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Wedding Dress Guy
image My last shred of faith that there is anything real remaining on the internet has now gone. Wedding dress guy has turned out to be a hoax. Like seemingly everyone else on the internet, I recently checked out his eBay auction of his ex-wife's wedding dress. I read through his rant about his ex-wife and enjoyed his remarks, such as his statement that he was selling the dress "to get enough money for maybe a couple of Mariners tickets and some beer." I also laughed at the pictures of him posing in the white dress. I didn't suspect that the story was a fake (I should have known better!), which of course it is, as Nicole Brodeur uncovered in this Seattle Times article. Wedding Dress Guy is named Larry Star. He mentioned a sister in the story, but she doesn't exist. He mentioned that he had no kids with his ex-wife, but he does. I guess this is another case of how you can sell anything on eBay, as long as you weave a good story around it. And the dress did sell: for $3,850. For that price, the buyer gets a used wedding dress and a phony story. It's amazing what some people will spend their money on.
eBaySex/Romance
Posted by The Curator on Fri Apr 30, 2004


He's still hot in that dress though vampire
Posted by Umaro  in  LUE  on  Fri Apr 30, 2004  at  02:03 PM
Actually, the buyer bailed... he's looking for a second buyer... at least according to E! News Network... and you know what hard-hitting journalists those guys are...
Posted by John  in  Seattle, WA  on  Sat May 01, 2004  at  02:58 AM
Alex:

Honestly, you didn't smell a rat when you read that listing on eBay? I didn't buy it for a second.

I don't mean to imply that that somehow makes me better or smarter than you, but I'm surprised that a guy who spends a lot of his time dealing with and reporting on hoaxes was taken in by what seemed to me to be an obvious bullshit story.
Posted by Bob  on  Sat May 01, 2004  at  07:29 AM
Really, Bob, you weren't taken in by it when there was a big message on this site telling you it was fake. There's no wya to know whether you would or would not be taken in by it. So, just shut up.
Posted by Philip  in  Dublin  on  Sat May 01, 2004  at  11:43 AM
It was entirely plausible sounding to me -- his rants were much like those I've heard from jilted spouses.

I'm not sure I'd call it a hoax, though. Embroidering the truth, yes. But he had the dress, he was divorced, he is bitter, he was really selling it. The rest could be attributed to now-standard marketing lies, such as "near mint condition" "minor wear and tear" and "rare!!!!L@@K!!!!"
Posted by cvirtue  on  Sat May 01, 2004  at  01:12 PM
It's not really a hoax, more of a yarn.
It must have been a really quiet day in Seattle when the Times editor decided that this was a story worth pursuing. What an expose!
Posted by Rummaging  in  www.rummaging.org  on  Sat May 01, 2004  at  05:07 PM
blank stare

Okay I admit I bought into it...until he said the Today Show wanted him. That's when I got suspscious.

Pal
Posted by Palaytia  on  Sat May 01, 2004  at  05:21 PM
Now he's got a website too! Did somebody say perfect game?
http://www.rummaging.org for the site.
Posted by Rummaging  on  Sat May 01, 2004  at  05:37 PM
Philip:

I didn't originally see anything on this site about the story. I believe I first heard about it on Fark. Why so snotty? I didn't say anything rude; I only said that I was surprised that someone who deals with hoaxes every day didn't smell a rat in this story.

