Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Wedding Zinger: Part 2

At last, D-Day jerked her nasty bosom into life with the malodorous, moist winds of July. Upon my cordial invite to the union of Justin Lee Dooley and Nora Jenna Massey (never) received in the mail, I awoke at ten in the morning on the day of the wedding, after four hours of sleep, to stumble around my parents' house in my underwear and search for our dead cat, Pudge. My hangover was just on the cusp of nausea when I elected to go lay out on the back patio to sweat out the previous night's vodka cranberries. An hour or so into the sojourn, as the temperature flirted with the ninety-five degree mark, my thoughts vacillated between wondering if liquor transudation accelerated the tanning process and how the rehearsal dinner was a flaming fuck-up. Since the evening would make even Charles Manson cringe, I held little hope for the wedding day not devolving into a disaster filled with hysterics, tears, bad facial hair and beef jerky. I was not let down. My mother proudly wore the calamitous hot-mess cap that day, and I seemed to be the only one concerned about her designer dress.

I finished dehydrating myself outside (less water retention begets more defined cheekbones begets better wedding photographs) and went to initiate my afternoon of preparations: find a date and get pretty. Lauren, my Jewboo, was, in fact, my date to the wedding because nothing says traditional, Southern wedding like a homo and a Hebrew. I needed to retrieve her and did not understand why she had not yet arrived at my parents' house. My questions were answered when I passed by the front door and saw her eating in the car with her driver (Tony…her friend from college and all around Libertarian idiot savant). Of course. I went outside to confront them with a hello and that we owned an entire kitchen, as well as a breakfast table for people to dine. Tony wanted to spend some alone time with Lauren in the car, thus the McDonald's to-go. "Lauren, when Tony releases you from his quarter pounder clutches, the guest room is ready for you. I'll be in the shower," I declared.

The remainder of the afternoon evinced quite smoothly, even with Trent's (my younger brother, the best man) hangover and Mama's lunch of wine and Fontina cheese cubes – oh the foreshadowing. Trent managed to not projectile vomit the entire day. However, as we hailed in Georgia, in the middle of July, and I bring bad karma everywhere, we noticed thunderstorm clouds beginning to roll into the open sky. Had we been in New Orleans, it would have been exactly like Katrina.

The country club executed a lovely scene of white and yellow ribbons around the terrace, where the ceremony would take place, overlooking the sweeping vistas of a golf course filled with sand traps and caddies. When my family arrived, we noticed the club's crew members scrambling to save the decorations that hadn't been washed away. My mom quickly stashed her travel-sized wine bottles into her makeup case and dashed toward the bridal suite to help comfort the bride, who was now crying due to the rain. Lauren followed her, probably wishing she was still in Tony's Toyota Cressida. The men (myself included…pause for laughter) ventured to the groom's suite to start drinking.

The ceremony proved as lovely as any I've witnessed in Georgia and New Jersey. The bridal party's silk flower bouquets added perfect pops of cerulean blue and canary yellow to the reception hall, the new site of the ceremony. Wedding guests sat themselves at the reception dining tables and corrected their chairs to face the "stage." I surveyed the crowd, marveling at the beauty of the smiling faces, the tear-stained cheeks and the bleach blonde bouffants deflated by the torrential monsoon rumbling outside; I chortled at myself for picking out all of the brilliantly bad facial hairstyles in my family; such shapes! I noted how well I wore the ill-fitting tux, repeating to myself: "just trust in your hair…the higher it stands, the less people will look at the too short sleeves;" and I thanked Jim Crow for not having to steer Granny down the aisle. However, no generic person or silk flower could compare to the genuine gazes of love and adoration between Justin and Jenna's faces.


Well, we persevered. We made it to the reception without much casualty. I shook out of my polyester vest, tie and jacket, sighed and sat next to Lauren to eat. I'd sadly given up on alcohol at this point, opting more for the bevy of buffet foods. As the eleventh buttered bread roll began digesting in my stomach, I beamed at the wonders of spreadable butter, telling Lauren that nothing good comes of rock-hard butter, unless a penis is involved. She concurred as a crumb descended from her upper lip to the floor, for we'd discussed this subject quite scientifically over many meals. Stomach still butter-churning, my mother eventually diverted my attention her way. She'd discovered the dance floor.

Mama only drank two glasses of wine at the wedding, but I'm eighty-seven percent certain that someone continually graced her with sips of various cocktails from the bar, and I'm ninety-two percent assured that she yielded with no fight. I first noticed her staggering state during the mother-groom dance. Justin practically spent the entire song propping her up in his arms as she squeezed and kissed him, and of course he picked a song six minutes in length. I was giddy, impatiently waiting to ask him how tired his arms became. After the dancing formalities, the DJ kicked it into country gear, playing "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." I rolled my eyes. After the redneck interlude, the DJ, ever the game-changer, blasted "Hot in Herre," and Mama kicked of her bejeweled heels and began assaulting the parquet dance floor. I'll forever possess so many indelible images of my severely intoxicated mother, the female version of me in twenty years, strutting, gyrating, humping, accosting, swirling, guffawing, cheering, YMCAing, collapsing, stumbling, stubbing, humping and any other "ings" one could think with relatives, in-laws, friends, strangers, bridesmaids and cater-waiters. Throughout it all, her dress remained intact and ON. I was in pure heaven. And, so was she.

