When she heard I was engaged she brought in copies of Vogue Novias. One issue featured her in her wedding dress.
“You have to use my designer! He will make you the perfect dress!” She was already dialing her designer’s phone number before I could answer. “You are going to LOVE him. Very kind. Very nice…” someone answered the phone and she enthused to the person, “…yes, she is American, but she is marrying a Spaniard.” She covered the mouth of the phone and whispered to me, “Where? Where are you getting married…?” I mouthed back, “The United States.” She nodded and continued, “Well, but, no, she will not be getting married here in Spain. There, she will be married there in the US….right, right, well, let me pass you to her…right, thank you and I will come in to look at that pant suit, right, ciao, here she is!” and the warm receiver was passed into my hand while she made an excited gesture with her other hand. A gesture that said, “There! I have fixed everything!”
“Hello….” I said tentatively.
“¡Hola, niña! How are you? You must be so excited! Let’s see, so, congratulations, and you will be getting married in the United States? In what month, hun?”
“Um, right, delighted to meet you, um, the summer, we are getting married in the summer.”
“¡Muuuy bien! Summer. Very romantic! But, before you tell me anymore, hun, just how much are you thinking on spending on your dress?”
I hadn’t really even thought of that. I was not a woman who had dreamt of a fancy wedding let alone thought of putting a price tag on it. My colleague was listening; I had some face to save.
“Oh, about $3,000….” I hedged rather proud that I had come up with a figure. There was no way in Hades I was spending three grand on a dumb dress, but there it was…
“Oh! – Oh! Oh…$3,000? NO love, no, hun, for that price I can’t do anything for you. No, no, nothing at all. No! For that price you are going to have to go to a ready-made shop. Look, there is an all right one on Velazquez Street. All right? Well, nice talking to you, ciao.”
“Gracias for everything. Ciao.” I said into the receiver. The designer had already hung up.
“Well?! What did he say?”
“He suggested I go to a shop on Velazquez – hun – we are not in the same league!”