32: “You may feel fat, but you’re fat for a very good reason”

Since Danielle had set her wedding date so soon after her engagement, things had to clip along at a relatively quick pace. They’d already had the bridal shower, which had been torturous, Danielle had already bought her dress, which had mercifully been an exercise that only her mother and future mother-in-law were forced to take part in. Now, however, the rest of Team Bride, as they had regrettably been named, were being called in for bridesmaid dress shopping. Even before they had set foot inside the very first bridal store, Iggy knew deep down in her heart of hearts that it was going to be a disaster.

And she wasn’t wrong.

The first of many problems arrived with the sheer volume of Danielle’s bridal party. There were eight bridesmaids, which was way too many bridesmaids in Iggy’s opinion. And then Danielle had brought her mother and future mother-in-law as well. Combined, they took up far too much space in the bridal salon. The sales staff was unprepared for the sheer quantity of them. Beyond that, there were quite a few big personalities in the group. Danielle herself was of course quite opinionated. Iggy had prepped herself for dress shopping. She was operating under the assumption that she wouldn’t like any of the options that Danielle picked out and also that that didn’t actually matter. Some of the other bridesmaids, however, had not adopted the same zen stance on the matter. Melly, for instance, was most aggrieved that half of the dresses Danielle picked out for them were slim-fitting.

“I am so fat,” Melly protested angrily, clutching onto a floor-length, mint green, satin slip dress. The saleslady trying to help them eyed her hands nervously, probably concerned that Melly was about to tear the whole gown in half out of sheer outrage. Iggy felt a great deal of sympathy toward the saleswoman, but, at the same time, she understood Melly’s pain. The dress in question was clingy and unforgiving. Even Jacklyn, who had the trim figure of an Olympic hurdler and the confidence of a wealthy white man, felt uncomfortable in the tight-fitting satin dress.

“You’re not fat,” Jana told her consolingly. The look Melly gave her after that could’ve melted a lesser woman.

“Dude, you’re creating a life,” Priscilla added. “You may feel fat, but you’re fat for a very good reason.”

Melly didn’t seem overly pleased with that response, but she was amazingly more comforted than she had been when Jana had said she wasn’t fat at all. Iggy shot Priscilla an incredulous look and she merely shrugged.

Danielle’s sisters, Kate and Laura, were also quite opinionated. The three sisters were actually very alike so, in essence, it was like dress shopping with three Danielles. All of the bridesmaids had to be in the same dress and that dress had to be floor-length, mint green, and just toeing the line between pretty and ugly. It had to be pretty enough for the wedding photos that Danielle would have for the rest of her life, but just ugly enough that none of them would look better than Danielle did in her own dress. Those words were literally spoken out loud, not only by Danielle, but by Danielle’s mother as well, who was definitely the reason all three of her daughters were the way that they were.

Kate and Laura made the whole process immensely challenging. By the end of the first dress appointment, Priscilla had already begun plotting the double homicide she claimed she would need to commit in order to make it through the remainder of the day. The two main problems, though there were indeed several, were that Kate and Danielle had very different tastes while Laura had a very different body type from both of her sisters and was quite clearly sensitive about it. Danielle kept trying to put the bridesmaids into clingy, hip-hugging dresses, which looked nice on Jacklyn because of her Olympian’s body and Priscilla because she was slender and well-proportioned. Iggy, meanwhile, had the alluring body of a prepubescent boy and Helen, though she had grown into a more womanly figure, had mainly just developed hips.

“I swear to God, if she puts us in another satin tube dress, I’m going to lose my goddamn mind,” Helen hissed to Iggy as they waited in the fitting area of the second bridal boutique, waiting for Danielle to return with the saleswoman and the dresses they had picked out. “I’m going to need a fucking boat sail to fit over my hips.”

“Mint green satin is an especially unflattering material choice,” Iggy agreed in the same hushed voice. Not far away, Danielle’s mother was having a hushed conversation of her own, though it appeared to be more of an argument, with both of Danielle’s sisters. Iggy couldn’t tell if the three of them were shit-talking Danielle or if their mother was telling them off for being overly difficult. Either way, it was creating something of a tense environment. Jana had been in a constant state of anxiety since the dress shopping had begun. Melly, meanwhile, was furiously texting David about having dinner ready when she returned home later, having decided to embrace her obesity. Those were her exact words.

“Would we really call you obese?” Had been Priscilla’s response. “I’m not so sure.”

“I look like an elephant!” Melly had protested in response.

“I feel like she certainly has the gestation period of a mother elephant,” Helen had whispered to Iggy. “She’s been pregnant for about eighteen months.”

Iggy had had to stifle her laughter in the beaded mint green satin dress Danielle had handed her lest she incur the wrath of Melly. Iggy had no way to prove it, but she had a theory that the pregnancy was making Melly stronger. If she asked Melly to dead lift a Buick sedan, part of Iggy thought she might actually be able to do it. The pregnancy was definitely making her more aggressive.

“You know, I don’t remember Melly being so angry during her last pregnancy,” Iggy remarked to Helen after watching Melly jab at her phone a few times.

“I think the miracle of it all was more magical back then,” Helen replied. “Now Jana is experiencing the same miracle, but on a much smaller scale and she’s furious.”

It was true.

When Danielle and the saleswoman returned, the saleswoman looked terrified and both of them were carrying an armful of mint green gowns. Iggy was surprised the store even had that many mint green dresses in stock. Plus, all the dresses Danielle had picked out thus far were largely backless and definitely sleeveless so there was a strong chance all of them would have developed bizarre tan lines before they even made it to the reception.

“I took all of your many opinions into consideration,” Danielle announced to the group, like she had done them an enormous favour. She and the saleswoman began handing out dresses and then the bridesmaids dispersed into a series of change rooms to try them on. Iggy found herself in a small fitting room with Helen and Priscilla. It was slightly cramped. Priscilla elbowed her in the back. Iggy assumed it was an accident, but it was hard to tell with Priscilla.

When everyone was dressed and zipped up, they emerged from the fitting rooms like a parade of human mojitos. It was unquestionably the best dress they’d tried on thus far. Instead of clinging to the hips and thighs, it cinched at the waist with a silver beaded belt and then cascaded to the floor in a nice chiffon A-line. The bodice was a deep sweetheart with delicate cap sleeves made of silver beads and then a low back that eventually connected to the belt. None of them would be able to wear a bra, which was a bit of a concern for some of the larger chested women, such as Danielle’s sister Laura, but it was genuinely a lovely silhouette on all of them. Even in their second trimesters, the dress fit Melly and Jana. The shape of it also provided a little comfort room in case neither of them were exactly back to their regular size after they’d given birth.

“It’s lovely,” Danielle’s mother announced. Iggy still thought they weren’t all that great, but she wasn’t about to disagree.

“Okay, we’ll get them,” Danielle informed the saleswoman, who looked incredibly relieved.

It wasn’t until Iggy was in front of the cash register with her credit card out, ready to pay, that she learned the dress was three hundred dollars. It seemed like an awful lot of money to pay for a mint green shaft of chiffon, but she managed to choke down her protests and bought the dress. There wasn’t a chance in hell that she was going to suggest they keep looking.

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