>>> The Rollercoaster of Drama
By staff writer Simonne Cullen

June 10, 2007

Is there a flood coming that no single person knows about? Because everywhere I look lately everyone is pairing up two by two. Monkeys, elephants and… Anilu from Peru.

When we last met Anilu, she was in a small town Wisconsin Target, happily ignoring a furious tornado that touched down just half a mile from where we were picking out Halloween costumes. It’s been two years since that day, and last weekend I’m excited to report that she tied the knot. And it’s funny, as much as everyone jokes about weddings and how great the open bar is, the idea of forever and the sacrament of marriage never really fazes you until it takes one of your own.

It’s kind of like you leave college all in attendance at the same party. Then slowly, the number of people at the party begin to dwindle. And not only are they dwindling but they’re starting to pair up. Not even the occasional threesome, but in seriously diagnosed couples. Eventually, two by two, they leave the original party for an exclusive party that only accepts members with wedding bands… and rumor has it there’s another party that those wedding band people can’t get into unless they have a third invitee attached at the tit. And nothing, NOTHING, says growing up like willingly trading in kegs for white wine spritzers and mortgage payments… for all the days of your life.

“It’s amazing how many people have to get married in church for the sake of their parents.”

Since graduation four of my friends have taken that long walk down the aisle. At each of these weddings I’ve only been a spectator, involved only in picking out a gift on their registry, showing up on time, and rabidly abusing the open bar. But Anilu changed the way I attended weddings. First off, she made me a bridesmaid. She didn’t force me; she asked, and I accepted happily. It was a college reunion wedding—which means she married someone from the same university as every single guest at the reception. So literally, of all the gin joints in the world, no one was more grateful than to have Anilu walk into the bar on the Avenue where her future husband Gharrity was throwing back a rum and coke that cold Wisconsin night.

First time as a bridesmaid. First time the sober helmet went on… and stayed on. The flower girl was my dance partner all night and I couldn’t bring myself to knock back anything but Shirley Temples when I was around her. And honest to God all I can say is, grenadine gives you one massive sugar stomach ache… much more worse than anything a night of gin has thrown at me.

So as a first-timer I really don’t know what to expect. Some girls were telling me that their friends turn into crazy Bridezillas who throw random tantrums, make absurd demands, and make you feel like everything you do is never good enough—but that was never Anilu. She was the most relaxed bride in the entire world. After the ceremony everyone was expecting an hour for picture taking, but it last literally 10 minutes. The photographer took a couple pictures of the entire wedding party and wanted more, but Anilu made her only request of the day: “No more. We’ll take more pictures at the park. I need a beer.” And the groomsmen looked at her husband with envy, knowing that their future wives would never be as fabulous as Anilu was at that moment.

It’s amazing how many people have to get married in church for the sake of their parents. Every year hundreds of parents demand you get married in the House of God otherwise it’s a sin and you’ll both end up in hell. It doesn’t matter if the last time you were in church was for your baptism, and you can’t even receive communion—this whole ceremony is going to be headed by a priest, with a collar, a lengthy homily, and Catholic propaganda to, “Immediately fill the house with the pitter patter of God’s little post-honeymoon blessings.” Seriously. I didn’t know whether we were in church or a Klan meeting.

The bridesmaid dresses were pretty, and a little low cut. So low for me that I had to put some pretty fabric across my tatas so Jesus wouldn’t be distracted during the ceremony. I brought extra fabric for the other girls, who politely declined the offer—except for the maid of honor, and one of my dearest friend’s Nancy, who cocked her head to the right and said, “Sure Simonne, I’ll take the fabric just in case I hit puberty midway through the ceremony. “

The bridal bouquet toss is always something to marvel at. From the time we were little tiny girls the DJ has instructed us to get on the floor to catch a bunch of flowers to see who will be the next woman to drop her single status. And even when I was younger I remember very clearly the older women blocking the children from getting anywhere within potential reach of the bouquet’s landing site. A decade and a half later nothing has changed: woman are still pushing, bruising and causing serious injury to their peers. Whereas the garter toss… well, not a big deal. Men aren’t interested in catching a lacy leg bracelet—unless it was still attached to a pretty girl or an ice cold imported beer.

So four weddings down, and at least a dozen more to go. It seems every time I sign on to Facebook someone new is engaged. And a new betting pool has surfaced: a spreadsheet filled with names, and a running order of who’s going to be next to take the big walk down the aisle. There are long shots, sure shots, never gonna happens, and even one potential elopement. I don’t know who will be next to leave single town, but I do know that G and Anilu started a trend. And because their love for each other was so pure, the next step doesn’t seem as scary anymore… at least until this post-wedding hangover wears off.