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Washington Voices

A MOB of one gets the job done

Sat., Sept. 10, 2011

I’m an imperfect MOB. At least that’s the verdict of bridal magazines.

MsOB (aka, mothers of the bride) never ever sweat when under pressure. I’m not fairing well. But then most MsOB have more than seven weeks to transform from a wilted flower into a long stemmed rose.

Seven weeks.

When the call came, the first item on my transformation list was the MOB dress. It was a lunch hour miracle at Macy’s when I found a dress but averted the price tag like the plague. Bridal magazines emphasize MsOB must tune out the cha-ching of the cash register and swoosh of the card and tune in to the salesperson’s compliments. (This tuning-out served me well during our mad dash to Sacramento, where our daughter lives, to purchase her bridal gown.)

Step one complete, I went on to step two – the makeover that, for some reason, had me focusing on my paper-thin fingernails.

In the early 1980s fake nails were all the rage and, naturally, I gave this fling into egocentricity a spin. They felt weird and looked unnatural. The fling lasted two months.

My inherited nails are wafer thin, kind of icky and, if they grow a mille-fraction of an inch, they break like a delicate teacup. Nevertheless, I was not returning to the fake nail fiasco of my past – no sirree.

 That is until seeing the manicured nails of a co-worker – perfect length with classy French polish. I was envious. “I wish I had your nails,” I whined.

 “Oh, these,” Dorothy said. “They’re tips.”

“Tips? You mean, fake? But,” I stammered, “they look so natural.”

The fake nail fiasco ricocheted from my mind faster than a bride’s garter across a room full of eligible men. Within seconds I had the name and number of her manicurist. After all, I reasoned, what better time to have classy French nails and the illusion of slender fingers then when one is a MOB?

I called Tina at Hi-Tek Nails in NorthTown Mall. “This Tina,” she said cheerily and Tina was so very happy to hear from me even though we never met. “What good time you come in?” she asked.

It was Wednesday night and the mall was eerily quiet. I found Hi-Tek and Tina, a young and cute-as-a-button Vietnamese woman, was “so happy” to see me.

“How long you know Dorothy?” she asked.

Salon conversations vary and for reasons men can’t fathom female grooming sparks a bond between the groomer and the groomed. I found out Tina returns home every year or two “but it so expensive” she said. “I work and work and save and save and it still expensive!” she smiled. “I go see my madah. It cost fifteen hundred dollar just for plane alone.”

Tina’s a hard worker and takes pride in her profession. “I not hurt you, Sandeeeeeee?” she asked after I cautioned her about my fragile nails that make parchment look like a thick piece of wood. “No,” I said, “not at all.” And she didn’t.

“We done,” said Tina. “Now you look perfect for wedding.” I fanned my hands in front of me – absolutely stunning. (This served me well when I donned a web master hat and created my daughter’s wedding website – my nails looked so elegant as I pounded the keyboard.)

They say the bride is the star of the wedding and “they” are most assuredly correct. But my prior MOB and MOG times have taught me an important lesson: the bit actors in this production are just as important.

Behind the scenes are countless people, like Tina, who combine their talents to set the stage for the grand entrance of not only the bride, but also her supporting cast.

In seven weeks, my daughter will shine like the brilliant star I’ve always known her to be but on her wedding day she’ll shine a bit brighter thanks to family, friends and the stage hands who worked to make it happen.

It’s been said it takes a village to raise a child but, as I’ve discovered, it also takes a village to create a bride.

Voices correspondent Sandra Babcock can be reached by email

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