Tag Archives: black women

Jennifer’s body.

2 Sep

Things would be far simpler if this post was actually about “Jennifer’s Body”. Source

*August 13, 2017: (very brief) AUTHOR’S NOTE AT END OF POST)

I’m going to need to ask David Sedaris and Sloane Crosley if they still have friends.

I’ve been getting a bit of backlash about le blog; specifically, certain people weren’t thrilled with their portrayal in past posts. I will make it up to them by baring my soul in today’s entry*. Like, really putting it out there. Talking about things I hope I rarely do, laying private things out on the line, inspiring Jennifer Lawrence’s people to file a restraining order against me.

Yes, I love Jennifer Lawrence. Much like Annie Cresta did to Finnick Odair, Jen crept up on me. I first saw her in the film “Winter’s Bone” for which she was nominated for an Oscar. Even though I fell asleep in the middle, I was pretty impressed by her portrayal of Ree Dolly, the main character. However, the book was way better, of course; she didn’t win the Oscar, and I quickly forgot all about her. Then came The Hunger Games.

For the last six years, I have been employed by either a bookstore, a library, or both. There isn’t a book trend that escapes my notice. So I was familiar with Suzanne Collins’ trilogy, but didn’t pay it much attention. It takes me a while to embrace certain pop culture trends, books being one area that I am particularly stubborn about.  I scoffed at the Harry Potter series for years before I finally gave in. I won’t touch anything Twilight related with a ten-foot pole, unless that pole is also on fire. The only thing Fifty Shades of Gray can do for me is provide me with more than fifty ways to wipe my ass with its pages. So when The Hunger Games became a thing, I responded by rolling my eyes and picking anything else to read.

Because I pride myself on being a pretentious blowhard, my assumption is that things that most people – especially your average, everyday people – like are probably terrible. People in general are stupid. Why would I want to read something that everybody thinks is great? I choose things to read based on recommendations from trusted friends; judging books by their covers; and searching out the books and authors that writers I respect enjoy. Oh, and whatever NPR tells me to read. That way, I can brag by saying “I first became aware of ____________ when I heard it mentioned on All Things Considered. Michele Norris says it’s a must read.” Man, am I one high sadity bitch or what?

Anyway, one of those trusted friends asked if I had read The Hunger Games. In response, my eyes glazed over and I said “What? Is that the book about anorexia or something? We can’t keep it on the shelves, but no, haven’t read it. Don’t know if it’s my thing.” She grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me. “You have to read this book” she spit as she slapped me across the face. Okay, that didn’t actually happen, but wouldn’t it have been awesome if she had? “Read it and we’ll go to see the movie at the end of the week.” It was an order I had no reason to refuse.

Amazingly, the book was available at the library where I’m currently employed. I checked it out and started to read it on my dinner break. I read it at my desk while pretending to work. I read it while the students I supervise quietly went about their closing duties. I read it as they stood over me, holding their time cards, waiting for me to wake from my HG-induced haze so they could leave. Basically, I was hooked and finished it that night. And yes, I cried. Hysterically and often.

That weekend my trustworthy friend and I went to the movie. “I know her!” I gasped the first time Jennifer Lawrence came on screen. “She’s the girl who got nominated for an Oscar for this movie about hillbillies! And now she’s doing another movie about hillbillies, sorta! I like her!” I said between bites of popcorn. “Shut up!” hissed my friend. I was practically swooning as I soaked in every moment of Jen’s portrayal of Katniss. She brought that girl to life. She became grumpy, depressed, determined, confused, kick-ass Katniss Everdeen. I cried for and with her. I shrieked and laughed and cheered and just made a fool of myself in the dark, crowded theater. I walked in a normal woman over thirty hooked on a YA series and left a woman obsessed.

Jennifer Lawrence is the girl I want to be and if I can’t be her, I want to be her best friend. I will settle for living vicariously through Zoe Kravitz. . . for now. She’s funny and down to Earth. She makes self-depreciating jokes that are adorkable and quirky and don’t come across as secret cries for help. She likes to look good but isn’t a total jerk about it. She still hangs out with her parents and brothers and boyfriend and does it all while wearing mismatched pajamas and exhibiting appropriate emotions upon receiving major news. She helps black ladies wearing booty shorts who suddenly faint on the sidewalk. She plays basketball and forgets to shave her armpits. I have a major fangirl crush on her. I’d donate an organ to this chick. Speaking of bodies, I want her body. I’d also settle for having her adorable face.

Let’s ignore the many psychological and sociological issues involved in my apparent desire to look like a white, blond-haired, blue-grayish-greenish-eyed woman 11 years my junior. This isn’t that kind of blog, i.e., I’ll objectify and idolize who I want, dammit! The real issue, the secret that I referenced above, is that there was a time that I did have Jennifer’s body (See! Don’t underestimate me, kid.).

I was 16 or 17 years old and dating yet another mean boy. I can’t wait for the day that I can write about a guy I dated who wasn’t awful to me. Yeesh. Anyway, this guy was short and skinny. I was all of 140-lbs. and a size 8 at 5’5. I felt like a beast. My weight had been an issue my whole life, but it took years for me to realize that my weight wasn’t actually an issue at all. My parents (maybe just my mom) had certain ideas about what kids were supposed to look like and I guess I didn’t fit the image in their mind’s eye. To make matters even more sucktastic, I started developing very early. Boobs and Aunt Flo appeared while I was still in elementary school. By high school, I was spindly arms and legs, crazy cheek bones that could have cut glass, huge boobs, huge butt, and a soft tummy. To my distorted, adolescent mind I might as well have been morbidly obese.

It didn’t help that my “boyfriend” at the time was a shrimp and a jerk. I towered over him and probably outweighed him. He commented on my body whenever he could, never calling me fat outright, but would suggest that I looked fat in certain clothes or ate too much or too often. It never dawned on me that he was insecure about his height and chicken chest and was doing whatever he could to make me feel as bad as he did because I was an idiot. I cried a lot, eventually dumped him when I found out he was regularly sexing the girl who’d fixed us up that I thought was my friend, and went on a mission to recreate my gigantic body into one that would leave him begging me to take him back.

It started innocently at first. I’d go on walks with friends or do a “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” tape and a bunch of crunches, followed by a trip to Taco Bell. It quickly turned into something rather ugly, I guess. I say “I guess” because even knowing what I know now about what I did, I miss the control and willpower I was able to exude back then. I also say “I guess” because it’s embarrassing and awkward as a person who’s been different variations of fat for the last 13 years to reminisce about how I was once very thin. People always want photographic evidence; you show them the pictures and they either say “Oh, you weren’t that thin!” or “You looked so good back then!” or “You looked awful!” or “I prefer you with weight on you” and it all sounds like horrible lies and the awful truth. It may only be embarrassing to me, but I have heard “What happened to you?” more times than I’d like to admit. I haven’t heard that lately, but those four words replay in my ears whenever I’m faced with seeing someone I haven’t seen in ages who knew me when. And I don’t have a kid I can shove in their faces and blame for my additional girth, so I know that they know that I just got “lazy” or “depressed”. Parents, hug your children! You may be fat, but you have a runny-nosed, loud-mouthed, obnoxious, toothless, short person who demands things to blame for your flabby body! I just have me.

I can’t really recall the moment that things got ugly. My exercise routine must not have given me the results I hoped for and I wanted a boost. Not sure if the diet pills or the laxatives came first, but I can remember the fear and excitement I felt as I bought them and sneaked them into my bedroom. Then I decided that as it was fat I was trying to lose from my body, fat was the thing that I needed to lose from my diet. I allowed myself 0-10 grams of fat per day, with “cheating” allowed on Saturdays. Meat was all fat, so that had to go without question. My diet mainly consisted of rice cakes and baby carrots. Those were my favorite things to eat, as they came in bags, making them convenient to carry with me, and both things were fat-free. I’d bring full bags of each to school with me and subsist on those alone – oh and candy, as long as it was fat-free – and a bottle of water for the entire day. The diet pills killed my appetite and gave me energy so I could accomplish my two to four hours of exercise a day. The laxatives let me shit away what I did eat since I allowed myself unlimited quantities of food as long as it was fat-free. Though I tried several times, I never could get the hang of self-induced vomiting, so the laxatives were a godsend.

My cheat meals on Saturdays weren’t very much fun at all. I’m sure the combination of my restrictive diet and laxative use was destroying my stomach. I couldn’t enjoy the one food I looked forward to indulging in each weekend – french fries – without excruciating stomach pain afterwards. Instead of curbing my weight-loss efforts, this unwelcome side-affect only encouraged me to report that I was “allergic to/unable to digest fat”, self-diagnosed, of course! I became more focused than ever.

One of my favorite examples of how insane I became is the following story: I was out for a run with a friend. My workout clothes were hanging off me. My friend was struggling to keep up as I had the artificially produced energy of a meth head. We jogged in place, at my insistence of course, as we waited for it to be safe to cross the street. I don’t know where the car came from; we had both looked and waited until we thought it was clear. My friend made it safely across while I made it up onto the hood of  an old Saab driven by a terrified man. In case I described that too poetically for you, I was hit by a freaking car. He hit me with enough force that I was thrown up on to his hood, hit his windshield, and rolled off into the street. I jumped up, elbows and knees skinned, forehead bruised, and stared at the driver, stunned. He took one look at me and since I was upright and had my eyes open, decided to speed off. My friend was screaming in terror and pulled me out of the road. “Ohmygodohmygodohmygod, are you alright??” he screamed. “You just got hit by a car!!” I quickly snapped out of my daze – thanks, amphetamines! – and started to jog in place again. “Yeah, I’m fine! We need to get back on our run! Burn that fat! Let’s go! Please don’t tell my parents what happened!”

I was so thin. I didn’t feel very thin because the scale wouldn’t budge below 124.5-lbs., which to me was still a too large number, but I was thin. My graduation dress was a size 3 in Juniors; I’m sure I cried with delight when it fit. My mom and I had never been closer. We finally looked just alike! A beautiful, majestic doe and her fawn. We shopped like an upcoming ban on women’s wear had just been announced. People stopped me on the street to ask if I was a model and when they learned that I wasn’t, to demand that I start a career right. That. Minute! Men and boys professed their love with a frequency that made my head spin. Girls hated my guts. One especially jealous bitch angrily told my friend that no matter how thin the rest of me got, I’d always have a fat ass. I wanted to thank her, as what she thought was a dig actually meant that I’d achieved Black America’s Dream, but he wasn’t supposed to tell, so I never got to rub her face in my skinny body and bodacious buttocks.

All good things must come to an end. College ushered in my eventual defeat. At first, things were awesome. I continued my ridiculous eating habits, the boys on campus declared me the hottest thing since. . . I don’t know, the sun? The sun’s super hot. Since I was a total prude and didn’t drink, I didn’t gain the dreaded Freshman Fifteen. But I wasn’t happy. I was incredibly lonely. Loneliness turned out to be the only thing I got to keep from my visit to The Land of Incredibly Thin Pretty Girls. I hated my roommate. I was convinced I was going to catch a disease from her and her nasty boyfriend. Sex particles travel through the air and that’s how you get STDs, right? I knew better; I’d gotten at least a B in science, but I had this incredible anxiety that I was going to become diseased from living with her that I couldn’t shake. My runs weren’t fun anymore. Creepy men thought it was funny to chase me. Working out in the gym on campus was out of the question as guys would show up with chips and soda, pull up a seat and watch me on the Stairmaster. Lucky for me the bouncers at the local nightclub took pity on me and let me in even though I wasn’t yet 18. Clubbing Thursday through Saturday became crucial as dancing was how I got my exercise. If guys wanted to stare or even grope, fine, just as long as I could burn fat on the dance floor.

