Sunday, March 29, 2009

High WASP Weddings, Oriental Trading Company

My daughter may actually kill me if I keep putting up her daydreamed wedding. Even though I try to be so accomodating in my imaginary weddings, in reality I am still taking copyright of her future, a cardinal parental sin. No matter how good I am in my imagination, it's the reality that matters. Too bad for poets, right? But I love weddings, and I plan to continue to examine them. However, in order to prolong my life, we will consider them under the aegis of the "Deconstructing the High WASP" course syllabus.

Today we will consider the question of the Oriental Trading Company. One might assume that High WASPs hate the Oriental Trading Company. That we despise all things that can be acquired by the dozen. In fact, we do not. Please review the images below. Please think, hmm, which items would High WASPs want at their weddings or their imaginary daughters' weddings? From which items might they recoil in horror?


Would the flutes, the most almost-tasteful items be chosen? No. Unfortunately, no. None of the items in the bottom row would make it. The card box is out because a) High WASPs don't give cards with money in them as presents b) the only abstract heart logo we endorse is Elsa Peretti's. The Love aisle runner is out, because decor is too sacred to mess around with and any emotion is too serious to walk on. The personalized flutes are out because SOMEONE MIGHT THINK WE MEANT IT! This is the worst outcome, to have someone think we thought these were OK when they are not. You see, we could maybe two Reidel flutes, or Kosta Boda. Even Waterford is a little too too unless your grandmother owned them first. We could really only use flutes at all if someone had given us a set of 12, or else the hotel handed them to us via someone dressed in a black jacket.

But you absolutely might find any of the objects in the top row at a High WASP wedding. "They are not very tasteful!", you might exclaim with an indrawn breath. No. They are kitsch. There is a fine but perilous line between tacky+cheesy, and kitsch. Kitsch is OK. Kitsch is on purpose. Kitsch is not you-tried-to-have-good-taste-but-failed. Kitschy things are what they are. A camera decorated with wedding roses? A light up colored alcohol drink fountain? A set of bride and groom bubble blowers? These things are what they are. They are not trying to be anything else. This above all the High WASP cherishes. Perhaps because we have decent hearts and shun artifice. Perhaps because we want each item to stay in its category and not try to pass itself off as high class, a status reserved for the few. Even I don't know which is the right answer and it's possible both are true. Possible, and terribly confusing when you are growing up.



Blogger Pam said...

Yikes, I might be a High WASP. (WASP for sure, but of indeterminate height.) Love those objects in the top row, especially the bubble blowers.

What's the High WASP perspective on Archie McPhee? That was one of my favourite shopping experiences in the US. The closest UK equivalent seems to be Hawkin's Bazaar, where I have also been known to shop.

March 30, 2009 at 10:03 AM  
Blogger LPC said...

This High WASP was unaware of Archie McPhee but I love it. My son is currently studying the Cold War in some seminar or other. I may just have to send him the Cold War Unicorns for his birthday. I had already promised him Oriental Trading company party hats and blowers but the Cold War Unicorns take the proverbial cake.

March 30, 2009 at 1:41 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Those are just great!

March 31, 2009 at 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would kill my mom if more than one kitch item showed up at my wedding. She is as East Coast WASPy as they come & wouldn't dream of kitch coinciding with a wedding...ever.
One is fun...more than that, not so much. I skipped all "fun" stuff & kept my day timeless.

Does your daughter want ANY of this stuff?

April 5, 2009 at 3:44 PM  
Blogger LPC said...

Oh yes. One is just right. More and someone might think we were serious. And best that they are favors. My daughter doesn't at this point know I'm thinking about these details. Like she doesn't know at all....Did you look at my imaginary Cape Cod wedding? Much more traditional High WASP. Even included a lobster.

April 6, 2009 at 3:48 PM  
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