Tag Archives: friends

Young Love.

4 Sep

I hated him the moment he walked through the door. He looked older than his very young years. Not old; mature, distinguished, chiseled, even with a slightly round face and Great Pumpkin head. He was clean shaven and deeply tanned. He wore an aqua-green polo shirt and acid-washed jeans. His hair was close cropped and “brown” wasn’t an accurate color description; “bronze” is perhaps the closest. The same applied to his eyes: just when you thought they were nothing special, a simple turn of his head made the rich forest green hidden within the iris sparkle. He smelled like a deodorant or cologne that had the word “breeze” or “wave” in the name. He had a perfectly formed yet honking schnozzola and over-plumped pillow lips sheened with what I assumed was a balm of some sort, but soon discovered was just plain-old saliva from his habitual lip-licking. He was absolutely monstrous. In a few months I’d be head-over-heels in love with him.


I am surrounded by youth. Sometimes I forget how young they are, but I’m reminded every time I fall in love with them. It’s not as disturbing as it sounds: I work at a university. They’re all, with the exception of one 16-year-old genius that I did not love, at least 18-years-old. I know; it’s still pretty bad. But how could I not love them? Everything is so important all the time; every relationship will last forever; sex is terrifying and dangerous and no big deal; secrets abound; gossip is nourishment; fashion and music and ever-changing slang and adventures and unnecessary risks and always tomorrow and the next day and the next. This is what it is to be age 18 – 30 and in college. I’m counting the older end of the student spectrum because something happens to you when you’re surrounded by newness and the promise of something, anything and so much hope. It changes you. It does not always make you better.


“I can’t believe you guys hired him! He’s such a jerk. He talks back to professors, when he’s not interrupting them.” Good, another reason hate him, and from a reliable source, him with his dumb face and dumb hair and dumb voice.

I wouldn’t talk to him, outside of giving him work orders, this cretin who so blatantly disregarded the hierarchy of academia. “Who do you think you are?” I thought, glaring at him over the top of my computer’s monitor. Him with his sweet, minty breath, perfumed by the gum he constantly, loudly chewed, his juicy lips endless smacking away. “I hate you” I’d whisper to myself. “I hate you and your fuzzy-duckling hair and humungo nose that still seems perfectly suited to your face.”

“I hate you,” I thought. “You are dumb and awful and I hate you.”


“We should go to lunch! We’re both off that day. Come to my place for lunch.” Her place is a retirement community in a moderately wealthy town. She is my work friend, a Chinese woman that never wears a bra and brings me tuna sandwiches and oranges that are always too ripe for my taste.

She’s older than 50, but younger than 70. I think. She’s married to an older white man, hence the retirement facility, even though she works two jobs. Three, if you count the slaving away she does for him. She tells me all the time how young I am, that there’s plenty of time, but to be careful. Be very careful about men. They will ruin your life if you choose wrong. She chose wrong. She left a man in China that adored her but didn’t want to move to America. Years later, after his broken heart mended, he married. He adores his wife. Everyone talks about what a good husband, what a good man he is. My friend’s husband is not a good man, but he is stunningly handsome and robust, despite terminal illness.

She says that I deserve someone nice, a good man. I do not tell her that I think I am in love with a horrible boy in his twenties and am in complete denial and don’t want to meet any other men and have, therefore, already chosen wrong.


“Have you ever seen Key and Peele’s East/West College Bowl? It’s a skit about- here, let me just play it for you.” I finally started to talk to him. I can’t remember why.

I somehow learn that he plays football. He plays a position that I pretend to have heard of. I am immediately embarrassed by my attempt, that seems to come out of nowhere, to connect with him. He makes me uncomfortable, mostly because he’s not as ugly as I thought, once I really took a good look at him.

His very presence reminds me that I am old and yet, under-experienced.  The students always think I am 10-15 years younger than I am actually am. I hate correcting them, but lying feels desperate and foolish. His beauty – because, I have to admit, he was, in a way, beautiful – reminds me that I’m fat, and that maybe it was a bad idea to stop straightening my hair, and that though my face looks young, it is only marginally attractive, and only sometimes.

I show him the Key and Peele skit, my hand trembling over the mouse as I click on the screen. He’s too close to me. As the clip plays, he starts to giggle. Not laugh. He giggles. The way a baby does when you tickle its belly or make those loud kissing noises on their neck and fat cheeks. My friend once told me not to make those kissing noises on her baby because the sound of them was too loud and would damage his hearing. We aren’t friends anymore.

I was shocked that this lip-licking, gum-smacking, football-playing, so-ugly-he’s-actually-handsome cool kid was giggling with abandon. It was gross and horrible and probably what made me fall in love with him.

To Be Continued. . .

 

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You Want a Social Life, With Friends. (And an apology.)

29 Nov

Hi. Hello. I am here, and I am going to write something.

Before I do, I thought it right for me to apologize for an issue that has been needling me for quite some time now. No, I’m not going to apologize for my six month absence. I might kind of try to explain it though, so hold your horses.

My apology has to do with some things that I’ve written in past posts about fat bodies. In one post, about that terrible wedding I was in, I implied that the kind of awful bride was unattractive because she is fat. I later went on to snidely describe her second husband as “probably weighing 600 lbs”., which again, was my attempt at negating the fact that she found love and marriage for a second time. “Yeah, another person wanted to marry her, but just look at him.” I was saying that without saying it. Probably because I was/am a coward.

In another post, the name and content of which I can’t recall and am both too jittery and lazy to search for, I claimed that proof of my self-love was the fact that I don’t weigh 300 lbs.

I am sorry for writing those things. They are examples of the hatred of fat bodies – including my own – that I’ve internalized from a variety  of sources. I am working at ridding myself of that hate. Tumblr has been a priceless resource in my learning that fat bodies have value, are deserving of love, are beautiful, and can tell us nothing about a person’s health, abilities, or self-esteem.

Surprisingly, no one called me out on the things that I wrote. But maybe someone read my hateful words and was hurt. I couldn’t let that possibility stand without acknowledging how sorry I am, how much I am trying and want to change, and that I am asking for forgiveness. Please forgive me.

I’m leaving those posts up as they are (considering I can’t even find one of them, ugh) and hope that my future pieces will demonstrate my growth and sensitivity since writing them.

Thank you for sticking around as I grow.


 

You Want a Social Life, With Friends

You want a social life, with friends.

A passionate love life and as well

To work hard every day. What’s true

Is of these three you may have two

And two can pay you dividends

But never may have three.

 

There isn’t time enough, my friends-

Though dawn begins, yet midnight ends-

To find the time to have love, work, and friends.

Michelangelo had feeling

For Vittoria and the Ceiling

But did he go to parties at day’s end?

