Generation gap? I don’t think so …

I know I’m middle aged and that sometimes as we get older we notice the younger generation doing things differently than we did them.  I understand that new information, research, and experience can change ideas when it comes to health, fitness, psychology, etc. but there are some things that make me wonder if certain people are victims of a reverse evolution process we don’t know about.  

The first time I saw a picture of a bride and groom sitting on a motorcycle in a mud hole with smiles on their faces and dirt and mud splashed all over the wedding dress, I assumed it was on purpose since they appeared to be having fun, but I was more than a little puzzled.  OK, honestly I was appalled and disgusted.  So off I went to my trusty source of information on all things “modern” – my daughter – to ask what the heck was going on.  She informed me that there is now a new thing called “trashing the dress”  and that lots of brides are doing it.  HUH?  Yes, that’s what I said.  OK, honestly I probably dropped a few expletives in disbelief.

Why on earth would someone do this?  With what I am hearing about the cost of weddings (a whole other discussion if my opinion on that were to be presented!) it is inconceivable to me that anyone would take a beautiful part of their wedding and trash it on purpose and make sure there are pictures to prove how stupid “cool” they were.  Some might ask what they are supposed to do with the dress after the wedding anyway, which clearly shows me that this “new thing” is a short term idea with no connections to nostalgia or sentiment.

I’m not saying brides should all save their dresses forever, and I’m not going to tell anyone what they should do with theirs.  But the idea of completely ruining a perfectly good dress doesn’t compute in my brain.  My mom saved hers –  not for me to wear, as she didn’t buy into the practice of pressuring a daughter by pulling out her own dress as soon as the engagement was announced.  She cut it up to make a baptismal gown, a fitting use of a special item and a way to save even just a small part of it for a future generation to appreciate.  I still have it.

I didn’t cut up my own dress up for a similar purpose because I wanted to make special baptismal gowns for each of my children to have for their own treasure chests.  I don’t expect my daughter to wear it – it is NOT her style and I truly hope she never fits into it because it isn’t “petite”! – and I don’t know what I will end up doing with it but, if nothing else, there’s some great fabric in it that’s already paid for and could prove very useful should a need for it come along.

There are people who sell their dresses and get back some of the money they put into them (a practical decision) and some who donate them so that others who can’t afford to buy one can still have a nice wedding dress (a generous decision).  But simply trashing it for the sake of some goofy pictures and a new fad is beyond me.  

That leads me to the next “new thing” that rattles my brain: the smash cake.  Again, I went to my information source and was told that now, instead of simply taking pictures of your cute little one year old on their birthday with their piece of cake smeared all over their high chair table and their face, parents are opting for the smash cake, which is a separate cake in addition to the actual cake that is served to everyone else at the party.  This extra cake is made especially for smashing and photographing.  HUH? Are these the “trash the dress” parents?  Not necessarily, but apparently “everyone is doing it now.”  OMG.  

And get this: because so many parents are now ordering expensive custom cakes for their children’s birthdays, they are actually ordering and paying for the extra custom smash cake too!  Breathe……… I cannot imagine making this into some kind of ritual, but if my drugs ever failed me and I found myself needing to do this, I think I would opt for spending $3.00 on a cake mix to whip up a smashable cake myself, or better yet just cut a piece of the one I just spent upwards of $100 on for the other guests, let the kid smash that, and put the rest of the money into the college fund.  I have nothing against custom cakes if people can afford them and choose to buy them; they look amazing.  I have an issue with wasting money and food and teaching kids that it’s funny.

Maybe all of this blows my mind because I was raised in a practical home where money was hard earned and carefully budgeted and when I got married I sewed my own dress along with all the dresses for my bridal party and they meant something to me (of course not everyone can do this, but you get the point).  Maybe it’s because my mom baked our cakes herself (which was in itself a special gesture on her part) and found creative ways to make them look like all sorts of cool things, and later passed the cake book on to me so I could do the same for my kids (we have great pictures at a fraction of the cost of today’s smashing photos).  Maybe it’s because I’ve always tried to find practical ways to do things and use things and make the money count.  Maybe it’s because I’ve never been one to jump on the latest idea train and ride it until it goes over a cliff. Whatever the reason, I just don’t get it.

Is this about a generation gap?  Is it about differing ideas on health, fitness, psychology or any other new information that has come to light in order to help parents and families navigate the 21st century?  Nope.  In my opinion it’s a gap in logic and common sense.  It’s happening because some people have more money than brains they know what to do with and they jump on board with every new thing that comes along so their scrapbooks and memories look just like everyone else’s.  God forbid a child should have to go without the same toys, clothes, parties, etc. that “everyone else” is getting!

Luckily for me, my source of information on all things modern is sentimental, nostalgic and traditional.  She’s looking forward to baking special cakes for her own kids and doesn’t care if they compete with something expensive that some other kid might have.  She has a mind of her own, common sense, and enough of an individual spirit to sit back and see all of this for what it is: a ridiculous fad.  Whew!  At least I won’t have to worry about hanging muddy wedding dress pictures on my wall …

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