Things I Am Missing

Bagels. Yes, they sell bagels here. They sell them at the grocery store in bags, which is not how I’d ever buy bagels. They also sell them at occasional bakeries, usually in premade sandwich format with lox and cream cheese. I am not going there. My friend Lauren in LA made Epicurious’ bagel recipe the other day and it looks not too hard, but I know that anything I conjure here in my little kitchen will not a real bagel be. I miss bagels.

Home organizing stores. This is common for Americans in the UK, I hear. There is no Bed, Bath, and Beyond. There is no Container Store. If IKEA doesn’t make it, it basically doesn’t exist, as far as miscellaneous homegoods go. We need a(nother) over-the-door shoe rack, and I can only find a metal one, and I want fabric/plastic pockets, and the one brand that shipped to the one store that sells semi-organizey things here has “discontinued” theirs. What’s that crappy, overpriced store in NYC with the red oval? Basics Plus? I would die for a Basics Plus right now. Yes, I could buy what I’m looking for on Amazon, I guess, but frankly, the delivery here is so weird that I’d rather wait to pick them up in Atlanta next month. And seriously, there should be stores for these things. Come on, England.

Knowing where to shop. My friend Ali says Kensington High Street, which makes me feel better about having been there and finding it not so bad. But as far as the things that aren’t in the States, have no idea which boutiques are way out of my price or size range (Jigsaw? Kooples? Anyone?) and which ones are crapola, and sometimes I want to shop at places that aren’t Superdry (more like SuperDrEYEROLL), the Gap (which has been so boring this summer let’s just go with the NAP), H&M (if an H&M item in the States lasts the same number of wearings as dollars you spent, IMAGINE HOW LITTLE YOU GET OUT OF IT IN STERLING), and TopShop (yes but where do my boobs and butt go?), England. And re: sizing, I guess I wear a 12-14 here, and many stores only manufacture up to a 14. I am 5’7”, 155. So, great, my pre-wedding self-esteem is just through the roof, UK sizing, thanks for helping. Also if you think Anthro and J.Crew are idiotically expensive in the States, JUST YOU WAIT.

Gridded streets. Numbered streets. Having some sense of how far things are from one another based on letters and numbers. This town is a shitshow of directional nonsense, and its only saving grace is the fact that it’s just so damn charming with all of its squares and gardens and parks and toddlers with accents.

I Changed My Tumblr Photo

Which is also my Twitter photo.

For the first time EVER, for the blog, for the first time in like three years for the Twitters.

Mom and Dad at the costume party in ‘68 are still in the headers, don’t worry.

And as I said on Twitter: I don’t promise not to swap it all out for disgustingly flattering wedding photos come November. 

Today on Don’t Tell the Bride: Always Wear a Condom, Teenagers, But If You Don’t, You May Get To Plan Your Own Pool Party Wedding

[for a quick primer on the rules and regs of DTTB, see this post]

Emma and Patrick may have the names of two people in a forgotten ‘aughts rom-com, and their story may have some of the tropes thereof and therein, but let’s be honest, a pair of 25-year-olds who’ve been together for ten years and have a six-year-old and a two-year-old ain’t the stuff of Hollywood dreams. Patrick’s great ambition, to save money to buy a house, is as honorable as they come. It just means that they haven’t found the time or nominal fee required to get married.

Which, let’s take a moment on that: Don’t you think at some point they would have just run down to the courthouse and done it? For legal protection? For tax breaks? For all the benefits that gay people are fighting for worldwide? I don’t know exactly what those benefits are in England, but there are benefits! What kind of frugal-minded person wouldn’t just DO IT? These brainiacs.

Emma’s first three statements about Patrick:

1) “I always knew he was the one. Since we were fifteen.”

2) “Patrick’s scared of being married.” OH SO THAT’S IT.

3) “Patrick’s not very romantic at all.”

So what’s going to get Patrick married? A wedding with “a Patrick feel,” in which everything is done his way. Emma wants a traditional, “Disney princess wedding.” Patrick? “If I could go there in shorts and a t-shirt, that would be the perfect thing.”

Emma: “From the bottom of my heart, I believe I DO deserve a nice wedding.” Emma, duh. Everybody deserves a nice wedding that reflects what you want to say about yourselves and each other and embraces your families and friends for supporting you throughout your relationship! Will you be HAPPY with a wedding that doesn’t do that, in your eyes? Answer now, as that is 100% where this is going.

