I was determined that after the last two weddings I was in, I was not going to do everyone’s makeup. It always stressed me out and had me rushing into my dress at the last minute, feeling not as put together as the others. But unfortunately, one of my faults is that I have a hard time saying no to something that’s going to make me look good...like turning some busted bitch into the belle of the ball.
“Oh my god, you did such a good job on her makeup! She looks so much better!”
Own it, I say. False modesty is just silly.
This was, of course, how I found myself standing in a corner, applying foundation to the bride’s face, wondering why no one had had the balls to suggest she wax her mustache before her wedding day. I’d never been that close to her before and had I known how bad it really was, I most certainly would have said something. But there was no point stressing her out about it at that point – what was done was done.
Papa has always had a case of “keeping up with the Joneses”, so what was once, over 25 years ago, a one room fishing cabin is now a three story monstrosity surrounded by random porches and more brick columns than are strictly necessary. On the side of the house that faces the lake, the majority of which is his bedroom, there are huge side by side windows all the way around. The view is spectacular, but I can tell you from personal experience that it loses a bit of its luster after you’ve had to clean those suckers. Still, his room is my favorite part of the house and the one that’s always designated for bridal preparations.
So while Tess sat on a stool facing the two corner windows, the black hairs of her mustache shining in the afternoon sunlight, I applied makeup as quickly as possible. And all around us there was chaos. The bed and chairs were covered in plastic dress bags, bottles of hair spray and various undergarments that would have looked more at home in a torture chamber. The counters were littered with makeup and shoes were scattered at random across the hardwood floor. Bridesmaids and other female family members were running in and out of the room in various states of undress. One hair stylist had set up camp in the bathroom while the other, who happened to be a new neighbor, was stationed just behind me.
John, the new hair stylist, was an interesting character – tall, round in all the wrong places and in complete denial about his sexual orientation. Even I knew he wasn’t batting for the home team, and my gaydar is nonexistent. Ever seen Will and Grace? I’m Grace, with breasts...and hips. If there’s a hot gay guy in the vicinity that isn’t making out with another guy, I’ll probably hit on him.
He was teasing my cousin’s wife’s long blonde hair into a half up 80’s video nightmare. While he walked around her, swinging his hips and flicking his wrists, I saw her eyes dart from person to person, desperately trying to get someone to say something, anything, to stop him. But she was the “MOH” (read: maid of honor / supreme bossy douche bag) and guilty of choosing those horrendous dresses for us, so I just smiled and kept my mouth shut.
One of the girls walked into the bathroom carrying her dress and he stopped teasing long enough to confirm everyone’s suspicions. “Honey, make sure you shut that door! Just because I’m a male hairdresser doesn’t mean I’m gay! God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, mmmk! I’m marrrrrrriED”, he shouted, waving his ring finger in the air.
I caught Marie’s eye from across the room and grinned.
“I did my wife’s hair and makeup on our wedding day”, he continued. “I wasn’t letting anyone mess it up, no ma’am!”
By the time I’d finished Tess’s and the MOH’s makeup, the whole room was ready to kill him. Everyone looked great, with the exception of the MOH, but I thought to myself that I’d made a good decision in asking my godmom to do my hair instead of going with the crowd. At the very least I wouldn’t have to listen to anymore of his shrieking. I figured I had just enough time to finish Tess’s mom’s makeup (which she asked me to do completely last minute) and run up to my house for my godmom to just throw the lot of it atop my head.
Unfortunately it took me a little longer than anticipated. Tess’s mom doesn’t speak any English, other than the names of Papa’s seven dogs, the name of that stupid goose (Larry) and “hello”, so every time I turned my back to grab something, she’d slide off the chair and try to totter out of the room. I’d have to lead her back and mime sitting down and closing my eyes, showing her what to do. But at least I didn’t break up my words into a dozen syllables and shout at her like my Grandma does when someone speaks a different language. Those poor Burmese children down the street are still suffering from post traumatic hearing loss.
When I finally made it home, Leigha had claimed my hair appointment and I was left waiting. Angry about being pushed aside, I grabbed my things and stomped back down the hill, cursing and threatening to walk down the aisle with a frizzy ponytail. That’s when John offered to do it and, feeling defeated, I agreed.
I relaxed into the chair and sighed.
“How do you want it done”, he asked.
“I want the front pulled back, soft curls”, I said, thinking that maybe it would be alright. He walked around my chair, lifting a piece of hair here and there, studying me like a bug under a microscope.
“No big 80’s shit either”, I added, just in case.
“No problem”, he said.
But less than five minutes later, after blow drying it and curling it under with a round brush, he sent someone for his straightener. “I think I’m going to do something different with you”, he said.
At first I panicked, my eyes flicking to the MOH’s unmistakable frizz tower, but after glancing at my phone and realizing that pictures were less than half an hour away, I gave in and thought, “Fuck it. There’s no time.”
“Will you let me do whatever I want to it?”, he asked.
In my experience nothing good has ever followed that sentence, but I glared at him and said, “As long as it’s not big 80’s hair, I don’t care. Just do it.”
And do it he did, throwing out the Adam and Steve line at least two more times in the process.
After spaying me with the bright red can labeled “BIG SEXY HAIR” and something to make it “shine”, he let me stand up. As I walked to the mirror he said, “You could be a model for the makeup store! This hairstyle really opens up your face.”
My eyes opened wide and an involuntary “Oh!” slipped from my mouth. I looked like a lion. I was surprised my reflection wasn't roaring and licking its wrist. He’d styled the front to stand up in an arch and the sides were flipped out and styled the same. I could hear the other hair stylist sniggering in the background, but I waited until he left the room to comment.
“I look like there’s a fan pointed at my head! I’m going to have to run down the aisle so it looks like the wind is actually blowing it back!”
I tried to use a pick to soften the bridge across my forehead, but it was too stiff. “BIG SEXY HAIR” apparently does its job. And there was no time to redo it; we were being called outside for pictures.
“It looks fine”, Marie said.
“You look like a lion”, Cory laughed.
“Ah! What scared you”, Ben asked.
And after an hour and a half of pictures, I walked down the aisle that way. I decided to pretend like it wasn’t happening – like I wasn’t dodging goose shit on a brick pathway in a booger green dress that as soon as I’d pushed my shoulders back had popped the new seams the altering lady had put in to keep the twins from jumping out and yelling “surprise”, with a lion’s mane framing my face.
But, little did I know, I’d soon have more than a hairstyle and escaping breasts to worry about.
Sunny Side of the Street
3 days ago