Monday, March 15, 2010

Spray Tan Your Way to Success

"My bathing suit bottom has officially disappeared," Aunt Sherry sighed; gently waggling her rear in the corner of the sitting room.

"I mean, it's 18 inches deep and going out of sight" she continued, stifling a giggle.

"This one is going to take a surgical team to extract" she chortled, walling her eyes and gesturing vaguely behind her.

"MOM! I can't take you anywhere!" Ashley wailed.

Then to me: "At Beau's wedding we he had to take her wine glass away before she ended up on stage with a tambourine!"

"You know I just asked the band if I could play the tambourine one time and for all the noise y'all make of it you'd think I walked up on stage naked playing a trombone! I've always wanted to play the tambourine, ok?!" Sherry said. Then, before Ashley could retort, she gave the hem of her black cocktail dress a series of violent tugs and sashayed off in the direction of the dessert table.

“Did she say “bathing suit” Aunt Greer buzzed into my ear from behind me. “Why did she say bathing suit?”

"I’M WEARING MY BATHING SUIT BOTTOM BECAUSE THE ELASTIC HOLDS MY GUT IN!!!" Sherry announced gaily from the dessert area; chocolate covered strawberry held triumphantly aloft.

I heard a noise behind me and turned just in time to see Aunt Greer’s glasses slide off her nose and onto the floor. I bent to pick them up and noticed that they were missing an earpiece. “Greer I think you just broke your glasses" I said.

"Oh no honey. I know. They’ve been like that for awhile." She replied, carefully balancing the broken spectacles on the bridge of her nose. “If I hold my head just-so they stay on fine.”

Between bites of strawberry Sherry continued: “Last night Robert and I went to Nichole’s salon to get a spray tan; and I realized how skinny these bathing suit bottoms make me feel; so I thought to myself ‘well, maybe I’ll just wear them to the engagement party!’”

“What?! Robert gets a spray tan? He always does look very dark!” Greer peered at her, owlishly; eyeglasses slightly askew.

“Oh noooo, Robert has his own tanning bed at the house! He just came over to have a glass of wine and watch me get spray tanned" Sherry finished.

Oh man I think I’ve heard enough about your weird married games” I said. “Is this one of those things Cosmopolitan says to do to spice up your marriage?”

“Well I don’t know. I just called and said ‘Robert take the ham out of the freezer to thaw, I’m going to get a spray tan,’ and Robert said, ‘I’m on my way.’ When I got there he had a bottle of wine open and his reading glasses on and he said ‘Nichole spray her down good.’”

Greer twittered guiltily, further jostling her glasses and said “Well. Ahem. Harrumph. Let’s take a family picture.”

We did, and cousin Sarah insisted on closing her eyes at the flash, so we had to keep re-taking it until she was satisfied with lighting, skin tone, and degree of eye-open-ness.

None of the resulting photos managed to capture the ephemeral photographic “good side” I’ve been searching for in photos of myself for years, but Sarah seemed pleased with her results.

We ate deep-fried pork bites, mashed potatoes and roast beef, asparagus, and roast corn dip until we lacked the strength to navigate the buffet; then we carried the party back to the Gaither’s for a post-engagement-party wind-down. During the wind-down phase we discovered that the lunchtime coleslaw had disagreed with some of us; and those unlucky few spent the remainder of the evening with feverish, perspiring faces nestled gently against the cool, soothing side of a porcelain fixture.

Cole slaw, the silent killer, brought yet another family of strong, sociable, southerners to the throne of repentance.

I say if coleslaw, the most unassuming of foods, can take you down: I’m certainly not going to worry about raw oysters; but regardless of food-borne illness and in spite of the casualties - I’d say that the weekend was an overall success. We all learned a bit about the new in-laws and Eufaula, Alabama; but the single most important thing I learned was this:

Life Rule #698: A good spray tan is the key to any successful marriage.

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