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The Chill Bride, The Boutonnieres, And The Hair Straightener

3:07 PM EDT on May 31, 2023

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Illustration by Tara Jacoby

I don’t consider myself to be a completely clueless groomsman. Though I have donned a suit and tie to stand up for dear friends on several occasions, I must admit the truth: I have never pinned my own boutonniere. I’d like to think that there’s something pleasantly easygoing about this, perhaps even chill. But, as many a painful conversation about where we should eat has taught me, chillness isn’t a universally virtuous quality. Sometimes, in order to do right by your friends and family, you must fiercely advocate for tacos. It might not be incumbent upon individual groomsmen to have opinions about proper boutonniere placement, but someone ought to. 

This week, we bring you the tale of a self-proclaimed “chill bride” and the power vacuum created by her determination to go with the flow. The wedding itself isn’t the source of the tensions that plague this family, of course; rather, it provides the perfect arena for the pre-existing tensions to flare into full radiance. Whether your sympathies lie with the bride, the maid of honor, dad’s wife, the groomsmen, the early-Aughtsian obsession with straight hair, or the dog, this story will leave you questioning your values. What should Rose get Deb and Dad for the holidays? Can we agree that the sexism inherent in terms like “bridezilla” is the villain lurking in the background, and that having opinions about your wedding is a good thing 99 percent of the time? Is Pictionary ever the right decision?

To discuss and gossip, Caroline Moss and Sally Tamarkin joined Kelsey this week! Caroline hosts Gee Thanks, Just Bought It! and writes the “Work It, Girl!” kids books. Caroline is also the co-author of Hey Ladies: The Story of 8 Best Friends, 1 Year, and Way, Way Too Many Emails. Sally is a writer, editor, and former community organizer. Sally now cohosts Gee Thanks, Just Bought It! with Caroline, as well as the lifestyle podcast Oh, I Like That. Sally also writes a Veronica Mars rewatch newsletter called Mars Investigations

Kelsey, Caroline, and Sally discussed yearbook superlatives, Candle Day (and the associated Candle Day Facebook groups), and the effects of ice cream truck music on the brain. Then Kelsey brought our guests up a winding road to a remote upstate house rife with nooks, crannies, and Jack-and-Jill bathrooms to solve the mystery of the missing straightener. 

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(The transcript for this week’s episode can be found here.)

And if you have some good goss that you want us to hear, the email for that is normalgossip@defector.com, or phone it in to 2-6-7-9-GOSSIP.

Tour update: Tobin Low will be the guest for our sold-out show in San Francisco on July 29! 

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