Patrick drafts his brother Sean and his friend Anthony, a man who wears a necklace, as best men. Anthony is responsible for Patrick’s occasional multi-day disappearances in the past (seriously), so Emma hates him. But Anthony, despite his necklace, believes that he has grown up and changed—he wants to prove himself to Emma. The boys make a quick list of all the things they will do in their three weeks to make this wedding happen, and Patrick is ready to tic some boxes. Sean stops him, to ask him to reflect for a moment on his and Emma’s relationship, what is important to them, etc., because HEY WAIT A TIC, this wedding should in some way reflect them. Roight?

This. Shuts. Patrick. Down. This level of acknowledgement of their bond, their life together, their life ahead, what they have shared, etc. is all too much for his Britishness (though he was born in South Africa—does that make it better or worse?). Face-rubbing. Hair-tossing. Mumbles. “Let’s just get started.” Great.

So, as in every episode of DTTB, Emma and her mom go look at some castles with pumpkin patches (“like Cinderella!”), and they ooh and ahh, and Emma’s mom says things like, “I can’t imagine Patrick picking anything other than something like this!” From your mouth to his ears, says Emma, who lives with him and has borne his children.

Patrick goes to an actual functioning castle, where Fancy Brits live, where the lady of the house pronounces his name without combining the R and T. Pat-Rick. It’s very posh, and the price is right at £4,000 after some negotiations (all he cares about), but he goes to see another venue that he likes better! Some British-famous person got married there recently, and this second venue, where there’d be a pool party and a barbeque (yes, all of Emma’s worst nightmares), is quoted to him at over £9,000 + tax. Straight-faced, he asks if they can do it (venue, booze, and buffet) for £3,400. He gets laughed at. By me and by the people at the venue. Then he gets them down to £5,000 with tax. What the fuck, television.

And he books it over the castle, because he is a selfish child, and children love pool parties. The invitation, we later learn, says “bring swimwear.”

Dresses: in separate stores, Patrick pulls pleated/ruched-bodice dresses with applique, as Emma calls those “granny dresses,” and pulls Cinderella dresses—beaded top, fluffiest princess skirts. Patrick sees one of those and says, “That is exactly what she wants, that fairy tale dress—but that belongs in fairy tales, not on our real wedding day," because I guess he hates Emma for stealing his youth, when he is the one who wouldn’t wear a condom. Cross-cut to Emma wearing something that looks like a Barbie Doll cake dress and crying about how it’s perfect. Patrick buys a size 14 "granny dress" for size 6 Emma, can’t tell the shop how tall she is, and negotiates it down to half the price. 

At this point, DTTB just makes fun of him. They clock how much time it takes him to get each discount (£150 off the wedding bands took over an hour, and he’s getting hers engraved “Property of Patrick McWhatever.”) £420 off the £1,000 floral estimate took 20 minutes. £130 off the £450 car for the bride. He’s wearing a suit he owns to the wedding. The best men’s suits are the ONLY THING HE PAYS FULL PRICE FOR.

Oh, and obviously every establishment he visits gets their storefront and logo on television. The guy who rents out the old-timey car is wearing a tshirt with his business information on it. TELEVISION!

Patrick’s Stag Do: Throwing axes, shooting guns.

Emma’s Hen Do: Massages, followed by an uncomfortable lunch with her Mum who (like her father, we learn) feels very left out of all things wedding and isn’t shy about it. Then maybe y’all should have coughed up the £12,000 and planned it all together, because have you seen this show? You knew this was coming. Fortunately, Emma’s friends take her out to a club on their own. We are reminded that Emma is 25.

The day before the wedding and OH AND WHAT DO YOU KNOW, SHE LOVES THE DRESS. Except that she’s swimming in it. Patrick agrees to pay for the alterations without negotiating, what a gentleman. And Emma says “I’m actually glad that he stayed clear away from the princess dresses,” because she’s brainwashed. The whole family loves it, because they’re brainwashed.

And she loves the brown bridesmaids dresses despite, “I hate earthy colors.” She loves the car. She makes no comments on the venue upon arrival, but she seems happy just to be there and looking decent. She does not seem to notice that Patrick is wearing an old suit, because she is blinded by his lime-green tie (or maybe that was me). She cannot stop fucking with her veil or her totally busted looking hair extensions, which appear to have been installed by her six-year-old. Turns out his ring says “Property of Emma McWhatever,” so I’m marginally less offended.

But then at the lunch after the ceremony, Patrick has forgotten to print the table assignments, and he won’t just let people sit down. So that takes half an hour. Then everybody has to get up and queue for the BBQ, which is being prepared outside, where it is 60 degrees and very windy. Emma… abides it.