I think I was suspicious of it in part because there have been several similar stories on eBay in recent months. Remember "Satanic Toaster?" How about the guy who was selling his hard drive supposedly because his ex-wife had loaded it with porn?
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Sat May 01, 2004  at  10:10 PM
Hey, Unless he misrepresented the item he was listing in the auction, who cares about the personal stuff? This guy wrote a real attention grabber. I am just so thankful for the laughter that I shared with friends and family that I couldn't care less about fact or fiction. Ebay is a marketing format - and Larry Star did that better than anyone else!!!
Posted by B.  on  Sun May 02, 2004  at  05:03 AM
Bob, I knew what you meant (and I would have responded sooner but I was up in LA for the day). I was kind of surprised at myself for not smelling a rat earlier since, like you said, I deal with this stuff all the time. But I figured the story didn't sound that implausible. I mean, the brilliant marketing strategy was adding the pictures of himself in the dress. Those aren't a hoax. So why the need to falsify the story itself? It didn't really improve it much. Like Rummaging said, this is really more of a yarn than a hoax. The dress itself is real. Now if he had said the dress was haunted big surprise... that would be another matter.
Posted by Alex  on  Sun May 02, 2004  at  01:33 PM
Man, I feel sorry for anyone who calls this a hoax. Does that mean every time you see a commercial on TV you think those people are REAL! It's marketing, not a hoax.
Posted by Bridget  on  Mon May 03, 2004  at  10:46 AM
If someone to advertise a solar-powered clothes dryer and then sell you some clothesline would you not cal that phony? would you not call it a hoax? - The fools selling junk on ebay don't have to follow the rigorous standards commercial and industrial advertisements do

Let the buyer beware
Posted by J  on  Tue May 04, 2004  at  03:18 PM
Hello all,
No, this was not a hoax. I have an actual dress, and wanted actual money for it. The story was satire, tongue-in-cheek, based on my marriages as well as friends' unfortunate relationships. I wrote something funny, and people laughed. The media took everything way too seriously. I received no remuneration for the dress whatsoever. No one questions any comic's act about their family, yet my veracity is in question. Hell, Brett Butler made a career out of ranking on her "old man". The beating I take in various columns and chat sites are well worth it because of the handful of people that I've touched that told me I've made a positive difference in their relationships. If I have made you laugh, then my job is done. If you are still cynical about being 'deceived' then you should really lighten up and take a good look at the world around you because there is alot more shit out there than this fat guy making a joke in a wedding dress. Thanks. From the heart of my bottom.
Posted by Larry Star  in  seattle  on  Wed May 19, 2004  at  05:12 AM
Uh, sorry, Mr. Wedding Dress Guy, but it most certainly WAS a hoax. Context is everything, you see. When a person goes to an eBay auction, they have the expectation that the information given about the item being sold is accurate. In fact, eBay's rules say that a seller who lies in his auction can be kicked off the service.

The comparison to a comedian's act is not particularly apt. Most observers will realize that a comedian is exaggerated for comedic effect, therefore there is no hoax.

The fact that you had satiric intent does not change the matter. Most hoaxes have satiric intent. Trust me, this is something that I know a little bit about.

Saying "there is alot more shit out there than this fat guy making a joke in a wedding dress" also changes nothing. It reduces to "two wrongs make a right." They don't (not that I'm accusing you of doing anything criminal. For the record, I'm not.) What other people do does not change the nature of what YOU do.

Bottom line: Yes, it was a hoax. It wasn't Orson Welles' War of the Worlds, but it WAS a hoax, in that it was intended to deceive people.

Being a hoaxer doesn't make you a bad person; if it does, I'm bound for Hell. It was a funny story, but it WAS a hoax. No one's calling you a criminal here. I think YOU need to chill out.
Posted by Bob  on  Thu May 20, 2004  at  05:04 AM
Bob, I disagree. Whatever the terms of service say, the eBay listings are full of funny stories, tales of heartbreak and made-up things. It's part of its charm.

Hoax is a little bit strong and more than a little judgemental. It was a guy with a sense of humour, telling a funny story through the medium of online auctions.

If anything, I would call hoax on the Seattle Times for *exposing* it as a hoax. It's not news to *reveal* that a guy a telling a joke might be embellishing his story.

