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It is once again my privilege to introduce our friend Lynne Kinghorn, who has graciously agreed to contribute to our blog. If you missed it the first time . . . Lynne's a mixed breed--psychologist-writer or writer-psychologist (depending on her mood and bank account). Her Yay!s are: Yay!Books!, Yay!Friends!, Yay!Fall!, Yay!Denver!, Yay!Gravy!, Yay!Movies!


When You Really Need A Shower

by Lynne Kinghorn Agnoletti

I just returned from another bridal shower, the fourth in as many weeks. It was a lovely party--the bride-to-be was charming, the decorations festive, and the refreshments delicious and conscientiously low-fat.

When the guest of honor opened the gifts, amid obligatory squeals of delight (is shower squealing taught in bridal magazines), the yield was truly impressive. She received fluffy linens for bed and bath, small appliances of every kind, delicate lingerie, place settings in her Preferred China Pattern, tasteful silver serving pieces, and the very latest in home gadgetry.

When her beloved arrived to help her transport the booty, he expressed surprise at the large number of gifts. His surprise turned to shock, however, when his darling laughingly informed him that this was nothing compared to what they would receive for the actual wedding. But, he exclaimed, we already have all the stuff we need!

Well, at the risk of seeming to be a nuptial Scrooge, those are my sentiments exactly.

Since the reason for all the gifts is that there's a wedding taking place, why not limit the gift giving to the actual vow-exchange part, and save the shower for those of us who really need new stuff? Namely, those of us who have been married ten or twenty or thirty years. All our stuff (the stylish, tasteful, modern stuff we got at our own showers and weddings) is now threadbare, worn out, dented, dated, or just plain missing.

We began married life with several sets of plush towels in colors popular at the time. But over the years, some went camping and never came home, some were left in the kids gym lockers at school, at least one was felled by dripping hair dye during my exotic-brunette phase, and one or two hand towels served as shrouds for deceased gerbils. At this point, I couldn't come up with a full matching set of towels if my life depended on it. New ones would be greatly appreciated.

And yes, we actually did get a silver service for our wedding. Chances are it would still be in great shape, if we still had it. But it wasn't our thing, so we returned it to the store to get what we really wanted--a great stereo. Silver would be a fine gift now that we actually own a hutch to put it in.

This brings us to lingerie. My husband, who is understandably tired of my T-shirt-and-sweatpants sleeping attire, says that if there's ever a time when new lingerie would be appreciated (I'm pretty sure he means for me), the time is now.

Our good dishes, originally service for twelve, have over time been reduced to five dinner plates, eleven saucers, seven cups, and two bowls. While the children were young, we supplemented with whatever was handy, including those unbreakable margarine containers. One daughter even went through a phase where anything not served to her in a Blue Bonnet bowl was deemed to be inedible. However now that the kids are grown and gone, it would be nice to have a real set of dishes again. I'm not picky here, my Preferred Pattern is anything that actually matches.

We could also use some new appliances. But we're already too jumpy to utilize an espresso maker. And I certainly don't have any intention of baking, with or without a $200 bread machine. No, what would really be appreciated is a coffeemaker that doesn't require me to hold the cord at a 45-degree angle during the entire brewing process. And maybe a blender with a lid that doesn't fly off if I, God forbid, hit the puree button.

When it comes to gadgetry, we're past the stage of being enthralled with electric melon-ballers and combination barometer-fax machines. I'd gladly settle for a pair of scissors which haven't been used to pry lids from paint cans. And he of the tennis elbow and soccer knees, would be ecstatic to have a heating pad with a temperature setting other than char-broil...

What I propose is that a Shower Year be selected, say ten years into the marriage when it's a sure bet that all the original stuff (not to mention the bride and groom themselves) is worn out. Then when (and if) the appropriate year is reached, each couple can choose a day to be showered. In our case, April 16 would be perfect--after glaring at each other over tax returns, a nice party and a pile of gifts would be a great distraction.

Of course no social change occurs without some personal sacrifice. So even though I've never been the adventurous type--my husband will vouch for this--I'm willing to volunteer us to be the test couple to report back to you on how it turns out. I've already provided several gift ideas which should make selecting shower presents a snap. And because I've nagged our children for years to do the right thing, the polite thing, you can count on me to be prompt with the thank-you notes. Now that I think of it, that might be the best reason of all not to waste showers on brides.

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