Homer nightly went to banquets

Wrote all day but had no lockets

Bright with pictures of his Girl.

 

I know one who loves and parties

And has done so since his thirties

But writes hardly anything at all.

-by Kenneth Koch

 

I never thought I’d be the type of person to have a favorite poem. I just didn’t think poetry was for me, wasn’t sure that I liked it all that much, the work of Langston Hughes and Shel Silverstein being notable exceptions. And then a few years ago I read Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s 2005 memoir Encyclopedia of An Ordinary Life.

In it she mentions that Kenneth Koch’s You Want a Social life, With Friends is her favorite poem and told a funny story about meeting its author. I read it over and over again, and the next time I was at work, I made a too-dark photocopy and hung it on my fridge.

You Want a Social Life, With Friends resonated with me. I was someone who was chronically lonely, felt confused and like a failure when it came to her career. I was absolutely convinced that “everybody else” had managed to master having fulfilling work, romantic love, and meaningful friendships. I did take solace in Koch’s assertion that “What’s true is of these three you may have two and two can pay you dividends but never may have three.” So, all I had to do – like the Disney villain I am deep in my cold, dark heart – was sit back and wait for my friends and acquaintances to suffer some loss, of a lover, of a job, of friends, because no one can have it all; look, I have proof!

I didn’t really want anyone I knew and liked to lose anything. But I desperately wanted all three for myself, and the poem was a reminder that life is full of sacrifice and compromise and comes without guarantee. Of anything. I remember feeling a chill of foreboding each time I read it after first finding it. I’d find some way to have all three, dammit! I’d beat the odds!

Now, here I am, 35 years old, feeling as lonely as ever; feeling as unfulfilled at work as I hoped to never be.

Part of me believes that there is still hope. That if I can maybe put myself on a writing schedule, something will come of my questionable talent. My current job may even allow me to pursue a second bachelor’s degree in professional writing for cheap or free. The work piece could potentially, someday come together. Maybe.

As far as love and friends? My hope meter is running on empty. Over the summer I did things that made me think “This. This is the moment when the pendulum swung to the other side with such force that I don’t think I’ll be able to move it back.” I let people borrow money, I stopped wearing contacts, and I went on a solo vacation. These events signaled to me that I was barreling towards spinsterhood at a frightening speed.

The money thing was a mistake. I should have known better. I’ve watched enough “Judge Judy” to know that owed money will destroy relationships despite one’s best efforts. Not only have I stopped asking for the money, I’ve stopped communicating with the people who benefited from my foolishness. I don’t think that they’ve noticed. And to be fair, I was – I am – seething under the surface, trying to hide my resentment, my disappointment, how used I feel. I didn’t tell them about my feelings. I didn’t hound them for the cash.

“It’s not fair,” I thought. “They have families and lovers and close friendships and now my money.” I was in communication with them until September, when the people in question suddenly stopped their correspondence. I hoped that I’d hear from them on or around my birthday; they owed me at least that much. I heard nothing. The idea of initiating contact with them makes my heart pound, my gut churn, my hands tremble. The realization that I lent the money with so many invisible strings attached makes me feel ashamed.

How is this a sign of my spinsterhood? I’m like the rich old aunt that never married, who eats store-brand canned soup and has to make it home in time to watch “Jeopardy!”. No one comes around until holiday time, because they know Auntie gives the best gifts, the poor sucker. “I mean, she’s got nobody, hardly any expenses. What does she need all that money for anyway? I’ll send her a card.” The card never comes. I open another can of chicken and rice and set up the TV tray in the living room. Alex Trebek always was a handsome man.

So that’s two friends I’ll never hear from again, or am doomed to have awkward, sporadic contact with when they feel like paying Auntie a pity visit.

The contacts thing and the vacation thing happened simultaneously. I planned a last minute, somewhat haphazardly planned vacation to St. Lucia. I’d never been out of the country alone before and I knew that if I waited until someone could go with me, I’d never travel. I spent five lonely days at a luxury spa. The island was beautiful, the weather lovely, the people damn nice. My tour guide hit on me; it was really uncomfortable, especially considering he did it after telling me that Tyler Perry movies send necessary messages of ‘warning’ to those wacky black women that want to be independent and self-sufficient and in charge.

I met two nice English ladies old enough to be my mother, one also named Ambrosia. We chatted a bit and shared one night of cocktails and a meal together, then spent the rest of the time awkwardly waving to each other across the resort. I was seated at the communal table for other solo travelers on some other night and had an Asian-fusion four course meal with a lady elementary school principal from Canada. It was both better and worse than it sounds.

There was a young, fat, attractive American girl I hoped to befriend. She was alone, was wearing a fatkini, kept her nose in a book. The fact that she made bold fashion choices and liked to read had me sold. She never noticed my smiles, which in all the sunlight and happiness surrounding me may have made it look like I had a bad case of indigestion. I was too chicken to go over and say hello.

On my second day there, I realized that I’d left my contact lens case somewhere in America. I’d recently purchased new, large, bold frames, but have always felt ugly in glasses. I can’t see without either contacts or glasses, so I had no choice. I had to feel ugly for four days in paradise.

I never bothered to renew my lens prescription. I’ve been wearing my trendy glasses full-time since August. On one had, with my nose ring and natural hair, I’m at times convinced that I look okay. Like maybe I know people that live in Brooklyn or smoke weed out of decorative glass pipes or am vegan.

But then other times I’ll catch my reflection in some shiny surface when I’m off guard or try to take a selfie and the person I see looking back at me is a sexless nerd, who read in her hotel room in a foreign, tropical country; who got suckered into lending substantial amounts of money in the hopes that somebody would love her best; who sat and watched other people dance on the last night of her vacation, wearing her ill-fitting glasses while a stray cat took pity on her and kept her company.

I don’t really like that person so much.

She reeks of desperation. Her bug-eyed stare screams “I want a social life, with friends! A passionate love life, and to work hard every day!” I wonder which one of us screams the loudest.

In which I have a meltdown in the middle of a Red Robin.

19 Dec

YummmaaarRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!! Source

If only I had just eaten the well-done burger.

Let me say this now: whichever one of you finds my body – oh, who am I kidding? When the neighbors complain about the smell and a rep from the condo board (yeah, I finally moved in to my grandpa’s old place, whoopee) has a maintenance man break down my door and finds me a.) naked and dead on the stairs, having fallen to my death because I put off getting a runner; b.) naked and dead in one of the upstairs bathrooms, having slipped to death on one of the many loose tiles that I can’t yet afford to replace; or c.) fully clothed and dead, having finally followed through on something in my miserable life, ending it all by my own hopefully exquisitely manicured hand, please see to it that my tombstone reads as follows:

Ambrosia Prudence Jones

19somethin’somethin’-20somethin’somethin’

“If only I had. . . “

Bury me in something chic, black, and tastefully (think Beyonce tasteful, not Jackie O tasteful) sequined. DO NOT let my mother make any decisions about my hair or makeup. Find a Fabulous Gay to do that. I want flowers, flowers, and more flowers, and completely inappropriate music at my funeral. The women in attendance should be wearing hats and heels, a la American Horror Story: Coven.  Send them away if they aren’t.