Fall came in with a rush of freezing, bitter cold wind. Between my gross roommate and the rapidly dropping temperature, I was certain that I was dying. I dressed in layers and became more vigilant about food. I didn’t eat more nutritiously, well, not on purpose anyway. I decided that I would allow myself to eat anything that I wanted, absolutely ANYTHING once a day- as long as I could make it fit on a coffee saucer. It couldn’t hang off. Dry English muffins and hard boiled eggs became a favorite. Dark beverages were out; I could only consume liquids that I could see through. Most of the time, my day’s calories came from 2-liter bottles of Sprite or 7-Up and fruit or plain baked potatoes from the campus cafe. I went to my pediatrician and told him that I was afraid I had contracted Mono from my roommate. I was Mono free, but the good doctor was worried about my weight: 118-lbs. in two shirts, a sweater, jeans, a belt, platform high-heeled loafers (Shut it, it was the 90s) and undergarments. I don’t know why he didn’t have me undress. He wanted to know if I was eating. Of course I was! I just didn’t digest fat very well, so my eating options were limited. He took my answer as gospel, I suppose, as I don’t recall anything more happening from his initial concern.

Eventually I paid a visit to the school psychologist. I don’t know what caused me to finally become concerned for myself. My friends’ worries fell on deaf ears. I’d signed up for a campus fashion show and in the space where we were to write down our sizes, I put ‘Women’s 5/6’. The coordinator of the show, a fabulous and outspoken gay man, took one look at my form and shouted “Pppfffssshht! Put her in the 2s!” They did, and they fit. I reminded my friends who were shocked to see what size I’d become as I came down the runway that the 2s didn’t really fit; they were a bit tight on my stomach. A true size 2 wouldn’t have red marks on her belly after wearing pants. They shook their heads in defeat and I invited them back to my dorm room for Sprite and oranges.

The school psychologist told me that I was beautiful, and certainly thin, but girls with eating disorders were emaciated and I was not, and that meant that I was okay! In a rare moment of clarity, I shook my head and stammered “But I have. . . trouble eating. And I’m always cold. I think there might be something wrong with me.” Was I puking? Nope. Had I eaten that day? Yup. “You have a beautiful body! You’re fine. You’re just experiencing first-year stress.” That was two doctors that didn’t think anything was a big deal and one of them had basically said that I was fat, so I went on my way and changed nothing.

As suddenly as my transformation had begun, it was over. I met a girl who recognized the disordered eating behaviors I exhibited and reached out to me in friendship and concern. She tried to teach me how to eat again. Her efforts were short lived as I noticed that I was starting to gain weight using her methods. I met my first white boyfriend who had no time for my food nonsense and wanted a girl who would eat, so I made my best efforts during our relationship. The whole mess was started by a boy’s opinion of me and ended for the same reason. I was back up to 124.5-lbs., then 130-lbs., then 135-lbs., and before I knew it, I was 140-145-lbs. again. But the damage had already been done.

I had tasted thinness and it was delicious. No matter how I tried, though, I couldn’t make my body do what it had done for those glorious 2 years. Diet pills and laxatives didn’t seem to have any affect on me anymore. Eventually, the good ones were taken off the market. My weight would eventually soar and drop, climb and fall for the rest of my adult life. 140-lbs. is a long ago dream. And I never did learn how to eat. Food is like a stranger that I see everywhere but have no idea how to interact with. I’m either ignoring it or food’s taking out an order of protection against me. “Officer, she ate my entire family. She even ate the children! Keep her away from me! Her appetite is insatiable!”

So, that’s my secret. I may or may not have had and continue to struggle with disordered eating. You’ll notice I’ve never used the term “eating disorder”. Can’t do it. Doesn’t feel real. Mostly because two doctors and two parents and lots of other adults didn’t see a problem. They told me I was beautiful and that only white emaciated girls struggle with anorexia and bulimia. They were the experts; I’m sure they knew what was best.

Jennifer Lawrence gets flack about her beautiful body. Dumb idiots think she looks “fat” on screen. She gives those douche hounds the bird and keeps it moving. I’m fascinated and amazed by her ability to eat regular food, – no “clean eating” or vegetarianism or binging or starving has been reported about her. . . yet –  whenever and whatever she wants, and still be slender and beautiful. I don’t know. I guess that’s not my particular lot in life. But my eyes have seen the glory, even if it was for just a brief moment in time! I wish I’d bothered to wear a bikini back then. Dammit.

Well, those I’ve written about and upset, I hope this makes us even. I shined a bright light on a part of my life I’d have rather kept hidden away. I hope you’ll forgive me for inadvertently hurting your feelings in previous posts. But whatever you do, don’t ask me to see those pictures. If you thought what I wrote before was bad. . .

*I want to apologize in advance if anything I wrote was triggering or offensive to anyone who has had or currently struggles with an ED. Though I am uncomfortable labeling myself as someone who has an ED or is in recovery from one, especially because I was never diagnosed and continue to have major struggles with food, weight, and body image, I empathize with and understand your struggle. It is not my intention to purposely cause hurt or make light of a debilitating disease that has robbed so many of so much; I’m more comfortable making light of my own struggles than speaking about them seriously, yet realize the seriousness of the struggle of others.

*August 13, 2017: Who… who was I in 2012?? I don’t know. I no longer feel this way about Jennifer Lawrence. What the- my god.

Never a bride: the conclusion, or, Ambrosia alienates pretty much everyone.

25 Aug

I hope you’ll allow me to piss and moan for a bit before I get back to the story. Writing about this ridiculous, half-assed “wedding” has made me very angry. I am angry because this shit stain of a memory reminds me of all the times that I’ve said ‘yes’. Yes, I’ll drive an hour so you can get your stuff out of storage. Yes, I’ll watch your pets and/or kids. Yes, I’ll work those hours for you. Yes, I’ll reschedule/sit this one out. Yes, I’ll take the blame. Yes, you can borrow my car. Yes, Ill go with you to a nude resort. And of course, yes, I’ll be in your wedding/go to your bridal/baby shower/bachelorette party. I am a bitter, spiteful, sad, pitiful, possibly ungrateful bitch who will always say ‘yes’ but will always find myself with hurt feelings, alone on a Friday night, or panic-stricken as I try to figure out how the hell I’m going to move my life from one awful place to another without help*, while people like Wanda get to have second weddings. You read that right; Wanda will be getting married for the second time in a few short months.

I am not friends with Wanda anymore, if you couldn’t tell. The end of our “friendship” came when, displaying the reading comprehension of an artichoke, Wanda chose to publicly shame and humiliate me because she was insulted by something I wrote. It was actually a compliment, but like I said, the bitch can’t read. It’s pretty awesome when people accidentally react badly to neutral things because at least then you know where you really stand. I would be a liar if I said it didn’t burn me deep inside my black, hollow soul that “Lisa” from the story along with another friend of mine have chosen to remain loyal to a hateful, classless, pathological liar; they’ll be and have been attending Wanda’s wedding and marriage do-over and associated activities. But it’s not like it’s a fucking surprise. The title of this blog is based on my being shat upon by people I thought were supposed to at least politely tolerate me because of our shared genetics, if not human decency, so of course it is little surprise that some of my oldest friends would continue to hang out with and celebrate a person who’s most redeeming quality is that she can tell you where to get a bad weave for cheap. Anyway. I’m probably not making much sense and I’m digging a hole for myself, so I shall write no more about my roller coaster of emotions. You came here to read a funny story about a totally cracked-out wedding. I’ll keep my feelings of mild betrayal and seething anger where they belong: under a pile of hot wings and blue cheese sauce deep down in my rapidly expanding gut. On with the show!

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Her facial expression just about sums it up. Source

So the ceremony was a disaster. When it was finally over, a handsome older gentleman came walking over with a professional camera, shaking his head and rounding us up to take pictures. He was eventually introduced to us as Wanda’s uncle. He cracked jokes to make us laugh so that all of the photos of the wedding weren’t of people who looked as though they had been forced at gunpoint to be there. As he took shot after shot, he said to Wanda “I still don’t understand why you didn’t let me help you! Girl, you know I’m a professional photographer! I have connections! I could have helped you out with this wedding! You let me know about everything so last minute that I can’t even go to the reception ’cause I’ve got another wedding to shoot in an hour. What were you thinking? Girl, call on your family next time! Uh, not that there’s gonna be a next time, of course. Err. . .  uh. . .  Congratulations, baby-girl.” I’m pretty sure we all had the same look of disbelief on our faces when we learned that her uncle was a wedding photographer. In other words, there was no need for us all to have been subjected to the ghetto bullshit that was her wedding. She could have had professional help! Not the kind she truly needed, of course, but the kind that would have at least had her not making a fool of herself and everyone she’d ever met! Noticing our shock at her uncle’s revelation, Wanda rolled her eyes and said “Anyway. He is too expensive and wouldn’t have given me a discount. He’s stingy.” Okay, bitch. Okay.

As we walked to our cars, some kind-hearted soul handed me, Lisa, and the baby warm cans of grape soda. “I know ya’ll are hot in those dresses. It’s not cold but it’s wet!” We were grateful for the first calorie source we’d consumed all day; I’m not sure whatever became of the breakfast we went out for, but it certainly wasn’t eaten by us. Just before we made our way to the VFW for the reception, Carmella, the smart friend of Wanda’s who’d declined to be a bridesmaid, came storming over. She angrily shoved a bouquet at Wanda, red-faced and fuming. “Here’s your f*cking flowers” she growled. Apparently, one of the many calls Wanda received back in the room was from Carmella. She had the bride’s bouquet, which she’d made, and the wedding cake, and no directions to either the wedding site or the VFW. She had been driving around in circles for hours, totally lost. Lisa’s bouquet had gone missing because it had been snatched from her hands and given to Wanda when someone realized that the bride’s bouquet had never arrived. Carmella had called and called, but because Wanda was too distraught to talk, Carmella had threatened to simply go home with the rapidly wilting bouquet and melting wedding cake. Oh, did I fail to mention that this wedding was on one of the hottest days of the year? It was the middle of autumn though, so no one was prepared for the sweltering, 90-plus degree weather. A family member of the bride’s finally snatched the phone, gave Carmella directions to the VFW so she could drop off the cake. . . but it was locked. The back seat of her car was slowly being covered in melted icing. Her hard work was rapidly disintegrating before her very eyes.

We were a sad caravan of idiots making our way to the VFW. The ushers were ready to eat. The guests were ready to drink. I was ready to continue my hunger strike if J.J.’s ass was the only one doing the cooking. There had been no sign of him at the wedding. Kelly shrugged her empty-headed shoulders when asked if she’d heard from him. We pulled into the parking lot of the VFW after the newlyweds and their families and were met with yet another show of ridiculous, yet somewhat understandable, behavior outside. Wanda was in tears again and her older brother was screaming at her like she’d stolen something from him. “I’ll ask you again Wanda: where is the goddamn food for all these people? There is NOTHING inside!! Give me the number to the restaurant you claim is catering this mess, ’cause they ain’t here!” Oh, snap. So Wanda never told her family that the restaurant wasn’t actually providing anything except for maybe a pan of mac and cheese? Her brother was losing his cool by the minute. His wife and mother tried to hold him back from throttling Wanda. It eventually took most of the groom’s ushers to restrain him when Wanda hiccuped out the truth: “J- J-J.J. is doing the cooking a-a-and he’s n-n-not answering his phone! He-he-he has my car and all the f-f-food and I don’t know where he is!” she wailed.

