I made their costumes myself, complete with yards of thick gold upholstery fringe I found at a salvage store. I actually sewed lassos and horse-shaped appliqués on their back pockets, too. It was good homemaking-type practice, seeing as the very next year I used this same picture to adorn the invitations I sent for the baby shower these two supposedly threw for me.
I say "supposedly" because they hardly lifted a single bangle-weighted wrist to help me set up, and instead they spent the whole pre-party prep time in Daniel's bathroom drinking Mimosas and drenching each other in cosmetics. When they emerged, they were both dressed as pregnant country-singing queens, ready for the party to start, while my authentically 200-month pregnant ass was still busy preparing appetizer trays.
"Can you two at least pretend like you're putting this party on and help?" I asked, but they waved me away, or maybe they were just waving in general, mindful as they were of their wet nail polish. Grant would not even so much as rinse off a cluster of grapes for me. I swear, sometimes I can see the true benefit behind having real females for girlfriends.
In the end I rolled up my sleeves, lumbered forth and finished on my own. The result was a buffet and wine bar fit for a fleet of conquering Huns. It's a good thing, too, because about 500 people showed up, everyone laden with gaily wrapped baby-type presents. When I finished tearing into them all, there was enough ribbon and paper strewn about to fully stuff a plush toy the size of a Trojan horse.
And you would not have believed the baby booty. The baby booty alone is reason to see the true benefit behind having your baby shower fronted by two bossy fags, because they both nagged the hell out of me to register a wish list at a sprogette shop, then they pestered everyone invited to the party to pay attention to it, which everyone did. Later, I heard from the sales lady there that she had to add things to the list to accommodate requests. "You didn't have receiving blankets on the list, and you're gonna need those."
"What the hell is a receiving blanket?" I thought. In fact, I didn't know what the hell more than half the stuff was I'd been told I needed. I put it on the list, though, and sure enough, I got it handed to me wrapped in pastel-colored paper the day of my shower. It was like magic. It took two cars and Lary's old truck bed (minus the portion used up by the big wad of barbed wired) to haul it all back to my place, where I sat among it all like Jabba the Hut, wondering what to do with it. It was all very intimidating. For example, what are nipple shields? I was told I'd need them, and here I had them, and I don't know what to do with them.
It was kind of like when I got my first 10-speed as a 12-year-old. It was when my mother had been gainfully employed, working with NASA on the last Apollo moon launch, so she had income then, as opposed to one Christmas a few years prior when she was between contracts and had to rely on charity to fill out the empty space under our tree. I guess to make up for that particular Christmas, she went and bought me the biggest blow-ass 10-speed you ever saw, a top-of-the-line Schwinn with enough gears and googlydobs to run an efficient Swiss railway system.
The trouble was I had no idea how to work it. I literally used to just walk it to school every day, because I did not know even the first move to make to get it out of second gear, and my mother, an actual rocket scientist, was no help.
So I kept walking it to school, because, believe me, the bike garnered a hell of a lot of admiration from the other kids, particularly the boys, who would whistle at it like they were little construction workers and my bike was a big-chested blonde. Normally they were like a swarm, these boys, all tormenting and daunting. It was all very intimidating. But the bike changed things. They'd ask to ride it, and I'd let them, because it was as if I'd insert the bike into their circle and everything would work. It was like adding a necessary mechanism to a complicated machine, and once all the parts were in place, it ran flawlessly.
But all this baby booty, it was worse than a complicated bike. Once I got it home, it all lay strewn about like a disassembled appliance. Breast pumps and bottle sterilizers, bassinets and cradle bumpers - how do you work this stuff?
"Don't worry," my friend Jill told me. "The baby changes things. It's like the baby is the battery that fits into all the stuff and makes it work." And that is kind of how it happened. I had my daughter and, in a very big way - in wonderful ways you would not even imagine - she fit into all my stuff and made it work.
Hollis Gillespie is the author of Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch: Tales from a Bad Neighborhood (Harper Collins). She was recently named one of "Seven Breakout Writers of 2004" by Writer's Digest. Her commentaries can be heard on NPR's "All Things Considered."
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