Enough about my funeral plans. And look, I get that it’s. . . macabre that I have a rough sketch of funeral plans at my age, but in the four months since we last met, dear reader, life has handed me no bright moment that has led me to plan, even prematurely, anything other than my eventual demise. It is the only thing I can count on happening. There are, as always, no men in my life, and I sadly have yet to discover or develop a taste for women. Though if I did, I’m sure I’d find that things would be just as dismal on the dating front.

Remember that whole thing about my probably not being able to have kids? Um, yeah, so I couldn’t get pregnant if I had sex with Shawty Lo. Or Kevin Federline, who may be more immediately familiar to white some readers. I am at the moment infertile, though I’m not supposed to use the term infertile. I was told in my sort of support group thing that I sometimes attend that we’re not to ever say we’re infertile until the doctors have taken away our uteri. We’re “reproductively  challenged” or some such nonsense. I have a giant fibroid inside my uterus AND a super fun thing called PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Not only can I not find a human male to have sex with me that isn’t homeless and/or over the age of 50, if I did and wanted to have a baby, chances are I wouldn’t ovulate. If I somehow did ovulate, there is no where for the baby egg thingamajig (yay, science) to go because my whole mother oven is blocked. Surgery is extremely risky, with hysterectomy being an unfortunate possible side effect. If the surgery was successful, the surgeons have no way of guaranteeing that I’d be left with enough healthy uterine tissue to successfully carry a pregnancy to term, in the event I were to ever meet a man and then, of course, ovulate. It’s a supremely jacked up Circle of Life. Despair and hope indeed.

For a number of weeks now, I’ve been getting shot up with a drug I won’t name in an effort to maintain one last sliver of privacy since I thought it was a FANTASTIC idea to post selfies (like three; I’m in my thirties and not that particular brand of ridiculous or beautiful) under this nom de plume on fucking tumblr in the hopes that someone, anyone (hopefully with a nice face and penis) would tell me I was beautiful and not a monstrosity of epic proportions. The drug is supposed to make me temporarily menopausal which is in turn supposed to shrink the fibroids and Jesus Christ I bet you’re all wondering what the hell my uterus has to do with Red Robin. I’m getting there, I swear, I’m getting there. This is what happens when I don’t write for four months. Sorry.

I’m not so sure about the menopausal part, considering the fact that I’ve been. . . um. . . bleeding (sorry, I know, so sorry) for almost two months, and the shrinking isn’t happening at a rate that my doctor is pleased with. What I’m certain of is the drug is causing me to feel sadder and angrier and far more emotionally raw than usual AND NOW WE’RE FINALLY GETTING TO THE TITLE OF THE POST I ALWAYS GET THERE WE MIGHT HAVE A LAYOVER IN DALLAS BUT WE ALWAYS GET TO OUR DESTINATION. And I’d like to think it’s because of my general unhappiness compounded by the goddamn holidays and the cold and the knowledge that I may never be able to have children and the ongoing pain and discomfort and blood and mood swings and loneliness and the unshakable feeling that I don’t really matter to anyone at the medical practice because I’m not there for IVF or egg extractions and the feeling that I don’t really matter to anyone at all anywhere and the worry that men can smell my defect on me and that’s why they stay away, between the no babies and the sociopath ex, I am Damaged Goods and now I may have lost my new friends all because of a burger.

We waited 29 minutes for someone to take our order. We watched the people next to us get served their meal, eat their meal, and get their check before one of my friends got up to find out what the heck was going on. They, the people at the next table, even asked us if anyone had come to take our drink order, and they were literally a middle school couple. They could not have been older than 14 years old and they knew things were bad. The hostess was kind enough to take our drink order and serve  us before a shiftless manchild came to take our food order. Here’s where things went downhill: I ordered guacamole bacon burger cooked “a little bit pink”, following Red Robin’s ordering instructions. I got an impeccably dressed hockey puck. I took two bites and decided I couldn’t enjoy the gristly meat husk masquerading as hamburger and waited 10 minutes or so for The Dude to wander back to our section so I could reluctantly send back my meal. He never came, but the on top of it and super apologetic hostess did.

At some point between my waiting to receive the meal I’d ordered in the first place and my eventual meltdown, The Dude appeared and attempted to give us our check. We all sort of looked at him as if he were insane; was he even remotely aware of our kind of shitty experience? Did he think that maybe we wanted that big ass ice cream pie crime against humanity that they serve, because um, yeah, we did? We  kindly mentioned that we wanted to order dessert; “Uhhh, I’m pretty sure we’re like, closed though” he replied. I think it was here that I lost it, but didn’t realize that I’d lost it. Everything happened so fast, like when a perfectly gently boiling pot all of sudden loses its ever loving shit and starts to barf all over the stove. That’s how it was with me. I didn’t even have a chance to turn down the flame or grab a lid or scream at my mom to do something while I played “Candy Crush Saga” in the bathroom.

If the kitchen was closed, what about my burger? I didn’t say this; I didn’t say anything. I just stared at him, at the neon “YUMMM” on the wall, at nothing in particular. My friends went from fierce warriors against dining injustice to sniveling diners worried about being nice to terrible service people. “Oh, you’re closed? Oh my god. We’re so sorry. Never mind. No dessert for us. Just the check.”

“No, wait. Why don’t you check to make sure that the kitchen is in fact closed. You know, since I’m waiting for my dinner and all.” I tried to say it kindly, but I was hungry and tired and annoyed and I hate people speaking and apologizing for me, and that’s what my friends were doing. Simultaneously, my friends said the following: “Oh my god, I feel so bad!” “Now I feel like such an asshole!” and that’s when I saw red. You feel like an asshole because they fucked up my food, made us wait more than 30 minutes before they even took our order, and I’d, no, we’d like to simply order dessert???? Moments later, the hostess came over to assure me that my burger was on its way out and began to loudly apologize. And wouldn’t stop apologizing. She offered dessert. Free dessert. All the dessert. To get her manager. To do my taxes. Find me a husband. Help me unpack. All the while, my friends are turning her down; her efforts are unnecessary because they’re fine. The restaurant is closed or going to close or something. Even though we’re surrounded by full tables. I am fucking fuming. It’s no longer about burgers. It’s about principle and fairness and me having a voice and getting what the hell I asked for for once.

