Weddings. How have we gotten this far into my mind’s verbal diarrhea without addressing weddings? Calamity. Let’s dig deep, shall we?
How many weddings have I been in I wonder. I don’t actually know. I’ve seen the good, I’ve seen the bad, people as usual have informed me of things that I additionally cannot forget and am not at liberty to repeat. But I’m gonna tell you what I know, what I have done, and what I have failed to do because frankly why else are we here?
The price of being a jolly, plucky dame is that people tend to call on you for different reasons when it comes to the big day. These include:
a) Penis cookie making capabilities (It’s not just about appearances, the things have to taste good)
b) No nonsense bachelorette party planning
c) Your dancing capabilities
d) The unlikelihood that you’ll be pregnant
e) Spray tan tester outer
f) You can wear any color (this is NOT true, hence the spray tan)
And so let’s begin at the beginning. With bachelorette parties. Now some of you may have caught wind that I like bachelorette parties a great deal. Point blank, they are a good time. So much of a good time that I took to making FAKE bachelorette parties in the name of yolo. But right now, I want to take you to a dark place. A dark place in fact, where it all began. That place… is the dance floor.
When I was a lass in undergrad a “friend” of ours (we’ll discuss the quotes momentarily) became engaged to her longtime boyfriend, who we’ll call… I dunno, Wammer. Our “friend,” who until this moment never did a thing in her life to indicate any kind of friendship other than occasionally mistakenly yelling at my roommate, Larry, for the STD pamphlets I used to hang on her door, decided we should all throw her a bachelorette party. So we did what anyone else would do in that situation. We went out, bought inflatable sex toys and decided we were gonna have a great time any which way you sliced it. So a big group of us, armed with dice and various penis devices, went out to see Cleveland’s finest bars. The problem was, our “friend” who we should just call Cabana, wanted to go out right after dinner. I don’t’ even think the sun had set by that point. So basically, we were the party. The only party. Anywhere. So really at that point there wasn’t anything else to do but drink.
I hadn’t been THAT drunk prior to that night. I drank in college but it was never to the point that I was passing out or profusely vomiting. So when I had my 3rd shot in under ten minutes, I didn’t think that much of it. I sat in my booth and threw it back, waiting for someone to arrive whom I could put my “Nice Ass” sticker on.
“You guys, I don’t feel it. I don’t even feel it. We should go somewhere else, I’m not even tipsy.”
But then I stood up. And it was as if some power greater than me- greater than the alcohol even- had taken hold of my body. I saw nothing for a moment. And then… there it was. A single spotlight in the middle of a still empty dance floor. And it seemed to speak- “Dance, Ingrid… Dance!”
I don’t really know what happened in the time in between. I remember being taken off of the dance floor by someone, hopefully a friend, while yelling “You can’t do this, I’m such a good dancer!”
After that, all bets were off. Cabana was stone sober while the rest of us went nuts in a city that’ll forgive you for it. One of my last memories is missing my mouth and throwing an entire glass of whiskey (seriously, who bought us whiskey??) over my shoulder and hitting someone with it before demanding another one, as that one was “defective”. Our cabbie yelled at us not to soil his cab as my friend Balisma threw up in my purse and essentially passed out in time for us to carry her into the dorm. A great time.
Another real bachelorette party is noteworthy in three ways. One, it was the only time I’ve been caught icing penis cookies in front of my friends’ mother who has known me since second grade. I’ll call it a low, but it was for her daughter, which I tried to explain while her sister and I made the nightmare inducing pastries in her kitchen. Two, it was my first introduction to the Alfred University Gin Bucket, which I still make to this day. And three, it was where I met a guy we’ll call “Ed”.
Ed seemed nice enough as we drunkenly sang “Livin on a Prayer” at Pittsburgh’s Saddle Ridge, where you can ride a mechanical bull and line dance, sometimes simultaneously. Had I been a little more with it, I may have noticed a few incriminating factors. One, that Ed had a lip ring. No offense to anyone with a lip ring, but I realized later on that sometimes lip rings are designed to disguise missing teeth. Plant that seed. More on this in a moment.
Fastforward to the wedding where we were in lime green dresses. Key lime to be exact. I was a delectable pastry! But I want to take it slow here for a moment, let’s just slow things down, and discuss color theory for a tic.
