Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Always A Bridesmaid

On Friday, I spent a pair of hours on the interstate heading to my parents' house to spend the weekend and to see my sister Runtie who was also crashing in her childhood room. The plus side is that I got to spend a stellar 72 hours with my most excellent family.* The negative? Approximately 60 eight of those were spent at a Bridal Show, a two word phrase like "colostomy bag" or "Jonas Brothers" that I'd always hoped would never knock on the door to my life.

As Runtie's Maid of (Dis)Honor for next spring's wedding, though, I felt obligated to attend and to express genuine concern over what color charger plates would be used at the reception. I also got to learn what a charger plate was. She was--off course--enthusiastic from start to finish. "I just watched Rachel Getting Married", she told me on Saturday morning before she left for the Bride-to-Be Brunch, a mess of alliteration I was thrilled not to be invited to.

"Oh yeah?" I said, milk dribbling down my chin. "To get, like, ideas or something?"

"Nope. To learn how to plan a wedding with a crazy sister." And with that she and our mother took off, a handful of color coded folders between them.

The day was almost less boring than I'd expected. It did feature an unexpected cameo from Crushing Depression, if only because I hadn't expected to see a handful of first-time brides who were about my age and who all looked justifiably thrilled that someone had liberated them from a lifetime of library cards and fish sticks. They were surrounded by shrieking twentysomethings and stuck out like abscessed teeth when they were answering questions in Bridal Survivor or vying for a starter bedroom suite, but there they were. And I couldn't decide if I was relieved or disappointed that I wasn't one of them.

On the awkward side, one vendor sandwiched between photographers and florists was a withered husk of a woman who was selling sex aids. Spread on the card table in front of her were packages of edible underwear, various lubricants, and other items you don't want to handle in front of your mother. "This is called sex 'ttractant," she said, forgetting to unpack a couple of syllables. "It's gon' mimic your natural PHEEER-a-mones". She rubbed something on one of Runtie's wrists while smearing a lubricant on the other. "And this lubricant is both flavored and can be reactivated by your saliva for up to eight hours".

"You ain't getting married, are you?" she asked looking at me, tube of lubricant poised between her fingers. I shook my head, not sure whether she was tipped off because I wasn't carrying a tote bag full of fabric samples or just by the overwhelming scent of soup for one. "Well that don't mean you can't try the goodies." She seized my forearm and rubbed a fat streak of lube across my watchband.

She waited.

I licked my own arm.

"Wow. That's fruity. And not too lube-y."

She beamed. "Well good luck to you, then. Maybe next year you'll be here as a bride."

Right, and maybe I'll grow a tail. I slinked away, casually tonguing my forearm.

She was right about the lube though. At the end of the afternoon it still tasted like I'd fisted a Fruit Rollup.

Despite once dating the same guy long enough to see all three X-Men movies and living at his well-upholstered home for the majority of that time, my parents still assume I've got my V-Card tucked somewhere in my wallet. My parents and I have had ONE conversation about sex in my lifetime, and that was only a two sentence exchange with my mother. It ended poorly.

I was home from college for the summer and she'd done her best Leif Ericson impression, plundering my room under the guise of looking for laundry. Apparently she'd pillaged the nightstand, just in case I'd had some stray gym clothes hidden in the very back, behind the remote controls, the ticket stubs, and wrapped carefully in an empty envelope from Foto One, perhaps touching that pair of condoms.

When I came in from the driving range, she was waiting in my room, Ramses** Extra Sensitive in hand. "Are you sexually active?" she asked as soon as my feet touched the carpet.

"No", I responded, tossing a handful of tees on the bed beside her. "I usually just lay there."



On the plus side, that's the last time we ever discussed any parts of my body that required a permission slip to talk about in health class. As a result, I get insanely squirmy dealing with anything of a sexytime nature around the 'rents. So Saturday night when we gathered around the Sony's warm glow for a family viewing of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I was ready to burrow beneath the couch cushions.