So I snapped.

I took off my glasses (bad sign) and I stopped smiling and doing that stupid “no, it’s not you, it’s me, and it’s fine” bullshit that women feel they’re supposed to do when trying to get a service that they are paying for and it’s going wrong and I said in a voice that scared myself “What I want is the meal I ordered the way I ordered it. It’s not your fault. You’re the hostess. Thank you for trying. It should be the waiter doing all of this. But now my friends care more about the fact that you might be closed than your trying to make this right, so please, just get me my food so I can eat it and they can stop feeling like assholes.”

My friends got mad at me, but said they weren’t. I was mad at them and said I was. One of them wouldn’t speak to or look at me for the rest of the night and while the other made a big show of hugging it out with me afterwards, she stormed off to her car. So, I guess that’s done. A perfectly nice evening was fucked up because I couldn’t just shut up and eat burned meat. But I feel like my entire life is nothing but shutting up and eating burnt meat I didn’t order, a terrible analogy, I know.

Was I out of line? I don’t think so? I don’t even know. Am I just one big hormonal mess, incapable of any healthy, normal human relationships, destined to live and die bitter and alone? I think that’s pretty fucking clear. I wanted it to also be clear that in the four months since I last checked in with ya’ll, the only growth that’s occurred has been in my uterus. 

I (think I might) hate Halloween.

2 Nov

Yup. Source

If you live in a part of the world that happened to piss off some West Indian chick named Sandy, you may not have even had a chance to hate Halloween this year. I’ve always been quite indifferent to the holiday myself, seeing as how it was off-limits during my formative years and I was too poor and timid as a thin, hot, late-teen-early-twenty-something to indulge in the debauchery, i.e. wear a really slutty costume, that apparently goes along with the day when one is too old to Trick-or-Treat. So when I was invited to a costumes-mandatory Halloween party in mid-October, I was pretty damn excited.

I acquired my first ever store bought costume, – I was a member of ancient Egyptian high society, but I just told people I was Cleopatra because that’s easier – researched the make-up and nail polish (actually, during that time period a nail stain made of henna and red hued berries was used), and even splurged on a wig.  I was really looking forward to a real Halloween experience for a change, filled with booze and laughter and apple-bobbing and making out with a mysterious man dressed as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle or something. What can I say, I watch a lot of television.

Those things didn’t happen, of course. I mean, I laughed and drank booze, but I didn’t make out with anyone – SHOCKER – and I spent an awful lot of the night feeling SUPER uncomfortable. Oh, and hurt, confused, embarrassed, angry, disappointed. Lots of feels.

I was one of the last folks to arrive because putting on enough makeup to make it look like I have cheek bones takes a really long time. I started to panic a little because I initially didn’t see a lot of adults in costume and I felt sort of like an idiot because I had gone all out and with four-inch platform sandals on in addition to four inches of makeup, I felt very much like a beautiful reject from RuPaul’s Drag Race who hadn’t quite mastered the tuck.

A close friend had mentioned to me earlier that his particular top-secret costume choice would make me “pee [my] pants”, so I was on the look-out for him. He’s creative and irreverent and smart so I knew I was going to be in for a surprise. In talking to a mutual friend of ours a few hours before the party, we tossed around guesses on what he was going to be. I guessed Jesus or Lord Gaga, Lady Gaga’s long lost and imaginary male counterpart. “You know”, I said, “Part of me wonders if he’s going to come as Bill Cosby ’cause I’ve started calling him Uncle Bill. He just does so many things that scream Heathcliff Huxtable, it wouldn’t surprise me. But no, a convincing Dr. Huxtable/Bill Cosby would require blackface,” I joked. “He’d do a lot of things, but he’d never do that. God, I hope he wouldn’t do that.”

Le sigh.

I teetered along carefully, my robes gathered in my hands as regally as I could muster and scanned the room for anyone over the age of six in a costume, but for my friend in particular. I spotted the hostess decked out in her Disney princess best; a flapper; a gun moll; and a woman in all zebra print holding an umbrella covered in stuffed animals (She was raining cats and dogs. Cute, right?). I breathed a sigh of relief and relished in the compliments my costume and I received. And then I turned my head.

The first thing I saw was his strange, patchy, mud-colored skin. Whatever he’d used was either melting or smearing or just hadn’t been applied very well and made him look filthy rather than of African decent. But then, most people who attempt blackface don’t actually look black. They just look dirty or as if they’re suffering from some unfortunate skin disease and that is just one of the MANY reasons why blackface, REGARDLESS of the intent, is offensive to me, an actual black person whose skin doesn’t look that way. I don’t know any actual black person with skin that looks that way. Ahem. I’m getting ahead of myself.

Anyway, his face, neck, and hands were covered in whatever he’d used to darken his skin and he was wearing a dark blue suit and red, white, and blue tie and flag lapel pin. My nerves and shock had delayed my brain function so even though I was taking in all of this data with my kohl-rimmed eyeballs, I simply couldn’t process who or what he was supposed to be. My eyes fell to the sign in his hand that had letters on it that made up a word I would have normally and very quickly recognized under any other circumstances: a capital ‘O’ followed by a capital ‘B’ followed by a capital ‘A’-

Oh no. Oh NO.

I whipped my head around, my shiny synthetic wig hair sticking to my lipstick.  The people not in costume were wearing stickers that read ‘Re-elect Obama’. It was all starting to come together: I had walked into a time warp and had been sucked onto the set of a taping of “In Living Color” written by precogs. I mean, what else would explain what I was seeing? One of my closest, dearest, most racially sensitive friends couldn’t possibly be in motherfucking blackface as the motherfucking president unless he was also circa-1992 Jim Carrey rehearsing an episode that included an ill-conceived, never-to-air skit called “Oh my god, everybody, what if we had a black president with an African name someday? That’d be HELLA crazy, right?”, right? Right?!?

Wrong.

I wasn’t having some sort of flash-back-forward. I didn’t fall down a Time Slide. The Wayans Brothers were in no way responsible for this. My friend thought he picked an awesome Halloween costume. I thought he had lost his ever-loving mind.

“Oh my GOD!” I shrieked. People looked at me and started to nervously chuckle. Of course – OF COURSE –  I was the only black person in attendance. I felt as though all eyes were on me in a “Let’s see how the black person reacts!” moment of awkward silence. I felt my mouth twitch and spasm into what I suppose was a smile. “Hehehehehe. Look at you!” I said, or something like that. Something non-confrontational but that also didn’t give the appearance of my approval. My eyes briefly locked with the hostesses. Mine were screaming “WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING?!?!? IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING?!?”  but I don’t know if she caught all of that. Eye speech can be very difficult to decipher, especially when one has on tons of mascara.

