My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding: A Brief Look
We, Katelyn and myself, recently sat down to watch an episode of Sister Wives on TLC. We had about 10 minutes before it started so Katelyn went about the house to do a few things. While waiting for the riveting Mormon family documentary, I got to check out the final scene of a new show aptly named My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding. It wasn’t 30 seconds before I yelled to Kate, “Holy crap. There’s two girls beating the snot out of each other and their tops are off.” After that, we were sold. (Short recap: some Gypsies were getting married, and the bride’s friend vehemently voiced her disapproval.)
The Gypsy culture, or Romani as they call themselves (short for Romanichal), is a strange one to say the least, but one that, like any other, has its reasons and its traditions. These traditions are not what many would call normal or even sane, but they have worked for the Romanis for a century or more and don’t show any signs of changing.
This is what we’ve gathered from watching about seven episodes:
- The men work, mostly paving jobs away from home for weeks at a time. Pretty much they lay asphalt. They get to do whatever and whomever they please. They are the bosses of this world, and all women follow their orders.
- The women stay home and clean their houses, often campers, all the time. They are expected to be 100% pure when they marry. Like not even kissed a boy pure. Dancing scandalously at parties is fine though.
- They love bling and use the word all the time. Everything that is “bling” is a diamond. Rhinestone? Diamond. Swarovski crystal? Diamond. Glitter? Diamond. Fingernails, wedding dresses, regular dresses, jeans, shoes, hair, all have to have “DIAMONDS”! And when we say they use the word bling, we mean they use it like they are rappers from 2003.
- Marriage is HUGE! Weddings are the social events of these people’s lives. There are really no words that can do these nuptials justice. We will try though. They are very blingy. The dresses are the size of Volkswagens and usually weigh in excess of 75 pounds. Typically the women get married around age 16 or 17 to men (boys) around the same age, often forgoing high school diplomas to begin adult life. Who needs education when a bucket of Clorox is waiting? Marrying relatives is not uncommon, although West Virginia will not allow it forcing many couples into Virginia in order to marry their first cousins. All Gypsies buy their dresses from the one and only Sondra Celli. She is not famous in most circles, if you were wondering (http://sondracelli.com/).
- Despite the title of the show implying it is all about weddings, it really isn’t. They live to throw parties using any excuse they can find. Baptisms, family reunions, baby showers, and holiday get-togethers have all been featured on the show. The least amount of clothes they can wear to these functions, the better. And don’t think for a second that their teeth are naturally so white. They legitimately use household bleach to rid their pearly whites of cigarette stains.
- Non-Gypsies are called “Gorgers”. To be a Gypsy, you have to have 100% Gypsy blood. Anything less, and you are a Gorger. Think in terms of Harry Potter. Gorgers = Muggles. Gypsies rarely associate with Gorgers. Men are allowed to enjoy their company before marriage, but are frowned upon if they enter into serious relationships with non-Gypsies. Women are expected to stay away from Gorgers altogether. I guess non-Gypsies are just way too “out there” for them.
This show aims to correct misconceptions about the Gypsy culture. However, after our short stint of watching it, we feel it might be failing. We’re still not completely convinced.
We hope that these brief thoughts give you enough of a mental picture to encourage you to give My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding a try. We promise, you will not be disappointed.
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