“You. Had. F*cking J.J. cook for this wedding?” her brother screamed. “What the hell is WRONG with you, Wanda? Give me his number and somebody get my car keys, ’cause I’m gonna find that motherf*cker and kick his ass!” The crazy justice of the peace eventually intervened, not with calm rationality, but with even louder screaming. That lady was nuttier than a fruit cake with her self-righteous ranting and raving about how mean everyone was being to poor Wanda on her most special day. I guess it was the ridiculousness of her statements that finally shut Wanda’s brother up, as he shook his head and stormed inside.

We all followed his lead and wandered in after him. The guests, the amount of which had magically doubled, were seated at the cafeteria tables covered in shoddily Scotch-taped lavender plastic table cloths like it was 1963 in Selma, AL. Wanda’s groom, a basically brain dead McDonald’s employee named Petey, was Latino. I haven’t mentioned him till now because his usual contribution to conversations consisted of one of the two following phrases: “Yo, I don’t even know!” and “Yeah, baby love, whatever you want!” Based on the looks on the faces of his family, none of them were too keen on the union or black folks in general as they segregated themselves throughout the entire reception. Sure, fine, whatever. Frankly, I sort of didn’t really blame them.

We all took our places at the bridal party table and just waited for the next absurd thing to take place. People were getting hungry and pissed. Wanda’s aunties, clearly well aware of their niece’s proclivity for utter foolishness, had take it upon themselves to make a few pans of side dishes: macaroni salad, coleslaw, green salad. There wasn’t a piece of cheese or a cracker in the place, so they started dishing out what they’d brought as appetizers. They rounded up little kids to pass out cans of orange soda, Coke, or tap water. Unbeknownst to anyone, Wanda has insisted that the wedding be a dry one. Once the guests discovered this, many of them disappeared to the bar next door. Another of Wanda’s uncles, ever the innovator, had filled the trunk of his classic car with ice and bottles of scotch and whiskey. Suddenly, some of the more frugal guests realized that they had left their car windows down or the wedding gift they’d brought sitting in the backseat. The VFW cleared out like someone had just bombed for roaches.

Wanda started to cry again, upset that most of the guests had peaced out of the reception. I told you, I’m an idiot who likes to help, so I agreed to find out where everybody was when Wanda begged. I went out to the parking lot and saw the impromptu party going on, and suddenly, someone grabbed my arm and pulled me behind the building. It was Wanda’s sister-in-law. She had taken a shine to Lisa and me, amazed that Wanda had friends that weren’t toothless or addicted to methadone. She shoved a plastic glass of amber colored liquid in my hand. “Here. Drink this.” Before I could say “But what is it?”, she’d brought my hand up to my mouth, held on to the the back of my neck and literally forced me to pour the booze down my gullet. That brought the total of things I’d consumed that day to two: half a can of warm grape soda and a glass of equally warm scotch.

I coughed and sputtered and tried to explain that Wanda was inside having yet another meltdown, but sister-in-law was too busy shaking it to the soul music Uncle Whiskey was blasting out of his car. Suddenly, the door to the VFW slammed open and out stormed the justice of the peace. Her hands were on the hips of her plaid mini skirt, her penny loafer clad foot impatiently tapping. She stormed over to the parking lot revelers, her white opaque tights making a soft swishing noise with each stride she took. “How dare you?” she started, and I knew that was my cue to be out. I sneaked past her and back inside the sad, half-empty hall.

Once inside, I shared the news of what was happening with the rest of the bridal party, which was a mistake as I had to then convince them all to stay inside and not go to the bar or to the party that was being broken up outside. Eventually, everyone trickled back in, higher and happier than when they’d left. Moments later, in walked J.J. and Betsy, balancing a number of aluminum foil wrapped trays between them, both still clad in the musty outfits they had on the night before. I gagged a bit at the sight while the rest of the guests cheered at the sight of the food. Lisa and I exchanged a knowing glance and tried to make the most of our coleslaw.

Everything was laid out buffet style, including the salvaged wedding cake, a lemon bundt cake, and neon pink cookies. Lisa and I declined the offers of plates of meatballs, ham, chicken wings, cabbage, rice and beans, and macaroni and cheese, knowing who was behind their creation. “You a vegetarian or something?” one of the ushers asked, a thick hunk of ham dangling from his fork. He bit into the glistening meat, certain it’s sheen came from a layer of sticky glaze, while I was sure it was a fine layer of mucus and armpit sweat that gave the meat it’s special glow. I covered my mouth as I gagged again. “No, not a vegetarian. Just not very hungry” I muttered.

Lisa’s daughter was in the midst of her Terrible Twos and a very picky eater. She managed to get only a couple of forkfuls of salad into the baby when she gave up and let her have dessert. The baby enjoyed the mystery cookies, the bride’s special request, which we later learned got their pink hue from Kool-Aid mix. They tasted like dry balls of flour rolled in cherry-flavored Fun Dip. After trying one of the monstrosities, Lisa asked for slices of the lemon cake, thinking that would be the slightly more nutritious and far less disgusting choice to feed her child.

The lemon cake was a natural shade of yellow and looked very moist. Lisa and I took a bite and looked at each other, puzzled and puckered. “Wow, this cake is really. . . lemony” she said, choking down what was in her mouth. “Yeah, it’s surprisingly strong and. . . bitter or something” I replied, struggling to find the appropriate adjective to describe the cake’s odd flavor. The baby loved it. She ate her slice and mine and Lisa’s. Lisa was just happy that the kid wasn’t going to starve. When the baby asked for a fourth slice, Lisa shrugged her shoulders. “What the heck, it’s a special occasion. I just can’t believe she can handle something so tart!”

As the baby started in on her fourth slice, sister-in-law happened to walk over to our table. She was smiling, about to make pleasant conversation, when she noticed the baby happily shoving a fistful of lemon cake into her mouth. “Oh my god, don’t let her eat that!” she shrieked, snatching the plate away. We looked at her like she was as crazy as the justice of the peace. “What’s wrong?” asked Lisa. “If it’s the sugar you’re worried about-” “No! Didn’t you guys hear me? I’ve been telling everyone about my famous Bacardi Limon cake!” “What?” said Lisa, a look of panic slowly growing on her face. “This is rum cake! I bake a lemon bundt cake and then I soak it over night with simple syrup and an entire bottle of Bacardi Limon! How couldn’t you know?” screamed sister-in-law. “Rum cakes are brown! I’ve never heard of a f*cking lemon rum cake! Oh my god, what do I do?” cried Lisa. We tried to get the baby to drink water, but she wasn’t having it. She was too busy giggling and clapping. She seemed like a pretty normal toddler, so we hoped for the best and kept an eye on her all night.

The baby loved to dance and was making quite the scene on the dance floor. We were still convinced she was fine, until like something from a Bugs Bunny cartoon, the strangest look came over her and she  started to furiously “tap dance”. She kept this up for a while, a stupid grin on her face, and then she started to stagger. She stumbled to her left and laughed. She stumbled to her right and laughed. She stumbled to her left again, let out a squeal of delight, and then her eyes rolled back in her head and she went crashing to the ground, face first.

Miraculously, the baby was fine, but apparently wasted. She was out cold, a smile on her chubby little face as she slept it off. Lisa, mortified and scared, grabbed my car keys and ran through the parking lot, crying hysterically. She locked herself in my car, weeping behind the steering wheel. It was time for the couple’s first dance and Wanda wanted us out on the floor too. The bridal party took turns trying to convince Lisa to come out of the car, but she’d only lift her head from where it lay on the steering wheel, cry out “I’m a bad mother!” and go back to weeping again. We eventually gave up, figuring she needed time to compose herself. She hadn’t had anything to eat nor had she slept, so a mental breakdown seemed appropriate.

The baby had woken up back inside and took turns dancing with everyone from the bridal party as we waited for the DJ to announce Wanda and Petey and put on their song. There was some commotion by the DJ’s table, and finally they motioned for me to come over. Again, why the hell I was the wedding police up in that mess I will never know. “J.J. was supposed to bring their first dance song! He didn’t and I don’t have it! I already told Wanda and she’s crying again. They won’t tell me what to play instead; what should I do?” the DJ asked, frantic. In his defense, he’d never done a wedding before. He was a club DJ and a friend of one of the ushers who’d agreed to do the wedding for cheap. He needed wedding experience and Wanda needed a DJ, so they made a deal.

“Um, um. . ” I said, racking my brain. “Uh, just play “My Girl”! That’s a good love song!” Luckily, the DJ had it and put it on. Wanda wept into Petey’s shoulder as he pathetically danced her around. The bridal party was in a half circle around the couple and suddenly, it just all became too much for me. Hungry and exhausted, I replayed all the awful things that had happened over the last day and a half. Seeing Wanda quietly weep as the The Temptations sang about sunshine on a cloudy day was just so sad. Her wedding was a joke. I felt my lower lip start to quiver and then I just lost it. I started to weep and wail like a professional funeral crier. I couldn’t control myself, but the music was pretty loud and I had my face covered and hoped no one would notice. I wanted the bride and groom to have their moment. The bridal party could see and hear me and they all gathered me into a group hug, taking turns consoling me and asking what was wrong. They had their backs to Wanda and Petey’s dance. They weren’t the focus anymore. I was. I felt even more awful than I already did and started to cry harder. “Leave me alone!” I shouted as I flailed my arms. “Watch Wanda and Petey! Don’t ruin their moment!” As I pushed against the group hug I was stuck in, the song and dance continued. I knew the guests weren’t watching the first dance either, considering the spectacle we were making. Eventually, the song ended. That moment had been ruined, too, thanks to me.

The only things left to do were the cake cutting, garter toss, and bouquet toss. These three things must have gone relatively smoothly as I have no memory of them. The bride and groom also did a dollar dance, which was actually fun and pretty cute. Even the Latino side of the family joined in for that! Lisa came back inside and apologized for her freak out. I laughed and told her not to worry; all the cool kids were having meltdowns, and told her about mine. The wedding cake was served and Wanda proudly told everyone that Carmella had used a recipe that she, Wanda, had picked out. It was a German chocolate cake with a vanilla butter-cream icing. It was Carmella’s first time baking a wedding cake and everyone oohed and aahed over how pretty it came out, even after partially melting.

I took a bite of the cake and immediately reached for a napkin. I spit it out as discreetly as I could. The cake was not sweet, nor did it taste like chocolate. It was both extremely moist yet unbelievably dry. It was what I imagine eating a wet sponge that had been baked in an oven must be like. Wanda’s wedding was cursed. Even the dessert was stank and wrong!

While the guests danced, we hugged and congratulated Wanda on her marriage, i.e., lied to that girl’s face. She was tired and putting money into envelopes to pay. . . honestly, I don’t know. I guess the DJ. If J.J. and Carmella charged for their “services”, they are both going to hell. Wanda let out a sigh and said “Well, it’s over. We made it through. Now we’ve got the honeymoon to look forward to. Oh, by the way: the VFW contract states that we’re responsible for cleaning up, so if you guys want to change out of your dresses, we can get started in a few minutes.”