I tried to avoid my friend without it looking like I was avoiding him all night. I know I spoke to him, but I don’t remember what either of us said. My brain turns to useless fluff during moments of high stress. I can’t remember details and that totally bums me out because I am a person who THRIVES on details.

He was excited and really proud of his costume. He had “researched” President Obama for days, maybe weeks. He did his best to not “break character” all night. I tried not to listen to any of the interactions he had with my friends or other guests while he was “being the president”. I didn’t want to learn that any of the people that I liked were racist, bigoted, birther asshats. Or Republicans. But I also tried to listen without listening so that I could squirrel away any nuggets of ignorance that dropped out of the mouths of people there and shoot them Looks of Doom made even more doomy by my kick-ass Pharaoh eyes. All of that covert non-listening made me sweat which would have made my beautiful make-up run, so I gave that up and just ate a lot, keeping my mouth perpetually full so I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone.

It took me three days to get up the nerve to say anything about my utter discomfort, to say the least, with his costume choice. And I couldn’t even say anything. I sent him a link via text to posts on blackface at Racialicious, a blog about “the intersection of race and pop culture.” I gave him the benefit of the doubt, assuming that he just didn’t know about things like white privilege or cultural appropriation or the harmful, hurtful, painful history of blackface in general.

Wrong. Again.

I was negative and afraid and discouraging his artistic expression. Didn’t I know that he’s an aspiring method actor? He said some other bullshit that floored me, so I gave him a piece of my mind and told him with my fanciest two-dollar words that I thought he was a dick, without ever calling him a dick. But I did tell him that he was ignorant, arrogant, and racially insensitive.

He wore blackface to at least one other Halloween party, and was even more unnaturally darkened and scary looking than before, like he’d rolled around in a coal bin. People, apparently, thought it was awesome and hilarious. They posed with him in pictures and posted them on that social networking site. The pictures of him got ‘likes’ in the double-digits. I deleted my account after I saw that (and for other reasons too, but I’m telling this story right now). I cried. Kind of a lot.

I haven’t talked about this with very many people because. . . like, how the hell do I even have that conversation? “Oh hey, it’s 2012 and one of my BFFs wore blackface and I’m super hurt and he thinks I’m the asshole. So anyway, did you catch last week’s episode of “New Girl”?” This is one of the many reasons why I’m going to be in therapy FOREVER because I have wacky, gut-punching shit happen on the regular and I need to pay a dude in a cardigan sweater to help me make sense of it all.

Other stuff happened related to this. Nothing as big, but certainly hurtful. I was invited out Trick-or-Treating by mutual friends of his but was told with a shrug “He’s gonna do his thing so. . .” So what?  “Suck it up, bitch”? “Get over yourself and 300+ years of fucked-up history”? “You’re our friend, but a ‘hilarious costume’ will always trump your feelings so what time should we pick you up”? Then there were the people who did the whole “OMG, they’re just costumes, why can’t minorities SHUT UP already and let us desecrate their stuff?” in response to respectful Halloween costume PSAs I posted on that social networking site. Oh, and an acquaintance I hadn’t seen in forever referred to her city as “N!ggertown” in conversation with me and when the look of horror I gave her registered said “Oh, no offense; you’re not like that.” Not like what? I’m not like what?

So, I think I might really hate Halloween. There are special experiences one has being black during all the seasons, but it seems that All Hallows’ Eve really brings out the fuckery and foolishness hidden in the hearts of so many well-meaning individuals. I also hate that my friend is, apparently, not as creative or respectful or possibly smart as Miley Cyrus. Case in point:

Hmm. I know she’s supposed to be someone famous but I just. Can’t. Put my fin- She’s Nicki Minaj. And that’s plainly clear without the use of a layer of shoe polish. Source.

I think one of the many things that bothered me about the whole thing that I’m struggling to articulate even though I’ve spent 2,000+ words on it is that President Obama, whom I adore, isn’t mud-coffee-coal colored and to my knowledge, my friend isn’t blind. The beautiful nuance of the complexion of black folk seems to be totally lost on him. Apparently, we all just look dirty or are literally black in his eyes. His natural olive complexion is closer to how the president actually looks than the shit-stain-brown makeup he used. Miley got-dang Cyrus had the brain power to figure that out for her costume and I’m not sure she can even read!

If he did so much “research” for this costume, why didn’t he just lose the jacket, roll up his sleeves, and loosen his tie? Why not wear prosthetic big ears? Work on the voice? Ask for cheeseburgers with spicy brown mustard instead of ketchup? Tuck a cigarette behind his ear? Carry a surf board? Why did he have to blacken his skin to imitate a person who’s skin ISN’T EVEN BLACK? I’ll pretend for a moment that the whole thing wasn’t inherently and deeply offensive and simply focus on the down-right laziness of someone claiming to be an aspiring method actor. You, dear sir, suck major ASS at your chosen craft.

I don’t know what all this means for our friendship and I don’t think this post is going to help matters. Or maybe it will because it has said pretty much everything I couldn’t have without crying. But for reals, I was worried that my dressing as Cleopatra/an ancient Egyptian might be potentially offensive because it is a not altogether accurate cultural costume belonging to others (that are mostly dead) and he never stopped to think that maybe his idea was a bad one? That’s not fair!

Just. . . I’m sad and tired. Maybe my parents had a point in keeping me from Halloween. Whatevs. All I know is I’m going as fat Bruno Mars next year. We have the same face, same complexion, same haircut, and until like two days ago, I thought he was black. And I won’t have to wear heels.

I’m also pretty sure that I already own that jacket. SCORE! Source.

Just trying to outlive Jesus.

14 Oct
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Totally bummed I didn’t think of the concept of outliving Jesus first, but totally psyched that it was The Onion that beat me to it. Source

It’s been a long time. I shouldn’t a left you. Without a dope post to read to. Read to, read to, read- Eh, it doesn’t really work, but I tried.

Lots of crap has been going on. So much so that it has prevented me from thanking and responding to the handful of new folks who’ve left comments or ‘liked’ past stuff (Thank you so much! I love you!) or writing more than one cuss-filled post during the month of September. I thought I’d start out this post by sharing a list pertaining to the lots of crap in an effort to maybe make you, my dear 6 and 3/4 readers, laugh; feel better about your own life by comparison; and reassure you that this blog and unfortunately I are still alive.

