Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Pin the tale on the bride

Like most of us, I've been to many a nuptials. Weddings of all shapes and sizes. Big budgets to medium budgets to holy crap I can't believe I'm losing a Saturday to this shit show budgets. White doves cooing in the background to shoo-ing flies off my deviled eggs in the blistering sun while tipsy nana walks around with her couch-patterned dress tucked into her pantyhose.

For some karmic-kick-in-my-ass reason, I've been the guest at more than my share of truly unbelievable crap occasions. Seriously, one is bad enough, but I've gone to more than a handful. A big fat handful. And I have license to be judgmental about this. I've been married and I threw one hell of a party, making sure the guests who spent countless dollars and expended abundant energy on my special day were amply taken care of with food and fare. So if you don't have the common sense to plan a party that provides a fucking pooper to your patrons, you're gonna be written about on the internet and made fun of by me. Hard.

Here's just one example.


Once upon a time I was invited to a co-workers wedding. This particular fringe friend of mine was a teacher's aid at the school where I taught and shall we say, not of the highest taste. Used toilet as a planter in the front yard kind of taste. Not that I paid that much attention to such things, since we did have a job where we were subsequently covered in kid stink and all that goes with hanging around rug rats all day, but one notices a leather patchwork sling purse when black microfiber Calvin Klein is the current fashion of the day. And in order to slightly protect her identity, we'll call her, ahh, Tarlene. Yes, poor, poor Tarlene.

Young Tarlene was positively desperate to get hitched. You could see the bridal heat emanating from her head like steam floating up between street grates. I sometimes thought that her level of obsession had become so high that she would continue to talk about getting married even when she was alone. And I pictured her wearing a pair of pants on her head as a mock veil twirling in her bathroom mirror chanting "I'm a pretty, pretty bride".

She waited until her boyfriend of 2 years mumbled the word "marry", perhaps in his sleep, and she pounced on him like a hyena on a fresh kill. Tarlene wasn't as happy about her impending union as she was in a great hurry to have it, transpire just in case her betrothed changed his mind. She was proud of her months of manipulation with the end result being her tiny diamond chip around her left ring finger and a fiance interesting in nothing more than how much beer he'd be able to drink after he peeled off his monkey suit.

We had a lot of meetings at our school, a lot, and our director would order goodies and such from our cafeteria to keep us from getting restless, or to keep our mouths shut, whichever, and everything was served on black plastic. Black plates, forks, knives, etc. One day as we were all still munching away and enjoying a celebratory cake for Tarlene, she began to frantically run around gathering up our used utensils, and such, proclaiming that we "MUST SAVE EVERYTHING". I didn't think much of it at the time since this was a school and maybe it was for an art project or something.

Tarlene also took the opportunity at this meeting to hand out invitations, I'm assuming to save on postage. We all quickly tore then open to ogle the design. (Chicks are in to these things). I had to stifle an involuntary grimace upon viewing the, ah, artistic choice of the invite. You see, I was planning my own wedding at the time and recognized this particular illustration right away, since I myself had looked at approximately 50 thousand invitation catalogs so far. The note-card was one I had physically blanched at when I saw it. Shiny, embossed, red and black roses with gold stems bleeding down the cheap paper. Black roses. Black. Yes, I said black.

On one of our maaaaaany wedding conversations, Tarlene shared with me her brilliant plan of buying a wedding dress 18 sizes too big off of a clearance rack and was going to have an aunt alter it. Said aunt didn't have any experience altering wedding dresses, or apparently running a sewing machine, but that was the plan. Her big day was getting closer and I asked how the alterations were going and all I received was a strange look. Something like a cross between deer-in-the-headlights and sniffing a turd. I didn't take this as a good sign.

The summer wedding was only a few weeks away and would take place at my local lake/park. Wait. The lake? In June? On a Saturday afternoon? Outside? At the lake? I've been going to that lake since I was 6 and there's no place for a wedding not to mention that it can soar to over 100 degrees in the summer here. The whole place is hilly and it smells like fish bait. All. The. Time. Oh my god, I realize, this is going to be something all right.

Finally, the big Saturday in question arrived and Tarlene was on cloud Prozac. She left work early in the week to prepare and we all wished her well. I'd made arrangements to meet up with my co-workers at the lake a little before the ceremony and when I arrived I was immediately stuck behind a line of about 30 cars trying to get into the park. The city had begun charging non-residents to enter the lake, something our little Tarlene failed to mention to anyone, but alas, we all got in safe and sound and to the tune of a 4 dollar "use" fee.

I parked and trekked up the hill to the ceremony site where all the shenanigans were to take place. That's when I stopped dead in my tracks and surveyed my surroundings. Dogs barking, children screaming, frisbees flying, boats buzzing, geese honking, music booming, super-soaker water fights streaming overhead, men laying in the grass with their own personal 12 packs, and a 6 sound car alarm blaring non-stop. Eee eee eee, wah-ooo wah-ooo, reh reh reh. Repeat.

I found my friends and a word we did not need to pass between us. It was all laid out in front of our eyes. We made our way to the brown gazebo, so delicately decorated in red and black streamers with those huge pop-out wedding bell things. Red and black streamers. Black. Streamers.

