Frau Bienkowski hasn’t managed to marry me off yet, which is a pity since she likes a good wedding. She’s always talking about William and Kate’s and is the first to know about the appearance of a new photograph of Prince George.
She’s interested in failed marriages too. Like those of former president, Christian Wulff who, scandalously, separated twice. And she thinks it’s high time his successor, Joachim Gauck marries his long-term partner. After all, Frau B says, she accompanies him to most official events.
Luckily for us both, our appetite for wedding-related stories has recently been whetted by living vicariously through my sister, who got married in Philadelphia in July.
Frau B was there every step of the way.
She was thoroughly briefed on the suitor. And on how he met my sister.
(“Everything is possible online these days!” she had said approvingly)
She knew all about the navy bridesmaid dresses, which we ordered online for $25. She knew my sister was making her own wedding cake. And she had a good knowledge of the guest list too.
Ever the stylist, she worried about how I would wear my hair on the day. She suggested I get the same cut I had last December.
I have documented my fear of hairdressers here before. Believe me, they get worse when you cross the Atlantic. My cutter had scraggly blue hair and dreadful manners. She refused point-blank to cut the shape I wanted, instead insisting, “It’s 2014 dude. You sister is getting married! Try something new.” She also accused me of frequenting “old lady salons.” (She’s right obviously; hip salons don’t have libraries attached.) I ended up with a stupid cut. Relieved I wasn’t the bride.
Frau B was also privy to my pre-wedding music-related woe.(PWMRW; primarily affects amateur musicians, according to DSM X)
I had brought my violin back from Dublin at Christmas after my sister hinted she might want my (other) sister and me to play during the ceremony.
Things were going okay at first, though I hadn’t played in years. My fingertips were getting tougher and I was playing halfway in tune. Then one night, when I was doing my floor exercises (as you do) LSB tried to step over me to get to the couch.
Except he tumbled over my open violin case instead. I watched as if in slow motion as he landed, knees first on top of the instrument.
Snap. Crack. An expletive.
I twisted out of my yoga pose faster than you can say “downward dog” in time to see my E string spring loose. Then the A string. Then the bridge collapsed. It was all very traumatic.
I had to bring it to the Geigenbaumeister. He fixed it for €10 and told me he’d had a Stradivarius in earlier that week. Frau B told me I’d got lucky. She was right. Could have been much worse. Could have been a collapsed Stradivarius bridge.
When I visited her last week, Frau B said: “Tell me everything about the wedding. Then show me the pictures.”
I told her that my sister was objectively the most beautiful bride there’s ever been.
That the wedding took place in a medical museum which boasted among its displays a gigantic colon. (Available for guests to view before dinner).
That everyone survived the violin duet.
That the cake was spectacular.
That my tough big sister had to try really hard not to cry during the (self-written) vows.
That I had to try even harder.
When I showed her the pictures, Frau B said. “My! What long hair your sister has got!”