Dearly beloved, we live in fear of a matriarchal straw woman who loves Bridal Bingo. Think about this: Even the most unhinged bridezilla doesn’t greet bridal shower games with the orgasmic zeal of, “FUCK YESSSSSS, I’ve been waiting my WHOLE GODDAMN LIFE FOR BRIDAL BINGO *breathes fire* *defeats Mothra* *destroys Tokyo*.” Most emphatically, there’s a response of caving in, like, “[sigh] idk, I guess we could do one or two.” In the year-of-our-lord 2023, shower rituals mainly exist to not offend some elderly female relative or in-law. But today I bear Earth-shattering news: She doesn’t exist, guys.
How do I know this? Long ago, my propriety-loving mother looked me into my eyes — NAY — my soul, and said, “We all hate the stupid games, but we all do them.” This reality-breaking initiation into womanhood HAS HAUNTED ME EVER SINCE because, who is the tedious frivolity of shower rituals for if not mothers, grandmothers, and your Chardonnay-swilling Aunt Sue?
So today I present an appeal to banish the pomp and circumstance of the following bridal shower rituals. Because we got rid of garters and reception lines, we can kill this, too. Here’s how.
Nix the idea that we’re “supposed” to carry on with certain traditions, ‘cause BT-dubs, that’s a terrible reason to continue on with tradition.
And also, understand that bridal showers used to be, like, kinda chill and witchy.
The original concept was that if a bride-to-be was too poor to have a dowry or her father didn’t approve of her partner, the women in her community would “shower” her with gifts to start her newlywed home. Showers grew in popularity among upper-class Victorian women — usually in a train of visitations versus a big-ass shindig — and then spread throughout the masses in early 1900s. In the ‘20s, you even get some *agency* to pick your gifts with bridal registries. So love the sisterhood, love getting presents that you actually want, so far, so good!
But WAIT A MINUTE! The gender-role-loving 1950s roll around, and showers get really formalized to drive home what it means to be a wife. A quick scroll down Etsy Lane shows boxed bridal games from this era, just packaged light torture for you and your guests. We have been stranded here since, but a new day is dawning.
Death to all bridal shower games, in their varying shades of awful.
At best, they ask profound questions like, “Which artist sang ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight?’” and all of Table 10 is now on their smartphones trying to figure out that brain-teaser. Or they’re a weird time suck that, in lieu of bonding with guests, makes you guess if your third cousin or her fiance say “I love you” first. And at worst, you’re making toilet paper wedding gowns as a soft “fuck you” to the environment, and now I want to commit arson.
“But the games can be fun when you win!” No. Nobody wins when we perpetuate this. But you know, thank you for the random Dollar Tree purchase, I’ll treasure this daintily wrapped hand sanitizer forever.
Send gifts to the house and skip the 11th hour opening-of-the-presents procedure.
Most modern registries have a send-to-address option (which I hit like the hand of god), so this IS getting phased out. But again, as long as we maintain that “moms want bridal bingo” mentality, we suffer through the opening-of-the-gifts, and it. is. the. worst.
Time slows. The mimosa pitcher goes Sahara Desert dry. There are no gods, only flatware sets, standing mixers, and 43 women craning to hear if their gift is called so they can go the fuck home.
On the flipside, I can’t imagine brides love endlessly unwrapping presents that TBH you already knew you were getting. Your hands start hurting, everyone sits around you and fake coos like, “OoooOOOooh a Nutribullet!!!” And then, at the end of the nightmare, someone takes the ribbons and constructs a monstrosity of a headpiece.
ABSOLUTELY NOT TO THE RIBBON HEADPIECE.
My blood boils at this concept: It’s your special day. You’ve emerged, Private Ryan-style from whatever your personal hell of modern dating was, a potential minefield of sociopaths and “u up” texts. And women you LOVE and TRUST crown you with a debasing Dr. Suess hat so you STAY. HUMBLE.
NO, NO, NO, NO. I am THROWING FISTS if ANYONE the second someone reaches for the scotch tape.
Save all the good in the concept of bridal showers.
Because there IS something glorious about a room of women dressing for other women. Like, showers could be basically the Met Gala with bottomless brunch. Moreover, you have this rare opportunity to connect and commune with ladies — across all generations — of your biological, chosen and inherited family. AND IT’S WASTED SERVING AN IMAGINARY TOTEM OF THE ‘50s. Like I’m sure there’s some sad Midwestern sociopath who lives for the rituals, and I will do whatever my loved ones want to celebrate them. But deep down, we want out, right?
So you wanna do speeches? Sure. Take some cute pics? Fine! But cutting out the excruciating/weirdly humiliating bulk means we can be outta here in a clean 3 hours, 2 and a half if we eat fast. Grab a drink, burn the straw woman at the stake, and let’s. fucking. go.