Friday, 20 August 2010

The Bride To Be...Or Not?

I wear a beautiful aquamarine and diamond engagement ring on the third (podgy) finger of my left hand. The man who gave it to me, who asked me to marry him, I have known for almost almost six years now. This is a LONG engagement. Want to know why?

There are several reasons, but one is - there is NO WAY when I get married for a second time that I am going to be a fat bride. No way. A younger girl, bursting with love for the man who asked her to marry him is usually on cloud nine, planning the big day, dreaming about the ceremony, choosing a fabulous dress and almost always, deciding to slim down so she has no bulges and blobby rolls of fat on show when all her family and friends watch her make those wedding vows in a gorgeous gown. She is the centre of attention.

Shudder. The centre of attention. Cringe. That's one of the reasons why I just can't go through with a wedding. I attended my sister's wedding a few months ago and the pictures of me..(in most of the photos because I was family) are completely ghastly. I was a fat, middle aged blob in turquoise who THOUGHT she looked nice on the day, but I almost cried when I saw the wedding album. (I've chopped a bit of one of the pics for you to see...sorry if I've bodged it up. See how I've positioned my body behind my sister's as much as possible!)

OK, so lots of incentive to slim? Yes, I have every reason to lose weight. However, I am not going to be a young, blushing bride in the first flush of youth this time. I was, way back in 1978 when I took the plunge the first time. That marriage, which I thought was for life, which I entered into for life, 'till death us do part' etc, produced my three lovely children but it wasn't a happy marriage for the most part. It ended after 18 years.

During all those years I was slim. I'd been a good and faithful wife. He hadn't been a good and faithful husband. I was distraught. I'd been alone for lots of the years of my marriage..Sadly, my husband wanted me, but I think he realised he also wanted a bachelor existence too, so me and the children came a poor second to his friends, work mates, beer and the social life provided for him in the pub. It was a lonely time...18 lonely and sad years with a drunken man coming home to us at some shout, criticise, insult me, then fall asleep on the sofa. The next morning he was like a lamb...almost unaware of the upset he'd caused and my distress the previous evening. This was a regular occurrence. I dreaded hearing his key in the front door lock after a while. However, I was busy...raising our children, alone, working full time and also looking after my dear Mum, who was getting on in years and needed help and companionship as she became frail. In those days I didn't eat for comfort, I wrote everything down. I unloaded...and have books and books of late night/early hours of the morning sad and tearful ramblings. I needed an outlet or I'd have gone mad. I shall have to destroy them. I wouldn't want my kids ever to read them and feel guilty about my suffering or that they couldn't help me. They never knew how unhappy I was. I wore a mask - to them and the outside world...every day for many years. I was embarrassed, scared and ashamed, but I had done nothing to be ashamed of.

And then I divorced...finally this pathetic worm turned. I engaged a solicitor and against all my principles, started divorce proceedings. I knew it was the only way if I ever wanted to be happy again - to be myself again. I didn't want to bring the children up in such a caustic atmosphere either. They couldn't be damaged by things they saw and heard late at night. It wasn't right. Their father didn't care, didn't think about their little lives...their fear. I didn't care much about me, but I had to protect them, whilst I was strong enough to do so. I was beginning to crumble. It was such a traumatic time...and they should have been the best years of my life. I was young, slim, pretty, energetic..successful in the workplace and a good mother and daughter. I was also in pieces inside...a nervous, frightened, exhausted wreck.

I came away from the solicitor's office having started divorce proceedings and I slipped my wedding ring off my finger. I was in the city centre..The tears sprang to my eyes. I was SO unhappy. Big, fat tears ran down my cheeks and I found myself heaving with emotion and sorrow....and I remember finding a bench..partially hidden by shrubs and greenery...and sitting down, in the middle of town, and sobbing my heart out.

I rebuilt my life - with little confidence. I wanted nothing from my ex husband. No financial aid. I would support myself. I would pay for everything. I am proud. I needed a clean break. I didn't share my sorrow with many people. I kept my pain from my Mum. We were brought up not to wash our dirty linen in public. I quietly went about trying to make things 'normal' at home and continued working, to pay the bills and keep a roof over our heads. I felt hollow inside though, for years afterwards.