Lisa and I looked at each other and said “Oh yeah, sure, sure. Just have to get our suitcases out of the car.” We said our good-byes to guests and the other folks in the bridal party. Once we were outside the VFW, we took off running through the parking lot, jumped in the car and sped away. “I’ll call her later and tell her the baby fell asleep” Lisa said. We toasted each other with our value size orange Hi-C drinks that we bought from a McDonald’s drive-thru and laughed as we drove away from the scene of an event that would haunt us for years to come.

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Epilogue:

Wanda and Petey ended up divorcing about three years after their wedding. He apparently “changed”, started being really mean to Wanda, and got somebody else pregnant. From what I gather, he is living happily ever after and now works at Burger King.

I haven’t seen or smelled J.J. in years. He’s still out there, somewhere. I’m sure of it. Last I heard, he and Betsey either broke up or got married. I can’t remember which. I don’t think either of them ever came to embrace soap, water, or deodorant.

As I mentioned in my angry rant above, Wanda and I are no longer friends. She is getting married this fall to a guy who seems very nice. He also seems to be about 600-lbs. Before the end of our friendship, she hadn’t asked me to be a bridesmaid.

Honestly, I was kind of disappointed.

 

 

*Yes, I know that many of you have offered to help, but because I am neurotic and mildly paranoid, I don’t believe you.

Never a bride: part the second.

22 Aug

I suppose it could have been worse. Source

When I last left you, dear reader, I was inside the piss-soaked room of a scary motor lodge, planning how I’d survive a wedding on no food and no sleep. Wanda had just broken the news that her odorous friend J.J. would be adding his pungency to the food served at the reception as he would be doing all of the cooking. Speak of the devil and he will appear! A knock at the door revealed J.J. and Betsy on the other side. It was about 1:00am and they were there to hang out. Um, shouldn’t J.J. be home applying deodorant prepping and cooking in preparation to serve a wedding of approximately 100 people?

J.J. was tall and large and seemed to take his fashion advice from Wanda. He had on a jersey from a long-defunct hip-hop clothing line that was straining to contain his rotund belly. The sleeves were too short in a way that was comical and we could smell him before he walked in the room. My favorite part about J.J. had to have been his flattop haircut. This was before hipsters and ironic hair and clothes and paying homage to the 90s. J.J. was being very literal with his look. Betsy was no better. She was a sweet girl who didn’t say much. What Wanda had against her I never really understood. Betsy was shaped like a boiled potato and had a goatee. A real-life, honest-to-god goatee. Her teeth were covered in what appeared to be a thin layer of cottage cheese and like J.J., she also ceased her hair grooming habits sometime around 1991. He hair was pulled into a jaunty side ponytail held in place by a jumbo scrunchie. If things weren’t already tragic, they were getting there.

Wanda was getting more irritated by the hour and J.J.’s “last night of being single” jokes weren’t helping. She eventually gave him the boot, but Betsy stayed behind. She curled up next to Kelly on the floor and went to sleep. I don’t. . . I just don’t know. Maybe a cat pee soaked carpet was a step up from what was waiting at home with J.J.? It wouldn’t surprise me if it was.

Eventually, Wanda decided that she had to get her beauty sleep and took her place on the floor. I could not understand why these three idiots chose the floor rather than sleeping on top of a towel on top of the comforter like a normal person spending the night in a motor lodge. I chose a straight back wooden chair, still wearing my jacket and holding my suitcase. Lisa was doing a variation on the towel trick, sitting on top of one on top of the bed while she rocked her baby to keep her asleep. There was nothing on TV other than free, frightening porn, so we just whispered to each other about the surreal experience we were having.

When the pounding on the door to our room started around 4:00am, at first we thought that it was the groom, ushers, and J.J. playing tricks on us. The ushers had decided to go out clubbing the night before the wedding; us bridesmaids and apparently the groom were not allowed per the bride. “It’s got to be the guys being stupid,” I whispered. “They’ll give up eventually.”

“Open this door, motherf*cker! Open this motherf*ckin’ door!” Lisa and I looked at each other in a panic. The Smelly Sisters on the floor began to stir, wondering what all the commotion was.

“I said open this door motherf*cker! Open this motherf*ckin’ door!” The banging was getting louder, as was the voice. It definitely wasn’t one of the guys from the wedding.

“Should we call 911? Oh god, the freaking window is unlocked!” Our whispers were frantic. The phone seemed so far away.We were certain that we were going to be killed. We held our breath, hoping that if us motherf*ckers just stayed quiet, whoever was on the other side of the door would simply lose interest and go away.

Moments later, we heard the door of the room next to ours open with a bang. Lisa and I grabbed hands, eyes wide in panic. Wanda, Kelly, and Betsy buried their faces in the rug, inhaling one last lungful of sweet, sweet pussycat pee before we were all snuffed out.

“Motherf*cker, you got the wrong room! We over here!” yelled the voice from next door. The five of us let out a collective sigh of relief, thankful to have been spared from. . . something.

The girls on the floor drifted back to dreamland while Lisa and I stayed in our respective positions. Around 6:00am, we offered to grab breakfast. Wanda produced a list of things she’d “forgotten” that she wanted us to pick up on the way. Her list included “white pumps” because hers were kind of tight. I couldn’t make this stuff up, I promise you. Lisa and I wandered around, delirious from lack of sleep, hunger, and the thought that we were about to have caps popped in our asses. We drove around in circles, laughing hysterically. We found a Stop & Shop and wandered up and down the aisles, finding absolutely everything amusing. After about 20 minutes of that I had a sudden realization: “Oh my god, the wedding’s in a few hours and we’re still at home! We have to drive all the way to the city for the wedding!” Seeing that all Stop & Shops are virtually identical, we thought we were in our hometown, an hour away. We ran frantically through the grocery store, losing our slippers every few feet. It wasn’t until we hit the parking lot that we realized we weren’t home at all. We lost it, shaking and crying with laughter.

We got back to our room to find everything in disarray. There was no hot water. Wanda’s hair wasn’t doing what she wanted and she’d promised various family members that she wouldn’t wear one of her $5.95 wigs. The M.O.H. had finally emerged, but wasn’t particularly helpful. Wanda’s phone was going crazy; J.J. had a million questions about what exactly he was supposed to cook. Wanda finally told him to just come back to the room, which was about 50 minutes away from the wedding, remember. Lisa and I tried our best to keep things together.

I don’t know in what order the following things happened, but they are so vivid in my mind I feel like they must have happened all at once. J.J. showed up in the clothes he had on the night before. He had a notepad and pencil with him, but before he was able to say a word, he let out five of the wettest, most snot-filled, sneezes deep from the crevices of his nasal passages. He sneezed his mucus and brains and bowels and whatever else was coming out of him into his already filthy hand. He made no effort to excuse or clean himself up; he blinked a few times, looked at Wanda and said “So whatchu want me to cook again?”

As Wanda was attempting to explain the difference between a head of iceberg lettuce and a head of cabbage to J.J. – these are REAL examples, folks – she squeezed her way into her wedding gown. After getting it on, she plopped herself down in front of the mirror and proceeded to do her makeup. One of us screamed out for her to stop or be careful, but it was too late: a glob of foundation the color of dark chocolate had made its way to the bodice of her gown.

Wanda blew a gasket. Finally the M.O.H. made herself useful and was able to contain the mighty force of Wanda’s rage and clean off most of the foundation. J.J. was kicked out again, blamed for distracting Wanda, and told to take Betsy with him. We helped Wanda finish dressing and she looked. . .okay! She was a bit calm and took in the rest of us.

We looked like a band of one eyed, one horned, flying purple people eaters in our ridiculous dresses, but Wanda loved them. Until her eyes landed on Lisa’s. “You didn’t get it altered? You didn’t even get it hemmed?” she screamed. Lisa reminded her that she told Wanda that she wouldn’t be able to afford it. “Ugh! Whatever. You just better find some safety pins or something because you look ridiculous” she spit.

The finishing touch of her look was to slip on her engagement ring. We had asked Wanda the night before why she had her engagement ring and both wedding bands. Wasn’t the best man supposed to have those? What I want to know is why we kept asking questions as if anything about this wedding was even remotely normal, traditional, and not total madness?

“You know I can’t trust Chill Rob with these rings, with his crackhead ass!” Chill Rob’s name is the only one I haven’t changed. I mean, how could I? How perfect is it that the best man’s name was Chill Rob?

Wanda reaches for her rings and finds the box empty. She doesn’t even try to remain calm and rational; this chick hulked out in 10 seconds flat. “Where. Are. My. F*cking. RINGS??? WHY IS EVERYTHING GOING WRONG??” She flipped over suitcases, punched the walls. We did our best to calm her down, emptying every purse, pocket, and pillow case in the search for her gumball machine jewelery.

Suddenly, Wanda’s eyes land on Lisa’s little daughter, the flower girl in her wedding. Her whole face changed. I backed up, afraid of what was going to happen next. “YOU!! YOU stole my rings!! You were playing around in the suitcases!! WHAT DID YOU DO WITH THEM?? Lisa, I TOLD you not to let her PLAY. IN. THE. SUITCASES!!!!!!” Lisa’s daughter was all of two years old. All the bridesmaids, other than the always oblivious Kelly, jumped between Wanda and the baby. The M.O.H. dragged her out of the room, gulping giant ugly tears, and put her in her car.

“Listen. This situation is totally f*cked up. You three stay behind and tear our rooms apart. Find those rings. If you don’t, stop at the Wal*Mart across the street and just get anything to use for the ceremony and we’ll figure it out later. I’ll explain what’s going on and delay the wedding.” This brilliant plan came from the M.O.H. and while we attempted to wrap our brains around it, she and Wanda were gone.

We did as we were told, tearing first our room apart from top to bottom, and then the M.O.H.’s. After pulling the dresser from against the wall, we made a discovery, but not the one we were hoping for. There, on the floor, was a crack pipe. We stood around it and stared at it. We wondered. . . Nah! But Wanda’s friends. . .  No way! It had to have been there before. We were afraid to touch it; crack is whack! We kicked it behind the dresser and moved it back into place, letting the next person to lose a Ring Pop in that room stumble across it as we had.

We were at a total loss. It was getting later and later. We were about to go to Wal*Mart when one of us said to search Wanda’s purse one more time. There, at the bottom, tucked in a velvet bag as if they were actually made of something, were the rings. We grabbed them, and the baby, and ran.

As soon as we got in the car, my cell phone started to ring. First caller? J.J.: “Hey, I’m supposed to bring the stereo for the music for the ceremony and I forgot that there wouldn’t be any plugs since it’s outside, so could ya’ll stop and get some batteries?” We did. Wanda wanted to walk down the aisle to her song and as bridesmaids, we had to help make that happen. J.J. called again and I wanted to know how the hell he got my number and why was I suddenly the wedding coordinator extraordinaire? I barely knew these people! “Hey, it’s me again. I can’t find that N*SYNC CD. Could you guys stop somewhere and buy a copy? I’ll pay ya’ll back.” This ninja had to be out of his mind!

Kelly handled him from there on out as they were friends (she liked smells, I guess), but my phone was by no means quiet. All the ushers from the wedding called, demanding to know where we were. Where we were? “Didn’t the M.O.H. tell everyone what happened?” I screeched. According to eyewitnesses, they pulled up in the M.O.H.’s car, Wanda alternating between hysteria and a state of catatonia. And the M.O.H.? Well, that bitch reverted to her useless ways, getting out of the car, lighting a cigarette, and when asked what the heck was happening, responded with the ever so helpful “F*ck if I know.”

