Tag Archives: friendship

When “spa treatment” actually means “octogenarian orgy”

I was recently in California for a best friend’s wedding.  She is the final woman in my college posse (a.k.a the WINOS), to stop having sex get married, and we thought it would be fitting for the five of us to have a girls day together, going to the spa and chilling out before the big day arrived.

A couple of weeks before the wedding I was on the spa’s website to check out which overpriced facial or massage I’d be signing up for, and I happened upon something in the brochure called the “Kuyam Experience”.  Anything that has a noun or verb followed by “experience” or “adventure” is usually something one should pay close attention to. I learned this the hard way years ago and yet.

I think to save space they were as vague in the description of Kuyam as they could possibly be. It said something about doing a Native American ritual and clay and steam and inhalation therapy were involved or something and you could do it alone or in a ‘private party’.  It was $75/person, which was about 50% less expensive than anything else they had to offer, so I mean, clearly the WINOS needed to consider this. It was the only thing we could all do together. Now, we aren’t very touchy-feely, kissy- huggy, or grab-each-other’s-boobs-and-asses kind of bunch.  We keep our hands to ourselves, our clothes on and we enjoy drinking a shit ton of wine together and laughing.  Sometimes we discuss the sex we aren’t having since we bore our litters, but mostly we debate important things we’ve read in trade journals such as “Us Weekly” and “O”. So something so new-agey was a laugh-fest just waiting to happen.  This experience would provide a host of future inside jokes and the timing couldn’t be better. Our friend was about to get knocked up married — this would get rid of any edge she might be feeling. It would be like therapy. Fun therapy.  I loved thinking about how great it would be.  Almost as great as dressing my 13 month old like this for Halloween. (Note to reader:  Halloween 2011 comes round only once. You can never get it back.  And Mr. T pities the fool who waits till 2012.)

So anyway, I book the thing and we all fly to California for the wedding weekend and the first day is the big spa day. Over breakfast, we had a long debate about whether or not we’re all supposed to wear bathing suits to this thing or not and then someone joked that we might all have to get naked and rub clay on one another.  Yeah, right. Like we’d spend the day before our friend gets married having a Native American orgy/porn sleep over party.   That is the last thing that the Kuyam Experience is about.  I mean, if that was what it was, wouldn’t consuming massive amounts of alcohol and peyote be part of it too?

I assured the group that was is not what Kuyam was, as if I had any idea what it actually was. A little voice in my gut screamed, “Shit – what if it is?!” If it were, which it is not, it would take our friendship to a level of excruciating awkwardness that we might never be able to overcome.  Like when Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie kissed that one time.  Ugh.  That just sent shivers up my spine. I am so sorry to have to have had to bring that into your consciousness, but I’m telling you, it’s a worthy comparison.

So, I love the WINOS with all of my heart, but I like them fully clothed. I’ll be damned if I’m paying $75 to feel relaxed as my naked best friends rub fucking mud all over my pasty naked muffin top.  I laughed then, because us all getting naked together in a room while we spread mud on ourselves is the most ridiculous thing that could happen to the WINOS.  I mean, probably the Kuyam was something where we’ll probably be in…robes…and the clay is probably for us to put on…our faces…or something.  I think we’re just supposed to sit there and meditate and listen to the Native American chanting.  None of this weird naked group rubbing shit.  That would be crazy.

So we check in to the spa and we didn’t need bathing suits – they give us those little wrappy things to put around yourself that cover your boobs and your ass. Which I take as a good sign.  Things are on track.  But a red flag shoots up when I notice that the other spa patrons in the locker room seem to be wandering around naked and carrying on their business like they weren’t. Here’s the thing: I like the spa as much as anyone, but I do not find it necessary to prance around the locker room completely naked, bending over to blow dry my hair as I start up a conversation with a random naked stranger vigorously rubbing her ass with lotion, and act as though we were both dressed and discussing the weather at the grocery store.  Apparently in Ojai California, that is exactly what people think the spa is for.  This is why I live in Chicago.  We don’t play that way.

