The Bridesmaiden’s Tale

Call me Ofashley. Before that, I was Oflucille, and Ofmarie.


In the time before, my name was May. But that doesn’t matter anymore. Now, I’m just one in the herd of bridesmaidens marching into the church.


The brides resent us, but they need us for the ceremony. We are handpicked. They say we are chosen, special. They’d like to think we really feel that way, to help them sleep at night: that bridesmaidens are happy to lay our diets, budgets, and PTO at their satin-toed feet for months on end. All for the sake of what society requires of women: procreation, stability, Instagram hashtags and photo booths.


They dress us all alike. Like children. Like dolls. The same blank merlot chiffon. Maybe a J. Crew navy or an Anthropologie pink. Prints are too tarty, and low-cut backs. They scrub us of individuality.


Brides fear our singlehood. They think we’re dirty, that we won’t be able to control our inner Jezebels. They’re scared the groomsmen will hit on us, since most of them have wives of their own. Maries and Lucilles don’t want that drama on their #specialday.


My one rebellion for Ashley’s ceremony is small. It would seem small in the old days, when most of our friends were single. When we got to choose our own clothes. And sit in the pews and linen-covered chairs, instead of being forced to stand in shame in front of everyone we know.


But I had to do it. To show them. Even though it’s dangerous. Even though it could take me off her Facebook wall forever.


I never bought the nude wedges Ashley wanted all of us to get. Even though they were “totally rewearable.” I got floral sandals with a block heal instead.


She is pissed. But there’s nothing she can do now. She needs an even number of bridesmaidens.


When the humiliation of the ceremony is over, there is a blessing, a meal. There are pickleback shots at the bar to numb the existential pain we feel.


And, at the end of the night, a black van pulls up to take us back to our hotels. Whether this is my end or a new beginning, I have no way of knowing. Maybe my time as a bridesmaiden is done, especially once word gets out about the sandals.


Back at the Holiday Inn, alone in my spartan room, I get a text from my high school best friend, Stephanie. Asking me to be her maid of honor.