The justice of the freaking peace was the last person to call me, and this lady was out of her damn mind. She was screaming at me like I was her stepchild and would not allow me to speak. I finally just hung up on her. She was completely unreasonable and we were almost there.

Maybe 30 people showed up to the wedding. Wanda hadn’t bothered to provide chairs, so everyone stood around in an awkward circle. Most of the freaks in the wedding party really needed that damn rehearsal, as none of them had, based on their behavior, ever been to a wedding in real life or seen one on TV. Kelly’s simple ass wandered around in a circle and stood behind the best man. Lisa’s baby was tired and screamed hysterically and refused to walk down the aisle. Lisa lost her bouquet in the commotion and had the skirt of her unhemmed dress balled up in her hands so she didn’t trip on it. Wanda was not calmed or comforted by her found rings. The look on her face as she walked down the aisle can only be described as “constipated in a 100-degree room”. She took one look at Lisa hanging on to her dress for dear life and snapped. “Put your dress down, Lisa! You look stupid!” she hissed. Oh, and J.J. and his missing N*SYNC CD didn’t show up to the ceremony and that stinking fool still owes me money for them batteries.

************************************************************************************************************************

I thought I could tell this story in two parts, but there is so much more to it that I’m going to have to keep you guys hanging for part three. Some of the best moments occurred during the reception at the VFW and I will never look at lemon cake in the same way again. Stay tuned. . .

Never a bride.

21 Aug

I wish. Source

It all started around 1983. I was probably four and was asked to be the flower girl in my mom’s friend’s second or third wedding. I remember quite a bit, considering that wedding was almost 30 years ago and I slept through a great portion of it. The adult females in the bridal party got to wear these awesome wide-brimmed hats, including the bride. The maid of honor this time around (my mom was the M.O.H. for one of the previous weddings and it’s probably tacky to repeat) was this down-ass white lady who would alternate between pinching me, blowing cigarette smoke in my face, and carrying me around while threatening to throw me in the duck pond. She was awesome and I loved her. I wore a crown of flowers around a high bun with tendrils of spiral curls dangling in my face. I had on all white everything before Jay-Z and Jeezy. My flower basket was filled with silk flowers; I knew that any respectable flower girl was supposed to throw her petals, but alas, mine were glued to the bottom of my wicker basket. L’horreur! Eh, it was the 80s. The idea of walking down the aisle was absolutely terrifying to me, but somehow I made it through. I think the M.O.H. threatening to burn me with her cigarette if I didn’t may have had something to do with it. The ring bearer and I were dating during the rehearsal and wedding. He was an older man, being in kindergarten or first grade, and told me that he’d be forcing me to drink champagne out of the lit up fountain that I thought was filled with Kool-Aid at the reception. He also repeatedly threatened to kiss me. I found his behavior distasteful, but liked that he thought he could break-dance.

Fast-forward a few thousand years and I was being fitted for a sea-foam green, corset-top monstrosity to be paired with mandatory white silk shoes. I hadn’t known the bride for very long, but found her propensity for eye-rolling and shit-talking endearing. I probably should have taken the fact that she had a revolving door of 19 bridesmaids as a warning, but I like to be helpful and like to be wanted even more. I spent exorbitant amounts of cash on a kick-ass surprise bachelorette party and so-so bridal shower and went to the cake tasting with the bride. I wasn’t even an M.O.H. and this chick had like three or four. Two hours before the rehearsal dinner that I would have been on time for I got a call from the bride telling me that the wedding was off and that she was going to kill herself. She was bluffing; last I heard she’s still alive. Oh, but yeah, the wedding was finito. Turns out little miss pink diamonds had been exchanging dirty emails with a police officer from the town where she worked for months and that they’d been doing the Kristen Stewart (focus specifically on the box-licking in the lower left hand corner) in her Mini-Cooper while her husband played WoW. Yes, I realize I typed “husband”. She demanded that the poor sucker marry her in a civil ceremony years before on some Romeo-and-Juliet-defy-thy-family type bullshit but had to have her church wedding complete with green and purple orchids and stupid-ass lopsided cake with Mickey and Minnie toppers. Le sigh. You don’t have to tell me that I was ignoring some nuclear fallout style alarms blaring in my ears; I know. I saw the husband recently and he’s prematurely gray. Didn’t have the heart to ask about her. I figured his hair and twitchy left eye said it all.

The last wedding I was in was perfectly normal and lovely. The bride was chill; we wore season-appropriate neutrals (navy and silver) in dresses and shoes we got to pick ourselves. We ate cupcakes and drank from the open bar and danced with her hilarious aunties to Prince and Michael Jackson. So why am I calling this post “Never a bride”? Aren’t I missing a third wedding incident to recount before I admit that I am either forever doomed or on a mad dash to make four new BFFs who just so happen to be getting married next year? I’m getting to it, I’m getting to it. And for those of you scoffing at my including a stint as a flower girl, technically I have been asked to be a bridesmaid a total of five times; one wedding was called off due to hoeing as I mentioned above. My other two opportunities to roll my eyes behind a tacky bouquet were revoked because for one wedding I was the wrong shade of brown for the groom’s family and I got into a fight with the bride at what used to be the China Club before the other. Both of those bitches got divorced, so there.

In between the vomit-inducing lavender and seaf0am and tasteful navy and silver, there was Wanda’s wedding. Wanda was at least 275-lbs. with a gap in her front teeth that would make Michael Strahan green with envy. She wore wigs so tacky Lil’ Kim would be tempted to pull her aside and beg her for the name of her stylist. She made Wesley Snipes look high yellow. The first time I met Wanda she had on a three-sizes two small, midriff-bearing Versace knock-off t-shirt emblazoned with what I guess was Donatella and Gianni’s step-cousin’s name – VERSAGE – across her enormous chest in iridescent glitter. Wanda was a damn hot-ass mess. If you think I’m awful for focusing on her unfortunate physical appearance, I welcome your prissy, don’t-judge-a-book-by-its-cover-ass to have several seats and listen to me describe her wretched personality.

Wanda was a pathological liar. She knowingly set up a twenty-year old friend to date a 16 year-old foster care runaway who’s age she continuously lied about because she thought it was funny. Jealous of maybe our friendship or looks or standing in the world – it was never made clear – she told her friends that a female friend and I were lesbian lovers, knowing her friends were a bunch of homophobic douche bags who would shun us every time we took pity on her and made an appearance at one of her awful parties. During one of those parties, a set of her stellar companions high on heroin tried to pressure us into buying Oxycontin by threatening to lock us in the house unless we agreed to at least try it and flew into a rage when we said we didn’t have time for any Afterschool Special shenanigans and to unlock the got-dang door. One month after her wedding, Wanda caused a scene at my birthday party by throwing her wedding rings across a crowded dance floor and screaming at the top of her lungs at her husband, alternating between threatening him with divorce and charging at him like a rabid hippopotamus because he ordered and consumed a drink. I bet you’re wondering why I agreed to be in this heifer’s wedding. Child, so am I.

I agreed out of pity, I guess, and probably curiosity, and because, at that time at least, despite all the reasons not to, I liked Wanda. Her other friends were awful. She needed someone with at least an ounce of class to help her with her wedding. In hindsight, I should have handed her ass a phone book so she could find one. But I was young and a sucker who genuinely cared about other people.

After bragging about buying her wedding gown for $99 at a discount bargain basement, she tried to get the bridal party to shell out $350 on bridesmaid dresses. All of her bridal party, including yours truly, was living at home with our parents. Most of us were still college students. Nobody had that kind of money! We gently talked her down and she chose a hideous Cinderella’s housecoat looking thing in that god-awful color: lavender. It was a couple of hundred bucks less, but needed major alterations. One bridesmaid couldn’t afford the less-expensive gown either, so Wanda generously bought it for her, but told her she was on her own for alterations. Pretty fair, right? Oh, just wait.

Wanda insisted on doing everything herself, from the decorations, to the bouquets, to the invitations. Quiet as it’s kept, Wanda wasn’t particularly talented at doing any of those things. The invitations to her wedding went out full of misspellings and grammar errors. I heard later that the wedding location information provided wasn’t even accurate. A friend who had had the good sense to drop out of the bridal party was still willing to help behind the scenes. She took on making the wedding cake, bride’s bouquet, and sweets Wanda had never tasted but wanted served at the wedding ’cause they looked-ed good in a magazine.

Her family took the reins for the shower, which was successful and actually quite nice. Lord, how I wish they had stepped in and taken over everything else. Supposedly, they tried and Wanda fought them at every step, so they gave up. Wanda claimed she had it all taken care of; she took us to the soul food restaurant that was going to cater the wedding so we could sample stuff in advance. She had a limo driver, a hairdresser, a make-up artist. She also apparently had access to the Hope Diamond; when she showed us the monstrosity on her left hand, it was all we could do to politely smile. The rock was so big it was obviously fake. Fine; personally, I don’t need a big or even real diamond, considering the cost to the environment and of human life (try not to roll your eyes so hard that they get stuck), but I certainly wouldn’t attempt to pass off  a lemon ice flavored Ring Pop as the real thing, either!

Fast forward to the “rehearsal dinner”. The wedding ceremony was never actually “rehearsed” because no one could make the 5:00pm start time she insisted on on a Friday night. Everyone, including the officiant, was stuck in bumper to bumper traffic. It was an outdoor wedding and by the time we got to the site, it was pitch black. We all stood around and looked at it and each other. Wanda shrugged and said “It’ll be fine. We’ll practice in the banquet hall.”

The banquet hall was a local VFW who didn’t seem to be expecting Wanda or her wedding at all. There was a bingo game still going on when we walked in. The place reeked of smoke and despair. We did our best with the decorations she’d bought; none of the table cloths fit the tables, but luckily, someone brought a roll of tape. She put us to work, instructing us to sweep the floor and wipe down tables; she sent us on errands driving around the city picking up cans of soda and ice and favors. A few of us muttered “Wouldn’t the caterer handle the beverages, too?” Wanda wanted to be sure there would be enough.

She ordered pizza and we stood around eating it without plates or napkins before she put us back to work. Eventually, we made the place look as good as it was going to and Wanda called it a night. She told us that she’d booked a suite of hotel rooms and that the hairdresser would be meeting us that night to get started on our hair. “But Wanda, it’s already 11:00pm!”, someone cried. “I told you, I got it under control!” Wanda barked.

We were to follow her in our cars to the hotel. After seeing the VFW, we weren’t sure what to expect. We drove for about 20 minutes before Wanda pulled into the parking lot of a Sheraton Hotel. My car, packed to the brim with various bridesmaids, let out a collective cry of joy at Wanda so unexpectedly coming through for us. As I put the car in park, she ran over, frantically waving her arms. “I just wanted to pull over so I could let you all know we have another 30 minutes or so of driving”, she said, her eyes never quite meeting mine. “Everything in the city is booked up. This is the weekend of the annual small business owner association’s meeting. We’re gonna have to get a room in the next town over.”

We eventually ended up at a motor lodge well outside of the city. Wanda had some sort of arrangement with the manager which fell through despite her haggling and we all – all five of us – had to cough up $60 a piece. Yeah, a room with two twin beds at a motor lodge somehow cost $300. We drove through the parking lot to our room and on that short ride witnessed the following: a man stumbling out of his room and vomiting on the sidewalk; three men fighting in another section of the parking lot; a very large man with two very large pit bulls at the end of two very long chains screaming into his cell phone at someone who was going to get “f*cked up” later that night if he had his way. I pulled over so we could unload our luggage from the car and then parked it when we were done. As I made the treacherous walk from the car to our “suite”, I saw one of the bridesmaids, my friend Lisa, sitting on the steps with her toddler who was to be the flower girl asleep in her arms. “What’s up?” I asked, terrified to hear the answer. “Oh, you’ll see. I don’t want to ruin the surprise for you” she cryptically replied.

