For reality TV there’s nothing like a Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

Typical Gypsy wedding gown

Typical Gypsy wedding gown

Just the type of TV show that I would watch and that my home companion would ask me to close the door to my TV room so that she doesn’t even hear the show. She was frankly glad that the series was over so that I would stop talking about it.

We just learned that there is another show about Gypsies starting soon and she is not too happy about that either.

Why my fascination? I am always fascinated by other lifestyles. This one really intrigues me.

When I was a little boy and walking with my mother she would sometimes grab me and pull me to another part of the street. Her reason? There were Gypsies nearby and they kidnap children. My own father-inlaw allegedly was grabbed by Gypsies at one time. I never got the details but most of this stems from their childhood in Eastern Europe. He had a pierced ear to offer as proof

I read a fascinating book a while back called King of the Gypsies by Peter Maas. Perhaps that got me started. When I was traveling as a salesman, I had a motor home and would often stop over night at various campgrounds. Occasionally a group of Gypsies would pull in with their trailers and set up camp.

There was no doubt that they were Gypsies. The trailers looked like the horsedrawn wagons of old with frilly curtains, etc. I did get to talk to one of their children at one time and he asked me why I referred to them as Gypsies. He said this was a derogatory term and that the proper designation was Romini. It surprised me that the show I watched used the term Gypsy and many times they referred to themselves as Gypsies.

The TV show dealt mainly with Gypsy weddings and how they come about. First the girls are brought out at the age of 14, dressed up in the sexiest outfit that they can buy and presented at a huge party so hopefully each can meet the man she will marry by the time she turns 16. It usually is arranged by the families and oft times involves relatives (i.e. first or second cousins). Marrying outside the Gypsy culture is frowned upon. Non-gypsies are known as gajes.

The girls are expected to be “pure” before marriage and the guys… well they can have a good time especially with gaje women. The men all seem to be similar. They are almost all in the “driveway” business. Some actually go out and buy a truckload of asphalt with hopes of selling it that day. If not, it hardens and they throw it away.

Some of the less scrupulous ones will load up with used motor oil and knock on your door telling you that they just finished coating a driveway near you and have enough left over to offer you a great deal. They spread the motor oil and tell you not to drive on it for two days. Of course it never dries and they are long gone by the time you realize that you have been taken.

Apparently scamming is something that comes naturally to some of them. In the series, many of the men admit to serving time but as one father of a groom, who had done time himself, said, “He ain’t never killed no one or nothin!”

Now the wedding: This is a BIG, REALLY BIG, thing in their society. The girls marry very young and a key element of the wedding is the bridal gown. There is a woman in Waltham, MA who makes them and the brides-to-be travel many miles by car or plane to get to her. The gowns are enormous and literally covered with hand applied Swarovski crystal or what they refer to as bling. When I say big, I mean BIG.

They would not fit into an average car and usually use either a limo or truck to move the bride once she is inside the dress. One church actually had to move the pews back to allow room for the dress, which in some cases weighs over 100 pounds and uses enough fabric to cover a football field. They are worn only to march down the aisle and for the ceremony, after which they put on some kind of sexy outfit and begin dancing. The cost averages between $8,000 and $10,000. Sometimes the “bling” is removed after use or the dress itself is sold to another future bride. For 10 grand, I guess they had better.

The Gypsy women, at least in this show, were hot. The guys? Well who am I to judge but if you like spiked hair, which they all seem to have. The choice is yours. One good thing is that the women, from childhood on, are trained to do nothing but clean the house or trailer. That’s it! No wonder my housemate doesn’t like me watching these shows.

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