When you talk about bridesmaids colors, there is usually an instinctive twitch in the eye of anyone that’s ever heard the word “wedding”. The reason being, most brides have these gorgeous color palettes from which they are drawing inspiration. And if you are lucky enough to be chosen for the wedding party, you simply need to acclimate to being but a brushstroke in the grand painting they are concocting. Your skin tone, in other words, can go fly a kite. Because more often than not, the colors that will be chosen for you have never been put on your body prior. They are usually in some way exotic (think of all the expensive fruit at the grocery store, and you’re pretty much on the right track), and more often than not require a spray tan. A SPRAY TAN. Let’s talk about it.
For this particular wedding, it was kind of unspoken (and by that I mean spoken) that most people were going to get a spray tan. The Bride’s mother (you know, the one who caught me making penis cookies in her kitchen) recommended a really solid lady, known for her brown-making prowess. As my options were to either be the palest person there who was also wearing key lime pie colored material or attempt a spray tan for the first time in my life, I figured why not now? Why not a time when I would be seen in front of a large group of people and photographed to play around with my skin’s natural pigment? Brilliant.
And so I went to see this sprayer of tans, who we’ll call Brunhilde. Everything was going great. It was a little cold, but it wasn’t too bad and she was spraying everything by hand to make sure I didn’t turn out completely ridiculous. I even made pleasant conversation by asking if she had ever sprayed someone naked (I modestly wore my bathing suit).
“Oh, girl yeah. Well most people actually do that because they don’t want the allergen left on their clothes.”
My friends. I know that I miss things sometimes. Big things. But in this instance I had unwittingly walked into being sprayed head to toe with a walnut-based extract. Walnuts. You know, the kind that kill people?
“Yeah, remember how it’s walnut based?”
“Well, it said so on your waiver. I hope you’re not allergic. But also, just remember not to go near anyone with a nut allergy for at least 24 hours.”
“But how will I know if anyone around me has a nut allergy?”
“I guess… hmm. That’s a good question, actually.”
And so there I was. Brown as all get out, a walking allergen and ready for action. If you don’t believe in the potency of said nuts, let me just show you.
As a point of reference, in my natural state I am paler than Matt who very nicely walked me down the aisle. But enough about the superficiality of my appearance, we have other things to talk about. Namely the superficiality of Ed’s appearance.
When the wedding itself had wrapped and we were waiting in the pews for photos, a good friend asked if I would be seeing “The guy with the missing teeth again”. Now I may miss some things, but when she asked that particular question my deduction was two-fold; One, I had met a guy and apparently agreed to meet him again while sober. And two, call me crazy, but this guy could be missing some teeth.
“What do you mean?!”
“You didn’t notice? How could you not notice?!”
“It was dark! Did I agree to go out with him?”
“You told us Tuesday night.”
“WHAT? When did I say that?”
“When we got back to the hotel, remember? You were eating all the dick cookies and mumbling about Tuesday.”
“Oh my god!”
Then someone yelled that it was time for photos and there was no time to process my future dental dilemma. I had a tan to showcase. I wish I could say that was the end of my key lime woes, however the night was young.
There was a gentleman in the party who had caught a mild case of walnut fever, and insisted that myself and a good friend of the bride’s (who was soon to become one of the closest confidants I’d have in my life) go out with him and group to a bar, post-reception. It had seemed like an ok idea at the time, except for the fact that the hotel we were staying at was kind of in a backwoods area of PA. So the bar we went to had a shuttle taking us there. And after said guy, we’ll call him “Bustin,” spilled beer all over mine and my new friend Brashley’s dresses, we decided it was time to go back. The problem was, the shuttle had apparently stopped running.
If I were a betting dame, my estimate is that we were approximately 2-2.5 miles away from the hotel. I called a cab service who informed me it would take about 2 hours for them to send a cab, so for some reason in my head it made sense to walk. By ourselves. Down a dark wooded road at night. In my bridesmaid’s dress and Brashley’s high heels. But nonetheless we started down the road, and as each car passed, they would all stop and stare before yelling something out the window.
“Honey, why don’t you get in my car, somebody’s gonna snatch you right up!”
“Girls, why don’t you come with me. It’s not safe walking down here at night like this.”
Not reassuring. And so this became one of only two incidents in my life (the other of course for another day) where “Prison Ingrid” came out. I say this as if I’ve been in prison, but I’d like to think that after this ingenuity, maybe I’d make it a few hours, who knows.