The first thing I noticed was the window. It was wide open, which is strange for a hotel or motel. They usually don’t open at all. “Huh”, I said under my breath. “It doesn’t lock!” yelled one of the girls. “It doesn’t lock? The window doesn’t lock?” I repeated. “Nope!” I hadn’t even stepped foot inside the room yet and I was seriously considering sleeping in my car. Once I got inside, I didn’t know where I was going to sleep that night, but I knew there was no way in hell it would be in that room of evil and filth.

“Oh god, what is that smell?” I yelled as I tried to simultaneously cover my nose. “Oh that? That’s cat pee.” It was Lisa from the steps. That’s why she was out there with her daughter. Wanda had gone to get the manager. It was like being in a haunted house. You know it’s only going to get worse the further you walk in, but you’re compelled to keep going. The room itself was pretty nondescript other than the non-locking window and stench of feline urine. Then I got to the bathroom. The door was barely hanging on by its hinges. There was a hole that looked like it had been caused by someone’s head being repeatedly slammed into it. “My god, where are we?” I whispered.

Eventually, the manager showed up. Wanda angrily told him to take a deep breath. “Yeah, we get a lot of strays around here” he said without the slightest hint of outrage or disgust or irony or any feeling at all, for that matter. “Are you saying they get into the rooms?” one of us asked, incredulous. He shrugged. “How are you gonna make this right? I’m getting married tomorrow!” Wanda shrieked. He pulled out a can of industrial strength air freshener. “I’m all out of rooms and we have a no refund policy.” Wanda was at her wits end. She was the bride; we’d stay with her because we were her bridesmaids, dammit! Whatever she wanted to do was fine with us. A bunch of fools we were.

“Let’s just stay here. I’m stressed out” she mumbled. “Okay, Wanda, whatever you say. Is your hairdresser still showing up tonight?” I asked, trying to get her mind off of the crisis at hand. I hoped she hadn’t noticed that I hadn’t taken off my coat or set down my suitcase. “She’s not coming. She’s a lying bitch. Her and her husband.” Her husband would have been our “limo driver”. “Wh-what? What about our hair and make-up? What are we supposed to do? Wanda, I didn’t bring much with me because I thought it was going to be taken care of!” came the chorus of outrage from all except for weird Kelly, the lone bridesmaid who didn’t see what the big deal was about the room, was tired, and had made herself comfortable on the pissy-ass floor and was fast asleep. Just remembering the sight gives me the chills.

Wanda had brought a home relaxer kit and hot rollers. I had shampoo and conditioner and a blow dryer (see, part of me knew not to trust lyin’-ass Wanda). We made due. None of us had makeup, except for Wanda, and her color palette wasn’t exactly interchangeable with the various complexions in the room. No tea, no shade, just stating facts! Someone asked about the maid of honor who hadn’t shown up to the “rehearsal dinner”. Did she make it to town yet? “Yeah, she’s here. She’s mad ’cause of the room I got her, so she won’t come out and she’s not speaking to me” said Wanda nonchalantly as she greased her scalp. We were speechless.

Wanda also let it slip that a friend of hers, a very musty weirdo named J.J., would be doing the cooking for the reception. “But what about the soul food restaurant catering?” I asked. “Oh they were too expensive. And besides, I just like their macaroni and cheese, so I only ordered a tray of that.” Wanda was sure that J.J. could handle the cooking for about 100 people. He was a great cook! He was one of her best friends and very reliable. He would be bringing the stereo and CD so she could walk down the aisle to N*SYNC’s “This I promise you”. I wish I was kidding. She gave him lots of duties, actually, since she didn’t want him to be an usher in the wedding, as he would have insisted on his horrid girlfriend Betsy being a bridesmaid, but didn’t want him to feel left out. Having smelled J.J. on more than one occasion, I didn’t care if he cooked like he was the reincarnation of Betty Crocker herself: not only was I not going to be sleeping that night, I sure as hell wouldn’t be eating anything at the wedding the next day.

*******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

There’s more to the story, of course, but what kind of blogger would I be if I gave it to you all at once? Yeah, you’re right, probably a really good one. Anyway, stay tuned for the second installment of “Never a bride”. Believe me, the best is yet to come. . .

Constant craving.

19 Jul

So, today was pretty great. Via a post on that social networking site, I inadvertently outed myself as a lesbian. Now don’t get excited; I love the ladies, but I don’t love the ladies. But I once had a friendship that was so intense that writing about it now, it reads to the untrained eye as though I am reminiscing about an ex-lover and not a former BFF. I think that says a lot about my friendship with Zora.

I met Zora while she was working the desk at my gym. She was exotic looking and had a great weave and terrific clothes. I was immediately smitten. I’m quite shy and rather insecure – shocker, I know – so making new friends (and reconnecting with old ones) can at times be an anxiety-ridden exercise in futility for me. Especially if those potential friends are black women. I’m more used to being mercilessly teased or shunned by black women than befriending them. It’s a problem dating back to puberty, if not before. I don’t know what it is about me exactly and I don’t plan on using this particular post to try to figure it out, but I’ve never rarely felt truly accepted by other black women. I’m sure many of you couch psychologists are tapping your chin and saying “Hmm. Must be something about her relationship with her mother.” Okay, sure. Parent blaming is easy and fun! Let’s just go with that for now. (Sorry, Mom.)

Anyway, I met Zora and was intrigued by her glasses-wearing, and constantly changing hairstyles, and chic clothing paired with a large, visible tattoo. After being weird for a few months, I eventually approached her and struck up a conversation that was more in-depth than the small talk she graciously initiated with me on a regular basis. My favorite musician of all time (except for maybe right now) had just released his first CD in eight years. I carried it with me everywhere I went, so sure I was that it would evaporate into the ether much like he had so many years ago. The majority of his fans are black women, so I nervously asked her if she was familiar with Maxwell while holding out my copy of the deluxe version of BLACKsummer’snight. Zora screamed and reached out for the CD as if I were presenting her with The Holy Grail and said “Am I familiar with Maxwell?!” and that was it. All of a sudden I had my first black female BFF in a very long time.

Zora and I were immediately inseparable. We spent so much time together that people assumed we were related. I guess I should have been suspicious that a grown woman – Zora was four years older than me – with a child was so willing to spend so much time with me so quickly, but I was excited by the attention and affection and acceptance and pushed any apprehensions I had about our very sudden connection from my mind. Finally, someone wanted to be with me all of the time! We worked out together, went shopping – even grocery shopping – together, ate together, slept together (no scissoring, though). If we weren’t together, she was just a phone call or a text away and she always answered. We were each other’s missing piece. No one understood me like Zora did and no one understood her like I did. I finally got to know what it was like to have a sister! Nothing could keep us apart! Well, not nothing. Zora sure did like the company of men.

During my first go at friendship with Zora, there was a new man around every month. Zora had a hard time getting rid of one before starting up with another, so there was always lots of juggling involved. It was all so exciting for me to watch. At first. I even attempted to set Zora up with an old friend of mine. It went really well, until it suddenly didn’t, and I cried with her and cried to my friend, begging him to call her again. I told him how much his rejection of Zora was hurting me. How could he do this to us? I felt responsible for her heartbreak and she went ahead and let me.

Our relationship was so intimate that we were bound to fight and hurt each other’s feelings. You always hurt the ones you love the most. Right? First, it started with her regularly snapping at me when she was in a bad mood related to yet another issue that had arisen between her and one of her admirers. Then, she’d start saying the most hurtful things to me about my own trouble with dating. And what was I guilty of? Well, I wasn’t expressing myself; Zora could never figure out what I wanted. I was aloof and mean. We’d go back and forth, screaming and crying, making up and buying each other things to show how sincere our apologies were. During an argument at a Maxwell concert sparked by a ridiculous misunderstanding, I challenged her to a fist fight. I saw Zora as every black girl who’d ever pulled my hair, said I was corny, that I wished I was white; as every black woman who made fun of my clothes, the way I spoke, the things I enjoyed and was interested in, and I had had it. It was me against every mean black female I’d ever encountered and Zora was just the unfortunate effigy. We did not come to fisticuffs, but my pre-fight trash talking was pretty bad ass, if I do say so myself. Zora would later tell the story and imply or flat-out admit that I had scared her. Hearing that little old me had scared a tattooed, tough black girl from Brooklyn was all the vindication I needed. The incident brought us even closer together. For a little while.

We broke up the first time after she left me alone with a strange man after a night of clubbing. There’s quite a bit more to the story, but the bottom line was that though nothing happened to me, I was hurt and shocked that my Zora cared so little about my safety and well-being, all so she could get her rocks off with some guy she claimed to not even like. Things got ugly, and I returned every thoughtful gift she’d ever given to me by leaving them all in a paper bag at her front door. She called me heartless and told me to stay away from her. I told her she had nothing to worry about; I never wanted to see her again.

We’d been friends for less than a year, 11 months to be exact. I was embarrassed that I couldn’t make things work with her. It was all my fault. I was too needy and too demanding. Maybe I was even jealous of the terrible men that came in and out of her life; hell, no men were coming in and out of mine. Months went by and it was Christmas time. While doing some holiday shopping, I came across one store that was very creative in their decorating by using peacock feathers. Zora loved peacock feathers. I missed my friend. There wasn’t anyone else like her. We were perfect for each other. She wanted me around. She wanted me. I picked out a blank card adorned with feathers and wrote everything I felt. I told her how sorry I was, mailed it, and waited.

She got in touch with me by text message about a week later. She missed me too. She suggested that we meet at one of our favorite restaurants. I was so nervous; what would Zora think of my natural hair? Would she notice that I’d gained weight? Should I wear one of the outfits she helped me pick out? The dinner went off without a hitch. We started out catching up like old friends, making no mention of the fact that the last time we’d spoken to each other we’d sworn to never do so again. Eventually, things turned emotional. Zora mentioned how hurt she’d been by my rejection of her. She didn’t know what she’d done to make me so angry, but vowed that we’d never let something like that happen again. I had to promise to communicate my feelings and not hold them inside. I don’t remember whether or not I made her promise me anything. Dinner ended and she wondered if I wouldn’t mind doing her a favor. Could I follow her on a 45 mile trip that evening? She had to return her boyfriend’s car to the rental place in some other town, but first had to pick up the boyfriend’s car from another, other town. It’d mean so much to her if I could. That feeling of suspicion and apprehension that I had felt way back when started to creep up, but I told it to STFU, my BFF was back. BFFs do crazy shit for each other in the middle of the night after not speaking to each other for almost a year. And so it began.

Zora wooed me like an expert. We’d take day trips that she’d carefully planned to new cities and states and they were to this day the best dates I’ve been on. She knew my other friends never did that sort of thing and she made sure to remind me. She’d show up with unexpected gifts to let me know that she’d been thinking of me. She introduced me to her boyfriend and his entire family as her best, best friend. She got on me about my weight, so we’d cook healthy meals and exercise together. She was on soul duty, too, taking me to church with her on Sunday. I was practically living at her house and she wanted me to have a key to her place. She wanted me again and I was dizzy with infatuation.

