Of course it’s not, but the bride didn’t want me posting pictures of her on my blog, so I can’t show you are gorgeous she was and how perfectly she and the groom were made for each other.  She is one blessed gal to have a husband whose only fault I could see in the intense week leading up to the wedding is a tendency to be too helpful at times.  I’d ask a question in order to complete a task I was doing to be helpful and before I knew it and despite my protests he would be up and doing whatever it was I was trying to do, thus defeating the purpose of trying to get menial work done while he worked on more important stuff, like wedding plans.

He was calm, joyful, brilliant in disarming charged situations, aware of the needs of others and always taking time for them, knew exactly how to keep the bride whom he clearly adores happy and calm, and all the while he’s cooking and cleaning and typing up programs and running errands and finding odd moments to call his love for no reason than to sing a love song to her.  It’s not just the domestic and emotional stuff he’s good at: he fixes the cars himself, is used to manual labor and is generally good at all that ‘male’ stuff as well.  Manly, sensitive, and romantic.  They deserve each other and I am so happy for them both!

I arrived early enough to have my best friend from college to myself for a few days and we had a lovely time talking and sharing and even reminiscing about our college days in a light that wasn’t wholly negative.  The two years of my life since graduations have been filled with fun and adventure, and I’ve met some wonderful and dear people, but there is no substitute for a friend who has been through a significant part of life with you.  I don’t have to hide or explain my basic beliefs because it’s already known and we can push past that and get to something deep and interesting.  Learning I now run barefoot is just one more oddity to add to the list of crazy things Janet does but it doesn’t phase in the least because it fits with what is already known about me.  Old friends far from agree with me in everything, but they’ve heard it before (without running away) and we’ve been through the discussion and we’re at a point of understanding that allows for more interesting conversation to come about.  If you have an old friend you haven’t spoken with in a while pick up the phone and make contact again!  You’ll be happy you did.

At the same time it was lovely to talk face to face with the bride again after two years when it came to wedding stuff I saw a side of her that we never shared despite our close relationship.  Whenever issues of beauty and clothes and other girlie stuff came up I retreated back to my books and other girls stepped in to share that experience.  Thus, though I knew about this side of the bride, I never had much exposure to it and wedding preparations have a lot to do with dressing up and making things look pretty.  I told my friend I’d do anything for her so I was willing to don high heels and makeup, and patronize a nail studio and hair salon.  I must admit I agreed with some trepidation and worried about the injury to my pride (a la “here stands Benedict the married man”), but then it struck me that if I pride myself in jumping feet first into new experiences, then here was my perfect chance to discover that world of women that’s as foreign to me as to any man.  Remember, I was homeschooled and my mom does not do makeup and is even less observant of physical appearance than I am.  I had some exposure in (public) high school but they were not positive experiences, but rather quite negative.  In gross simplification I’ve run away from all things girly ever since.

When in Texas do as the Texans do.  A favorite pastime for Texan women is getting pedicures and manicures.  I’d heard how lovely both were and was looking forward to a foot massage but just as I relaxed into my chair I shot straight up again feeling like a kid at the doctor’s who has been told she’s getting candy and gets a shot.  Ouch!  It hurt!  She went at my toes and cut off all the flesh she found!  My hard won callous on the bottom of my feet survived the pumice stone without trouble, but my poor toes suffered a vicious attack.  I’m not sure how it happened, but the skin seemed to regenerate and heal back together and look lovely and smooth at the end of the ordeal.  I guess she knew what she was doing.  Here’s a picture of the finished product at seen on the wedding day.

At the bride’s request we all got French toes rather than color (that’s my nickname, I think they just said “French style”).  Once I realized what this French style was I couldn’t resist the chance for a joke.  Stephan said he would laugh his head off if I ever did my nails like a A., a mutual friend.  Some people go a long way for a joke and I decided it was worth the extra $5 for French fingers.  Too bad my nails weren’t quite long enough for the full effect.  This is for you, Stephan.