It's amazing. When you go through times which are bad...sorrowful, painful...years later, you realise just how strong you really were. I didn't break. I wanted to..many times, but I didn't. My Mum and my kids relied on me. Now I am here to tell the tale and have a ring on my finger again because I said 'Yes' when my man asked me to marry him in 2007. (No fool like an old fool, eh?) We've been together since early 2005.

"I think men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage. They've experienced pain and bought jewelry." ~  Rita Rudner
The man I am engaged to my fifties...(and he doesn't have a pierced ear) is nothing like my ex husband. I suspect he'd walk over burning coals for me. He is lovely and we laugh lots. We like a lot of the same things. He is good company. I trust him implicitly. He is kind, generous, hard-working, loyal, reliable and funny. He is young at heart like me. Neither of us can believe we are officially middle aged! Where did those years go? He isn't an Adonis..but to my eyes he is gorgeous. Who wants a God? He is in his fifties like me, and looking forward to retirement. He is a widower and we both have grown children who are young adults and live with us. THAT'S why we haven't married.

My kids live with me in my house..his son lives with him in his house. We could buy one big house together..and start married life with our three young men in tow, but really, that's not ideal. I am not sure it would be good to have to live with a drum-playing, rock/death metal music-loving 23 yr old, or a 21 year old into his guitar, X Box games and mad about cars...and strange hip-hop music or whatever it's called these days. (Hell, that ages me. Rap, trance, dance, garage, R and B, hip-hop...??? What is it called?) Then there'd be his loved-up 20 year old who keeps strange hours, is joined by the hip to his girlfriend and also likes his X Box and never turns the TV off!  All three go to work and work hard but they don't earn much. They play hard at weekends too...which means they drink and come home late. It's not ideal..but been there, done that. It's what young people do. It's a phase. They are good boys, with good hearts, have never been in trouble with the police etc...don't do drugs.. and they're probably not much different to other young men enjoying their youth. It is time to cut the apron strings though...

So me and my man carry on...almost 'dating' still, travelling back and forth between each others homes, holidaying together, weekend-ing together, cooking for each other during the week. We are together but apart - and I suspect we both quite like it this way! It's ideal...but we aren't getting any younger. I also like my own domain. After choppy waters and many storms, my present peace and calm and being mistress of my own abode is lovely. All I have, I've worked hard for, in difficult circumstances. I love my place. I am quite attached to it, although it holds some unhappy memories. That's all water under the bridge now though.

However, back to the weight business. I ought to lose weight. I should lose weight. Not just because I'll look better in a wedding outfit, but because I'll feel better and be healthier. I want to live a long, long life with my man by my side. I don't want this happiness snatched from me prematurely. He loves me just as I am, but I was slimmer when I met him...although still 'plump'. He was there when I became ill, when I was in and out of hospital, having operations, and then immobilised, recuperating and gaining weight. I may have gained weight because I was contented at last. If he mentions my losing weight (and he doesn't - I always broach the subject of my 'fatness') I know he urges me to do it because he worries about my health..not my size.

I felt uncomfortable when I saw a cartoon recently...A fat woman walked into a bridal shop with her mother to choose her wedding dress. The assistant who was expecting them, saw them approach, eyed them up and down, and as they came through the door she blurted out 


I cringed. I am not going to be a fat bride, a tubby bride. End of. If I don't get my skates on though, I'll not be a bride at all. I suspect we are putting obstacles in the way of getting a place together....although my man does live very near to the place where he works. He can walk in and pays no transport or parking costs. It makes sense for him to remain there whilst he is working. He also has a very good job, with the minimum amount of stress, which is great as he winds down at the end of his career. He isn't 65....the official retirement age. He has nine years to go! Things are very cosy and comfortable just as they are.

My weight is yet another barrier preventing me 'plighting my troth" but we are happy. 'If it ain't broke, don't mend it' seems to work for us...but I really must focus more and put some goals in place. There has to be some point where we sit down and make plans! We have lots of dreams. Girls often dream of being a bride. Older women can only see the pit-falls. Fatter older women run for the hills rather than try on large-sized wedding gowns! :)

OH...sorry for another long post! I promise, when the big day finally arrives, you'll hear all about it. I'll be so happy to share it with you, and I'll post pictures of this happy and hopefully slim woman...For now, I am a happy, fat woman.