But whatever. I’m not in Chicago. I am relaxing at a spa in California. I decided to spend as little time as possible in the nudist colony locker room and waited until they led the five of us up to our private Kuyam Experience.  Now, here is the thing: where I am from, “private” means that just the group you signed up with will be present. I thought this was a pretty universal interpretation, but I clearly know nothing about California.  Apparently, in California, a “private” Kuyam Experience means you, your friends and three other strange naked ladies you don’t know who appear to be close to million years old, and really creep you the fuck out.  That was a little “cultural difference” that would have been nice to know when I thought this was a good idea.

The room was really a big sauna, so it was super hot in there. I wasn’t sure if it was the heat that made me want to pass out, or the random old naked chicks. We took the other five seats that were left and they provided us all with a small, cold face towel. I noticed that most of the WINOS immediately covered their faces. Probably to cover up their shock, terror and tears. Maybe I’m projecting. That is exactly what I had to do.  I had unknowingly led our group to our first orgy and it was going to be with octogenarian strangers.  Thank God we didn’t bring the camera.

So the Kuyam Experience begins.  The spa lady tells us to relax and listen while she plays a recording of a Native American man talking so it seems all spiritual.  He starts off by saying that “Kuyam is best done while naked….” and I’m like, “Really pervert? Shit. We’re on some amateur porn site right now, aren’t we? This is why it was so cheap. Mother fucker.” So now there is all this pressure to take off our spa wraps and get naked and my worst fears are all coming true.

I’m sure the WINOS look awesome naked, but I like my friends best when their cooches are tucked away out of my direct line of sight.  So I began a silent prayer: “Dear God, please don’t make me look at my friends’ coochies. Amen.”

We’re then instructed to start rubbing the three colors of clay they gave us on every square inch of our naked selves.  But as I’ve said, I am not getting naked.  Even if I weren’t so immature about being naked with all my best friends, there were very practical reasons for my unwillingness to just throw off my wrap. I haven’t had a wax since before my first kid was born.  It’s like giving somebody 5 minutes notice that they are supposed to host a garden party on wild prairie land.  I hope that is all the explaining I need to do on this topic.  So I vow to leave my wrap thing on and  I’m trying to rub the shit all over like he is saying, but it’s hard to do with one hand trying to hold up my little wrappy thing so that my cooch is covered and no nip is hanging out.

While I’m struggling to maintain my dignity (and heterosexuality), one of the old ladies stands up and goes over to the other lady across from her who I then realize is not old. She is probably our age, but her hands and feet are all (congenitally?) deformed so this is not an easy task for her. I’m not going to lie, this also raises the weirdness factor. And then I realize this is a mother-daughter duo. SHUT. UP.  I am trying not to watch this, but the naked mother and daughter are now standing up, rubbing each other with the clay and one of them has her ass in my friend’s face.  And then she turns around and suddenly there are coochies at eye level. Somebody tipped them off about the Kuyam because they had fresh Brazilians. “Aww fuck. Seriously? Do I really have to watch these two baldies rub each other down?” No. I threw the towel over my face and tried to stay conscious so I wouldn’t drop my own wrap and scar my friends for life.

I closed my eyes and tried to focus on not hyperventilating.  Well, and getting the fucking clay on my ass where it was supposed to go without getting naked because I wasn’t completely sure the mother / daughter duo wasn’t going to ask for my damn help. I was grateful that the other WINOS decided to fight the good fight and keep their hands and vaginas to themselves.

I’m not really sure what happened next. Maybe I did actually lose consciousness. Or maybe I had a psychotic break and now instead of having just one alter ego, I have another.  I just don’t remember anything else until I heard the spa lady saying we could leave. But I had fucking dry clay all over my body, my wrap, my face towel.  They told us there were showers in the next room. I scurried to get up and out of there.  But they forgot to mention that you have to walk past a chamber where hoses come out of the walls and spray you the length of your body.  You sort of have to be naked for this part.  FUUUUUCK.

All of that work and it came down to this.  You know what? Fuck it. I dropped the wrap, ran through the hoses and found a shower stall. The water was heavenly warm. I got the shit off of me.  A robe was waiting for me outside. I snuggled into it, quickly left the shower room and tea and private balcony awaited.  Minutes later, all eight of us lounged in our robes in the warm California air talking about “US Weekly” and “O” as if we hadn’t just lost our faith in God.

