Eka is the modern day Florence Nightingale with a Monalisa smile. She’s quite the girl next door so when the girls asked me to be the emcee at her bridal shower, i knew it would be a sensible evening. Bridal showers these days turn into wild parties crawling with good girls anxious to get bad. The game of “truth or dare” is quite a favorite, because you can get away with asking a total stranger their dirty secrets or with taunting a friend into confessing a surreptitious tryst. Wresting truth from unwilling lips gets more entertaining when a girl chooses a dare. When this happens, her “questioner” becomes the evil stepsister, daring her to an embarrasing task with a penalty. But knowing our bride -to- be, we suspected she would exorcise her guests of such schoolgirl antics if we dared them.
We realised there would be different classes of women; single, dating, engaged, and married. It could be an opportunity to trade life’s recipes and hand down ageless secrets, woman to woman. So began the best bridal shower i ever attended. We spent our time asking questions, sharing experiences and trading lessons. The single girls wanted to know the challenges of their married friends. Everybody wanted to know how Eka met Mr Right.
We spent an especially long time resolving one girl’s concern about sex before marriage. I was alarmed when i realized how little the younger girls knew. While they had been told sex outside the nurturing environment of a marriage relationship was wrong, nobody had ever told them why. Even those who thought it was wrong based on religion, could not back their religious beliefs with personal conviction. There was a brief arguement then but Eka punctuated it from a biblical standpoint that fornication is a sin and God’s way is abstainance. For a minute we forgot it was a bridal shower not a women’s conference.
We tackled the myth that if a girl didn’t have “work experience”, a man wouldn’t want her but which man likes to know someone has had you before he married you? I wondered if those who peddled these ideas would be happy to teach it to their sisters. We agreed that if it wasn’t good for the sisters it definately wasn’t good for the girlfriends. One undergrad student was scared her boyfriend would leave her if she didn’t give in. If he really loves you he wont ask you to do something you don’t want to or threaten to leave you because you didn’t let him have his way. But what if you’re sure you’ll marry him?
To help the girls we did an exercise called “Getting motivated by the fear of consequences”. We explored all the possible effects of dating with “benefits”. We considered every angle including how it could affect the ladies emotionally and spiritually. We also explored hypothetical scenarios, like what could happen if they were found out by someone who would be dissappointed in them or if they realised it wasn’t love but he just wanted to get in their pants or if he dumped them for another girl or if they ended up marrying someone else. Here, i observed that every one seemed to know a tale about some friend whose freedom of expression later caught up with her in married life. By the end of the exercise, we noticed that while getting pregnant was a common item on their lists, getting dumped and contracting a disease were some of the most feared consequences.
Just before the food was put away and the dancing began, every woman in the house gave the bride -to- be a piece of advice. Each woman gave freely from her experience. It was all heart felt, Eka cried. Many days later, i still cherish the bond of sisterhood formed from laughter loaned and tears borrowed at Eka’s bridal shower.