'Cos he did something that no one else did
Friends said it couldn't be done
But all his love I know I've won
'Cos 3rd finger, left hand
That's where he placed the wedding band

Martha and the Vandellas


  1. I was a fat bride. I didn't care. My husband didn't care. I don't cringe at the pictures. I was fat, but I was still attractive. My face, hair, and yes, even the dress looked good on me (I didn't wear a traditional gown, just a very pale pink dress that looked good with my shape). I don't think beauty is about slimness, and I think getting married was about bonding to the man I love, not about looking good in pictures or worrying about being labeled as a "fat bride" by people who only care to judge and have no interest in the people involved or their happiness.

    To each their own.

  2. Ah...but I DO care.

    I am in love whether I wear a wedding ring or not, whether pictures are taken of the 'bonding' ceremony or not. I don't need marriage really, but after much discussion we have decided we want to tie the knot and we both believe our day will be glorious. I scuttled off for my last wedding..My Dad had died ten months previously and I had no one to walk me down the aisle. It was a small, quiet affair, yet I was a pretty, shy young woman who almost hid away. This time I am going to make a big noise. When I marry it will be a special affirmation of love, something I thought I might never have again at my age. My wedding day is not going to be about me feeling self-conscious and huge, it's not going to be about me finding any old dress I can squeeze into. It going to be about me being relaxed and perfectly happy and enjoying my day..and given my recent performance and agonies when 'special pictures' of this fat woman have been taken, this matters a lot to me.

  3. Ahh, FG. How wonderful that you have found your love. Once you iron out the living situation and a few kids have moved on, you will have had plenty of time to address your health. It is the single best gift you can give your man. Jo

  4. Jolly good for you! Be a bride, be the one you want to be, when you want to be. If you're happy and your chap's happy then life is good.

  5. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. What a success story of how you moved on and forward after your divorce! How wonderful to have a new man to share you life. Eventually you will develop a plan: and be that slimmer bride to be. One step at a time on this journey.

  6. You've got a great story and an eviable relationship. I'm glad you found Mr. Fifty-and-Grumpy-to-be!

    I'm sorry to inform you, but my husband is the original Fifty, Fat, and Grumpy. You did not invent it. Wink!

  7. YOU GO GIRL!!!
    I too will think I look good and then see a picture of myself (even though I try to hide behind whoever I'm with..that trick just never seems to work). I hate when that happens.
    I say don't rush into getting married. This will be the last time you do it and it should be the way you want. Wear that ring and be proud that you have actually found someone that cares about you. You are lucky!

  8. Thanks all...really appreciate your thoughts.

    You've given me something to write about too...contentment :)

    I know I am lucky, but am I contented? *flexes writing fingers*

  9. Ooooh my dear. This rings all sorts of bells with me - the ex-husband and years of being 'just f##ing fine, thanks' whilst actually falling apart inside. The realisation that you are strong and a coper... but only after you've been through it.

    But... don't let that avoirdupois stop you being you. I was a fat bride (never mind tubby!) and my wedding day to this darling lovely hubby of mine was so fantastic I don't regret a second of it. He thought I was beautiful and that was all that mattered.

  10. Your writing is magnificent.

    I was a fat bride. Not my fattest, not my skinniest. I paid a small fortune to have a dress custom made that made me look the best I could.

    I was happy. That made me beautiful. And comfortable. I even wore sleeveless, and frankly - I shouldn't.

    There is something bothering me reading this - it's as though you are delaying your happiness somewhat by waiting until you are thinner to marry. I suspect no matter how much you get your weight down you'll still feel self conscious with those eyes on you on your big day. Just please make sure you're not delaying happiness for yourself - life is SHORT.

    PS: I have an idea for the 2 homes : one for the 3 boys (messy & noisy as it would be) and one for the 2 lovebirds. That said, I totally get not wanting to give up your house, your space, your independence!