"Always A Bridesmaid"
When you’re in a relationship, there is always that first rush of joy. The sky is bluer, the air is crisper, and everything seems to be saying that you and your love are perfect.
“The cowboy and I had a fight,” Gavin sighed.
For Gavin and the cowboy, the honeymoon was over. Ever since his surgery, Gavin and the cowboy had engaged in arguments over Gavin’s treatment for his back issues.
“He keeps telling me I should go to a chiropractor and I kept telling him that I don’t,” he continued. “He says it’s an unbiased opinion but I said it couldn’t be since his dad is a frickin’ chiropractor.”
“What is going on with you two?” I asked.
“It’s just that things aggravate me now,” Gavin replied. “Like how is this relationship going to work with me in Eau Claire and him in the Cities.”
“Sweetie,” I sighed, “it’s the Cities, not Beirut. You’ll figure it out.”
“I guess,” he replied.
And from a couple whose honeymoon had ended to a couple that had just booked theirs, I spent a recent evening with my friends Agatha and Duran as they went shopping for a bridesmaid dress for her sister.
“I am in hell,” Agatha sighed to me as she, Duran and myself went to the Mall of America. “Oh wait, I won’t be in official hell for another couple of miles.”
“So they just ran out of bridesmaid dresses?” I said, flicking my cigarette.
“They had me jump through all these hoops and they end up running out of the style,” she sighed.
I laughed a bit. Evidently, even if a bride tries to save herself for her wedding day there is still a high likelihood that she’ll still get screwed before the ceremony.
“I know the bridesmaid isn’t supposed to look better than the bride,” Agatha whispered to me as we searched through racks of dresses and held up a leopard print number, “but nobody deserves this.”
A couple hours later of shopping through dresses, Agatha finally stumbled upon a beautiful beaded gown.
“It looks good on the hanger but I don’t know if it’d look right on my sister,” she sighed. She paused for a moment, her eyes glancing over to Duran. “Duran Duran, you’re about the same size as my sister.”
“What?” he stammered.
Ten minutes later in a plush changing room, Duran proved just how much he loved Agatha by putting on the dress and slowly turning around on a stand.
“You,” he hissed at me, “be quiet.”
“I think it’s a cute outfit for my sister,” Agatha commented. “What do you think Jon?”
“It’s adorable,” I agreed. “I just don’t think Duran has the lady lumps to pull it off.”
And in Eau Claire, Gavin and the cowboy talked. Though, they didn’t resolve all of their problems, but they slowly started talking about them.
That’s the thing about relationships; where the honeymoon ends, the real relationship begins.
With a day of dress shopping and amateur drag out of the way, I settled in my dorm to listen to some music and got a pleasant message from Denton the bartender.
“Are you in La Crosse yet?” he asked.
“I will be soon,” I replied. “So what do you propose we do on our date?”
“I don’t care,” he replied. “I’m just interested in spending time with you.”
“Cool,” I replied.
“Whatever else happens,” he typed, “that’s just a bonus.”
After a long period of time of always being the bridesmaid and never the bride, I finally got the indecent proposal that I was looking for.
"Gobble, Gooble Whore"
Thanksgiving is all about traditions. My mother tries out one new recipe every year in her bid to be the other version of Martha Stewart. My father always says grace before dinner and our whole family doesn’t discuss the big pink elephant in the room - my column.
As I gorged myself on food during break, I was happy I had broken one of my holiday traditions: Russian-centered drama. Instead, this year I was determined to forge a new custom by going out on a date with Denton.
“I got drunk and propositioned The Russian for sex,” Denton told me a few days before our planned date.
“I’m sorry, what?” I stammered a bit, less angry and more confused.
“I just got really smashed and was horny and ran into him at the bars,” Denton continued. “He turned me down. He even said something to the effect of ‘Aren’t you going on a date with Jon’”.
“So let me just understand this,” my friend “Danny” said as we walked around my neighborhood the day before my date. “You had a thing with The Russian who had your dad for a class at the university and now this bartender guy, who is going to be teaching at the same university as your dad and was going to go out on a date with you, tried to get into The Russian’s pants?”
“Sounds like a fair assessment,” I laughed.
“You sure know how to pick them,” he giggled. “And didn’t he dump his last boyfriend by just not calling him?”
“Yeah,” I replied. “That was the same week he asked me out too. The longer we walk and talk, the harder it is for me to see his appeal.”
“Are you for real?” Gavin exclaimed the following day after I told him the story.
“Like I’d make up a story where The Russian comes out looking like a decent person?” I laughed.
“That’s true,” laughed Gavin. “Still going on the date?”
“I have no idea,” I replied. “I think I’ve spent so much time choosing the wrong guy, it’s become as traditional as cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving dinner.”
“Speaking of Thanksgiving dinner,” Gavin interjected, “The Cowboy actually wanted to spend Thanksgiving with me. I told him he should spend it with his family so he went home after we hung out for a bit and had sex. Without beer or Vicodin, let the record show that.”
“Failed relationship for me and the sexual escapades of a friend,” I smirked. “Those traditions still stand.”
That Saturday, I put on my first date best and stood in front of my bathroom mirror as the snow came down outside. There were neighborhood kids making snow angels as I was having a devil of a time trying to figure out what I was doing.
“So what time are you coming downtown?” Denton asked me. “I’m working tonight.”
“I can’t,” I replied. “I just can’t. I can’t go on a first date that’s going to be consisting of me trying to get face time with you in between you making people’s Long Islands.”
“You should come downtown,” he told me. “I’ve really been looking forward to it.”
“Denton,” I said with a little laugh. “Baby, it’s cold outside.”
Later that night, I met up with Danny to go on a walk around the neighborhood like we did every time I was home.
As we laughed and traded stories, it crystallized in my mind that though some traditions like bad relationships should be broken some others like family and friends are traditions for good reasons.