  • After six years filled of wonder and amazement, I moved out of my apartment. The plan was for me to move into the home of my beloved dead grandpa; – For mental health and self-esteem reasons I’m supposed to be calling it my home. That ain’t gonna happen anytime soon. – that plan is on an indefinite hiatus, mostly because it appears as though someone set off a bomb in his two-story, three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom condo. A bomb that both destroyed everything and opened a portal to 1975.
  • I have been living out of one suitcase in the home of my parents who have recently retired. I sleep in my childhood bedroom that has become the storage space for the stuff my parents don’t want and/or don’t know what to do with (How fitting!) on an air mattress which I managed to pop just this morning (FINALLY!). I have come to the awful conclusion that I might kinda hate my mall-walking, liquid-vitamin-taking, Dr. Oz-worshiping mother and father. Just a little bit.
  • I am still single.

Anyway. In two days I am going to be 33 years old. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but like most things, I hate my motherfucking birthday. I especially hate all birthdays after the twentieth, because that’s when the expectations attached to age begin. So not only will someone probably die (my 28th, 29th, and 30th birthdays), break up with me (my 26th), give me the swine flu (my 30th), or lock themselves in my car and refuse to participate in the festivities (my 23rd) on my “special day”, you expect me to have accomplished shit too? Oh, here go hell come.

Birthdays have always been just an overflowing bag of sad for me for as long as I can remember. As a kid, birthday parties were contingent upon whether or not I had been “good”. Ma and Pa Jones would typically do the “Do you think you deserve to have a birthday party, Ambrosia?” thing with me and being a highly intelligent and precocious child, I knew that the answer was ‘no’. I mean, if ya have to ask, amiright? It seemed that Ma Jones loved to say the following, as I heard some variation of it each year: “And you think you’re having a birthday party? You? Ha! Little girls who have birthday parties do not roll their eyes at their mothers!” It was all I could do not to demand empirical evidence from her. “What are you basing this data on? Show me the numbers!”

I’m not anybody’s mother, so I don’t know if birthday parties ought to be doled out sparingly or not. Maybe my parents were doing what most parents do. But to a girl who’s an only child, lives in a child-free neighborhood, doesn’t really fit in with the kids at church, doesn’t get to socialize all that much with her school friends, and experiences a nagging sense of unshakable loneliness that follows her throughout her entire life, the birthday party rations really sucked. It was my one chance out of the year to be the center of attention, to demand things (whether or not those demands were fulfilled is another thing entirely), and be surrounded by friends. To have that be dependent on whether or not I’d been a model child was way harsh, considering that, at least in my parents’ eyes, I never quite measured up.

Don’t even get me started on expectations and birthday parties. Good god, how I loathe expectations. And yet, I am full of them. I was quick to write that I blame my life-long love of books, movies, and television for the ridiculous expectations swirling around in my head when I hear the words “birthday”, “Christmas”, “New Year’s Eve”, “wedding”, and “drag ball”, but to be perfectly honest, I’ve witnessed enough magical loveliness in real life happen to people I know that I am comfortable blaming them. The parties my friends and acquaintances have for their children leave me itching to call 9-1-1 to turn in my parents on a 25 year-old charge of neglect. Every kid in the class gets to come! Brand-name goodie bags! Elaborate themes! PG-13 movies! Designer clothes and shoes! Cake with a picture of your face on it!

A girl I knew rented out part of a nightclub to celebrate her 24th birthday. That’s not even a milestone age or anything. It was sort of supposed to be a joint party for me and some other October babies too, but I only told one friend about it because it was in Manhattan and I knew no one else would come. She had signature drinks, and embossed invitations, and her own waiter, and color-coordinated decorations that matched her outfit and makeup and the drinks and invitations. It was super fun, i.e., I got really drunk. I think I totaled my car on my 24th birthday (Not that same night, or year, even. Drunk driving is lame.). Not quite as fun.

Thing is, I don’t even want my own waiter or a cake with my face on it. Designer clothes and shoes would only be ruined in my grubby little accident-prone hands. “Signature drinks” is a stupid concept that I fall for every time I see them on a menu or watch “My Fair Wedding with David Tutera”. You know what kind of party I really like? Remember that one scene in “You’ve Got Mail” when Meg Ryan’s character has people over and Archie Bunker’s wife plays the piano and they sing and laugh and drink wine and everyone’s wearing a sweater and Greg Kinnear is tone deaf? I love that. The only things that party is missing is candlelight, dancing, more food and booze, The Gays, and me.

Don’t get me wrong, someday I want to blow a couple hundred bucks on a night out at Lucky Cheng’s and maybe have a closed-mouth make-out session on a dance floor with a handsome stranger (It’s a cultural thing, and blech!). But I don’t need any of that to have a nice birthday party – if I were still celebrating my birthday. I have vowed to never again attempt to have a party or make any birthday demands (I did tell Lisa she could make me her chicken casserole and bake a lemon cake, but she asked first.) or even mention the dreaded day after last year’s debacle. I haven’t mentioned last year’s debacle in great detail here other than explaining that it is from hence this blog’s name was birthed. Since The Day of Dread is less than 48 hours away, I’ll tell that story now by revising what I wrote and shared on that social networking site.

Actually, upon proofreading said post, I’ve decided to share it in its (hardly) unedited entirety. A quick re-read after a year made me do it:

I told ya so!  I told ya something bad was gonna happen on my birthday!

I do hate to gloat, truly I do, but I want people to understand that I’m not a sad sack of misery just because.  I’ve got history on my side!  Like my Jane has started to say, I’m looking at the facts!

Okay, if I’m going to look at ALL the facts, I ended up having a lot of fun with some truly wonderful friends.  But you didn’t come here to read about fun and wonderfulness.

What had happened was this:  In order to forget about the fact that I was turning another year older, I wanted to eat some food, go dancing and drink some drinks.  Last year, this was a bit of an issue, so I tried to keep things chill.  I figured if people wanted to come, they’d come.  If they wanted to eat, they’d eat.  If they wanted to dance- you get my drift.  I live in a city that I wouldn’t choose to hang out in, so I picked another as the destination because they have more than one of things and classier people and more interesting violence and danger.  What?  They do!

So I make reservations for the night before my actual birthday.  A group of relatives from out of town and their friends essentially invited themselves (this is key) to the gathering as an act of solidarity as they were aware of the History of Bad Birthdays, which I initially appreciated.  A group of friends offered to drive me that night so I could be free to indulge in spirits if I chose.  The group of friends was coming from another gathering that evening and the plan was for them to pick me up at 8:00 so we could make the 8:45 reservation.  Unfortunately, stuff happened, and they didn’t make it to get me until 8:30.  As soon as I learned that my ride was running late (8:05), I sent word to my relatives and friends already on their way to the restaurant.  Additional stuff happened – none of which involved me being late; bitches, I was dressed and ready to go for 8:00pm for once! – and our caravan didn’t hit the road till 8:45.

Yes, this was unfortunate.  But it was a Saturday night.  The group that was already there was “having fun”, or so I was told.  I assumed they’d have some drinks and order some appetizers and chill.  It was a birthday party, not a business meeting.  And I stayed in contact with them every step of the way, apologizing profusely.

