On Sunday night I tuned into watch the ignant tomfoolery that is the “Real Housewives of Atlanta.” Last night’s season finale centered on Cynthia Bailey’s wedding day. What should have been a blissful countdown to her nuptials with fiancé Peter Thomas, instead looked more like the countdown to her execution. There was confusion, sorrow, doubt, attempted sabotage, and lots and lots of tears, all of which were shed by the bride-to-be, her mother and sister. For the first time in her life, Cynthia, the self-proclaimed “runaway bride,” wants to be a wife. In the first episode she mentions that she’s getting up there in age and plus Peter is “good” to her and her daughter from a previous relationship. Age and kindness? Yep, sounds like a great reason to put a ring on it and commit to a lifetime together. NOT! What happened to respect, love, open communication, and financial honesty? All of that seems to have gone out the window especially since Peter has had to shutter his business. Now, it’s about not growing old alone and of course, having a bank-account-draining wedding to make it legit. Did Cynthia say she was going to have a cash bar at her wedding to save money? Who does that? And just five days before her wedding did she not have a breakdown at the mention of the word “honeymoon” just because she wouldn’t be going on one? What gives?
I’ll tell you what gives, this materialistic climate of Oprah and her Louboutins, Mary J. and her Maserati and all of these over the top weddings from Khloe Kardashian to Lala Vasquez has created an environment of purpose, pleasure and power via capitalism, credit cards and beaucoup dollars. And there’s nothing wrong with having things. Shoot I wanna pair of Louboutins myself, but right now I can’t afford them and that’s ok. The problem is when it takes over your psyche and replaces common sense and you don’t feel okay unless you have a 7-carat engagement ring, a Range Rover or a man who can provide both. And so yes, especially for Black women in the face of Steve Harvey’s straight no chasin bullshid about thinking like a man to ‘win’ a husband, the stakes are even higher. Nowadays the idea of being a wife and committing and compromising for the good of the union gets lost in the blur of tossed rose petals and falls somewhere amongst all of the Tiffany blue gift boxes and pseudo-African brooms lying around waiting to be jumped over. I think Cynthia, like many women, wanted a wedding more than she wanted to be married. She wanted the ring, the gown and the registry, but does she want to deal with being a step mom to Peter’s five other children? She’s certainly made it clear that she doesn’t want anything to do with his financial drama. Unfortunately homegrrrl can’t see her marriage for her maid-of-honors, which is sad because she was a bride for one day, she is expected to be his wife ‘til death do them part. Ugh! And despite the fact that none of the “Housewives” are happily married except for Phaedra, Cynthia is still sipping the Kool-Aid and feels like “this is the one thing that (she) just want(s) to do for (herself).” Honey this is not like getting a seaweed wrap body massage at the Four Seasons, this wedding is the beginning of the rest of your seemingly drama-filled days together. My mom always said getting married is no joke. My married (and divorced) friends have said that it’s like a business deal and you have to be eyes and ears wide open.
Cynthia is a fashion model and therefore probably has a good business/ financial acumen (even her sis was like oh yeah “you’ll always make money”), but she is also acutely aware of her age in a way that I’m sure I can’t begin to understand. I don’t think there is any occupation more explicitly ruthless about promoting ageism as Fashion. And so Cyn, who is now even nervous about walking down a runway, is clearly not comfortable strutting around Atlanta at 43-years old without a husband. I have to admit, even though she looked gorgeous last night I’m concerned about her marriage. I just wrote a story last year for TheRoot.com about the risks of Black women having this Cinderella ideal when looking for a husband. I’m not saying we should compromise our desires just that we should manage them better. Anyway, I wish her all the best. If you really feel sorry for the bereft newlyweds feel free to get them a gift off of their registry. Would love to hear your thoughts about marriage and weddings. Would you have gotten married under similar circumstances?
Full Disclosure: I’m not married nor have I ever been.