"Oh! We have a florist."
My fiancee and I are walking through Forest Park.
"It's the place my mom goes for all her floral needs."
This happens all the time now. Spontaneous bursts of wedding chatter.
"What are your thoughts on boutonnieres?"
I think the word is impossibly difficult to spell and conjures images of the French Foreign Legion. Excuse me, Gen. Boutonniere? Monsieur Van Damme is here.
"Do I have to wear a boutonniere?"
"No. But they're doing good things with greenery these days, if you don't want a flower."
"I'm not sure I need a salad on my suit. Can't I just wear a wrist corsage?"
The planning of August's wedding is moving forward. That my fiancee hasn't gouged my eyes out with her engagement ring is a testament to her overall wonderfulness.
Getting married doesn't just mean getting married. It means being prepared to talk about any wedding detail at any time. It's like a pop quiz.
One day it's wardrobe, the next it's hors d'oeuvres. (Why, by the way, can't those be taken care of by me, the groomsmen, a case of beer, a few boxes of Ritz and some cans of Easy Cheese?)
One day, on a leisurely walk up to Pittock Mansion, where -- surprise! -- three wedding parties are engaged in portrait-making, the flower situation charges to the front of the pack.
Flowers. Unlike many other things in this process, flowers mean something to guys. They mean we're sorry. Sorry we left the door open and the cat ran away. Sorry we're two hours late and smell of beer and have peanut shells in our socks and what do you mean who won the game? What game?
Flowers are an apology.
Our initial floral estimate is $950. Figuring Hallmark.com's current price of about $50 per dozen roses, that's 19 apologies. And a rose by any other name is still a rose. Easy to say. Easy to spell.
Our florist's Web site lists such boutonnieres as the Rolled Gypsophila, the Purple Dendrobium, the Pink Alstroemeria and the Green Hydrangea. The last looks suspiciously like garnish. Then again, what's the difference?
Is the boutonniere really necessary?
"Those flower things you stick on your lapel despite the fact that suits, tuxes and T-shirts were never meant to have flowers pinned on them?" my friend Mike asked.
Yeah, those things. Sort of. "Boutonniere" actually derives from the French word for buttonhole, presumably the one on the left lapel, where the flower's supposed to go. As a fashion statement, it recalls a more elegant time -- the medieval one.
Knights, allegedly, would wear their lady's colors. Knights also wore suits of armor and dragons were slain.
It'll be August in Ohio and have you priced a suit of armor recently? Not that it's a bad idea.
"Every time I wear one of those things," Mike said, "I just think, 'This is it: the nipple piercing I have always dreaded.' The only thing that would make it worse is if somebody decided they should be pinned around my pants zipper."
Old Hollywood probably had daily boutonniere budgets. Today, Brad Pitt just flares his collar and helps Angelina Jolie adopt another kid. No one's slaying dragons anymore, not even as a euphemism.
The boutonniere is a thing of the past. Totally unnecessary.
We'll probably go with the Miniature Calla.