"It might make me look like a cake topper," I say. "What do you think?"
"I think all that truly matters is that you walk proud and not goof around."