High school reunions are powered by the rocket fuel called curiosity. We go to see how our peers have aged, what their financial status seems to be, who’s married, who’s not, who looks happy and who is hiding their misery by getting wasted at both the Saturday afternoon family picnic and adults only evening dance.
Oh, sure we go to reconnect with old friends but we also want to see if they look as good as their pictures on Facebook. I have only attended one high school reunion in my life – my 10th (and that was years ago). The internal status meter started as soon as you parked your car. All eyes were on who was driving what.
When you hit the reunion site it was the customary screams, hugs and giggles as old “friends” embraced and expressed in dramatic tones how much they missed each other and “Oh my God, you haven’t changed a bit!” As you drank bad white wine in plastic cups and conversed more with some people than you did all of your high school career you could tell that you were being checked out, measured up and your net worth calculated.
For high school may have ended 10 years ago, but you were still being classified and categorized. The pinnacle of my reunion experience was when they had a contest to see which guy had lost the most hair. (Sorry Jed and Jeff.) Ten years later and still so very unkind.
That experience made me, just a smidgen, anti-reunion. Until earlier this summer when a friend asked me to go with her to her 20th high school reunion. I was confused as to why this smart, gorgeous, sweet woman would want me to be her “plus one.” When she told me why I was counting the minutes until I could get there and kick some ass.
My friend, “Lydia” and I worked together about 10 years ago and we had kept in contact even though I have moved many times. She has it all. Lydia is a beautiful brainic with the world’s kindest personality. She is also gay. She says she was a scrawny, four eyed, painfully shy bookworm who tried to stay invisible all through high school. She e-mailed me her graduation photo and yikes, she was not kidding.
You know in the Little Mermaid when Ursula sings “Poor Unfortunate Souls,”well that could have been written about Lydia. She looked like a geometry word problem. All hard right angles. When she graduated she left and never looked back. Last year, folks in her hometown, Hicksville, USA, got all in tizzy when it became fodder for the local grapevine that Lydia was gay. Some hateful things were said to her mother (all in the name of the holy scripture, of course) and she wanted to use her reunion as a chance to go back and right some wrongs. Lydia thought she might need some backup and that’s why my phone rang.
Now let’s stop a minute and examine why I was selected as “back up.” Although, I wear a size 11 shoe and have never had the pleasure of shopping in the petite department I’m not the Incredible Hulk. I do have a propensity, some might say talent, for telling people to shove it. I’m the youngest of four in a rough and tumble family so I consider my shove it sensibility more of a survival skill than anything else. I, also and I’m ashamed (kind of – because I keep telling myself I ought to be) to share this and have spent years trying to control this nasty habit, like to stir the pot.
In my defense I only stir the pot of people who, quite frankly, need their icky pot stirred. So, that’s why when someone needs back up sometimes my phone rings. If I were a super hero I’d be Back Up Girl – Able to tell someone they suck in 3 seconds or less. Not as awesome as the ability to fly or be invisible, but at least I don’t have to wear a unitard, cape and knee-high boots, which as we all know would not zip up over my cankles.
To be truthful, I like being “back up” especially to anyone who I think is being treated unjustly. Here’s the deal, I’m not pro or anti-gay. I’m anti-dumb ass. I could care less about the whole same-sex thing. I mean why would I base my judgement of someone because of their sex life with another consenting adult? We spend more time brushing our teeth then we do having sex. Would I judge someone based on their oral hygiene?
Well, that maybe a bad example because yes I would. Good brushing and flossing is important to your overall health. So, important that if someone wanted to date their toothbrush I’d be all for it. But, I would suggest aiming high in your dating aspirations and settle for nothing less than a Sonicare. I can not begin to tell you how awesome that toothbrush is. The angled brush head and patented Sonicare vibrating technology – it’s a tooth massage.
Now for those of you who don’t believe my teeth brushing and sex statistics here’s my math – the average over 25 American says they have sex at least 3 times a week. I’ll cut that in half because asking someone how often they have sex is like being asked what you weigh. Duh, you always give them your goal weight not the current poundage you’re dragging around. Now, lets take that 1.5 times a week and factor in how many minutes it takes to execute the activity. I’ll be generous and say 10 minutes. So, 1.5 x 10 = 15 minutes a week x 52 weeks = 13 hours a year. Who cares? I don’t. (Well, I care that we, as a nation, really need to be getting more.) This is what I care about: if someone is kind, good to children and animals, mows their grass on a regular basis, votes and doesn’t write a check when they’re in front of me in line at the grocery store while asking the clerk to look up their shopper discount number.