Maybe one day the WINOS will talk about Kuyam together again, but I think for now we’ll just leave that for our therapists.

Thanks for the offer, but I guess I just don’t feel like a three-way today

You already know a lot about my friends:  the one who kicked me out of her wedding, the pathological liar, and the one who I’m currently teeing up to be my new best friend.

And then there is Oprah. Which just goes without saying.

Now, if  I may tell you about Stella…she was my best friend my freshman year of college. Our friendship started the first day of school when we realized we both had a jones for pot and gummy bears and lived across the hall from one another, which I suppose is how most freshman friendships commence.

Stella was a red head from Connecticut and really granola and she could quote Nietzsche which I thought was really meaningful at the time, even though I didn’t know shit about Nietzsche.  I can honestly say I still don’t know shit about the guy, but if someone quoted him, I’d probably still be impressed.  Anyway, at the time, she seemed like a pretty solid choice for someone to hang out with – and lets face it – I didn’t know anybody so it wasn’t like I was going to be super choosy.  My roommate was alright but she was a classic Jersey girl in that she went through a bottle of Great Lash mascara every 3 days and had long nails and I’m pretty much the antithesis of a classic Jersey girl, so I had to look beyond my own room to find my college BFF.

I’m not sure what Stella saw in me, but my money is on how many Abercrombie & Fitch flannels, and pairs of Doc Marten’s and Birkenstocks that I brought to the relationship. Oh, and that I was someone she could count on to go out to the forest and smoke a bowl with her whenever she felt the urge.

Her friends back home would mail her pot and she would share it with me and I didn’t have to pay for it.  I think that is a pretty solid foundation for any budding friendship.  Plus, if she weren’t supplying, I wouldn’t be getting high because I have nothing against smoking marijuana but I do have something against purchasing it.  Because that seems kind of criminal and kind of expensive and kind of pot head-ish.  In my own mind, I couldn’t really be a drug user unless I spent my money on it.   But I was ALL FOR getting high most days, so I liked to think of myself as just being sociable.

So Stella and I became best buddies and we have a great time together and our friendship appears to be progressing normally until my hometown honey comes to visit.  This is the kid I failed to break up with in high school because I thought we would be together forever. I’m a serial monogamist. Anyway, he comes to visit and Stella seems to think he is the best thing since sliced bread.  She is hard core flirting with him, which I wasn’t sure what to make of. But he was a good boyfriend and didn’t really flirt back.  So we decide to go get high together and we’re talking and then completely out of the blue, Stella is like, “You know what? We should totally have a three-way”. Somewhere in the background, a record scratches. Whaaaaaaaat?

I went to a Catholic university. One where you have to sign a contract that says you won’t have sex outside of marriage. If they catch you, you’re out. It’s pretty much disregarded by most students, but I bring it up because it wasn’t like we were at some liberal school where people have gay flings and participate in orgies on a regular basis. And I can also attest that doing drugs on a regular basis was also a bit out of the norm, so we’re talking about a very conservative place.

“Whaaaaaaat?” I said.

“We should totally have a three-way, dude. It would be so cooooooooo-ul.” she replied. She was very fond of making the word “cool” last for 4 to 5 seconds.

My boyfriend doesn’t know whether this is the best thing that ever happened in his life, or if one wrong move would mean a kick in the balls via my steel toed Doc Martens. Eventually, he wanted to have children, so he said nothing.

“Um…what I think would be cool is if we ordered breadsticks from Papa Johns”  I said awkwardly. “Thanks for the pot, though.”  I got the distinct impression that neither Stella nor my boyfriend liked this answer, but they went with it because a three-way requires three people and it was clear there were only two seriously pondering it.  So three of us didn’t have our own little orgy in the forest and I just wanted to forget that the conversation ever happened. She was just high, so I was sure it meant nothing.

Inevitably, me and hometown honey break up and I start kind of liking this other guy at school. So one day the three of us are at a party and we’re getting pretty loaded and Stella says, “Wouldn’t it be coooooooooo-uhl to have three-way?”  WTF? Um. No. This guy was probably a virgin and just kind of giggles like he won the lottery and he’s like, “Seriously?” And they both look at me and I’m like “Oh, hell no! If you two want to fuck, go for it, but count me out.” And the guy looks at Stella like “what are we waiting for?” and I thought she’d probably go for it but then she’s all, “I was totally kidding, dude. I’m so high right now….”

