As you know, I subject myself to a wide range of bridal ‘entertainment’ on television in order to let you know the pitfalls and the few pleasant surprises that show up in the wonderful world of media. Last week I completely forgot to set my DVR for Say Yes to the Dress: Big Bliss. Well, this week I remembered just in time to catch the second of two episodes that aired.
I think part of my failure to plan for this was plain old fear.
Look, I am a bountifully-sized woman myself, horizontally if not vertically, and I know what most shows on television about larger people (particularly women) are all about: lose the weight, lardo. Shows featuring large people pretty much invariably also feature huge amounts of diet advice, screaming at people about how dooooooooomed they are to die young, ugly, and alone, and pitying shakes of the head at how ignorant these fatties must be to think they deserve anything normal and good in their lives.
For another thing, I resent the fact that after several seasons of simply having an occasional full-figured bride matter-of-factly featured on the regular show, that Say Yes has moved us into our own personal ghetto/side show. Why not just continue to have larger brides show up from time to time in the regular schedule? It seemed to be working out fine. What’s next? Say Yes to the Dress: Black Beauties? Say Yes to the Dress: Alluring Amputees? Can we say too crass for words? Why not just let women of all shapes, sizes, and colors continue to simply be part of the panoply of bridal shopping?
But you know I will wade in despite my Freudian slips to give you the low down on what’s being said. And so I sat down and girded my loins to watch Big Bliss.
The result? Well, I’m still not happy the producers felt the need to pull us out of the mainstream, but at least I can report that the attitude of the show is a lot more positive than I’d feared it might be.
The ladies featured in the episode I watched came with a range of issues. One hated shopping and usually bought all of her clothes online because it’s difficult for a size 30 woman to find anything to even try on. The good news? Kleinfeld’s has samples in even size 30 for brides to try on. By the end of the appointment, reluctant shopper Chris had found several gowns to try on, one of which made her feel feminine, sexy, and drop dead gorgeous. She left her appointment grinning from ear to ear.
I also loved what fashion director Randy had to say about that appointment:
I don’t save lives, I’m not a surgeon, but I can make them understand how beautiful they are, and that makes my job just that much more incredible every day.
It’s true. Pretty clothes don’t save lives, but sometimes just realizing that you look good in them makes it a lot easier to live your life and find the confidence to do something great.
Caroline found that she really liked two different dresses, which was a situation she hadn’t expected to encounter. What shocked me about it was the fact that there was actually a gown under a thousand smackers at Kleinfeld’s! She was seriously torn, but in the end her mother said she would pay for the more expensive one that was a couple hundred dollars over her stated budget. All’s well that ends well.
In fact, the hard part of that appointment was Carolyn’s aunt Louisa who kept picking out samples from the size 2 rack. Once consultant Diane put her foot down, though, Louisa went and sat down and behaved herself.
But my favorite story line was that of Zakia, whose gown didn’t fit during her fitting. She made a bet for $100 with her aunt that she could lose ten pounds in the month she had remaining before her wedding. I know, I know, it’s the triumphant story of how weight loss makes everything better, right? Wrong.
Randy interviewed that putting pressure on yourself to change your body – even a little bit – in the last weeks before the wedding is just adding unnecessary stress, and therefore a bad idea.
On her wedding day, Zakia’s aunt comes in, sees her in the perfectly fitted gown and starts praising her for losing the weight. Zakia tells her happily that, no, she didn’t lose a pound. She had the dress let out the tiny bit she needed so that it would fit her properly. And let me tell you, she looked gorgeous. She was proof positive that a properly fitted garment and self-confidence look better any day of the week than stress in a sausage casing.
So yes, I do still have my reservations about the fact that this show exists at all… but if it exists, I have to say I’m pleased with the fact that it’s framed in such a positive way. I’ll be back for more. You can join me friday night at 9pm on TLC.