The scene: Luftenburg's, a bridal/special occasions store in Fresno.
I was 27, had recently lost around 60 lbs and had about 30 to go, and was getting married in a few months. I had chosen my wedding dress, and the day's mission was to find a complimentary tiara.
The "bridal consultants" ushered Mom and I past all the satin and tulle and embroidered dresses- snow white and ivory and pastels and metallics and jewel-tones.
The display cases were upstairs, and I started looking for what I want- something distinctive, but modest. I asked the hulking saleslady to see something in the case along those lines, and she started chatting with me.
I was still not used to playing the part of "blushing bride", but I was getting used to the typical line of questioning. "Oh, yes. For both of us, actually."
"My goodness...and you're- what, thirty? Thirty-five? That's wonderful! He must be a great guy."
My instinct was that this is probably not going to go well. In a few sentences, this woman had conveyed that I looked almost 10 years older than I was, and that she considered me lucky to have escaped my obvious future as a confirmed spinster because I found some poor slob desperate enough to actually make an honest woman of me. I desperately reasoned that I was, perhaps, being a little over-sensitive.
"I'm 27." I was hoping she was going to backpedal. Not this wench!
"oh- I thought you were older- it must be those clothes you're wearing."
She looked askance at my sleveless tweedy sweater and matching asymmetrical skirt. Both of which were very fashionable, although a little big on me due to the aforementioned weight loss and somewhat creased since I drove there right after work.
I was tempted to pull a Pretty Woman and ask her if she's paid on comission..."BIG mistake! HUGE!" etc. etc. There was no way I was buying anything from this goddamn toxic ho.
"Um Mom- I don't think I see what I am looking for."
Mom was busy pawing through the veils. She peered out of the enveloping folds of tulle and said,"Sweetie, just ask her if there's anything like that one you found online."
Allright. I was obviously not going to escape this gracefully.
"Yeah, OK." I tried not to sound too dubious. "Look, do you have anything like this-" I indicated a classic two-inch high hairpiece, "but with pearls?"
"Oh honey. Don't even bother with that tiny stuff. Here!"
She reached into the case, and pulled out, I swear to god, the crown that Glinda was wearing in the Wizard of Oz. It was over a foot high, and encrusted with rhinestones.It was truly a monstosity. It had arcs, swirls, and a center heart-shaped stone that was PINK and the size of a small walnut. I half-expected her to put it atop a satin pillow borne by a contingent of Munchkins.
I bit my tongue. "No, I'm afraid that's not what I'm looking for- I want to see a style like this one that I'm holding, and with pearls, if you have it."
She comes out from behind the counter, still bearing the hideous headpiece from hell.
"Here- just try it on!" Before I can do a damn thing, she grabs my hair, jerks it back from my forehead, then proceeds to jab me with hairpins like I am some kind of voodoo doll. "You want to look like a princess, don't you?! Now, look in the mirror!"
She beams like a bridal Nazi. On crack.
At this point, the only thing that is keeping me from thrusting the crown up her ass is the presence of my mother and the desperate desire not to turn Bridezilla on her.
I desperately am still trying to be polite. I glance over, (GAH! GAH! Get it off me!) and manage to say, "Sorry- I really don't like it." Instead of, "Back off, you nasty psychotic b*tch! Die! Die!" Which I really would have preferred.
Here's where it gets beyond the pale.
"Now, come on, you need a big crown up there to draw attention up to your face. You're a big girl, and it will help to balance out those hips!"
Mother f*cker! That thing was big enough to balance out Shamu. I wish I'd had a flamethrower. With all the acetate in that joint, the place would have gone up like a roman candle.
I ripped the awful thing of my head (which hurt like a mo-fo, by the way) and smacked it down on the counter with a loud "clunk!"
"Excuse me." I said, "We're finished here."
Later on, when I was still upset, my now-husband wanted me to call the management and report her. I never could bring myself to do it. For all I know, she's still working there- I never went back.