When JCrew mentioned the cake tasting, I played my bridesmaid trump card. "I'll go!" I said, even though she hadn't asked. I'm not sure how people plan weddings. Is there a master checklist they work from, ticking off to-do items in a certain optimal order? The color schemes, the flowers, the music, the food, the dress, hair up-hair down, the thickness of the paper and the gajillion shades of off-white.
I'm not a planner and imagining the whole thing makes my brain slosh against my skull in a really painful way.
"It's at 1 p.m.," she said. "Are you sure?"
I have a certain reputation. Actually, I have a couple. Sleeps late; Loathes commitments.
"I've been waking up at 8:59 a.m. every day," I told her. "And, cake."
So I'm in. I'm invited. I will be allowed to taste six flavors of cupcake and vote for my favorite. She's rattled off the menu and I've already got some frontrunners: Salted Caramel with Chocolate and Red Velvet Cheesecake.
She reminded me again on Friday and my stomach fluttered. Cake.
Chuck and The Great Archivist made their way downtown on Friday night in the midst of a massive parade. I make my way toward them and Geo Grl on foot, pushing my way through throngs of people hopped up on holiday cheer. A truck outlined in Christmas lights keeps honking its horn and every time I cringe. I always forget that I'm noise sensitive until I am at a parade.
The bar is bum so we head to a new one. After my second beer, I remember the cake tasting in the morning and sub in a glass of water. Chuck and I continue to the next stop, a bar I used to frequent back when we met.
"It's like walking into your old apartment and seeing it filled with people you don't know," he says.
From there we catch a bus to West Duluth and hit another bar. Eventually we walk home. I fill myself with frozen pizza and combos and Gatorade, pain reliever and most of the movie "Mall Rats" and hope for the best.
I wake at 11 a.m. and do a fist pump. I'm totally fine. I've lived to further bury my bad reputation.
JCrew's sister and I beat her to the tasting, which I think really shows my commitment to this whole bridesmaid thing.
The first is a moist red cake with a strawberry filling.
The next is a chocolate cake with a salty caramel frosting.
Then a green cake, so soft, with green cream cheese frosting.
There is a blueberry option that is more muffin than cake.
Then the chai-flavored one with a bit of a kick.
The red velvet cheese cake has smooth filling of cheesecake inside.
For fun, the owner passes along a slice of chocolate cake with mascarpone. I get to take this one home and Chuck will eat it for breakfast.
"Can you decorate them to look like cartoon cupcakes?" JCrew asks.
Of course, the woman says. She can do anything in any color with any look.
"You want your cupcakes to look like something Katy Perry would wear on her head," I say to JCrew.
"You know me so well," she says.
The top two are unanimous.
This thing is really coming together. JCrew has an answer for every question the cakemaker asks. I know this about her, that she can plan the shit out of anything. See also: Our trip to Virginia last April. Still, it's always interesting to see a plan master in action.
I left the cupcake party coursing with sugar power and craving something salty. It's hard to be a bridesmaid.