We managed to secure the Dooley matriarch in her Lexus shortly after the bride and groom went on to live happily ever after. Five minutes down the road, we stopped for a quick purge before heading into a nearby IHOP, for "I need to eat something to soak this shit up," Mama stammered. We all obliged, as Lauren and I coveted the restaurant chain's elusive cheesecake pancakes. Mama's dress got a standing ovation from the waitress with no teeth.

Mama: My dress is soooo nice, right?!?
Me: It would make Scarlett O'Hara jealous.
She smiled, laughed, and then snorted so hard she spit out her toast right into Lauren's pancakes just as I received a text from Justin saying the judge left without signing the marriage certificate.


Monday, August 15, 2011

The Wedding Zinger: Part 1

Ever since my brother espied the wedding scene in "Sex and the City 2: From Here to Menopause," he relished the idea of a big, flashy wedding full of swans and Jewish people. Oh, to rewind: this was the wedding between Stanford and Anthony, not Carrie and Big, in the pitiful sequel that I've beheld with gusto five or six times. Nevertheless, when my brother saw that gay men's chorus backing-up Liza Minnelli, he desired nothing more than to propose to his girlfriend, Jenna. While I was not in attendance to the proposal, I've heard that it went down something like this:

Justin: If you like it then you 'should' put a ring on it.
Jenna: Yes, baby.
Me (on hearing of this matrimonial act after the fact): Gay.

Despite the stellar quality of the proposal or that the ring hailed from Zales, The Diamond Store, I must admit the incoming nuptials did not make me happy. Like every good, Southern girl I bitched to anyone that would peel back their ear hair and hear me out, for after several verbal attacks on my brother with this newfound life strategy, he opted to NOT listen to me anymore. It became a sad state of affairs. My mantra was: "Justin, you are both twenty-four years old. What's your rush? I am twenty-eight, and I've experienced so much more than you have, like Europe, The Hindenburg Disaster and picking up a diploma. Neither of you have finished school, and you’re both towing the line at menial jobs. Congratulations, you are signing yourself up to a life of poverty."

I quickly became the toast of the bridal party with my prickish comments.

After I got over myself, I firmly decided to be happy about the blessed event and agree to wear a tux that resided on the opposite end of my moral compass and not begrudge all of the country family folk I'd be around on that day. Much like my convos with Justin, the rehearsal dinner was also a disaster, and that disaster would be called my grandparents. Normally, Granny and Granddaddy are quite benign, but as I've grown older, maintaining a safe distance away from their dentures always proves worthwhile. Okay, I should rephrase: My grandfather keeps to himself. My grandmother may be a sociopathic narcissist. For instance, if you happen to be at the same funeral as her and mention that you've "had the worst bout of esophageal cancer in recent memory," she'll attempt to retain the pity spotlight with a statement like "mmm, that's awful, but I've been dealing with something much worse: gas and swollen joints. It's like having a heart attack after eating at a Chinese buffet." I still love them, though.

Justin invited my mother's parents to the dinner, even though my mother told them not to come because of the heat and my grandmother’s general un-usability of her legs, thus hindering a walk down the wedding aisle on a trial basis. Thank god the rehearsal went fine, despite the ninety-five degree heat and my mother calling to each bridesmaid: "hey, chick!" When did "chick" become the new "girlfriend" or "biyatch" for middle-aged southern women? The hoary-headed duo got their bunions all twisted because my mother did not physically show them where to sit at the dinner, housed at Peachtree City's finest Taco Mac. At this point, the three cocktails and vodka shot I consumed had me at DUI level, and I really didn't give much thought to them, until I saw Granny barrel through the exit door in the back with her walker. Justin ran out to see ascertain the reason for departure but blindly walked back inside alone moments later. Of course I got pissed and staggered out in their wake.

Me: Why are you two leaving?
Granddaddy: No one has any respect in there. We didn't know where to sit.
Me: Are you serious? Did you see name cards? You can sit wherever you damn well please.
Granny: We just don't feel wanted.
Me: Who told you?

Mama came out after I gave up, but as soon as I glimpsed at her maniacally waving her fists at them, I went back outside to hear:

Mama: This is Justin and Jenna's day! Not your day, and you are ruining this night for them. There’s a booth inside for you to both sit at.
Granny: Well, we didn't see it. We just feel disrespected. Like y'all don't care and nothing was planned for us and what are we supposed to do.
Mama: You are being ridiculous.
Granny: And y'all need to stop with that alcohol!

The Taco Mac patio patrons loved the show, and after dinner I took Mama, Daddy and Trent (youngest brother, the best man) to a gay bar to drink and be merry amongst people that appreciate tragedy and irony: drag queens. Trent had a great time and ensured that his hangover the next day for the ceremony would be alive and well.

As we stumbled out of the bar at two in the morning, I thanked god (Michele Bachmann) that this wasn't my wedding and wondered if I could book Beyoncé as my flower girl.

To be continued...