Not only did I not want to laugh too heartily at Jason Segal's full frontal ween, I also noted--and was deeply unsettled by--everything my parents laughed at. THEY AREN'T SUPPOSED TO GET THINLY VEILED ORAL SEX REFERENCES...are they? I spent 112 minutes avoiding everyone's eyes as we reached for handfuls of Redenbacher, stifling my laughter by quietly licking my own still-fruity wrists.

* We had P'zones for dinner on Friday night. I am not exaggerating when I say it was awesome and that I have no regrets about consuming ONE POUND of food.
** They don't even make that brand any more. I am now old enough to have outlived a brand of condoms. Shit.


*Akilah Sakai* said...

I was a wack bride. No expos, no cheeky goodness. I just pumped the guy full of tranquilizers and he "came to" on our honeymoon. No turning back then!

Sex and parents don't mix well. At all! My mom found a roll of film which had 2 shots of my breasts -scratch that - "plums." I'd taken it myself to end the roll and of all people to find it! As for sex with the in-laws, I watched Helen Mirren and Cuba Gooding, Jr. get it on in "Shadowboxer." Uncomfortable much?

I still wondering about fisting a fruit rollup...

Anonymous said...

i had to try on my sister's wedding gown just to show mom how it looked on my sis lived 3000 miles away. all 4 different possibilities. and when it was time for her picking out my maid of (dis)honor dress, well, let's just say it was knee length in the catalog but ankle length on me. but i didn't have a choice since it was the only style that came in a size 4 (me) and also a 14 (sis's best friend/bridesmaid). lucky me. the boob part was shaped but hollow since my raisins weren't filling it out.

later, mom and i had a talk about kegel exercise. i'm pretty sure my ears were bleeding by the end of that conversation.


i got honeymoon info in the mail for the next 6 months.

Mike said...

"licking my own still-fruity wrists"
AAAAND!!!!! It was just getting good and you stopped!!! Don't forget that you have guy readers too!

Wv - stimmes - Well doesn't this word verification go with this post.

The Dutchess of Kickball said...

I'm pretty sure that if it were my mother, she wouldn't have known what the lube was. At least, I'll continue to think that.

Kate said...

I think it would have been really funny had you bellowed out a big "ENJOY YOUR FUTURE DIVORCES" to the twentysomethings.

I'm getting married at 30, and according to The Knot, Brides, a bridal fair in the rural southeast, etc. I am a complete freak. Damn. If I had only studied that "How to Trap Your Man Into Misery" article in Cosmo when I was 23, I would find social acceptance. Rats.

Underfunded Heiress said...

I love this post! You are so witty. I lol so many times.

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

Heh, I don't know if it's a male thing or what, but my Mum was practically encouraging me to have sex since I was in my late teens.

When I was about 18 my then-girlfriend used to come over in an evening, and I'd drive her home around midnight. My Dad told me after a while that he didn't like me driving that late at night. "Ah well, Jackie will have to stay overnight then, won't she?" my Mum added with a wink.

Oh, and on my first day of University, after unpacking I showed my parents around campus. After a while my Mum turned to me and said "that's the second girl I've seen smile at you...damn, I totally forgot to pack you some condoms!"

Belle Ecrivaine said...

Try watching The 40-Year Old Virgin on Christmas eve with your dad and younger sister. Awk-ward. So I totally get willing the DVD player to magically change Forgetting Sarah Marshall into something tamer like Bambie.

Rebecca said...

If getting married was supposed to signify the end of libraries and proccesed then frozen foods, then I TOTALLY did it wrong. I've more than 1 active library card and frozen foods are what I refer to as "staples" in my kitchen. Hm . . .

mrs. mary mack said...

I stalk your blog often but never comment...I know I suck. I got married last year (later than most it seems) and I was not at all pumped about any of the bridal show crappola. In fact I felt more like a bridesmaid than the bride. My mother on the other hand LOVED the whole hoopla.