I decided I wouldn’t just let myself get dressed up, but I might as well learn how to do makeup myself.  The gals were quite patient and helped me buy some products and gave a few pointers.  I could have done with a bit more instruction, but gave it all I had and it seemed to work out okay.  Oddly enough it was much like any other first experience: fun and exciting.  I was so proud that I’d done it myself!  The next day I got to practice for real and did my makeup for the rehearsal dinner.  I was so unused to having most of the colors of my face smoothed out that I took this picture for the ‘Goth’ effect.  Recognize me?

This is mostly a narrative account and doesn’t touch on all the thoughts and shifts of feelings I had during the week.  My brain is full of essays and blog posts that may or may not make it to publication, though the burden to write has some of them started already.  For now I’ll just mention that even though my whole blog is all about me, having to think about my appearance seeing my painted nails every time I did anything constantly brought my mind back to ME and I acted like it was all about me.  Maybe when the novelty wears off it’s no longer a problem, and maybe most women put on their makeup and forget about it like any other item of personal care, but I find it hard enough not to think about me all the time and this only made it that much worse.  Just look at this post!  My best friend got married and I’m talking about nails and hair?

Speaking of hair we went to the salon to get it done.  My stylist was an artist.  He took his sweet time and placed every hair deliberately.  I had him explain his craft as a dentist or plumber might if you asked.  That was fun, if expensive.  I learned that long hair is difficult because it’s hard to find a place to put it all; that wearing pony tales a lot damages the strands of hair at the nape of the neck; that my hair is so think it didn’t need back combing even though he always does it; that even the wisps of hair around my face are ‘strong’ – they didn’t want to do anything but stay ramrod straight.  I guess it grows from my headstrong ways.  Hardiharhar.

To break the blab about myself I’ll mention that Texas looks a lot like Florida, or at least the suburbs of Dallas look a lot like the suburbs of Orlando.  It’s flat, green, wide, and the housing developments and strip malls never end.  The only visible difference as that Texas was bigger.  Maybe I noticed more because I’d just come from Europe.  I calculated today that the running park that’s just outside of my neighborhood is the same distance from my house that inlingua was from my place in Basel!

Here I am in new clothes (hand-me-downs from the bride), with a cute purse (gift from Japan), being an American in a Texas mall.

Here’s the real me: totally excited about baked beans on my first shopping trip since returning to the states.

By the wedding day I was getting a bit tired of wearing makeup and worrying about my appearance.  The bride sure looked gorgeous and I could see the astonishing product of years of learning how to bring out natural beauty.  The service was nice and the best part was the reading of the vows the bride and groom had written.  The groom’s especially were words any woman would give anything to hear directed toward herself.  They weren’t just silly romantic words, but came from a depth of integrity that I could see even from my short time of knowing him.  In fact, I felt like I became a part of his family during that time.  In the truest sense I am apart of their family in the bonds of Christ.  I dream that it should be so with all Christians, but at least it was lovely to fit so easily into one extended family of God.  We didn’t fit in the sense of matching, for we didn’t have nearly so much in common, but with mutual respect we had plenty to discuss.

The wedding day had plenty of mishaps and funny stories, but none that are really fit to publish.  Overall it went remarkably well and we had beautiful, sunny weather to boot.  I enjoyed being all dressed up and my heels were much less painful than I thought they’d be.  Still, at the end of the day when I washed off my face mask it was with a sense of relief.  Maybe the colors of my face aren’t ideal and nicely blended, but they’re mine.  Maybe this girl all dressed in pink is pretty, but she isn’t me.  Of course that’s nonsense, but it’s the way I felt. (As always, click to see full image)

Pedicure: $25, Shoes: $20, Dress: $90, special seamless undergarments: $25, Manicure: $25, Earrings: $10, Hair: $58, pleasing the bride: priceless.


I took my hair down in the morning and look what happened!  I enjoyed my new, full look for a few hours, but by the time I got to Florida my hair was straight as could be.  Whether I end up publishing any other thoughts, this much I’ll say: I might come out of the experience just like my hair – I gave dressing up an honest shot, have the pictures to prove it, and will go right back to my old ways.  Now I have a new skill for my bag of tricks.  I once learned Morse code, too . . .


