Monday, June 13, 2011
My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding
When reality tv is done right, it can entertain you and introduce you to new worlds. I think 'My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding' does just that. Heck, I didn't even realize the gypsy lifestyle was real. I thought it was a myth and I thought 'gypsies' were a tan colored people. I had no idea they could be Irish. (I know to some people that will sound like an ignorant comment, but hey, I'm just telling you my thoughts.) This show is crazy. I'm only one episode in and I am hooked.
They are OSTENTATIOUS. In fact, I'm not sure that word is strong enough to describe how gaudy and outlandish these weddings are. To my Black American eye, they are Jersey-Shore-gone-too-far. They wear huge bejeweled tiaras that are reminiscent of the crowns girls wear in rediculous beauty pagents. On the bottom, their dresses look like something a Disney princess would wear. On the top, they are boobs and jewels. I mean they really look like something Ice-T's wife would wear.
Most of the clothes the girls wear are, for lack of a better term, hoochie momma-ish, which is odd for such an old-fashioned group. Most of them are devout catholics and they believe steadfastly in family. Couples are married in their teens, the women are housewives and the men take care of the families.
The life is just so foreign to me in 2011. It's not because they live in Europe and I live in the United States. One girl featured on the show stopped going to school at the age of 11. She admitted she can't read or write very well and said there was no need for it. It stunned me when said everyting she needed to learn was in the house because there was no chance she would ever become a doctor or a lawyer. That is an odd concept for someone who plans to raise her children to believe that anything is possible.
The women aren't really allowed to make independent decisions once they are married. One of the girls was only 16 when she got hitched and lamented about her loss of youth and independence.
Courting for them is an even more bizarre matter. They do something called "grabbing." It looked like the start of a rape. The guys literally pick out a girl, drag her off and force a "kiss." Some of the boys admitted they don't think the girls actually like this ritual, but said it's part of their culture and no one should judge them.
No one really knows how much money these people have or how they make it. They care called Irish Travelers for a reason---they travel a lot. They don't appear to be wealthy, yet they can afford these over-the-top weddings. While they may seem tacky to me, I know I couldn't afford the stuff they have.
I am just so intrigued by this culture. I think it is amazing that they have managed to maintain so much of an "old" culture in this ever changing world. Needless to say, I'll be watching the entire season of this show to see how it will continue to entertain and educate me. I don't think they are better or worse than me. In some ways they are the same and in some ways they are different. *shoulder shrug*