I’m sure you can see where this is going, but I didn’t. Or maybe I didn’t want to. Zora would step out for “15 minutes” to have a talk with her boyfriend and not return for three hours, leaving me alone with her dog, who was an amazing little guy, and bewildered dinner guests. She’d tell me she was coming to pick me up to go on one of our dates, so I’d make myself even more unavailable to my other friends and wait by the phone for calls that never came. She needed to borrow my laptop, my vacuum cleaner, my crock pot, my DVD player, all to cater to her demanding, finicky, and mysterious boyfriend. I was growing more angry and resentful by the day. I was a BFF scorned. And Zora was going to hear about it.

After waiting for her, yet again, having been forgotten about for hours, she called me, giddy about something the boyfriend had done or said, though the last time we spoke, which was during a rare date I was on, she was in tears about his cruel treatment of her. I decided that that was it. This was my time to communicate. I mean, I’d promised her that I would. This was for the sake of our friendship! I got out maybe half a sentence before she hung up on me.

She refused to take my calls, so I left her hysterical, enraged voice mail messages. How dare she ignore me? How dare she leave me waiting for hours, only to tell me about spending time with that guy like nothing had happened at all? Wasn’t I enough for her? We had made promises! I had made promises! I was only doing what she asked! She sent me text messages in response, telling me that I was crazy, that I was angry, that I was nasty and hateful. She couldn’t understand why I hated her so much. I responded by telling her I was done and that I wanted my shit. She threatened to leave my things out on the street. I threatened to tape her key along with her name, address, and bra size to a men’s public bathroom wall. I didn’t really; I was only creative enough to threaten to throw her belongings in the dumpster outside my building. That was about a year ago, and I haven’t seen or heard from Zora since.

I initially decided to title this post “Constant Craving” as a play on the whole being mistaken for a lesbian thing since the song to some is/was the lesbian theme song, sung by the lesbian of lesbians, k.d. lang. Reading and thinking back on my relationship with Zora, I can see why one would think I was involved in a romantic relationship with her. The gifts! The jealousy! The time spent! The feelings! The promises! The only thing we were missing was sex.

I decided to keep the title because I can acknowledge that my relationship with Zora shows that I have, ahem, a constant craving. Not for delectable fish tacos, but for companionship. For a relationship filled with understanding. For a friend that I share cultural/ethnic/racial similarities and comprehension with. For someone to desire my presence a hell of a lot. For someone to make me feel like I might be Number One in their life. For someone to make me feel wanted. For someone to want me. I don’t think my constant craving for those things makes me unusual nor does the fact that I fell so hard and fast for a person that I thought was able to offer me those things in a platonic way. They’ve never been offered to me romantically, not even as a ruse to ultimately get sex. But that’s for another post.

Zora is not to blame for our two failed attempts at friendship. She was right; I was angry a lot of the time. I was aloof and wouldn’t or couldn’t communicate. I think I was jealous, not of the men (I already told you, I’m not a lesbian), but of the fact that she got men so easily, even if at great personal cost. I was probably too demanding, but it’s hard to feel like you’re Number One and be suddenly and repeatedly demoted. But friendship can’t give you everything. Which sort of means I’m screwed if things don’t change for me very fast.

I miss Zora, I truly do. She made me feel special in a way that few other people ever have. She was creative and warm and loving and generous. We went on wonderful adventures together and even when we were just hanging out, we still had a great time. I miss her so much that it hurts. I won’t be sending her any more sparkly peacock cards, though. As much as our friendship brought out the best in each other, it seemed to bring out the worst in us in equal measure. I’m still not entirely sure why. I hope someday that I’ll feel as loved and as cherished as Zora made me feel when times were good. I’d be a lucky girl if I could feel that again in friendship and in romance. Or maybe I need to learn to not crave so much so deeply, so constantly. I’m pretty proud of myself for being able to both admit that I miss my friend and that it’s not a smart thing for us to be together. I’m not even angry at her or about the situation anymore. Not really.

Though if I’m going to be perfectly honest, it does piss me the hell off that bitch still has my crock pot. Damn. Ain’t no song for that.

Fame.

14 Jul

It’s only a matter of time before I end up on “Hoarders”.

I was really hoping that my network television debut would be a feature on “Intervention”, but I can barely get a group of people together to go to Red Lobster on my birthday, so I think it’s pretty unlikely that anyone I know would be willing to sit in a hotel ballroom for a week on my behalf, even if it meant that all of their complaints concerns about me would be recorded, analyzed by professionals, and then aired to millions. Not to mention, I’m sure when the A&E producers got in touch with my parents they’d say something along the lines of “Intervention? Didn’t we already do that for her?” I’d love to be a fly on the wall in my parents’ house for that telephone conversation; my mom and dad holding the cordless phone between them as they shout into the mouthpiece, because that’s how you use the speaker phone feature: for optimum connectivity, one must be over the age of 60 and scream as loudly as possible.

When I tearfully told my parents about the incident that gave this blog its name and me my justification for holding a(nother) passive-aggressive grudge, my dad said “Well honey, now you know what people think of you and what changes you need to make.” Wait, what? “Dad. It was my BIRTHDAY. It wasn’t even my fault that I was late!” I cried. “Think of it as a wake up call, Ambrosia. It’s like when loved ones gather around a troubled person and tell them about themselves in an effort to help them,” he said. “You mean like an intervention?” I grumbled. “Exactly! Except this one was accidental!”

Since I have already been there and done that when it comes to being intervened (that’s right, right?), I figure my big break will come from my inability to use a closet or a washing machine or a shelving system or a garbage can. I used to say that I was too busy being smart and important to clean, but I’ve never been very good at lying. I now realize that I just don’t care. I’m not particularly bothered by the fact that I can’t use my stove because for some reason I’ve decided it’s a great place to store my plastic ware. I don’t mind climbing over mountains of laundry to get in and out of my bedroom. I haven’t batted an eyelash at the half-empty bag of hot dog buns that has been inexplicably sitting in my living room for weeks.

This may mean that I may not make a very good subject for “Hoarders”. Those nut jobs typically care about the fact that their home is overrun with rabbits and copies of Time magazine. They want someone to help them shovel their way out from under their classic Pez dispenser collection. They think they might have had a cat at some point; won’t someone help them find Mittens? And the ones that don’t care are so toothless and/or insane and/or irrecoverably damaged by horrific trauma that they will make for great television because they will scream at the intervenors (that I made up) and the cleaning crew; they will get into fist fights with concerned family members who attempt to throw away their jars of rancid mayonnaise; they will cry hysterically when the room full of headless Barbie dolls is finally emptied. “I was SAVING those! I NEED them!”

Now don’t get me wrong, I can make an argument for holding on to some crap. I’m pretty sure that’s an unfortunate genetic predisposition. But my main problem is simply one of maturity and motivation and good decision making skills. If it’s clean my apartment or write a blog post at 5:07am, you better believe I’m writing a blog post at dawn with my contacts fused to my corneas. If it’s fold/hang the clean laundry and put it away or just shove it into an already full hamper and hide it in the dining room, I’m a shovin’ and a hidin’. I will always take the easy way out. And being a slob is one more step towards doing whatever I can to keep people away even though I am desperately, frighteningly lonely. Let’s all pretend we didn’t read that last part.

I am probably making a better case for my being on “Hoarders” than I anticipated, but that’s okay! It was kind of the point! Being featured on that program kills two birds with one stone: get my apartment cleaned and some much deserved airtime. On a television show about lunatics who live in their own filth. Okay, I may need to rethink this.

Well, since that plan has been derailed, I need a new course of action for gaining celebrity while exuding the least amount of effort. I am a clear candidate for the “Basketball Wives” franchise, as I am a woman of color who has never been married to a basketball player, but that show’s not really my speed, mostly because it involves spending a great deal of time with horrible people. Since I like to think of myself as an intellectual, I think I’m best suited for those CNN specials with titles like “Black People Are Doomed, I Tell Ya, DOOMED!” and hosted by Soledad O’Brien, the ultimate undercover Negress. I’m everything they’re looking for: a black woman without kids, a shining example that there are 30% of us not having children out-of-wedlock; a black woman with multiple degrees, so they can place the blame directly on my bourgeoisie when they talk about the many ways that black women alienate black men; a black woman who is overweight and with natural hair, so they can analyze why we won’t exercise and why we’re not scared of diabetes and why on Earth we’d decide to do that to our hair, ’cause you know it’s just another way that we’re purposefully pushing away the brothers; a black woman with a daddy, ’cause remember, we’re just as rare as a white man’s steak; and finally, my favorite and theirs, a black woman who is unmarried with no prospects.

CNN loves to remind my mother that 45% of black women have never been married, compared to 23% of white women. My being featured on their next “You Will Die Alone, But At Least Your Hair Will Look Good” special will give her such hope. Maybe the segment producer will convince me to take out my nose ring! Maybe Don Lemon will ask me out on a date (I don’t think my mother has any idea)! Maybe the CNN hair stylists will convince me to press my hair! She will ring her hands as she watches me on TV, biting her lower lip and hoping that the camera doesn’t really add 10 pounds. She will have an elaborate fantasy involving the very handsome, brown-skinned yet ethnically ambiguous Comcast repair man who came to fix the cable that one time. He will be watching, make the connection that I am her daughter, and call her up to ask for my phone number. He will be a born-again Christian, and he will like me, and I will relax my hair, and have a church wedding, and give her cinnamon-colored grandchildren, and she will finally be able to forgive CNN for not talking Larry King into staying on the air.

However, there is a critical flaw in any of these methods for gaining free cleaning and organization of my things, or attention, or a husband who works for Comcast, or an opportunity to hear Don Lemon say “Gurl, please!” over cocktails. The flaw being that a camera would be involved and personal questions asked and people interviewed. It wouldn’t be just me revealing my failures and idiosyncrasies in what I hope is a charming and quirky way in a blog. My candy apple head and hound dog eyes would be broadcast into homes across the country. My Hilary Banks-esque voice would be heard in kitchens and living rooms from here to Duluth. It wouldn’t be just me telling self-depreciating yet comical mostly true tales about my life behind the safety of a computer screen. I would be vulnerable. I don’t do vulnerable. Unless it’s completely within my control and of my own making.

My greatest fear is obtaining any sort of success that would make me known outside of my immediate circle. There are those that I’d rather not remind of my existence. The last thing I need is He Who Shall Not Be Named being reminded that he dated me and attempting to look me up for old time’s sake. I already regret that The Person That I Used To Know is aware of this version of me, and he’s someone who I kind of like. Imagine the former teachers, people who went to my elementary school, kids I used to babysit crawling out of the woodwork to offer their unsolicited tales of how they knew me when. I find the whole thing distasteful and terrifying. Even more scary is if nobody cared enough to say a thing, even if it was just to offer their surprise or lack thereof at how chubby I’d become over the years. “She always did like to eat!”

Anyway, flaws and all, I think my “Hoarders” idea is one to hang on to, even if it’s just so I can get someone to come and load the dishwasher. Since I can’t “nominate” myself, here’s the casting link. Hang on to that and be ready to use it if you hear that I’ve been showering at the YMCA. According to the many episodes I’ve seen, that’s one of the warning signs. Pictures are required as part of the application package, so I ask that you just give me ample warning before you come by to take them.

It’ll give me a chance to clean up a little around here.

Jungle Fever(ish).

12 Jul

Interracial dating makes me sad.

