Cultivating low self-esteem, one bridesmaid dress at a time

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with being a bridesmaid. I love the idea of wearing a floofy dress, walking down an aisle, and serving as a backdrop when someone else makes a dramatic, life-changing commitment to someone else. Unfortunately, I have almost no female friends and, the few I do have, always have other friends they like better than me. So, it came as a total surprise recently when my friend Kathy asked me to be in her wedding.

I must preface this by saying that Kathy picked someone else to be her bridesmaid first. Luckily for me, however, the Original Bridesmaid snapped her Achilles tendon while playing tennis and was not able to fulfill her bridesmaid duties. So, just three weeks before the wedding, Kathy asked me to step in as her replacement.

After jumping up and down, screaming, I demurely said yes. Finally, I was called up to the Big Show.

I spent three weeks preparing for this wedding. I cut down on my cheese and ice cream consumption, and I embarked on a personal grooming blitz, attempting to make up for years of feminine neglect. I scrubbed my knees and elbows morning and night, trying to slough off decades of elephant skin. I applied super-strength antiperspirant every night in hopes that it would stop me from ruining my bubblegum pink dress with copious armpit sweat. I also applied self-tanner to my upper arms morning and night to diminish the accumulated damage of five years worth of farmers’ tans.

By the wedding day, I was feeling pretty good. The dress zipped up easily and I felt thinner, tanner, and less crusty than before. I enjoyed the day and had a great time. During the ceremony, I gave a reading and got choked up, but I wasn’t too embarrassed (though several people did come up to me later to tell me how sweet it was….grrr).

I really had fun and I felt not a stitch of self-consciousness…until I scanned through some photos later than night. Though I had felt tan and thin(ner), after consulting the photographic evidence, I realized that I was, in fact, neither tan nor thin. I looked more like a Beluga whale than I’d imagined, and suddenly an event that felt so positive in the experience of it became ugly and tainted.

I haven’t looked at the photos since and, when anyone asks me about them (there are people dying to see me in a bubblegum pink dress, apparently), I simply say that I can’t handle the truth. That’s the truth. I can’t. Occasionally, denial is the only strategy I can muster. Well, denial with an ice cream chaser.

Rolling backpacks and the fall of western civilization

We all have crabby days, some of us even have crabby weeks. But, it’s a rare few of us who can live as Endurance Crabs, muttering under our breath, swearing, and generally making unpleasantness a way of life long term.

I’m well on my way.

Here are a few of the things I’ve been grumbling about so far this week:

• Rolling backpacks — Unless it’s loaded with wet cement, a backpack that measures 12 inches high and 8 inches deep cannot weigh enough to warrant wheels and a handle. And, if you’re 19, pick the damn thing up! You look ridiculous and weak, especially when I can see that it’s partially collapsed and so light it’s hopping over pebbles.

• Self-tanner — After three and a half of weeks of twice-daily applications of self-tanner (to prepare for my stint as a bridesmaid), the low-grade tan I had disappeared in…drumroll…three days. I want my life back!

• Harry Potter/Twilight — I don’t get it. I don’t want to get it. I just want to focus on the return of “Mad Men” on Aug. 16…because I know what’s really awesome.

• The Progressive Insurance Lady — The rancor I feel for this annoying woman cannot be measured in actual terms, but I would place it somewhere between Kim Kardashian and Nicholas Cage.

• The Blue Dog Democrats — “Going rogue” didn’t work for Sarah Palin and it doesn’t work for you tools, either. You’re just making us realize you’re a bunch of douches, so stop grubbing for headlines and do some actual work for the American people, not the big corporations.

More to come.

Faithfully,

Amanda “Crab Salad” Haines

The endless pursuit of Flo

The thing about blogging is that there’s no room for my Type A, perfectionist BS.

I literally have five blog posts on my desktop right now. Five. All are about three paragraphs away from being done. Two are about the wedding I was in two weekends ago. One is about my dogs. One is about my mother (yikes!), and one is about my sudden desire to run a bison ranch in Hungry Horse, Montana.

All five were abandoned because the flow wasn’t right.

The flow.

I know that sounds like something a guy wearing a poncho and sandals would say, but it’s the absolute truth. When the flow ain’t right, I can’t write. I don’t even know what “the flow” is, but I feel it and, when it’s off, there’s nothing that can be done to make it right.

However, looking back on these blog posts, they’re actually not bad. Even when the flow was off, the writing wasn’t terrible. They’re certainly no worse than this blog post. In fact, at least one is considerably better (I’ll try to get back and finish it off shortly).

As much as I realize no one is perfect, I not so secretly really want to be perfect. So, I start blog posts I don’t finish. I buy vegetables I don’t eat. I harbor guilt about not flossing every night. It’s ridiculous and self-defeating. In fact, it may be what’s killing the flow.

So, I’m off to finish a real blog post and I guarantee it won’t be perfect. In fact, I bet there will be at least one typo, two clichés, and a mixed metaphor. Hmph!

(Thanks to Jo for the kick in the ass!)