Two sides of my nature square up against each other. Make that three. Well, its not that they're flexing muscles or anything. No, they just sit across the table and flirt. Making bashful eyelashes as each tries to seduce the other to her point of view.
I see it for the consumer folly it is: the magazines, the venues, the must-haves. Its a massive industry, a money making racket. Your day won't be perfect without a frothing of flowers, without special little confetti baskets to hang on the back of the chairs, hair like this, eyelashes like that, more swarovski crystal than falls out the sky in a typical Joburg hailstorm, and then of course, The Cake.
Not to mention, above all, The Dress.
I'm not into All That, she insists. When I was 13 years old I knew the perfect wedding was under a canopy of cathedral mopane*, barefoot, with a combretum pod circle around us, and me riding in (and off) on a motorbike.
Its about the words, she says, and getting that right. The sacredness of a simple declaration of where we are now, after all this time, with our nearest and dearest blessing us. Those who have already helped us get as far as we have. And thanking them, and having a big celebratory slap up meal with lots of dancing.
And yet, and yet...
Somehow, somewhere, the canonical bridal mythology has seeped in. Watch out. That archetype will get you.
No, no, horror - not frills and merangue. Believe me, not that.
I seek a streamlined, minimal profile. You will not catch me looking like one of those crocheted doily dollies they put over the toilet roll. (Zimbabweans of a certain era - you know who you are). Bustle schmussle. Not me.
So we think of the clean lines, and yes, a simple silhouette - white, or ivory. No fuss, no beading or sequins or satin roses or tulle or diamante tiaras. (and I swore I wasn't even going to look at those magazines).
So I go to Lunar, because they are by far my favourite clothing designers in the city, with a clean, grounded aesthetic and an environmentally friendly outlook. I try on a simple linen affair, which is lovely. (or is it too austere?). But like the good saleslady she is, the designer asks me to try on something else - a luxuriant waterfall of duchess silk. Not frothy, not merangue. But definitely sensuous (nay, delicious). Still, feels wrong for the venue, the occasion (which is outdoors, on a farm called Tonglen, with bristling bushes underfoot). It will no doubt be expensive. And the practical girl in me says get a dress you will wear again. Come on.
And then there's that other lass, the one who woke up this morning and said, no, no white wedding for me. Give me blood red robes, and a trashy hit-list and the motor bike.
I have constructed an entire mythology around my red dress chronicles, it seems. Stories that are all based on real events involving several red dresses. There was the skinhugging one of Yeoville days, circa 1994. There was a long flowing one of simple cotton that I wore day and night, to lectures, rehearsals, parties. I slept in it and woke in it. It was a damn fine dress. I've warbled on about the red dress stuff before. Its about sexuality and wildness and freedom and life force. All issues that have surfaced with B and I at various points in our journey. Maybe the unfinished business here is really that I need to compile that collection properly and put it in print.
In the simple terms of nineteenth century literature, and whatever other Jungian and Myssian and what have you ideas that came after, I suppose the archetypes that square up across the table are these: the virgin, the princess and the whore. I am none of these, but there they are: these three fine ladies, sitting across the table from one another, with their cool aloof smiles.
What fun. I wonder who will win?
Cathedral mopane: when mopane trees in forest reach a certain maturity they form a canopy of vaulted arches like a cathedral. I couldn't find a picture.