Also, Larry, if you read this, protect the brand my friend. Where's the mystique if you rise to the bait on every nobody's blog? If I can't persuade you to do that, then at least come and have a go at me on my site smile
Posted by Rummaging  in  UK  on  Thu May 20, 2004  at  02:58 PM
No, I'm not being judgmental at all. I'm merely saying that what Wedding Dress Guy did meets the definition of a hoax. Calling it a "hoax" is not a condemnation at all. The fact that other people do similar things on eBay does not change the characteristics of what HE did.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Thu May 20, 2004  at  06:11 PM
What the hell? How can this be a hoax if the item he sold is exactly as described? A hoax would be, if he said he is selling a wedding dress but doesn't have one, or ships a freaking milk bone instead. Who cares about the personal stuff? That just spices the auction up!!!! Who cares if it was from the ex wife or ur best friend handed it to you, or you found it in a garbage dumpster. Bottom line is.....the buyer gets what is advertised. Not to mention, the buyer didn't even pay!! If anyone is a hoaxter, its the wanna be buyer. How come there is hardly any mention of that??

Anyhow, Larry, I cried tears reading the auction, it was a job mega well done. People need to stop (anal)yzing everything. Most miss the point anyhow smile and that shows the true intelligence. So, consider the source, lol. Best wishes for your future!!
Posted by Katie  in  Home  on  Fri May 21, 2004  at  10:15 PM
Katie, you miss the point I've made repeatedly. It doesn't MATTER if other people do the same thing; that doesn't in any way change the nature of what YOU'VE done. On eBay, rightly or wrongly, people tend to bid on items based at least in part on the story behind the auction. Suppose I listed a pen for sale and I said that the pen was owned by President Kennedy even though it wasn't. Would you not expect that some people might bid higher for the pen based on the story I told than they would have if I was truthful and said that it was an ordinary pen NOT owned by a famous person? According to your argument, it isn't a hoax because, after all, the bidder got a pen. Again, just so I'm not misunderstood, I am NOT saying that Wedding Dress Guy committed a crime; I'm merely saying that his misleading listing WAS a hoax. Still disagree? Please contact me--I have boxes full of Richard Nixon's broken pens, an electric toothbrush formerly owned by Princess Diana and a pair of size 13 Nikes that Denzel Washington gave me. I'd LOVE to sell them to you.
Posted by Bob  on  Fri May 21, 2004  at  10:57 PM
Well Bob,

Apparently YOU are STILL missing the point. He did not advertise a dress that was worn by princess Diana, but a wedding dress. And no one accused you of saying it was a crime. I think you need to relax a bit smile. Bottom line still is......what ever you advertise on eBay has to be exactly that. He described the dress, with humor may I add. And the buyer would have received exactly that. He did NOT say that is was the queen of France or anything like that, which would have been a lie and a hoax. Nor did I ever say that if other people list items falsely it makes it ok for others. I buy and sell on eBay myself, so I have a clean perspective. Again, what is overlooked is the fact that Larry never got paid to begin with. The buyer is the hoaxter. Would he have paid, he would have received the dress in the pictures (I would hope,lol). If not, than that would be another issue in its self.
Why would his story make u bid higher?? Because it was from his Ex wife, or because he drives a crappy truck?? Please enlighten me? Because your statement makes no sense!!!!!! Maybe you are jealous because you are not as original?? Since you are so on the uppy the up with the regulations, maybe you should educate yourself somemore to get the facts straight, you being an expert and all.

Have a great weekend
Posted by Katie  in  Still at home  on  Fri May 21, 2004  at  11:43 PM
reading the whole topic here I'd say..

Katie hit the nail..... ALL THE WAY.....

Calling this "show" a hoax just misses the whole point.

Why? Let's count on the facts..... Ebay: It expects the seller to describe the item on auction accurately. The "mint condition" argument does not work. You got to be accurate. I personally followed the auction for some days, and I had a LAUGH! = PRICELESS!!!!!
If you fall for it.. Who to blame? Ever thought of blaming yourself?
Misleading (extended) information..... Now who did NEVER call in at work because mom, dad, the kids, the sister, the brother, or grandma was sick, or some other close person passed away and there was that funeral?
Who NEVER tried to be a "HOAXTER" then ?????