On sex: my mom helped me move out of an apartment about 5 years ago. She happened to pick up a basket with two of my vibrators stuffed in between a bunch of clothes. Two weeks after moving I noticed they were missing, went to my mom's house where she directed me to the trunk of her car. There, I found my basket of newly cleaned clothes with my pink and purple vibrators politely sitting on top. MORTIFIED! We never spoken on the topic....ever.

theoddduckling said...

The only way that conversation might have made me laugh harder would be if you had meant to say that to your mom.

As for parents laughing at sex jokes, my birth and adopted sex are pervs. Oh the things I've seen and heard. So I guess it depends.

- Kendall

Dave Q. said...

Everytime I read your blog, I come away impressed with your writing skills.

You got mad skillz, kid!

Perfectly Shelly said...

Fisted a fruit rollup.......OMG.....I am proud to say, thanks to the blogging world that at MY AGE, I know what fisting is!!

Secondly "No, I just usually lay there" nearly had me spewing my V-8 juice on my work monitor. I'd have had to explained that, thankfully, due to great resolve, I won't hae to.

I find condoms in my 18 yr old son's room and vehicle all the time (I don't even pretend I'm looking for laundry---I tell him I'm looking for drugs, alcohol and condoms).....and although I preach respect and abstinence, I secretly do a jig since he apparently is hearing SOME of what I tell him about responsibility.

HoFer Art Monk! said...

When I was 12 a heavy storm filled our basement with three feet of water. My brother, who was just out of college, was storing some stuff in the basement. As my mother and I were fishing for ruined tchotchkes my brother's copy of the Kama Sutra and an old Penthouse slowly drifted by like two lost ships looking for safe harbor. I quickly scuttled both, but it was too late, my mother had seen them. Later that night I was subjected to "the talk" which included, but was not limited to, a page by page viewing of a sopping Kama Sutra, complete with commentary on what women find pleasurable.

I really enjoy reading your blog, despite the memory you just conjured, you're a great writer!

Also, does anyone else have any awkard/scarring memories of "the talk"?

emmysuh said...

That bridal expo story = story of my life. Only I'm 21, so it's even more tragic that I feel PRESSURE TO GET MARRIED when I haven't even GRADUATED YET. Fuck that shit. I want to sleep around (bwahaha) for at least five more years before I have to start thinking about charger plates and lace garters.

I'm in my fourth wedding this May. I'm like...a bridesmaid robot. I was even in a dance piece called "Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride" -- is that some sort of rotten foreshadowing or WHAT?!

Jacqueline said...

I don't think sex and parents will ever mix. My mom overheard someone use the world d*ldo at a restaurant a few weekends ago and I had to explain to her what it was because she had no idea. Awkward, to say the least.

All of those minute wedding details don't interest me either--I plan to hire a wedding planner. Money well spent!

Carrie said...

Too funny! I was also recently forced to attend a bridal fair with a bride-to-be against my better judgment. I figured that the only way I could make it worth my while was to "trick-or-treat" at the various vendors' booths. I came home with lots of candy, a travel-sized sample of deodorant, a few pens, a fake rose, and some magnets with wedding photos of other couples on them, reminding me that I am alone and cannot seem to find anyone over the age of 30 with good teeth. While my friend talked invitations and photos with vendors, I took out one of my new free pens and signed up for every giveaway contest that was being held by the vendors. Now, nearly two weeks later, I receive daily calls from vendors asking me if I've chosen my honeymoon destination and reminding me that the only trip I'll be taking this year is to the State Fair:-(

Analyst Catalyst said...

"Usually I just lie there."

That is brilliant.

inflammatory writ said...

My parents were so open about sex that it was actually really awkward and embarrassing. For example, my mother explained to my friends what I vibrator was. We were 14.

What's funny about that is I was the most sexually responsible of all of my friends. Probably because my parents had sufficiently grossed me out.

Fionnuala said...

"I get insanely squirmy dealing with anything of a sexytime nature around the 'rents" - this is the way God intended it to be, forever and always.

cappy said...

