Ask a Dilettante – Time of the Season

I have to go to a wedding shower this week. It’s the second one this month (two different couples), and in addition to the shower gifts, I’ll bring another present to each wedding. All of this shopping is costing me a lot of money, and one of the couples is on their second marriage. At what point can I stop buying my friends gravy boats and placemats?

This thought has crossed Dilettante’s mind a time or two. I find it harder and harder to go to wedding showers for friends who are in their 30s. You throw a young couple a shower because they are, in theory, moving out of their parents’ houses and into their own. In that situation, the couple presumably doesn’t have the basic necessities for domestic living, and they need a little help from friends and family. But Americans are getting married later than they used to; most men and women are in their late twenties before they embark on their first marriages.

If you’ve been living on your own since at least college – five years, a decade or more – don’t you already own plates? And pots and pans and glassware and a few forks? Of course you do. So the whole concept of sending all your friends to Macy’s to buy you the shiny stuff you scanned during a frenetic shopping spree, pointing that electronic reader at everything that caught your eye, just seems so…silly.

There should be an age limit to the wedding shower. If you’ve been on your own for a decade or more, no shower. Wedding gifts are still acceptable, but guests should be able to give you whatever they feel is appropriate. As for the couples who request cash donations for their honeymoon, stock portfolio, house down payment – they should get a ceramic chicken sculpture.

When are we going to be able to resume flying with full-size toiletries in our carry-on bags? I’m going out of town for two weeks and can’t fit everything I need in a little zippered sandwich baggie.

Why don’t you just put your toiletries in your checked luggage? Oh, right, because the changes in pressure in the luggage compartment inevitably cause at least one item to explode, thereby making all of your clothes smell like CK One.

Dilettante had to fly during the no-liquids-on-board period, and it was tough knowing that my contact lens solution was baking in the bowels of the airplane while I watched a guy walk on board illegally carrying a big cup of Starbucks coffee (or was it a bomb???). This is back when you weren’t supposed to bring even a bottle of water purchased AT THE AIRPORT onto the flight. So there has been some progress – now you can bring on all the over-priced airport water you want in addition to tiny tubes of toothpaste and little bottles of mouthwash. Once the next “threat” arrives, probably something involving belts or hats or maybe scarves, toiletries will no longer be on the hit list. Hopefully. Then again, we’re still having to remove our shoes.

[This column originally appeared in its entirety on Houstonist.]