There are speeches, and then some bros put on bathing suits and jump in the pool. Emma refuses, despite her generous groom providing her with a bikini. There’s dancing. Emma’s mom tells Patrick he did well. There are some South African gumboot dancers. And that’s when my DVR cut off. 

There doesn’t seem to be much joy at this event, and Emma can sort of not keep her eyes open with her false eyelashes and the wind and the mediocrity and disappointment. But later, with a beer in one hand and bouquet in the other, she apologizes for being such a bitch to Anthony for so long, so something good has come of it.

And for the sake of the children, I am going to give more credit than is due and assume that Patrick pulled this whole thing off for £8,000 or so and found a loophole in the contract that allowed him to keep the rest for what I can assume is either a major drug habit or a robust savings account. BUY YOUR FAMILY A DAMN HOUSE ALREADY. If I had to live with someone as unendingly cheap as this bugger, I’d need room to get away every now and then, too.

A DAY TRIP:

  1. Having given up on a reliable iced coffee, I opted for the super sized diet coke, extra ice. Sorry/not sorry.
  2. Charming countryside
  3. Charming countryside feat. A MOTHERFUCKING CASTLE. Arundel Castle, according to Google maps. I live in a country with castles.
  4. Charming Chichester v1
  5. Charming Chichester v2
  6. My introduction to Chichester was actually singing Leonard Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms” in my wee youth. Since Kathleen and I can easily earworm one another at a distance, I figured I’d make sure she was having the same brain-day I was. I was right. Give it a listen if you have never heard it. I revisited this evening, it’s pretty outstanding. A lot better than “The Avengers,” which I find myself unable to watch.
  7. Killing time in the grass. Reposting this photo because I was still finding bugs on my arms and legs in the second act of the play. I am covered in tiny patches of bites. England, you are exactly like childhood in Georgia sometimes.
  8. INTERMISSION IN ENGLAND = MANDATORY SENIOR CITIZEN ICE CREAM will never cease to thrill/befuddle me. 
  9. My first British Chipotle for dinner, back home in London. It was perfection.
iamsetlocked

Where “I couldn’t possibly comment” sounds an awful lot like “announcement forthcoming,” because duh, whatever this Marvel thing is (seriously, not my wheelhouse) would be shot before Hamlet even starts rehearsing if the projected summer 2016 release date holds because all that CGI will take vastly more time than shooting, because have you ever seen a Marvel movie? I have not, so, you know, grain of salt. Bucket of salt.

I blame Tumblr and this for my knowing anything about any of this. It’s like my bored brain is being eaten away and replaced by somebody else’s bored brain.

Progress Out Of This Deep Content Hole I’m In, Monumental Boredom, Beverages, Bugs

I think I’m done Cumberbinging. Today I watched “Star Trek Into Darkness” and realized I’m really up to my eyeballs in stuffy business and suppressed English emotions, and that it was somewhat cathartic to watch Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto (and Benedict Cumberbatch, English but INDESTRUCTIBLE) run around and hit things/each other. Tomorrow I will go see Rupert Everett run around and hit himself! With feelings! In AMADEUS!

And honestly, I wish I could tell you what else I did today, but other than FaceTiming with my dad, playing Kim Kardashian Hollywood (sorry not sorry), and half-watching like 5 episodes of Masterchef: South Africa (which I think is four years old), I really can’t account for myself until about 6:30pm when I went for a walk.

Next week I have actual, real life, grown up, productive things to do, so there will be much less naval/laptop gazing. But this week is… pretty… quiet. In case you hadn’t guessed.

Other notes:

  • No such thing as unsweetened iced tea in England. Also no Snapple, and no Diet Snapple. 
  • Also, “Iced Coffee” means exactly everything and exactly nothing here. Yesterday I ordered an iced Americano and was told that that shop did not make them, but they’d do an iced latte, which wound up being a frappuchino poured over espresso, milk, and ice. Somehow. I really don’t know. This may have been because I asked for “extra ice,” because this is not America so I need to do that to get more than 3 cubes in an “iced” beverage, but still.
  • A bug flew into my bra today. I have killed more bugs with my bare hands in the past two months than ever before in my life. This is a rainforest. I do not understand it. This also means that I constantly think bugs are on or near me. While making dinner with the terrace door open tonight, a bit of onion skin caught the wind and flew by my face, causing me to fling my hot, oily spoon around in front of my face, because it was a bug! No, it was onion skin. 
  • IT’S WEDNESDAY! This means Charlie just took our trash out. Blessed, blessed garbage day. Rubbish day.