We make it to the other city and it’s after 9:00pm.  We park in the first lot we find – which ended up being 6 blocks away from the restaurant.  The seven of us make our way down the street and I’m texting those already there – “We’re 4 blocks away! I’m sorry!”  “We’re 3 blocks away! I’m SO sorry!”  As we pass the Public Library, which is relevant because that meant we were about halfway there, I get a text from my cousin who I didn’t even expect to show up.  Not only did I not expect her, I had been instructed to keep her presence a secret, which is a topic for another note that I’m not going to write because that mess is none of my business.

Anyhoo, the secret cousin I didn’t expect had an early morning event the following day, my actual birthday, and that was one of the not torrid reasons that I didn’t expect her.  So, I think nothing of the fact that the first text I received from her read:

“This is so poorly planned.”

Yeah, I suppose it was.  They had been waiting about an hour.  I get that that can be annoying.  Buuuuuuuuutttttt, they weren’t waiting at a bus stop.  They were waiting in an awesome Japanese restaurant, with people they knew and supposedly like/love and it was my f’ing party; I’ll show up when I want to.  (I don’t really mean that last bit.)  As I am about to respond with a sincere mea culpa, my cousin whom I DIDN’T EXPECT TO SHOW UP AND TECHNICALLY WASN’T INVITED sent me a second text:

“I can see why she’s single.”

OOOOOOHHHHHHH.  So those texts weren’t meant for me after all.  Home girl hit my Achilles heel with that one.  The only other thing she could have written that would have been as devastatingly hurtful would have been “I can see why she’s fat.”  And shut up, I am fat, and the sooner we all acknowledge that fact the faster we can move on.

I closed my phone, put it in the pocket of my jacket and kept walking.  I could feel the tears start to well up, my heart was alternately stopping and pounding out of control and I didn’t know what to do.  We finally make it to the restaurant and I’m sure the look on my face was not a pleasant one.  If anyone noticed, they probably chalked it up to the fact that I had walked 6 blocks in 3 inch heels and was an hour late to my own birthday party.

Both the restaurant and the folks who had already arrived failed to save/ provide enough seating for the entire group, so a lot of awkward standing around commenced as we waited for extra chairs.  I was shaking and my face was on fire.  I had just learned that my cousin was talking shit about me and I assumed she had realized her mistake by then, too.  If she did, she said nothing.  We finally sit down and I knew that if I said nothing, that text and the venom behind it was going to eat me up and ruin an already screwed up night.  So, I lifted up my menu and whispered what had transpired to my friend Dick on my right, begging him to keep it to himself, and then promptly excused myself.  I felt better already that someone else knew about what happened.  I went to the ladies room and Jane followed me in in outrage.  Dick is her husband and told her that I was probably in tears because of the text I wasn’t supposed to see.

I was actually kind of fine!  No tears, just pee pee, and I assured Jane that I was cool.  No need to confront my cousin and her wig (I’m sorry!  I’m entitled to one dig, right?); let’s just eat, drink and be merry.

The night continued and yeah, dinner was kind of awkward, but sake solved that, mostly.  The out of town crew went home right after dinner because of the texting terror’s early morning thing, and I had a ball with my actual friends who make sure that the nasty texts they write about me make it to their intended recipients.  Ha.

I’m gonna skim over a lot of stuff now because I’m SUPER lazy, but the morning of my actual birthday involved me crying hysterically over the text.  Hey, I didn’t let it ruin my night, which for me is a REALLY BIG DEAL, but I needed to grieve over it.  That shit hurt!  I eventually and very gently, and according to my friend, with class, let my cousin know that I got the texts and assumed they weren’t meant for me and hoped that she enjoyed her charity walk.  She wrote back and didn’t acknowledge the texts, but asked me how my night was.  It took me hours to gather the courage and nerve to answer, but when I finally did, I said this:

“you know, despite those texts you sent me, i had a really great time with my friends.  thanks for asking!”

She called, I wouldn’t answer, got yelled at out of love by Jane and Dick, who had taken me out for birthday pancakes, cried some more, and eventually spoke to my cousin about the Birthday Debacle.  On my actual birthday, mind you.  And here, in helpful bullet point form, is what she said:

  • She don’t like waitin’.
  • People need to respect her time.
  • She’s very punctual and expects others to be the same.
  • I should have had a plan B and C.
  • I should have left my friends and driven myself to the restaurant so that she didn’t have to wait so long.
  • She was mad that the restaurant “kicked us out” at 11:30pm because she wanted to take pictures.
  • She didn’t get a chance to go out afterwards because I was late.
  • Oh, and yeah, poor planning can in fact lead to chronic singleness.

If you are observant, you may have noticed that her ass never once uttered the following :

“I’m sorry” or even, “Happy Birthday”.

And in case it matters, my cousin is also single.  She’s in the midst of a nasty divorce, actually, and lives back at home with her mother and shares a room with one of her two children.  So much for planning and punctuality!  But that’s mean of me to say.  I guess.

I didn’t respond to anything she said, other than mentioning that I was hurt by the text, particularly the second one.  After she was finished, I told her I was hanging up and that I’d talk to her some other time.  When I was alone that night, I cried some more.

So, that’s it.  That was this year’s birthday fail.  However, I did have oodles of fun and my friends are super loyal and protective and awesome and really, really mean!  And I love it!

But, yet again, that swift kick to the balls really hurt.  I may not be able to trust my cousin(s).  People – my family members! – seem to be ready, willing and able to take a switchblade to my Achilles without warning.  And I’m another year past 30 and still really, really, REALLY single (and fat).

I may have found an interesting name and concept for a blog, though.  Maybe stay tuned for icanseewhyshessingle.com, hmmmmmmm?  (DO NOT STEAL.)

Gosh. Wasn’t I precious? I sounded so different way back then. I was a mere girl, a child really, just turned 32 and all. That’s what happened and yay, I started a blog and took what was meant for evil and used it for good – shout out to Old Testament Joseph – though the “good” part is questionable. But here’s the thing. I said I had a good time. Whenever I’ve answered the question of “What do you wanna do for your birthday?” with “I don’t do those anymore ’cause of last year” and the person I’m talking to was there, they say “Oh, but you had fun!” I didn’t. I did not have fun. I’m sorry.

What I had was a pretend fun time due to the influence of alcohol. I drank a great deal out of nervousness, worried I’d cry or yell or snatch a wig if I didn’t drown my emotions in booze. Four really lovely friends hung out with me all night. We went to two – TWO! – nightclubs and then to a sketchy diner. They did that for me and I’m grateful. But I didn’t have fun.

