“must-have” is a phrase i’ve come to resent unless it’s between the words “i” and “four-ish glasses of wine.” it’s a phrase that i’m pretty sure The Knot invented in order to convince us that the flatware we currently own magically becomes obsolete on our wedding day. as a result of this sentiment, i thought i was immune to the wiles of the “registry must-have” list.
i was wrong.
it happened the same way as most of my major regrets: one day, i decided i should spend my free time doing something besides re-watching that episode of Gilmore Girls where Luke and Lorelei kiss. i thought, “hey. my two favorite hobbies are hating my body and overconsumption. why not combine them?” in college, this would have resulted in a really weird Admiral Nelson-fueled night at a pirate-themed party at the hippie school across town (which, incidentally, is how i met my fiance). this particular evening, however, it led to the dumbest pinterest search ever: “healthy diy chips”
this brought me to a paleo blog run by a lady who has three kids and dresses like she’s at Coachella even though she lives in Michigan. the recipe called for two large zucchinis, extra-virgin olive oil, and a mandolin slicer. because i was still a bonafide Carefree Single Girl, i felt that a questionably intact butcher knife was good enough; i wasn’t going to let this spray tanned mommy-blogger who was an obvious shill for Big Mandolin Slicer rule my life. i grabbed a zucchini, pinned it on my cutting board, raised up my knife… and promptly sliced off a respectable chunk of my flippin’-off-in-traffic finger. this was my sign. i felt like Joseph Smith after those angels told him to wear that special underwear– it was my destiny to spread the registry message. i now know that registering for a mandolin slicer is something that a Responsible Married Woman would do.
so, fellow brides and grooms: go forth and register. find a Dillard’s or a Macy’s or a really nice Wal-Mart. scan all the china and flatware and crystal you can; people will buy it for you anyway, so you may as well pick out the things you’re never going to use but are too lazy to return. to make things easier for all of you Quirky Brides™, i’ve come up with some practical alternate uses for all of the dumb things on the registry must-have lists:
1. A Stand Mixer
woooosh. wooooosh. wooooosh. what is that? the calming waves of the Florida gulf coast? nope, that’s just the sweet sound of registry ingenuity. for brides like me that don’t know the difference between baking soda and baking powder, a stand mixer is best used as a soothing $250 wave machine. fill the bowl with water, pop on the dough attachment, put it on low, and bam: you have the beach vacation that your mom told you it would be tacky to register for, which is the whole reason you have this ridiculous contraption in the first place.
2. Fine China
“but i’m not planning on hosting Thanksgiving in my studio apartment!” fine, whatever. leave the holiday planning to your sister who seems to return to veganism every year just in time to make cooking annoying– you never mastered Tofurkey anyway. however, this does not mean you should forgo fine china in your registry! in the words of a mimosa-drunk junior leaguer i once met in the Dillard’s homegoods department: “it’s, like, super, super important to register for nice plates.”
i have to agree with her. i mean, have you ever broken a bone china dinner plate? those things shatter magnificently. i promise, the throw-down, blow-out fights that will scar your kids for years to come will be a thousand times more exciting if you’re breaking the good stuff. in thirty years, your son will have way more material to pad his trauma-inspired stand-up comedy routine than his friends whose parents didn’t splurge; no good cringe-inducing joke ever started with a stoneware mug going “clunk” and breaking into four neat pieces. and even if you don’t plan on emotionally stunting your children, fine china will give them a lot more cash to fight over once they sell it all off at an estate sale when you kick the bucket.
3. Rose Gold Everything
do you remember all those times as a teenager that your mom walked into her kitchen and said “ugh, I hate it in here. everything is so outdated!” as a child of the early nineties, my mom was probably talking about her brass accents, linoleum floors, and country patterned crockery. so when i saw that every imaginable kitchen accouterment is currently available in the sophisticated sheen of rose gold (or The Color Formerly Known as Copper), i thought “perfect! i won’t have to deny my children the chance to watch me complain about this in twenty years!” legend has it that after completing this ritual, the only thing left to do in order to enter the Sacred Circle of Middle-Aged Momhood is to pick up a habit writing grocery lists on the back of discarded envelopes.
4. Fancy Wine Glasses
look, you already know that you find the company of most people who aren’t your future spouse intolerable; that’s why you’ve chosen them as your partner-in-social-aversion. don’t let all that cynicism go to waste! fancy wine glasses are the perfect way to express to each other that you find other people so dull that you’d rather leave the party early and chug Bota Box Pinot Grigio out of a Waterford crystal chalice than listen to one more story about how your coworker, like, totally find himself in Taos. Get four. No, not because you plan on using them with company; your darling love will inevitably break two of them because they can’t understand that you don’t put crystal in the goddamn dishwasher and if you don’t have back-ups you’ll end up doing all your hate-drinking out of your ironically kitschy Goodwill mugs. trust me, it’s much harder to feel smug when your cup has OVER THE HILL AND OFF THE PILL!!! printed on the side.
5. A Cast Iron Pan
it’s very trendy right now to never wash things and pretend like you’re sophisticated because of it: laundering raw denim is a mortal sin, shampooing your hair is “like really, really bad for your scalp,” and washing your cookware removes all that shiny goodness that my mother called “nasty old grease” but millennials call “seasoning.” cast iron pans are perfect for showing dinner guests that you are the perfect combination of down-to-earth and ultra-hip.
bonus points: jump in front of the sink right before your helpful friend tries to wash the pan and quip “oh, hey! yeah, sorry, you actually aren’t supposed to wash that. no, it’s fine, i should have told you!” this does double-duty by making you look like a gracious host while also revealing to the guest that they don’t have the kind of down-home sensibility required to appreciate wallowing in filth. complete the elitist evening by complaining about our “throwaway culture” and mentioning that you “just don’t understand why people don’t invest in good things.”
so, there you have it. five uses for the dumb stuff you’ll register for even if you don’t want it. if anyone comes up with another use for a mandolin slicer, let me know.