Besides, I don’t consider myself strictly heterosexual. I’m tri-curious. I’m attracted to men, diet coke and Target and not necessarily in that order. To be honest I’ve never technically consummated my relationship with either Diet Coke or Target, but oh my, both of them have brought me exquisite pleasure.
Is there much that compares to an icy 20 oz. Diet Coke on an unbelievably hot and humid day. You grab that bad boy and run the chilly goodness of the bottle down your face, starting on your forehead and working the bottle lower to your lips but you don’t taste it yet. You wait, savoring the delight to come and use the chilled Diet Coke to caress the back of your neck. Then, when you can’t take it a minute longer, you open the bottle and taste the satisfying thirst quenching nectar of liquid chemical perfection. Come to think of it, I’ve been to 3rd base with Diet Coke if you count the numerous times in my life, due to driving a car that was cup holder challenged, I’ve had to hold that 20 liter between my legs as I shifted gears.
As for Target you bet it’s delivered satisfaction. Just last month, there I was walking down the aisle in the home furnishings section when I saw something I’ve coveted at Pottery Barn beautifully ripped off by Target at a fraction the price. I had to grip my cart for stability as my body pulsated with waves of ecstasy. Thankfully, I had a large Diet Coke in my cart’s cup-holder so I could extend my ride on the gratification wave by chasing the “moment” with a lusty swig of America’s favorite zero calorie beverage. Talk about an afterglow.
I think a lot of women are gay. We don’t try to impress men. Let’s be honest, we try to impress other women. Working out, cute outfits, a little lift and tuck it’s done more to make other woman take notice of us then it is to draw the attention of a gentleman caller. I also think the moms at my kids schools are either super gay or blushing bisexuals. They can’t keep their hand’s off of each other. It’s a hugging, touchy feely, foreplay, frenzy.
They drop their kids off in the morning, hang out by the front door and hug each other and maybe even a cheek smooch. Then they walk into the PTA meeting and re-hug, grab another hug after the meeting and when they wait to pick up their kids in the afternoon it’s a 3:00 p.m. hug session you could set your watch by. They’re getting more action in one school day then I get all month. (Remember that 1.5 times a week stat.) Not that I’m jealous. I shudder at the thought of gossipy women giving my back jowls a rub down.
So, that’s a long way of saying I was ready to get this party started. Before I embarked on my mission I had to get permission from my husband. Yes, that’s right I have a marriage where I have to ask permission from my spouse. I may be a liberated 21st century woman, but I had to see if he could step up and do full kid duty. I told my husband Lydia’s tale of woe and he was having problems wrapping his head around the concept of Lydia ever not being a hottie.
I showed him the high school picture she e-mailed me and he had three words, “Good God Go!”
“Well,” I said. “I”ll need to do some shopping. I’ve got to up my game considerably if I’m going to be her date.”
His response. “No kidding.”
My feelings were not hurt in the least by that statement. I, a woman, who’s idea of getting sexy is moisturizing my eczema patches with a lavender-scented prescription cream, spritzing myself with Gain Febreze and throwing back a Gas X (due to a very vocal lower intestinal track that loudly protests any sudden movements or enthusiastic stretches. So, for me, that’s a big no to Pilates and a hell no to Yoga.) is not really “working it” on a daily basis.
If you take all that into consideration you can see that I really needed a miracle more than a dress. Not just any dress but one that would that would compress my bulges and have the right percentage of lycra so as not to slow me down if I needed to run for it and make a quick get away sometime during the reunion. It was my lucky shopping day because not only did I find a dress but it had sleeves, actual short sleeves. In today’s fashion morass finding a dress with sleeves is almost unheard of. I had begun to think a summer dress with a nice cap sleeve was an urban myth. So imagine my joy of being able to cover up 25% of my arm with fabric. It was a good day to be alive, my friends.
Two weeks later I’m in the car driving 3 hours to the reunion. Lydia and I were meeting at her mother’s house. I had requested a full report (I’m nothing if not prepared) of who made her life miserable in high school and the dossier must include pictures of then and now courtesy of her high school yearbook and Facebook. I had made the executive decision that we should not go to the family picnic but save ourselves for the night-time dance where Lydia could make an entrance and tell any haters to shove it.
