40: Here Comes the MOG

40: Here Comes the MOG

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Here Comes the Bride

Here Comes the MOG

Women are in league with each other, a secret conspiracy of hearts and pheromones.

~Camille Paglia

Mothers of the Groom (MOGs) have been handed a bad rap. According to bridal salons across the country, they are treated as second-class citizens. Jill, an MOG friend of mine, pointed this out after a recent visit to find a dress.

“It’s ridiculous,” Jill told the salesgirl. “Without me, there wouldn’t even be a wedding since I’m responsible for having produced the one commodity necessary for such an occasion: the groom.”

The salesgirl shrugged her shoulders. “What can I tell you?” she said. “Mothers of the Groom are just not that important.”

Jill invited me to join her on her next shopping expedition.

“What about that little orange and white number you bought last week?” I asked.

“The color was wrong. I tried it on, and Bill said I looked like a Creamsicle. I need your help.”

The following week, we went to find something that was more MOG material. A blond beauty named Ms. Mindy greeted us as we stepped off the elevator.

“I know. Don’t tell me. One of you is the MOB (Mother of the Bride).”

“I’m the Mother of the Groom,” Jill said.

“Oh,” Ms. Mindy sneered slightly. “Well, we have dresses for you, too. But, remember, your job is to look as understated as possible. A MOG is supposed to blend into the woodwork.”

We were escorted past rows of lovely lace gowns dripping with rosettes and sequins in beautiful colors that would enhance Jill’s complexion. Farther along, we stopped in front of an array of dresses that, if they had signs under them, would have read: “Drab.” Ms. Mindy plucked one from the rack. “Now, here’s a little something that could work,” she said.

“Beige isn’t my color,” Jill said.

“It’s not beige,” Mindy corrected. “It’s ecru. Ecru is a perfect MOG color.”

“Ecru will make me look like an eggshell,” Jill said.

“Perfect,” said Mindy. “The bride’s family will love it.”

It suddenly became clear: The idea was to have Jill look as invisible as possible. While she tried on a variety of ecru washouts, I peered through racks of dresses reserved for more important members of the wedding: mothers of the bride. Among the collection, I suddenly spied a raspberry chiffon gown that got misplaced. I took it into the dressing room for Jill to try on.

“Now, this has definite possibilities,” I said.

“Wrong,” Ms. Mindy announced. “It is a smashing little number, but not for you. If you wore raspberry, the bride would never forgive you. You would look too flamboyant. But I can order it in battleship gray.”

“I refuse to look like a ballistic missile,” Jill said.

“Let me tell you a story.” Ms. Mindy got serious. “About a year ago, I assisted an MOG who decided to wear hot pink to her son’s wedding. When the bride saw her, she fainted. The MOB never spoke to the MOG again. I found out through the matrimonial grapevine that the couple divorced a year later. It’s bad luck for the MOG to look too perky.”

After an hour with no success, Jill and I headed to another store, this one a small bridal shop that carried a wide selection of MOG dresses. We combed the racks where Jill found a lovely dress in mauve silk.

“Are you an MOB or an MOG?” the salesgirl asked. “Because mauve on an MOG is like white on an MOB. It’s simply not done. Try something in the beige family instead.”

“Doesn’t she know it’s called ecru?” Jill whispered.

Unsuccessful in our attempt, we gave up and moved on to another store where this time a cheery woman named Angelica welcomed us with open arms.

“Forget conventionality,” she said. “I tell all my MOGs to go for another kind of look that is always appropriate: the little black dress.”

“Can I really wear black to my son’s wedding?” Jill asked. “Won’t it seem a tad depressing?”

“Black is the new gray,” Angelica assured her. “Dare to be different. Dare to be an MOG who exudes class — not boredom.”

Convinced, Jill found a stunning black gown with a single red silk geranium on the shoulder.

“A touch of red will add just the right hint of frivolity you need,” Angelica said. “Not ostentatious, but appropriately reeking of je ne sais quoi.”

“I love it,” Jill said.

“It’s so to-die-for,” said Angelica, adjusting the geranium.

I kept quiet, anticipating the worst.

The day of the wedding, Jill appeared in the black gown that she had kept as a surprise to all, including Bill. All eyes were upon her as she floated down the aisle looking very je ne sais quoi, as Angelica had predicted. Jill’s eighty-year-old mother nearly fainted.

“I can’t believe you dared to wear black to my only grandson’s wedding,” she said.

“Relax, Mother,” Jill said. “I have an MOG aura.”

“Really? Maybe you need to see a doctor,” her mother suggested.

Jill cornered me, champagne in hand. “Nine people asked me if I was in mourning. The rest think I look original and sultry.”

Then the MOB appeared, wearing the same raspberry dress that Jill had passed up. She looked like a bowl of Jell-O. To make matters worse, during the reception, she ate so many Swedish meatballs that she popped two buttons, which flew into the salmon mousse and splattered across her face. She flew from the Grand Ballroom en route to the restroom, tripping on a pat of butter and spraining her ankle. The FOB (Father of the Bride) called 911 and slammed a Valium down her throat as the 250 guests looked on.

“I should have worn that beige dress,” she moaned, as the paramedics carried her out on a stretcher.

“Ecru!” Jill and I shouted in unison.

~Judith Marks-White

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