Maid of Dishonor
Maid of Dishonor
Maid of Dishonor
Two weeks before my 30th birthday, I got kicked out of my best friend’s wedding. Humiliating? Yes. Horrible? Indeed. My fault? Maybe.
Let me backtrack a bit. I’ve never been a very matrimonial kind of girl. Even when my childhood friends started freaking out about future nuptials, I didn’t bite. As a (shy, rather neurotic) prepubescent, I spent more time reading Sweet Valley High, comparing myself to the blond-haired, “perfect size six” Wakefield twins than concocting elaborate fantasies about my long-ways-off wedding night.
So when my best friend from high school asked me to be her maid of honor, I agreed with veiled reluctance. Not because I wasn’t excited for her. We had met almost 15 years prior, during freshman year at a private DC high school. As self-conscious 14-year-olds, we had bonded in that claustrophobic teen girl way. We spent every spare moment together, rolling around in our adolescent angst like pigs in poop. But eventually we grew apart when, after high school, Allie went off to a big Northeastern Ivy League while I headed to a hippie school in New England.
After college, we kept in sporadic contact, but things were different. We were different. I no longer felt like we understood each other the way we had as 15-year-olds scratching ankh symbols onto our sneakers with Sharpies. When Allie squealed, “I’m engaged!” on the phone from Beijing, then asked me to be her maid of honor, I agreed. But the ensuing chatter about three-carat rings and Monique Lhuillier gowns turned my stomach.
Three days prior to the fancy DC wedding – a huge black-tie affair on the night before New Year’s Eve – I was shopping for a wedding gift with Michelle, a high school friend (and fellow bridesmaid). I had organized a bridesmaids’ brunch for the following morning, and was feeling more than edgy about Allie’s approaching Big Day. My fear of public speaking had resurfaced; I broke into a sweat when I thought about the Maid of Honor toast I would have to make. The whole affair was so posh, so foreign, so utterly beyond my comfort zone.
I worried about being the fattest girl in the wedding (her other bridesmaids were uber-tan and toned). I worried about the speech I would have to make before hundreds of guests. I worried about whether I would ever fall in love again.
So when Allie called around six to ask whether Michelle and I could meet her for a last-minute dinner with the rest of the wedding party, I rolled my eyes. I wanted to buy her gift and go to bed. The entire following day—indeed, the entire upcoming weekend—would be devoted to Allie’s wedding.
“Um, would you mind if I skipped dinner?” I chirped. “I have a ton of stuff to do before brunch tomorrow, and I don’t have much money to drop right now…” My voice trailed off. Allie was not known for diplomacy.
“If money is the issue, I’ll pay for you,” she hissed.
“Money isn’t ‘the issue,’” I said. “Maybe, if you’d given me advance notice...”
Silent seething, then: “I shouldn’t have to beg you to come. You’re my maid of honor,” she pleaded, voice rising. “Though you haven’t done sh*t for me so far.”
I was swallowed by sudden rage. Who was this diva demanding that I shell out my precious time and money on another stupid dinner? “It’s not all about you, Allie!” I screamed. “I have a life, you know, even though you barely ask me about it! F**k you!”
And so all of the frustrations I’d been repressing—about our friendship, about my stagnant love life, about living up to Allie’s overpriced expectations of me—escaped from my mouth like a bottle exploding.
A few minutes later, my phone rang again. I didn’t recognize the number, so I let it hit voicemail before listening to a strange, Splenda-sweet message from Becky, one of Allie’s bridesmaids.
“Hi Laura, Allie’s decided that she’d feel more comfortable if you don’t take part in the wedding festivities. Call me if you have any questions; thanks!”
A wave of relief washed over me. “No maid-of-honor toast for me!” I thought as I drove home with tears in my eyes.
Epilogue: After I left an apologetic message, Allie decided she wanted me at the wedding, but not in the wedding. I ended up attending as a guest—and she promoted another bridesmaid to the maid-of-honor position. It was the most awkward evening of my life, but I was glad to be there. Our friendship is still recovering.