I don’t have an inner voice that I can shut up with liquor. That bitch went on and on AND ON all night about how awful I am and how my mean cousin was right. I kept giving her bootleg Dark and Stormies (Why doesn’t any bar stock ginger beer?!?) in the hopes that if she insisted on talking, maybe she’d start to be nice the more I drank. When I went to the restroom and looked in the mirror and saw that the belt to my dress was hanging on by a figurative thread, she let me have it. My cousin’s text had given her ammunition, not that she ever really needs it: “See? She was right. Look at you. So FAT. No one will dance with you, you know. Your friends are pitying you because you are pitiful.”

I went back out there and smiled and drank and laughed and danced. She – my inner voice – was right. No one danced with me. I mean, Eric and Dick took turns dancing with me a little, but that’s not the same. I was the fifth wheel at my own birthday party, grinning madly as I danced with my lovely friends who also happen to be two couples.

I don’t make birthday demands wishes any more. Just let me get through the day and come out unscathed. I’ll cry, I’m sure. I’ve cried every year since probably 4th grade. This year the day will be supremely awkward as I am living staying with my parents who prove each day how little they know about their only child. That might be my fault seeing as how I just grunt and growl in their direction, but I believe, perhaps wrongly, that the people who love you shouldn’t have to be told who you are. They ought to be watching. They ought to already know.

Despite everything, my attitude about my birthday this year is an improvement. There were years I had no intention of seeing, but I guess I got distracted by something, as here I am. The only goal I’ve got for this year is to outlive Jesus. Dude made it to 33; if I can make it to 34 I will have beaten a supreme being at something, even if I’m still living with my parents, fat, at a job where everyone hates me, and of course, single when I do it.

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. . .

Whatever it is, I’m against it.

16 Aug

“Nope!” Source

Oh, Dick.

He and I have been having quite the time lately. I sense some unspoken tension between us whenever we’re together, so of course I decided to address it in the most mature and healthy way I could think of: blogging about it. I’ll try not to spend this entire post on whatever problems, real or imagined, I’ve been having with my friend, but he has inadvertently inspired me to write. So that’s good, I guess.

Dick loves to call me a hater, a term which I, well, hate. He thinks that I show disdain for most everything, especially things pop culture related, while I would argue that I’m simply voicing an opinion. He’s even given me my own theme song, a silly tune from the Marx Brother’s 1932 film “Horse Feathers”, which is where I got the title for this post.

I unwittingly gave Dick additional evidence for his ever growing case against me by cheering for Bane, the masked villain from “The Dark Knight Rises”. It was my second time seeing the film, my first with Dick, and I was already a fan of Tom Hardy’s, but his portrayal of Bane was just so deliciously evil, I couldn’t help but enjoy everything about it. *SPOILER ALERT* (Seriously though, you haven’t seen it by now?) I wasn’t actually rooting for Bane’s destruction of Gotham City, but for his cocky attitude, kick-ass accent, and shirtlessness. Yes, I’m kind of hot for Bane, judge all you want. But to Dick, I was cheering for the annihilation of a group of people that had been deemed unworthy by a madman, not for how well Tom Hardy carries an extra eleventybillion pounds.

I’m puzzled as to why someone so relishes the belief that I think absolutely everything sucks. What makes the situation even more puzzling and quite ironic is the fact that Dick is a guy who, just to name a few examples, won’t subscribe to cable because it’s beneath him; has a general response to small talk with friends and acquaintances that can be summed up as “BORED!”; finds cheesecake to be disgusting; has said “I’m not doing that” to a great many suggestions; thinks that pretty much everyone I know is terrible; and hated “The Dark Knight Rises”. In fact, he declared the Batman’s swansong to be “99% bullshit.” I. . . I’m trying to forgive him.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s lots of stuff that grinds my gears. The idea of “gluten intolerance”, for example. Rihanna’s singing voice. Food made to look like other things. The recent disappearance of Britney Spears’ eyebrows. Lip piercings. People that always want to be outside all the time. But I think I balance my hates with lots of passion for a random variety of crap, a desire to be spontaneous, and a willingness to do stuff I probably ordinarily wouldn’t because it makes someone I care about super freakin’ happy. I’m not saying that Dick doesn’t do the same. He does! But seriously, I’m the hater because I’d like to rub Bane’s mask all over my lady parts? Get the funk outta here with that bull hooey! (I’m worried that my mom’s going to stumble across this blog and that was my effort at keeping it PG-13.)

I hold out hope that I will meet my very own misunderstood mercenary-for-hire through a friend, even though ever so conveniently, no one I know knows a single solitary unattached, heterosexual, adult male who isn’t totally gross that doesn’t find me totally gross who would be into taking me to P.F. Chang’s. It pains me to know that one of my best friends sees me as a gnarled hag shaking my yellow-nailed crone’s finger at young people I catch in the midst of enjoying things with a lump of coal where my heart ought to be. Who’d want to introduce some poor soul to that? So I can’t have opinions on stuff without being considered a hater? I can’t question the point of going to see “Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D” if one is over the age of 13/has intact hearing and sight? I’ve got to be against whatever it is you’ve got?

I think Dick’s crowning me the Queen of Hateration bugs me so much from the standpoint of a single girl struggling to understand why she’s so single. The few times I’ve had opportunities to date in recent years, I feel that I’ve tried really hard to see the best in rather icky situations. The last two men I “dated” probably deserved my initial hate, but instead I gave them chances. I didn’t stifle myself, but I did make an effort to keep things pleasant and positive, as well as honest. Being constantly called a hater isn’t just annoying and sooo 2003, it’s kind of hurtful. All this time, I thought I’ve been sharing my uncensored opinion on things in the midst of friendly discourse and it’s been going over about as well as a Lewis Black stand-up routine (I realize he has a following; I’m making a point. Or proving Dick’s. I can’t tell anymore.)

Trying to tell someone who thinks you’re a hater that you think is a hater that you’re not a hater goes over about as well as this sentence does. I suppose I ought to approach all of my interactions with the same kind of pleasantries and positivity I hope I bring to my dating experiences, but does that mean I can’t root for the villain and that I have to find something kind to say about Chris Brown? Where does one draw the line between being nice and being awesome?

I guess I should hope that what’s keeping me single is my mouth. If it’s simply a matter of my being “too opinionated”, i.e., a hatin’-ass hater, then I can work on that fairly easily. I wouldn’t have to go to the gym or give up white rice or straighten my hair. Then again, the right guy may like that I don’t like certain things as much as he does. In fact, our love could be in part based on the fact that we hate the same things!

*SPOILER ALERT* (But seriously? Get thee to a movie theater.) That didn’t work out so well in the end for Bane and Talia, but I think it’s ’cause she had some major daddy issues.

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.