I've known my BFF (big fat fucker) Fannie McFanster since pin-stripped jeans were en vogue. We were matching freckle-faced gingers in the early '80s who looked enough alike to cause havoc for Fr. Tim and one prissy music teacher at our Catholic grade school. Standing in her house in St. Louis Park, 27 years later, I have the unoriginal thought: I wish the Fannie in a Whitesnake T'shirt could see us now. People who carrying tiny rectangular communication devices, drive cars we have bought, and can make our hair do pretty much whatever we want.
She's about nine brut champagnes deep, wielding a small soft brush, dusting my cleavage with a ruddy color and cackling, while she provides a tutorial on how to even out the V-shaped color differential between my upper neck and the snowy zone that never sees sun.
"I guess I didn't realize you were going to take me to second base," I tell her.
Ten minutes later, she's taught me how to contort my body into the yoga pose "Bird of Paradise." I look like the calligraphy version of the letter P, tottering around her spare bedroom.
I love staying at Fannie's house, where everything from the scented candles in bold neutral tones, the 50's-style refrigerator magnets, and the contents of her medicine cabinet are just cool. Like they were all hand selected, but effortlessly. She doesn't just buy things, she buys a certain type of thing that is all perfectly in character. And it's clean. So clean. She brushes her teeth, washes her face, snorts nasal spray, then wipes down the counter top in her bathroom. Whenever I'm there, I try to sample a bit of everything: Stuff that smells good and makes your hair shiny, face soap with tiny exfoliating grains. Her straightening and curling irons are overachievers, the TV in her room magically conjured a vintage episode of "Beverly Hills 90210" for me to watch as I got ready for my cousin's wedding on Saturday.
When I was in my Totally Teal mascara phase, there was an ad that ran in Teen Magazine. A woman looking in a makeup mirror, with the catch phrase: Every day, you face your toughest critic.
I always used to read that and think: Yeah. Fannie.
This was probably more in my own head than in reality, the cocked look that she would give a shirt or a bow. But I have always had this feeling that I shouldn't show up on her doorstep with natty hair most-recently washed in a public toilet, or a pair of supersized sweat pants. Or as a Gwen Stefani blonde -- my resting state in the early 2000s.
I'm at a suburban strip mall. Definitely a shoe person, but more of a DSW-ite than a Jimmy Choo person. And so I'm clomping through the aforementioned store in a pair of kicky brown boots I picked up in this store in Los Angeles.
"OMG! YOU GOT THOSE BOOTS HERE!" the employee of the year shouts rushing toward me with what looks like it could turn into a hug. Other shoppers look at me, look at my feet, look at her. "I JUST LOVE THEM! THEY ARE LIKE TOTALLY MANHATTAN STREET BOOTS! FOR JUST OUT AND ABOUT IN NEW YORK CITY!"
I give her a stunned look. The coffee hasn't even infiltrated my bloodstream yet. And crikies, this is embarrassing.
I try on a pair of over-the-knee black boots, then self induce a leg cramp trying to take them off. Prostitutes make it look so easy.
My cousin K got married this weekend on a golf course in Ham Lake. The ceremony was near the putting green, with a view of a water hazard. Throughout the ceremony you would hear things like:
"HEY! DO YOU HAVE THE SCORECARD?!"
And a very disconcerting cry of "Fore!" which caused me to flinch and duck. I used to work on a golf course, and obviously I'm still struggling with a bit of PTSD.
The reception was held in a banquet room in this enormous club house. Another wedding reception was just a hallway away. I was leaving the bathroom when a 20-something from the other party busted down the door and barfed in the first stall. It was only about 5 p.m. Within the next two hours, I would overhear this same retching from another wedding guest. And when a huge group of people descended on my cousin's wedding dance, I imagined it was rogue members of the other group crashing.
Uncle Fester is I-don't-know how old. He's always looked the same. Shiny head, crakey voice, lines in his face more like a drawing of a face. He married my Great Aunt Jule when I was little, and together they had this really charming life. She has since died, and I hadn't seen him in years.
Brother Pista was chatting him up during an awesome dinner of Chicken Cordon Bleu.
Uncle Fester: I tell ya. I sure do like chasing the girls. But I none of my body parts work well enough to catch them.
Brother Pista: Ha!
Uncle Fester: Course, if I did catch them, I don't even know what I'd do.
Brother Pista: HaHa!
Uncle Fester: But I've still got my mind. So I can think about it.
Here I bust out laughing.
Brother Pista: I think you're making Christa blush.
Uncle Fester: She's not supposed to be listening to this.