Saturday, December 13, 2008

Old maids and Catherinettes

When I was a teenager I would eagerly await the bouquet toss at weddings, but since then it's been awkward. I'm up there on display, and for the sake of the festivities and the bride I want to play my part and be happy and try to catch the thing, but for the sake of my pride I don't want to appear too eager, and the whole time I'm hoping no one's pitying me for still being single. If I had perfect humility I wouldn't mind the custom at all. But obviously I don't.

All that is merely a prelude to this. The Shrine of the Holy Whapping has shown me that if a bouquet toss is the worst thing I must undergo as a single woman, I should count my blessings. I might have been a Catherinette:

Catherinettes was a traditional French label for girls of twenty-five years old who were still unmarried by the Feast of Saint Catherine (25th November). A special celebration was offered to them on this day, while everyone wished them a fast end to their singlehood.... Unmarried women, after they turned twenty-five, would attend a ball on St Catherine's Day in a hat made specially for the occasion; to wear such a hat was referred to as "capping St. Catherine" (coiffer sainte Catherine).

The horror! The horror!

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