Not in the way you’re probably thinking. Other than a reflexive and obligatory eye roll, I couldn’t care less if black men want to date white women. Hell, if you like it, I love it. And I owe my very existence to The Swirl. Until rather recently I was pretty certain that the Honorable Mr. Ambrosia Jones was going to be a delectable piece of white chocolate. Now I’m not so certain that he won’t be imaginary.

Interracial dating makes me sad in the most literal sense: the times that I’ve liked white boys have been some of the most curled-up-in-a-ball-ugly-crying times I’ve experienced. It all started in the 4th grade. Sexy Kid Ambrosia was hidden under a pair of gigantic, red plastic frame, Coke-bottle thick glasses and a wardrobe primarily from Bradlees and Caldor. The social torment that would follow me well into adulthood had  begun. Then Todd waddled into my life. He was a year or so older because he’d stayed back a time or two. He was the only 4th grader who had boobs bigger than mine. The poor thing was also cursed with both a speech impediment and a voice so high-pitched that had I had any grasp of the concept of sexuality, I would have questioned mine for dating a boy with a magnificent pair of knockers and an impeccable falsetto.

Todd was kind to me. He held my hand on the playground and was as enthusiastic about planning our wedding as I was (weddings were regularly held on the kickball field for interested couples and usually officiated by the teachers who most craved our approval or some of the more bossy 4th grade girls). But my dreams of a Michael Jackson-themed reception by the swing set were shattered when he dumped me for London. Always beware of girls named after European cities. I have to give him credit; Todd was pretty direct about it, hysterically explaining to me that London had explained to him that he liked her better than me.

I didn’t learn my lesson and a year later found myself involved in a scandalous polygamous relationship with that bitch London and a piece of Euro-trash named Pierce. He had shoulder length brown curls and wore Ralph Lauren sweaters and trousers. We were the talk of the 5th grade up to and including our very messy and public break-up. It got so ugly that parents were called. Mine were less than amused. I still deny the baseless accusations brought against me. I was railroaded! I was only guilty of being a woman scorned! And maybe calling him the f-word.

Middle and high school were pretty uneventful, mostly because I was crippled by awkwardness until the 10th grade and absolutely determined to “prove” my “blackness”. I dated a biracial boy from Da Hood on and off from 8th grade until the middle of 9th grade and then focused my attentions on boys who had spent time in ESL and came to school smelling like Sazon. I don’t count those experiences as “interracial dating” mostly because a great deal of the time people assumed my exotic boyfriends were my brothers and/or cousins. That sure did wonders for my adolescent self-esteem. No, really! Being mistaken for Brazilian, Dominican, or Puerto Rican is the ULTIMATE compliment to pay to a teenage black girl suffering from an identity crises. It got a little prickly though when onlookers assumed my papi chulos were actually my hermanos, if that meant they were being mistaken for black. Yeah, those were some uncomfortable conversations. . .

My case of Jungle Fever returned freshman year of college. First there was Tommy, the Italian Stallion from Brooklyn. Then came Matt, the Golden Boy with the Southern drawl from Georgia. But it was Andrew who put them all to shame. He was my first real white boyfriend and The Great White Hope. Andrew looked like Jordan Catalano’s buffer, hotter, older brother. He played soccer and worked at The Gap. He was 21 and drove a sports car. I had managed to snag the white boy of white boys and was head over heels.

We dated for a tumultuous 7 months, breaking up no less than three times throughout. Being his girlfriend was like starring in some surreal Afterschool Special on race relations in America. He would say crazy things to me like “I always warned my mother I’d date a black girl someday” and affectionately referred to me as a/his bitch in front of everyone. He dragged me through his hometown introducing me to every member of his immediate and extended family so they could see “the hot black girl” he’d met at college. He was “secretly” half Syrian (it is a long, bizarre story that I simply can’t be bothered to tell) and would develop a very dark tan in the summertime. He thought it was “hilarious” to pick me up unexpectedly from my summer job at the mall wearing a Yankee fitted cap to the side, a wife beater, baggy gray sweat pants sagged to show his boxers, and Timberland boots. “Everybody probably thinks I’m a Puerto Rican!” he’d breathlessly whisper while attempting to pimp walk through the parking lot as I trailed behind him, not sure whether to be totally turned on or totally humiliated.

Our relationship ended for the last time when during an argument about something mundane like my wearing thong underwear (yes, this caused him great distress) or spending too much time with my friends that he found annoying, he declared that he had to start thinking about who he was going to marry as he was “older” and that he simply couldn’t see himself marrying someone like me. His actual words were “There’s a specific type of girl I want to marry and you just ain’t it.” I think he thought it’d be less of a blow if he broke the news to me in my first language: ebonics. Le sigh. He left a bag of his crap in my car or dorm room or something and I made a great show of returning it to him in front of his teammates. I included a print out of the lyrics to Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” amongst his things.  I had her haircut; I loved the song, but never really understood its meaning until Andrew took a dump on my heart, so it seemed like a very fitting way to bid him adieu. I was 18, it was the 90’s, and I was DEEP.

The next year found me without a serious boyfriend and doing a lot of kissing (all Latino boys again!) and then I met He Who Shall Not Be Named. HWSNBN was Puerto Rican, but looked like the love child of Chico DeBarge and R.Kelly and didn’t speak a lick of Spanish, so it was just like dating a horrible guy who hated that people assumed he was black who’s grandparents happened to be from Puerto Rico. As you can guess, it was AWESOME.

My mid-twenties found me pining over an Italian-Irish EMT from Staten Island that I’d known as a teenager who declared his “love” for me out at da club one night while his girlfriend wasn’t looking. Despite his declaration, he picked the girlfriend. I was in graduate school and living alone in a big city then and I’d drive around in my hoopdie crying to love songs on the radio. For some reason, Etta James’ “At Last” seemed to be on the radio station I listened to every morning and Luther Vandross’ “Think About You” was on every night, so I was getting it from both ends and not in the good way.

After graduating from grad school and moving back home, I reconnected with the boyfriend I’d had during senior year of high school. Paulo was a fair-skinned South American who had identified as Latino in high school but decided he was actually white as an adult (again, long and extremely stupid story) and I thought we were in love. I moved to a city without a proper Starbucks and 60% of its population living under the poverty line for him. I befriended his drunken, crazy mother; regularly babysat his poorly behaved niece and nephew FOR FREE, and slow danced with his sister (she was living as a man at the time so put your eyebrows back down) all in an effort to prove my undying love and devotion. His mother would say really terrific things to me in broken English like “I live with the black man when I come to America. He beat me all the time!” and “My son likes beautiful girls with the blonde hair and the good, good body, but I convince him to love you because you are so nice person to me!” Turns out, she was right. About the second part. I don’t know if the black man beat her all the time. I wasn’t there for that.

About three months after we’d reconnected and two months after I moved to the godforsaken place I am about to peace out from in 69 days (the seven weeks thing was a false alarm), Paulo told me that I had misunderstood him; he wasn’t interested in me romantically, mostly because he didn’t find me attractive. He was in Europe at the time, so he delivered this very important piece of information to me over the phone, after I’d signed a year lease on my apartment. Oh, and it was my birthday. Did I not mention that part? I spent a great deal of time after that alternating between hysterical crying and staring at the wall in my mostly unfurnished new home until a no-nonsense friend stormed in, dragged me to my feet, and made me go grocery shopping. Everything worked out in the end; Paulo found a (second) wife with the blonde hair and the good, good body, and I have this blog. Hooray.

So here we are in the present. The person that I used to know is of the Caucasian persuasion, so I was just a-quakin’ in my boots due to my unfortunate history. You may have noticed that I typed ‘was’. Yeah, turns out that home boy I was hoping to climb like a mighty sequoia once I redeemed myself of the epic fail that was our “reunion” after 15 some-odd years ain’t single after all. I became aware of that fact just a few hours ago and haven’t cried yet! But I’m still sad. So this post and my life have come full circle. That’s. . . something.

Don’t worry; I’m not gonna go all Anita from “West Side Story” on you. “Stick to your own kind” is mean and weird and hard to do when you don’t know any straight, chubby, black guys who like Jane Austen, Broadway musicals, and Doritos. But I have to admit that when I feel the JF coming on me now, I reach for the Tylenol and take a nap. That seems to be the safe thing to do. For now.

I spell ‘sexy’ A-W-K-W-A-R-D.

28 Jun

God, I was such a sexy child.

From the ages of two to seven, I was serving fierceness on a platter of seduction. I had a male pediatrician and when it was time for a check-up, I couldn’t wait to strut into the exam room in either my strawberry or blueberry halter-top sundress. I knew that dress accentuated my figure the best out of any of my ensembles and was an automatic conversation starter. “Oh Ambrosia, what a beautiful dress!” my doctor would say. “And it’s covered in strawberries/blueberries! Do you like strawberries/blueberries? They are so good for you!” I’d be under the exam table, luring him in with a flirtatious game of “Hide and Seek”, coyly nodding my head, the beads and barrettes in my hair that perfectly matched my outfit click-clacking away. I’d play shy and ever so slightly hike up my dress in that way that little girls do, but I’m sure I did it as a silent signal to show him that my mother had taken special care to Vaseline my knees, just for him. And probably for me. I’m sure it’s every black woman’s nightmare to have an ashy child, especially in front of “mixed company”. The judgments on her parenting would be heard across the land!  Her tombstone would read “Here lays Ambrosia’s mother, who could not be bothered to properly lotion up her child before a doctor’s appointment, no less. And the doctor was WHITE. Mmm-hmm.”

I made sure to accentuate my sexiness with the height of 1980’s fashion accessories. I had a pink and black cross-body bag, covered in Playboy Bunnies. The logo of the rabbit wearing a bow-tie, not actual naked ladies. Please, I would put those bitches to shame with my white opaque pantyhose and black patent leather Mary Janes. I wore that joint everywhere, with every outfit. I knew before anybody that pink was the new black and that my embrace of a controversial brand was a sign to all that I was a progressive woman of our time. I would rock bikini tops and short-shorts in the summertime. Was my body bikini ready? Nope. Did I care? I looked high and low and could not find one single fu*k to give. My belly was round and brown and glorious. It hung just-so over my short-shorts with the cherry appliques (You see the ongoing fruit theme? I knew what I was doing.). I was a body-acceptance activist before it was mainstream. And I was fly.

Fast forward 25 years or so, and I’m pretty sure the circa-1980’s me would be giving current me some major side-eye. I mean, I’m not really aiming for sexy, usually, but that natural je ne sais quoi that oozed from my pre-pubescent pores seems to have dried up. I got glasses – big, Sally Jesse Raphael-looking mothertruckers – in the third grade which I think may have put a cap on the animal magnetism I had previously and so effortlessly exuded. I’d like to channel the sexy kid me. She was pretty dope. She put on elaborate variety shows at the drop of a hat and demanded her audiences’ attention, dammit! Her go-to facial expression for candid and casual pictures was a look that screamed “I can’t with you”. She had men of all ages vying for her attention and being very free and easy with their sugar-free chewing gum and breath mints. She wore lace and drank ginger ale from a cocktail glass, with a tiny straw, while on a Caribbean cruise. She’d probably have serious reservations about my Natural hair and acceptance of the leggings trend, though eventually, I think I’d get her to sign off on at least the hair. If I could learn to be more like Sexy Kid Ambrosia, I might have less of a reason to have a blog that documents the various ways one can see why I’m single. I think I know where I should start:

How much do you think a pink and black cross-body Playboy bag goes for nowadays?