"No, I usually just lay there"

Your posts are always entirely entertaining, but there is always a hidden gem tucked somewhere in each one.

That line was definitely it.

Too funny!

J-Money said...

akilah sakai: If I took pictures of my own, um, plums, they would’ve been roundly ridiculed by the staff of the Photomat way before they made it into my mother’s hands.

anonymous: The day my mother and I talk about Kegel exercises is the day I see how many times I can slam my head in the car door. Also, fitting a dress for me is going to be interesting since I have an overdeveloped back (thanks, pull ups!) and an underdeveloped chest. Here’s hoping we can find something that showcases my sternum.

mike: That’s where it ended. With the wrist licking. I WAS in a room with my parents, you know.

dutchess of kickball: I like to think that my mom thought it was something for the car engine.

kate: We both probably should’ve read that article. Although Cosmo once said it was cool to wear jeans under a sun dress so I’m not sure we should take their advice.

underfunded heiress:Thanks! That’s what I’m here for.

imaginary reviewer: Wow. Even after several years together, if my then-boyfriend stayed at the Rents’ house, we slept with several hundred square feet between us.

belle ecrivaine: WE DID THAT. A couple of years ago, we tuned in to that one over the holidays. Mom disappeared shortly after the first masturbation scene, Dad skipped out after the second one, and my sister and I were still shuddering for the rest of the film.

rebecca: Well at least you’re not eating those frozen foods alone, said the blogger as she wiped Beefaroni sauce off her mouth and stared at the three other empty chairs at the table.

mrs. mary mack: First, congratulations on your kind of recent marriage. Next, congratulations on not throwing yourself in the path of an oncoming Toyota when your mom handed your vibes back to you.

theoddduckling: Maybe the next time I have sex issues, I’ll talk to your parents instead.

dave q: Thanks, dude. Please come back!

perfectly shelly: If we’re ever in the same place in real life, I’ll buy you a glass of V8.

hofer art monk!: Oh wow. That is one of the more disturbing things I’ve ever heard and I’m secretly relieved that I don’t have 1) a brother; 2) a copy of the Kama Sutra laying around; or 3) a basement.

emmysuh: If this continues, there’s a chance that we’ll be the last two remaining bridesmaids on earth. That should give us some leverage to get dresses that don’t look like melted Care Bears.

jacqueline: If my mom ever asked what a dildo was, I would calmly explain that it was an extinct flightless bird.

carrie: I, too, am looking for someone over 30 with good teeth, but if your state fair is anything like mine, I’m not sure that’s where we’ll find him.

analyst catalyst: It’s funny because it’s true. Still. Ten years later.

inflammatory writ: Were you perhaps raised by The Odd Duckling’s parents?

fionnuala: A. MEN. To this day, I’m pretty sure that underneath my parents’ clothing is another set of clothing.

cappy: Oddly enough, my mother wasn’t quite as delighted by that line.

Non Sequitur Chica said...

Sorry to hear about the awful bridal show...I guess I must have gone to a subdued one as I didn't have any of that craziness.

Clearly I am not a good bride as I don't care about "charger" plates at the reception!

shenanigans said...

Yeah "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" is on my top ten list of movies NOT to watch with the parents!

Gleemonex said...

I prefer that my mother still think I've got my V-Card. Despite the whole being 35, having a kid, and having been married almost 10 years thing. Because that shit ain't right.

Deanna said...

Oh my gosh. This seriously has to be one of the funniest posts I've ever read. I'm adding you to my Google Reader right now!


Andrew said...

THIS WAS A CRACK UP! Great stuff!
"She waited.

I licked my own arm.

"Wow. That's fruity. And not too lube-y."

She beamed. "Well good luck to you, then. Maybe next year you'll be here as a bride."

Right, and maybe I'll grow a tail. I slinked away, casually tonguing my forearm.

She was right about the lube though. At the end of the afternoon it still tasted like I'd fisted a Fruit Rollup."