So over time, it becomes normal for Stella to suggest having three ways with me and any and all guys I’m interested in at very awkward moments. When I asked her why she often asks about having three ways in regular conversations, she says she is just kidding, but it is clear to me that she is not. It didn’t occur to me at the time to ask her if she was gay or bi, because she seemed to have fun having sex with many of the male stoners we got high with all the time, so I didn’t question it.

Anyway, the year drags on and Stella eventually drops asking if I want to have a three-way with her, which was a great relief. I wanted my first three-way to be special, which is why I was saving myself for Angelina and whoever else she wanted to invite. But Stella gets more and more heavily into drugs and I kind of go the other direction.  I was pretty sure I was getting dumber and I couldn’t really afford any more brain cells, so by spring I just stopped getting high.  And I started hanging out more with her roommate, whose Costco gummy bear jar Stella and I would raid whenever we were high.  She went on to become my best friend, who would eventually kick me out of her wedding. I know, right? I am awesome at choosing friends.

Turns out that Stella was bipolar and she got all weird and had to be admitted to a psychiatric ward at some point and she wound up leaving the University to pursue going to Grateful Dead concerts, collecting crystals and having three-ways.  We kind of lost touch for a while after that.

Until I got a call out of the blue a few years after I had graduated from college and settled in Chicago.  Stella was doing a “road trip” with a couple of her friends who were in a relationship together and she wanted to know if she and they could crash at my place.  Sure. I guess.  I was dating BD at the time, so I was like, “You have to meet my friend Stella. She is a total trip. But if she asks if we want to have a three-way, the answer is no.” I think he had the sense then that he had totally missed an opportunity that could have been awesome.

When she got to Chicago we had a nice time together and she didn’t actually ask us to have a three-way, so I considered the visit was a success.  However, she did send me a postcard a few weeks later from Colorado that she did in fact have a three-way with her traveling mates, and they broke up over it, so the trip kind of turned into a big bummer. She was baffled by the bad luck of it all.  I guess some things never change.

Somewhere in this world, Stella is probably either having a three-way or suggesting one as we speak.  I still await a call from Angelina.  God speed, Stella. God speed.

But seriously, are three-ways pretty common everywhere, or just in Connecticut?

My Best Friend’s Wedding

Once upon a time, in a land very, very close by, my best friend got married. My very best friend in the world. And she asked me to be her matron of honor and I was totally….honored. And it was wonderful and blissful – after all, she was MY maid of honor at my wedding and we were the closest of friends. So close, people thought we were lesbians until I got married.  We talked about her hopes and dreams and all that other fluffy stuff. I even went through a wedding magazine with her without throwing up.  Then we went to a bridal store and picked out her gown, and flowers and everything was turning out so nicely.

Then one day not soon after, I peed on a stick and found out I was pregnant with my first child. Ah! What a blessing! What wonderful news to share with my best friend! And the due date was a month before her wedding!! I wouldn’t even have to have a big pregnancy bridesmaid dress!  I couldn’t wait to tell her the news. A baby!! Not really a planned baby – but a wanted baby!! She seemed so happy for me. She talked excitedly about putting together a baby shower (she loves to plan stuff).  Could life get any sweeter than this?

No. It couldn’t. She invited me over for dinner a week later so that we could talk about her wedding and my baby. Excellent!! We could celebrate some more! As we dined on take out and she made sure I didn’t even sneak a sip of wine, she told me that her fiance was uncomfortable having me in the wedding. SCREECH. The needle on the record just scratched. WHAT?

Yes, although it was true that we’d been inseparable since our first week of college and we didn’t do anything without each other for many years, her fiance didn’t feel my presence in the wedding was appropriate any more.  Apparently, he thought that perhaps I got pregnant just to take the attention away from her, where it should be, and a good friend would not have gotten knocked up the same year her best friend planned to get married.  Plus, she explained, it was probably bad for my health and she thought I probably wouldn’t want to come after giving birth and she was really doing me a favor. By kicking me out of her wedding.  My best friend. BUT…this isn’t all bad…she had thought of a role called a “bride’s assistant” that she thought I might be perfect for. Meanwhile, her sister had been promoted to matron of honor and she was sure I would understand.