Leave the church in town.
It's toughy to deny your own child. But this is up to Larry. This is what he has to deal with it by himself.

Bottomline is. His story was GREAT. He gave everyone a laugh, and it was THAT good, he even catched the public media's attention. I also wish him the best, and thank him for the few moments of laughter, he gave me.
Looking further deep into it..... He's a smart ass, who deserves what he gets out of it. Unusual ways, for unusual people.
But he ain't no hoax. He did not betray, nor steal, nor nothing. NOBODY got hurt, except those who don't have enough fun within themselves to laugh about it, with the initial assumption of someone has a bright side of humour.

With that said..... Bravo Katie for hitting the point just more precisely than anyone else could have said, Larry for the outstanding idea and the laughter, and also Bob, for the opportunity to look into things from another angle. No matter what, I personally think you sound more bitter, in a serious way, than Larry ever did with his auction background.
Posted by Charly  on  Fri May 21, 2004  at  11:46 PM
Katie, what exactly is the reason for the personal attacks? You know NOTHING about me. If you ran a check on this website, you'd find out rather rapidly that hoaxing is something I know a fair amount about. Implying that someone who doesn't agree with you is somehow mentally deficient is often the tactic of a person who doesn't debate well. Putting that aside, I think I make it pretty clear in my last posting how making up facts about an item you offer for sale on eBay can and DOES raise the bidding. No, he didn't claim that the wedding dress was worn by the Queen (nor did I say that he DID. It's called an ANALOGY!) but he DID falsify the facts about the dress. Also, the fact that the bidder defaulted on paying doesn't change the original hoax. I sinply can't follow your "logic" on that. I fail to see how the fact that his story made people (including me, by the way) laugh NOT a hoax. As for humorous intent, MANY hoaxes are intended to make people laugh. My friend Alan Abel has been perpetrating humorous hoaxes for the past half-century. Joey Skaggs has been doing the same sort of thing since the 60's. I've been doing similar things for at least the past 20 years. You might want to look up the definition of "hoax" in the dictionary. Your argument seems to be more with Mr. Webster than me.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Sat May 22, 2004  at  04:37 AM
Bob,
I will team up here again with Katie. She set very valid points. I cannot see any personal attack within her posts. She is questioning. Perhaps, if one takes it personal then she may just have touched some weak spot? Since you've suggested, here is the link, and the definitions: Hoax: 1. An act intended to deceive or trick.
2. Something that has been established or accepted by fraudulent means.
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=hoax&r=67 You see? It's a matter of how you look at things. None of the above 2 definitions applies to this case. Not in my opinion. And if you admit you have been doing hoaxes yourself, what's the point of being that biased and judgemental?? This just does not make any sense to me. All what Larry did was excellent marketing. Copywriting in a top class, and outstanding humerous way. What made his auction famous was not the fact WHAT he wrote down. It was the way HOW he wrote. This made the auction become the most viewed auction ever on ebay, and made the people bid like crazy. Back to Katie, her comparison was all correct. You've compared the dress with "Nixon's broken pens", or other celeb items. And this would make the difference all the way. That was her point, and it's valid. Since you've compared apples and oranges.
Posted by Charly  on  Sat May 22, 2004  at  10:39 AM
Seems like a bit of tempest in a teapot brewing here over the definition of a hoax. I've gotta say that even if Bob says it's a hoax, that doesn't mean he's condemning it. Bob has been behind quite a few hoaxes himself. You can read about some of his exploits here:

http://www.mediaman.com.au/interviews/pagani.html


Maybe you want to call what Larry Star did clever marketing, instead of a 'hoax.' That's fine. It's just a question of semantics. Clever marketers are born hoaxers. They know you're never just selling a product... you're really selling an image. You take a boring product and wrap it in an exciting story, and sell it that way.

