In Praise of the Ugly
Friday, April 27, 2012 at 8:00AM
Louise in Guest Blogger, Inspiration

So this next T30SB Guest Post is from an Anonymous someone. Everything fantastic I have to say about her would give up a little bit of her anonymity, so I must refrain from accidentally spilling those little fantastic bits about her. I will say these things about her: unexpected, magnificent, smart.

In Praise on the Ugly 

Weddings bring up issues of beauty, to put it mildly.

I came home from my mother's (not unexpected) funeral in mid July with a month to finish planning our wedding. I was lucky to get up in the morning, much less lovingly craft out of town bags for my friends from the letters that they sent me over the years. I spent my evenings reading schlocky novels and sipping whiskey rather than carefully cutting out our initials to stick on everything that doesn't move. Did I mention I can't even fucking draw a straight line?

Even before my mother died we were against detail. Mike and I are writers, not designers, and our strengths are writing vows in Dr. Seuss meter (trochaic dimeter, if you care), eating great food, and cracking jokes. Mike's best man(woman) wrote her speech in the five minutes between the picture taking and the reception and it was the best damn speech of the night.

My sister-in-law bought the lanterns for centerpieces at IKEA. Did I love them? I loved that I didn't ever have to think about centerpieces again. Don't even talk to me about chairs. Can you sit in them? Fantastic, done. I bought $100 worth of wildflowers from a local farm. My bouquet had a bunch of colors and smelled like rosemary; I loved it.

Let's talk about my looks. When I was twelve, I complained to my older sister that all the Disney princesses and heroines were white and snub-nosed. I framed it in terms of racism. She replied "You mean don't have frizzy curly hair, brown eyes, and a big Jewish noses like we do?" She was all too right.

For a long time I thought I was single because I was ugly.

When I went to get a makeover (can you be made over when you've never been made up to begin with?), the only thing the makeup artist managed to say about me was that I had nice eyebrows. I do have nice eyebrows (completely unplucked), but still.

And then there are the cameras. I hate having my picture taken. I mean really really despise it. There's nothing about my face that a camera likes. Unruly hair, small lips, small eyes, big nose, inconvenient freckles. My face washes out and I look dead in photos. However, when I got married my partner (a budding photographer) said "there will be pictures. And you will smile."

Fuck smiling.

We had a photo shoot on the beach after the wedding rehearsal; we were all dressed up, but not in our wedding clothes. I spent about two seconds getting ready because we were so late. My hair was a mess. I wore no makeup (I never wear makeup). I felt lucky to have thrown on a necklace. I was cranky and stressed out. Mike and I had fought in the car on the way over and pretty much every word out of his mouth pissed me the fuck off. And the pictures looked awesome.

My photographer, a friend of mine, took us down the beach saying "look like you love each other. Look like you love each other." And although I wanted to kill Mike, I remembered that, in fact, I did love him and being on the beach and near him made me happy. I looked like nothing was wrong in the world.

At the wedding everyone told me I was "a beautiful bride." And you might laugh, but it made me mad. I was made up and the dress was pretty. Why weren't they saying "You look so happy" or "You make a great couple" which would have felt less false. Beauty is something we're born with or not. Being a happy couple is something we make.

There's a picture of Mike and me in front of the window overlooking a small New England harbor. Between us and the water is a parking lot. Behind us are some flags, which are far more patriotic than we felt. The hall was plain: not ugly, but plain. I can't imagine anyone noticed.

Article originally appeared on The Thirty-Something Bride Wedding Blog (
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