Wait. Hold up. What is a bride’s assistant you ask? Apparently it is a job you get when you get kicked out of your best friend’s wedding for having a baby. She gently assuaged me by promising that I could still do a toast and even buy a bridesmaid dress if I wanted. To look like I was in the wedding. I wondered where this Bridezilla was hiding my best friend? I wanted her back. I needed her back. I was having a fucking baby! She was getting married! We were going to do this together like we’d done everything else, of course. Right? RIGHT?!  Best friends forever!!  I told her I would be there if I had to have my baby during the ceremony. I promised I could live up to all of my duties. I would never let her down – and I meant it.  I mean, didn’t it say something about my loyalty that I was begging to be in a wedding? This is coming from a girl who doesn’t like weddings, or dresses, or flowers or showers or any of that. And I’m begging to dress up in a color that makes my skin look like vomit a month after I give birth to my first child?

It wasn’t enough.  On that day that I got fired from her wedding, our best friendship (and my heart) broke in two, and nothing has ever been the same since. I guess you might say we patched things up – we managed civil, distant and awkward conversations. I had to regretfully inform her that while it was a very tempting offer, I could not take the “bride’s assistant” job and dress up like the bridesmaids so I could pretend to be in the wedding.  I would just go as a guest. As fate would have it, she decided to promote me to bridesmaid after her fiance’s sister, another bridesmaid, got knocked up too. So after I got kicked out of the wedding, I got to get back in because someone else got preggers.  I never heard whether her husband thought his sister had also plotted to have a child just to ruin their wedding, but apparently he became more comfortable with my participation in it. I know in my heart this wasn’t his call. It was hers and she felt betrayed and it was convenient to blame it on him. During the next 9 months, she planned her wedding and I planned for my baby and we grew apart with an ocean of resentment between us.

In all that time, she never asked about my pregnancy or my baby, as if neither existed. I asked about the wedding, but it was hard to care about what the answer was. My best friend had died months ago.

Three weeks before her wedding, I gave birth to my son and nearly died in during the “routine” c-section.  My parents called her.  She came to the hospital. She didn’t really want to have much to do with the baby, but she was a little weirded out that I almost bled to death, so she came. And that counted for something, but I think she was probably thinking right then she had totally made the right decision, because there was no way I’d be at her wedding now.

Three weeks later, I left my newborn and my husband and flew to her wedding drugged with pain pills and crying the whole way. I dutifully strapped myself into a girdle, put on a very ill fitting bridesmaid dress, popped my pills every two hours and did what I was told to do.  I was still really swollen everywhere from the blood transfusions and anemic. I was likely the most misshapen bridesmaid of all time, but I did it for her. To honor what we had before this. This was her day and it was beautiful and she was lovely. But she had underestimated me. I was there. Not at home with my new little baby. At my best friend’s wedding. The one she originally kicked me out of.

At the reception, she asked me about when I wanted to give the toast.  Toast? What toast? Doesn’t the matron of honor do that? We hadn’t ever said a word about that since the day she dismissed me from the matron of honor job. I told her I forgot all about that. I wanted to forget any of it ever happened, but alas…I honestly had no idea she was expecting a toast from me – the person who knew her better than anybody at that wedding save her new husband — and who got kicked out of her wedding for having a baby. I hadn’t prepared anything. I declined to do a toast. She was shocked. I was relieved. The toast I would have given her the day she asked me to be her matron of honor was so much different then any toast I could give her now.  Did she not understand that?

Since then, we’ve both had two kids and live in the same city and have careers — we still have a lot in common. But we’re just barely friends. She still invites me to her parties and I accept once a year.  My other friends tell me I should “divorce” her. But I can’t. And I won’t. To honor what we once had. Which was a friendship. True friendship. Like Oprah and Gayle. Like Liz Lemon and Jack Doneghy. Like Jon and Kate, before the eight.

And even though its been a long road, I’m sure we’ll all live happily ever after…