In 1993, I was 8 and Cadco had just released “The Perfect Wedding” — a simple game where 2-4 giggly girls roll dice to move florescent engagement rings around a heart-shaped board. Each roll brings the future blushing bride to a square labeled “ring,” “dress,” “cake,” “music,” “reception,” “flowers,” “honeymoon,” or “tuxedo” where she then use her allotted budget to assemble the wedding of her prepubescent dreams. I played “The Perfect Wedding” with the same vigor and competitive edge that I approached more weighty games like Clue and Monopoly — I had a clear idea of what I wanted for “the most important day of my life.” I was going to have my red rose bouquet, string quartet, cushion-cut diamond, and sweetheart crinoline-confection of a dress, and I was not willing to compromise.
I had totally forgotten about this game and completely blocked out that phase of my childhood when I used to have “practice” weddings and design my future bridesmaids’ dresses. Today, an unwelcomed flashback through my younger years reminded me that once upon a time, I was a true-blue, diehard, unshakable romantic.
Oh! To go back to the days when I could draw my “soulmate” for you on a piece of paper! To go back to the days when a daydream wrapped in white lace and set to the tune of “Here Comes the Bride” was fantasy enough! How simple young girls are, how pure our vision of love and how ready we are to believe that happily-ever-afters means eternal perfection!
For 17 years “The Perfect Wedding” has been gathering dust in my toy-box (ironically, a 19th century dowry chest), and with it, so has my eight-year-old’s vision of romance ever lasting. I shelved daydreaming about engagement rings and white dresses a long time ago. Don’t get me wrong, send me into Tiffany’s and I’ll beeline right to that legacy band, but today I’m what I would call a Pragmatic Romantic.
I don’t envision being swept off my feet anymore by a prince charming type, though, I do believe that a significant other should feel like an escape from the ho-hum of la vie quotidienne. I’d rather have a Prince Albert than a Prince Charming anyway. I can’t draw you a picture of Mr. Right anymore, but I can describe, pretty well, what values/likes/dislikes I’d prefer him to have. I don’t have delusions of finding my one true soulmate and living out the remainder of my days in trouble-free, blissful peace. I could keep going, but it’s not important. The punchline is that at 24, I’m already more of a Alex Goran than a Natalie Keener.*
Don’t worry, I’m not jaded yet — I’ve got at least another 5 years before I hit jaded. There’s still a romantic in me. I still cry every time Big and Carrie stand on that bridge in Paris and he tells her, “Carrie, you’re the one.” And I will have red roses at my wedding — I can promise you that much. Whether or not my dress is white, well, the dice have yet to be rolled on that one.