Part of the clever marketing behind the image of modern marketing itself is to disassociate it from hoaxing, because hoaxes conjure up negative connotations. Like P.T. Barnum always claimed, he wasn't hoaxing people, he was just entertaining them.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Sat May 22, 2004  at  01:30 PM
Yes, Alex, this IS something of a tempest in a teapot. All I've ever said is that what Wedding Dress Guy did fits the definition of a hoax. I've been very careful to say, over and over, that I wasn't being judgmental (which is why I kept repeating that it wasn't a crime or anything like that. I didn't want to be misconstrued.) Sorry, folks, but it DOES meet the definition of "hoax." Definition #1: hoax n. An act intended to deceive or trick. Definition #2: hoax \Hoax\, n. [Prob. contr. fr. hocus, in hocus-pocus.] A deception for mockery or mischief; a deceptive trick or story; a practical joke. --Macaulay. Definition #3: hoax \Hoax\, v. t. To deceive by a story or a trick, for sport or mischief; to impose upon sportively. --Lamb. OK, which of those DOESN'T apply here? These definitions even address the notion that "it made me laugh, therefore it isn't a hoax." Sorry, but as I've tried to explain repeatedly, humorous intent does not make something NOT a hoax. As for the "insult" toward me from Katie, how's this: "Because your statement makes no sense!!!!!! Maybe you are jealous because you are not as original?? Since you are so on the uppy the up with the regulations, maybe you should educate yourself somemore to get the facts straight, you being an expert and all." My facts ARE straight. I'm sorry that the actual definition of "hoax" doesn't agree with yours, but it just doesn't. It doesn't make you a bad person, it merely means that, in this instance, you are incorrect.
Posted by Bob  on  Sat May 22, 2004  at  10:36 PM
He got stiffed on the ebay sale! The winning bidder never bought the item. Maybe it isn't a straight up hoax but more of a slick sales pitch...
Posted by fooboy  on  Wed May 26, 2004  at  06:05 PM
Fooboy, that "point" has been made and refuted several times now. The fact that he was stiffed on the sale does NOT make what he did NOT a hoax. Here's an analogy for you: I con you into giving me your Rolex watch. It turns out that it isn't a REAL Rolex, but a fake. That in no way proves that I DIDN'T con you in the first place. What B does does not change what A did in the first place. Events move forward, not backward.
Posted by Bob  on  Thu May 27, 2004  at  04:52 AM
Speculation not related to the FACT he was stiffed. You read what I wrote, but my meaning was not clear.

He has a slick story, he didn't sell the steak he sold sold the sizzle. First rule of salesmanship. Tell a golf loving customer you like golf. Give the customer a tube of golfballs. Then, sell the product. He did not hoax anyone, but had a great pitch.

I didnt see anyone post where he got stiffed. I thought it was an interesting sidenote.
Posted by fooboy  on  Thu May 27, 2004  at  05:25 PM
Fooboy, as I've said before, this thing most certainly WAS a hoax. Check my post below where I give not one, not two, but THREE definitions of "hoax." This fits ALL of them. As Alex has pointed out, the problem here seems to be that, at least to some people, "hoax" has a negative connotation. Since they laughed at what he wrote on eBay, they think that Wedding Dress Guy's story just CAN'T be a hoax. It fits the definition, though, so that's that.
Posted by Bob  on  Fri May 28, 2004  at  05:11 AM
Bob, I must say that after reading through all the responses, you have swayed my opinion and I have to agree with you. Given the definition of "Hoax", this fits. Although the dress is exactly as represented in the original EBay sale, the story going along with it is not. Whether or not the story does (or should) have any bearing on the final purchase price, it is not true. Whatever the reasons, Mr. Wedding Dress Guy intentionally fabricated the story with the intent to deceive. Although I am agreeing with you, I also want to make the point that I am in no way tying any negative connotations to the whole story, however it IS a hoax.
Posted by Steve  in  USA  on  Wed Jun 02, 2004  at  01:20 PM
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