The bride wore white.
The groom was nonexistent.
Facing 40 with no history of marriage, Linda Baker decided to put on a white wedding dress and pledge her troth to herself. The Inglewood woman sent out invitations to her family and 75 of her closest friends. And, on Sunday night, they showed up at a Santa Monica bar--Mr. B's on Broadway--to watch the blushing non-bride promise to be good to herself in perpetuity. Seven jubilant bridesmaids preceded Baker down the makeshift aisle that ran alongside the bar.
As the non-minister, actor Ron Cummins, reminded the non-bride during the brief ceremony, all that was missing was "a beer-swilling couch potato who might forget your birthday and cheat on you and make you miserable."
But I don't want to give the presents back, Baker lamented.
Then marry yourself, Cummins advised.
And so, as Baker's mother, sisters, stepfather and at least one ex-boyfriend looked on, the vows were--uh--exchanged.
"Linda, do you take yourself to be your lovely wedded person?"
"Yes, I do!"
"Do you solemnly swear to be good to yourself, to honor yourself in sickness and in health until the day you're not here?"
The consensus among the guests was that the unorthodox event was just what you'd expect from Baker, a personal manager who also works as a dental hygienist. Friends talked about how imaginative Baker is, how creative, and what a marvelous sense of humor she has.
"What's great about her," artist friend Cristina Lorza said, "is that she doesn't keep the best to herself. She shares it."
Even Steve Sturla was impressed. Sturla is an actor with Baker's Elbee Talent Agency, and he used to be her significant other. Baker asked Sturla to write the script for her big event. "My first reaction was, 'Huh?' ?" Sturla said. "I don't completely understand it. But she wanted to celebrate something, and she wanted to celebrate it with her friends. There's a lot of people who really love her a lot."
One thing Baker was celebrating was her 40th birthday, Dec. 22, which she wanted to be an occasion of joy, not regret. Another cause for celebration was the cake. "It's a cake thing," Baker admitted. She said she was tired of waiting for the chain of events that usually lead up to feasting on your wedding cake and decided to take matters into her own hands. Baker is very serious about cake, her buddies confirmed.
Made by her close friends at the Cake Place in West Los Angeles, the nuptial confection was $300 worth of sugar and spice and everything fattening, frosted in ecru butter cream and topped with glitter and pastel roses. Baker described each of the three tiers in lascivious detail: from the lemon-lemon mousse through the chocolate-chocolate chip to the filling of butter toffee crunch. "It would be too decadent to polish it off myself," she said demurely. "Although I could," she added with a wicked smile.
The non-wedding was not intended as a feminist statement, Baker said. But Gloria Steinem might have scripted Baker's explanation of what she had in mind when she promised to cherish Linda Baker until the twelfth of never. "It's about doing things for yourself and not waiting around for someone else to make it happen."
The marriage of soul to self inevitably raised some questions.
Did she register her china pattern anywhere?
No, she asked that guests make donations in lieu of gifts to the Animal Place in Vacaville, a haven for abused and abandoned animals. She got a few presents anyway, including a copy of Howard Stern's book, "Private Parts."
Was the proposal a surprise?
Did she play hard to get?
Is she going to stop going out with guys, now that she's married? And if she doesn't, is she cheating on herself?
Baker wasn't saying.
And then there was the question everyone wanted to ask, but only a friend named Tony was rude enough to pose.
"What happens at the honeymoon?" he said.
"Tony, baby, wouldn't you like to know."