Speaking of tricks that lay dormant and sometimes come in handy, I discovered that I wasn’t actually supposed to believe the sizing charts when I ordered the dress.  One bridesmaid who is nearly the same size as I am had her size 6 dress taken in by a seamstress.  I had a size 10.  With the girls help we were able to figure the problem was that the built in slip was too big so I took needle and thread and took it in quickly myself.  It solved the problem of the bunching and made it a tolerable fit.  Thanks for teaching me to sew, Mommy!


Hm, interesting game.



The ladies at brunch



Friends forever


Ugh, staying up until 2am is habit forming. 

Posted by harp on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 at 8:20 am | Edit
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Ok, that "Goth" one is scary. But more because it looks like a less-than-upstanding magazine model than a Goth.

Can you be accused of cheap murder by having Stephan laugh his head off for $5?

Jonathan says, "Is that Aunt Janet playing a game with a statue?"

The "transformed" Janet is amazingly beautiful if not your style. But then again I think the "real" Janet is beautiful, too. (And costs less and is less work!) (:

Hmm. I feel my own blog post coming on...

Posted by joyful on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 at 2:30 pm

Interesting observations on being made up. I enjoyed your thoughts. And I think you look beautiful as both the real you (we met once, when you visited Heather) and as the wedding you.

My experience started out very different than yours. I grew up the daughter of a woman who never left the house without full makeup. She became a hair stylist and salon owner in my early adolescence. I discovered makeup in high school and was rarely without it. I became a makeup artist and consultant in college after I got married, to keep my student self and my student husband afloat. With my glowing 20-year-old skin, I sold a lot of makeup and skin care.

Since becoming a mother almost five years ago, I care less about putting on makeup. I'm happy to be clean and groomed. I occasionally wear mascara and blush to church on Sundays--with chapstick. The only time I've worn full makeup in the last year was to my sister's wedding. My husband says he prefers me without makeup, and though I try to believe him, the me that believes I have to enhance my features to look my best has a hard time believing him. But it is very, very freeing to be fresh-faced (I even wear glasses instead of contacts now!) and happy.

Posted by serina on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 at 7:49 pm

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience, Serina. If I'm going to take the issue seriously I want as many perspectives as possible and hopefully come out the other end wiser, humbler (is that a word?), and more gracious toward others than I have been.

Posted by IrishOboe on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 at 8:15 pm

By the way, when Andy takes a while responding it's usually a dead giveaway that he's having a hard time deciding what to say. The gravity with which you take the issue of cosmetics is a little amusing—but I'd be lying if I said I haven't had strong feelings on the topic before. (Mostly the same as Hamlet's, though they're tempered significantly since then. Mostly by finding out that every time I said, "There, look, she doesn't use makeup and she looks just fine!", she actually was.) At any rate, although you make the moral scale sound equal to that episode in Little Women where Meg gets made up, there's a critical difference. Even if it's not-a-good-thing-in-general (I keep trying to keep this from sounding like a "makeup is evil" issue, since I know you didn't mean it as that)—even if it's wrong, which I'm definitely not saying it is, you were motivated not by vanity or selfishness but by a tribute to a friend.

There's much more I could say, but I'm really not sure what I think. Maybe I'll stick to the relatively safe baked beans. Can we get God on the line? There we go. As God is my witness: I have overstayed my time on this Earth when I need a hand pump for my mayonnaise. Make a note—when that day comes, take me home.

Posted by Andy Bonner on Wednesday, July 11, 2007 at 5:02 am

Now, Andy, if you will look just a little closer you will see the Heinz symbol on the pumps, which suggests to me that they are designed for ketchup, not mayonnaise. Quite a different thing entirely. ;)

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, July 11, 2007 at 1:02 pm

Also note that she seems to be in the industrial size aisle. If a restaurant is going to have a big tub of mayo, it's surely more sanitary to have a pump.