The groom showed up and looked like he's 4 seconds away from a heart attack. Did I mention it was bout 98 degrees? In the shade? While we're all standing around for what seemed like forever and finally there must have been a bat-signal that the bride was a'comin 'roun the moun'n and a roll of plastic sheeting was strewn across the grass to make an aisle to the gazebo. I saw the problem in this little brainstorm right away. Plastic sheeting over grass and a hefty girl in heals does not make for a good combo.

An RV slowly made its way around the driveway and stopped. Yes, I said an RV. The passenger door opened and out slid Tarlene in her humongous wedding dress. Her little pointed headpiece all crooked on her glistening, sweaty forehead threatening to take an eye out. She seemed to be gathering her wits about her while obviously bitching at her driver and trying her best not to let anything fall completely off her ample frame.

A boom box was started but the music was unfortunately in the middle of the wedding march. We all waited patiently, stifling snorts, until the tape was re-wound so they could finally get this nightmare underway. And as I predicted, Tarlene, on the arm of her profusely sweating papa, took her first steps and was promptly skewered into the plastic thus impaling herself into the grass like a psychotic meringue lawn ornament.

Our bride is rescued and tiptoed her way to her beloved. I don't remember much of the ceremony, except for some annoying kid shaking a plastic barney bank full of coins with his mother doing nothing about it then watching him eat shit off a bench. Total face plant into some mud. It was classic. Of course all of cold-hearted teachers didn't move a muscle to rescue the little spaz while he screamed like a stuck pig.

The groom never looked his bride in the face but he made it through without croaking. The minister forget some words but it was all finally over and we all headed to the grooms parents house for the reception and hoped to be rescued from this infernal heat and served some well-deserved refreshing drinks.

We caravaned over to the grooms parents house, in a not-so-great part of town. As we all walked up towards what seemed to be the right place, we witnessed a number of picnic benches on the front lawn. This is when we all realized we'd be spending some more quality time outside in the lovely fucking heat. But at least there was a serve-yourself keg pf Budwiser with plastic cups piled on top! Classy! No munchies, just booze.

We started drinking and waited for the happy couple to get there. They literally took 2 hours to arrive at the "reception". By the time they made an appearance, we were all pretty liquored up, on the edge of heat stroke, and starving.

The food call went out and in our drunken haze we made our way to the backyard, where we found a lovely spread of lettuce in a tupperware bowl, a few industrial-sized squeeze bottles of dressing, chips (not even ruffled) some bar-b-que'd chicken that had been carved outside complete with the discarded carcasses piled on the grill, potato salad being enjoyed by our insect friends, and I shit you not, make your own sloppy joes. Yes, you read correctly. Close your mouth. SLOPPY FREAKIN' JOES. An orange extension cord wound its way from the kitchen window and across the grass to a big ole' crock pot of bubbling, congealed meat with a bag of buns to accompany this five star fodder.

It was all I could do not to piss myself from laughing. We loaded our plates with whatever didn't look like it has succumbed to e-coli and went back to our picnic bench, where I enjoyed some close, personal contact with the neighbors cat who chose to seductively wind around my legs begging for a chicken bone.

We finished eating, I think, I was drunk, and an announcement was made that the cutting of the cake would soon commence. I thought, now finally, some cake will make this day from hell better. Because when does cake not make it all better?

Since I've eluded to the fact that Tarlene's chosen color scheme was, for fuckssake, black and red you can imagine what might be coming next. We shuffled our inebriated asses over to the cake table and that's when I saw it. There, in all its splendor, flanked by 2 large plastic red vases stuffed with black, silk roses, was Angelina Jolie's wedding cake. Count Dracula's confection. Damian's desert.

A 3-tiered cake covered in blood red and black roses. Red and black roses. Black. Roses.

How they got this monstrosity made I'll never know. I was not about to consume the rose of death even if it was made of pure sugar. No f'n way.

And right beside the cake was our used and recycled, and hopefully disenfected, black plates and utensils from the school.

We stuck around to see the bride and groom stagger on the oil-soaked driveway to their first dance. If I remember correctly it was something romantic like Smack My Bitch Up, as on-lookers smiled widely with black teeth stained by the death roses. After pinning my dollar on the groom and giving some congratulatory hugs, my friend and I got the hell out of there and made our way to a local bar for some much needed AC, a decent drink, and a hearty laugh.

Good times.


FlowerPowerGoddess said...

This is one of my favorite stories that you tell!

Bloomin' Onionhead said...

HAHAHA! sloppy freakin joes - good times indeed!!

magz said...

this would have been an amazingly fun wedding to attend....

in shorts, ratty stained tanktop, barefoot, and smoking a giant sliff. hope i woulda made it to the smelly park public restrooms fore wettin my pants laffing...
NICE tale! are they still hitched?

Becka said...

I was hoping you'd post this one.

Special K said...

It's not everyone who is ballsy/daft enough to throw such a shindig. If I'm retarded enough to get married again, I just might pull something like this. Especially the rancid potato salad part.

W. said...

I kid you not, I once received that exact same wedding invitation.

reverse_vampyr said...

I'm gonna have to go change my pants now. That was WAY too funny! Great writing, too. I could practically hear the mosquitos.

Ginny said...

One of my favorite betty tales...

I still hear myself saying black.roses. from time to time. :)

Always Smiling said...

Betty - it was a first for me hearing it..and i laughed the entire time!

Thank you!

Serra said...

Oh dear God/s/esses/whatever, I pray that you lend me the strength to once again explain to Honey why we will not have White Castle burgers as appetizers at any party we ever throw, nor will there be any at the wedding.