I started watching “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” on TLC recently. It’s a reality-ish show about the Gypsy/Romany/Traveler culture in Britain, focusing mainly on big celebration days – baptisms, coming-of-age birthday parties for girls, and weddings. They also capture the girls and their mothers in everyday life.
I don’t know what fascinates me most: the lifestyle (lots of gypsies live in RVs), or the clothing. The bride pictured below has a rhinestone cat silhouette on her dress bodice and the skirt. For her hen party (bachelorette party), I believe her *ahem* dress looked like a palm tree and her maid of honor’s was a pineapple.
I’m mesmerized. So when TLC came out with “My Big, Fat American Gypsy Wedding,” of course I had to watch it.
Despite the Atlantic Ocean separating these groups of Gypsies, their cultures are very similar. One such similarity is the fact that, after marriage, the wife is expected to stay at home raising the kids and keeping the house
tidy clean spotless completely and totally perfect. They teach their daughters from a young age to clean, giving them sponges when they go outside to play so that they can clean their outdoor Little Tykes playhouses. No joke. The man does no housework. You’ll often see the daughters sitting on the floor beside a pail of wash water, old toothbrush in hand, scrubbing the baseboards or the floor. They put Mr. Clean to shame. They talk about how if you can’t keep your house clean, you’re a disgrace to your husband, family, home, and community.
So when we came home from our family reunion in Colorado last month, I was shocked to see how dirty my bathroom was after using other people’s clean bathrooms for a week. I know you know what I’m talking about – the hair and dust bunny-type things that accumulate behind the toilet and the little pieces of toilet paper that fall off the roll, never making it to either the trash can or the toilet. We only have a toilet and shower stall in our bathroom enclosure (the sink’s out in the bedroom like a motel), but that small space seems to breed untidiness.
Every time I walked in there, all I could think about were those teenagers dressed in hot pants and cropped tank tops, sitting on the floors of their parents’ RVs, scrubbing the baseboards, talking trash about how I’m shameful because my bathroom is dirty.
I finally gave in to my shame. I gathered cleaning supplies, put on my yellow rubber gloves (can’t chip the nail polish), found an old toothbrush and cleaned my bathroom.
The gypsies would be proud. Until they see the hairy dust bunnies living behind the chair in my bedroom…