“Brashley. What do you have on you?”
“What do you mean?”
“We need a weapon! What do you have on you?”
“I have…. a camera. I have a camera, yeah.”
“Ok. Hm. I have this umbrella. Wait! Wait, I can make a shank!”
“You can make a shank?”
For those that aren’t down with the lingo, lemme throw some urban at you:
I ripped the bottom off of my umbrella, slammed it against the guard rail and we were on our way. I’m not going to lie to you, on the list of dumb ideas I’ve had in my life, this would make the top fifty (next to trying to gently fall off of the house roof), and it was kind of scary. Brashley and I coordinated though so that if the night necessitated that I in fact shank someone, she would take a picture of them and we could later incriminate them. The plan seemed foolproof.
When we got back to the hotel, looking like maniacs and holding a makeshift prison defense mechanism, I decided to go to sleep only to receive 3 phone calls from Bustin that I may never understand, all of which had the same lone sentence: “We’re going to Sheetz! you need to be there!”
I had no idea how he’d gotten my phone number and just didn’t want to think about it because while this was going on, Ed was texting me about Tuesday, and I decided I had had enough fun for one night. Some may argue too much, but I am not one of them. Weddings after all, are no place for sissies. I had learned this years prior when my mother’s appendix burst at my sister’s wedding reception, and she barely missed a beat. I vaguely remember her mentioning she may have had too much champagne, but she is a shining example that while, should you experience discomfort in the lower right portion of your abdomen seeking medical help is advisable, you also straight up better bring your game.
And so the last wedding I feel compelled to share about, is important in that it provides a taste of what it is to be a game on plus one. Kind of.
I’d never actually been a plus one at a wedding. I’d either gone with my family or actually been IN the wedding party. So when my good friend, Malemma, asked if I would accompany her to a wedding that her friends were having in Connecticut, I was pretty excited. I’ve been in Boston for a few years now, and (I had thought) adjusted to the amplified idea of WASP. I really couldn’t be more wrong about that.
Malemma picked me up and we drove to Connecticut. We realized shortly after leaving that in fact our estimate was off by an hour so we technically missed the entire ceremony. But we did get there early for the reception. I felt reasonably dressed up, but you really just cannot pretend to WASP it if it’s not in your blood. For example, if I were to ask you how many ways there are to wear a cardigan, most of the nation would say one. But FALSE! In Connecticut there are 7! I tried to be like a sponge and pick up on as much of the native culture as I could. But we both knew it was a bit futile.
“Ingrid. I’m going to be the only Brown person here.”
“Really? No, that can’t be right.”
“Well, I guess I’m kind of brown on the inside, maybe that will help.”
If anyone is keeping track, at this point in the season I had returned to my usual palor. That being “just under very pale”. The interesting thing about my appearance though (ONE of them, I guess you should say) if that I really don’t look like any one particular ethnicity. People try to guess all the time, but they can’t seem to get it right. My hair is really dark, my skin is naturally really light but gets crazy dark in the summer and I’ve got cheeks that won’t quit. I’ve been asked if I am anything from Chinese to Native American, so there’s very little that surprises me. Therefore, Malemma and I decided we would show up and I could be the sister no one knew had been locked away in a ward for the past 20 years, with Malemma being my keeper. If that failed, we would attempt honesty, but that wasn’t much better. Malemma with her darker coloring and bright dress and me, her ethnically ambiguous friend “Trixie” as we started to reference, kind of stuck out. But we gave it a good shot, and did pretty well until it was time for hours-d’ouevres.
“Hi! Friend of the bride or groom?”
“What? Oh. Hey, are those crabcakes? I love crabcakes!”
“Who are you here with?”
“I’m here with Malemma.”
“Who is Malemma?”
“She’s my…. God, your cardigan is amazing.”
After about 9 crabcakes, 8 glasses of wine, a vegetarian option that secretly had sausage packed in, and an idea to do a documentary of the band, which I still stand by, all hopes of blending in had pretty much dissipated. We just were first of all, solid dancers, and second of all in basically every single photograph. I’m not kidding. So I drank just enough that I wouldn’t inavertently start telling people that I was adopted by the family and subsequently banished to a lighthouse on the Cape, and we headed to the car to call it a night. But NOT before the photobooth.