We both got dressed in our fancy attire at her mom’s and prepared to embrace an evening I was certain was going to be memorable. The reunion was held in the VFW Post “ballroom” and as soon as we opened the doors we entered the Holy Grail of all who had peaked in high school. Before us stood a stockpile of ex jocks, cheerleaders, student council officers and Homecoming royalty. The “Once Upon a Time Popular” who had never been able to replicate their high school glory days. Tragically, the pinnacle of their existence occurred when they were 17. Certainly not everyone who was “all that” in high school stays transfixed in that moment of time when they “rocked!” But, there are those very few who can never seem to move past the pep rally and the prom. For these people a reunion is a sweeter than paying off your 18% interest Visa card.
It took more than a couple of minutes for most people to figure who Lydia was. She had gone through a metamorphosis since high school and classmates were having problems wrapping their heads around the fact that the gorgeous woman standing in front of them was that “skinny, nervous, band nerd” from 20 years ago. I stood back and watched. Keeping my eyes open for anyone who might want to interfere in Lydia’s moment to shine.
Most people, after they got over the shock, couldn’t have been more pleasant. But, I did notice a group that keep looking at Lydia, whispering, laughing and then checking her out again. Thanks to my diligent research I knew just who they were – the misery makers from two decades ago and the hate speech queen who had gone on a rampage after the news that Lydia was gay came out.
This woman, a 38-year-old woman, at that, went so far as to go on Facebook and put as her status, “OMG can you believe the ugliest girl in H.S. Lydia M. is gay? I guess she didn’t have a choice since no guy would have her.” Ms. Hate Speech or “Hatey” the former drill team captain saw me watching them and fluttered over to engage me in conversation.
Don’t you just want to slap someone when they come over to talk to you and you know they either think you’re stupid or believe that they’re a genius of the highest caliber as they play nice and pepper you with questions? Their intent is to find out as much as they can about you and then twist it and turn it around for their gossip fodder.
I was Miss Manners charming because I know that would tick her off. I told her I was married, had two children and was here as Lydia’s friend and that we were using the weekend to catch up. Of course, I knew what she was doing, trying to find out if I was gay. Well, Hatey you can take your big hair, 3 divorces and Amy (may she rest in peace) Winehouse eyeliner and take a hike. You’re getting nothing from me.
She gave up after about 10 minutes and went back to her crew. But, she did not seem happy, not happy, at all because beautiful Lydia was center of the attention. Not because she was gay but because she was successful and gorgeous and the guys were all over her because nothing turns a man on more than a woman who has no interest in him. She was a perfect peach in a land of swollen, pockmarked watermelons. This made me nervous. I just knew old helmet hair would try something.
It took less than 30 minutes for Hatey to start working the room. Before you could say Ellen Degeneres and Porti Di Rossi she had told everyone that not only was I Lydia’s lover but that I was leaving my husband and two kids for her. Honestly, I was more than a little flattered that anyone would think Lydia would date me. Really, she was slumming. Anyone could tell she could do so much better. But, I felt the need to nip this little rumor in the bud so as Hatey was spreading her gossip I started delicately stalking her.
I followed her from group to group. I started touching her. First, on the shoulder, then the back. I would comment to no one in particular that Hatey keeps calling me “delicious.” Then as Hatey would exit one group I would stay behind and make a few innocuous remarks like, “How long has Hatey been gay?” “Was she gay in high school?” “Wow, she is such a flirt. Really, she’s quite brazen.”
Yes, that’s right, I pretended that Hatey was gay and that she was hitting on me. I gave this crowd something to talk about and it wasn’t my awesome friend. It was the hair helmet with a side of eyeliner. By the time dessert had been served almost the entire class of 1991 thought Hatey was a flaming homosexual with a penchant for chunky women over the age of 40. This just might be my best work to date!
Poor, poor, Hatey at last she learned the life lesson, “What goes around comes around.” She left the reunion a blubbering, tearful mess. I told people it was because she was heartbroken after I turned her down her numerous salacious offers. Three hours later Lydia and I were back at her mom’s house drinking cosmos (of course) and toasting her success at the reunion. Most of all we toasted to the awesome power of girlfriends. Do we rule or what?