The wedding dress had hung in my closet, then in my motherr's closet, for the five years it took me to lay claim to a life wholly alone. I tried to sell it after my divorce, unsuccessfully: The people who answered my ads in a Long Beach newspaper wanted something much fancier, and sometimes much stranger, than my simple Laura Ashley.

The calls came from four men and several women. The women asked about size and price and other absolutes and all but one seemed to be after something with princess sleeves and pearls. My Victorian-style dress, no pearls, no train, not much lace, was far too simple for them, or far too small. But it was the calls from the men that made my effort to sell this reminder of my failed marriage all the more depressing. They wanted me to describe how I looked in the dress, how tightly it fit me, how large my breasts were. One asked how he might look in the dress. Another wanted to meet me in a grocery store parking lot at night to discuss the dress. I turned them all down.

Just before the last classified ad ran out, another woman called. Her name, she said, was Brenda, and she made no bones about her intentions. "I need a wedding dress for a porno movie. I'm playing a jilted bride. It doesn't matter what the dress looks like; I'm only going to be in it for five minutes." She offered double my asking price. We talked about the pornography business, and how a girl could earn lots of tax-free cash by appearing in the videos. I thought about how I might feel, seeing my wedding dress being ripped from a woman in spiked heels just before she ravaged the best man. But I would never find out: Brenda never called again.

So my dress has gone back into its plastic covering, back into my mother's closet. I've moved to Las Vegas, ready for a new chapter in life. The next time I marry, there will be no wedding gown or veil--only flowers, which have the sense to be fragrant and lovely and, smartest of all, have no resale value.

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