It's the kind of thing a girl over a certain age does only for the women in her life whom she loves the very best. Otherwise, she makes an excuse like, "You know I would do anything for you, but Weight Watchers quarantined me, indefinitely."
For a true friend, however, she layers on the Spanx, wears a serious Wonder bra, slips on the three-inch Pradas, and buys a brace for each ankle. There are just some friends she would be in their wedding, even if she had to drag her oxygen tank behind her down the aisle.
That's what Stephanie and I share in common. We've both step-stopped, step-stopped, step-stopped to the altar, ahead of a beaming bride, well after the age of when groomsmen gaze across the aisle hoping to hook-up at the reception. Every 39-year-old in a clingy, strapless, silk bridesmaid gown asks herself the same neurotic question: Does this dress transform me into daringly young and attractive or is everyone thinking, Poor dear. Looks like she got a bad plastic surgery job?
To be that old, standing before the wedding guests, flanking a stunning vision in white, can cause a lady to feel like her girdle slipped, webbing her thighs together and letting a ring of flesh conspicuously bubble out and roll beneath the filmy fabric of her gown.
So, though her friends may laugh, Stephanie reacted quite normally when the driver of a white van, which pulled beside the car transporting the bride's attendants from the wedding to the reception, rested his eyes on her for an unusual length of time. She met his stare and looked away, flirtatiously smoothing and flipping her hair. "This guy is checking me out, y'all" she delightedly announced to the other girls.
Oh my gosh, this guy is really checking me out. I look good, she praised herself and glanced down at her chest, giving it a discreet boost. Surreptitiously, she peeked again in the man's direction.
That's when she saw the wording on the van: Pump and Dump Plumbers, 706-big-pipe. Well, it figures, she disappointedly mused, forgetting her posture. Her fantasy included George Clooney, not Edwayne, as the red oval on his shirt identified him. Almost immediately, she conjured a vision of Edwayne bent over under her vanity sink, his pants revealing more flesh than she could tolerate. Turn green, light, she wished. Pleeease turn green.
The fellow waved to get her attention. Don't look, she coached herself. It'll encourage him. Oh heck, he's rolling down his window. Light, pleeeeeease turn green.
She didn't acknowledge his salutation.
"Ma'am!" he called, a little louder.
She willed herself to stare straight ahead.
"Hey lady!" he gestured and pointed. "Your dress is caught!"
She at last turned toward him, confused.
"Your dress!" he repeated. "You closed your door on it!"
The light turned green, and the Good Samaritan drove away, as an embarrassed Stephanie reeled in her crinkled crinoline, yelling after him, "But I'm still pretty, right?"
I've been there; the girl in cornflower blue, my Spanx squeezing me so tightly, oxygen deprivation pushed me within one glass of wine away from chatting up the help, just to manipulate them into telling me how good I made that dress look. But in retrospect, Stephanie and I didn't really need the affirmation of plumbers or bar-keeps, because women like us, willing to bind up our egos in all array of undergarments for our dearest friends, we are still pretty. Right?
And guys like Edwayne? They aren't so bad either.
(Lucy Adams is a syndicated columnist, freelance writer, and the author of If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny. She lives in Thomson. Lucy invites readers to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and to visit her web site, www.IfMama.com.)