So I'm getting married. To Mr. Right. Next summer. And yes, planning has started full-throttle, though the wedding is almost one year off. But anyone who's done this before knows that planning is a part-time job. Between nervous mothers and traditional boyfriends who want every detail to be perfect, a girl's got a lot of work on her hands.

Thank goodness for feminist pick-me-ups like Anne Kingston's Meaning of Wife, which is like Maureen Dowd meets Carolyn Heilbrun. Kingston mixes wit and wisdom in making her central argument, that women's roles have changed but society hasn't kept up, so that even working women are expected to do the housework and take care of the kids. I agreed with her views, for the most part, and also enjoyed reading the thing, because she manages to use as evidence for her claims very juicy stories, like those of husband-killers Betty Broderick and those of victims-of-husbands Nicole Brown Simpson. So you get to pore through tabloid fodder with the dignity of holding an FSG book in  your hands.

Anyway, I'm contemplating these different meanings of "wife" as we speak, more so than I'm thinking about what DRESS to buy, though clearly I'm fielding more questions on my dress than on my philosophy of gender roles.

Not that I'm above dress-shopping. If you're curious, I'm thinking of slim, slinky, spaghetti-strapped. Maybe off-white. Definitely pouf-free. Maybe not even a wedding dress per se. And a mother-of-pearl comb loosely tethering my hair, much as I saw Plum Sykes model in the October issue of Vogue, instead of a veil.

Feminism, fashion: can I have my cake and eat it too?