Though now that I look more closely, I see that the pump box says "family value sizes." However, I can imagine that a mayo-loving family might go through that much in a reasonable amount of time. And that it would be helpful (and fun!) to children to serve themselves with a mayo pump. (:

Just beware whenever you say things along the lines of "I'll never..." I rarely do, but there was one time in my life that I said, "I won't name one of my children Noah." So there you have it.

Posted by joyful on Wednesday, July 11, 2007 at 2:14 pm

the pump box says "family value sizes."

Oh, so it's a right-wing item, huh?

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, July 11, 2007 at 3:09 pm

Right, I found that amusing to. In fact, it says, "Fits all family value sizes." It's ecumenical and open-minded, and designed for open-mouthed containers. Whatever the size of your family values... this will pump your ketchup. (Unless, of course, an aversion to obscene amounts of ketchup is one of your family values.)

Posted by Andy Bonner on Wednesday, July 11, 2007 at 3:20 pm

Andy, you should know by now that I take everything seriously, but at the same time know how to laugh at myself. C.S. Lewis said how the most serious of things must at times be seen as amusing, or something like that in “The Four Loves.” The whole post was meant to be somewhat humorous (look to future posts to the serious(!) treatment of the material) and if there was ever anything to show it’s not about me, having my post about me degenerate into a discussion of ketchup would be it. ;)
But to show I can’t stay silly for long I’ll address your other point and say I wasn’t claiming to have selfish motives, but I can’t deny that I became more self-aware and self-focused as the week wore on. Was it just coincidence that it was the first week of my life I’d worn more makeup than ketchup?

Posted by IrishOboe on Thursday, July 12, 2007 at 12:44 am

I'll keep my thoughts to myself aside from assuring everyone that my head is still on (okay, my prediction was wrong) and assuring Janet that French nails are not for you, at least not on your hands. They look good on your feet, but if you want even more people to give you weird looks when running, that's the way to do it...

Posted by Stephan on Friday, July 13, 2007 at 12:00 am

It sounds like you had a great week :) I wish I were there :( I used to not care about things like hair and makeup and clothes, and to some extent that's still true. But Kevin's been working on changing my mind about it. He thinks looking presentable is a service to those around you, and for me, a service to him ;) So I'm experimenting. My wardrobe is significantly different than it used to be, at least. I still don't like the makeup thing on an average day, especially the way Texas women seem to do it. I can't get over the "perfect Texas image" I see everywhere. Please shoot me if I ever get that bad! And yes, Texas is one housing development after another forever and ever. Hopefully we can find some small dark corner of it from which to watch the meteor shower tonight :)

Posted by Rebecca Hamlen on Monday, August 13, 2007 at 5:54 am

Not knowing you, nor Kevin, it's risky to comment. But it's hard to avoid the chilling implications: (1) You believe that looking presentable is a service to those around you; (2) You have changed your wardrobe and are wearing makeup more frequently; therefore (3) You think you were not "presentable" before.

I'll admit I tend to be old-fashioned, or even radical. (These are not mutually exclusive terms.) I certainly don't believe "decorating oneself" to be sinful, but there's a great deal of wisdom in I Peter 3:3-4: "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."

Of course one should be clean, neat, and decent. Sometimes respect for others and the needs of a particular situation rightfully influence dress: wearing a suit to a job interview (for certain companies, anyway), a hard hat at a construction site, fancier clothes to a wedding, and easily washable clothes whenever dealing with children, for example. One might even accede to the wishes of a "weaker brother" and give time and attention to bodily adornment for his (or her) sake, but it's important to recognize that it is the beholder's weakness. Simple, modest clothing and the unpainted human face should be sufficient for almost any occasion -- and, in my opinion, are particularly attractive.

Posted by SursumCorda on Monday, August 13, 2007 at 3:02 pm

Dear Rebecca, I'm glad that you are learning from Kevin without feeling the threatening implications that my Mom spotted. The strange thing is, I thought you did care about how you dressed in college. You had your own sense of style and were comfortable in it. Does this mean you've decided to abandon that, or did I just not have the reasons for your college dress correct? I particularly remember the cool "Lord of the Rings" cloak you made.

Posted by IrishOboe on Saturday, August 18, 2007 at 3:37 am
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