From Chicken Soup for the Girlfriend's Soul

Christine’s Comfort Shower

“You’re going where?” My husband stared at me bug-eyed.

“To Christine’s bridal shower,” I said, tugging my coat over my flannel pajamas. “It’s a comfort theme. I’m supposed to dress this way.”

He laughed. “Don’t get pulled over.”

Langdon, Christine’s colleague from the Hand Workshop Art Center, greeted me at the door of Clydie’s house. Sporting a baseball shirt, athletic shorts and tube socks, she was the spitting image of me in fifth grade. Right down to the pigtails.

“Love the outfit,” I said. “Where should I put my gift?”

“I’ll take it. But first you have to put this on.” Langdon clipped a bottlecap pin of Christine onto my pajama top. “Now you’re a member of the Christine Fan Club,” she said.

I laughed and went upstairs to stow my coat. Pit stopping in the hall bathroom, I noted colorful stick figures adorning the commode’s outer lid. How great that Clydie let her kids paint the toilet, I thought. I wish I were that flexible.

Downstairs, I joined other guests milling in the kitchen. Clydie, clad in a tank top and lounge pants, skittered about, filling wine glasses and pulling food from the oven.

“Hey, Nicole,” I said, spying a friend. “It’s weird to dress this way, isn’t it? I feel like I should be climbing under the covers, not sipping white wine.”

“Yeah. But isn’t it great? Imagine if we wore jammies every day. It’d be so much more comfortable.”

“Deborah . . . good to see you! It’s been a while.” Jo, the director of the Hand Workshop, strolled over. She’s even polished and professional in sleepwear, I thought, noting her luxurious silk pajamas and color-coordinated flats. Cushiony carrot slippers cradled my feet. It hadn’t even occurred to me to wear something sexy.

Suddenly, laughter tumbled from the front hallway, rousing me from my fashion emergency. Christine greeted friends with warm embraces, and I shuffled along among the well-wishers.

“It’s so good to see you,” I said finally. “Thanks for including me.”

Christine squeezed my hand. “I’m glad you’re here.”

“Okay, everyone,” Clydie yelled over the ruckus. “Let’s eat!”

We funneled into the dining room. My eyes popped. Oh, my gosh! There’s more food than at Thanksgiving.

Nicole held up a fifties-style menu. “Look! The food has special names like Best Man Beans, Eloped Eggplant, No-More-Madajewski Mashed Potatoes. . . .”

“Too funny!” I said, helping myself to Turkey Trousseau and Spousal Stuffing.

After dinner, Langdon directed everyone into the family room. “Big circle, ladies. It’s activity time.”

We settled in. Langdon continued: “We’re going to decorate paper dolls. Your job? Design a bridal outfit. You’ve got lots of girls to choose from.” Langdon flipped through the stack of ten-inch cardboard cutouts. “We’ve got Lana Turner, Elizabeth Taylor, Carmen Miranda . . . plus, some modern stars like Buffy and Chandler from Friends. He’ll make a beautiful bride!”

Laughter erupted.

“And we’ve got tons of supplies,” added Clydie, carting in cardboard boxes. “Tulle, felt, ribbon, lace . . . you name it. Can you tell you’re in the home of a Girl Scout troop leader?”

The air was abuzz with creative energy as I plucked Sarah Jessica Parker from the pack and reached for a scrap of white silk. My hand froze. I glimpsed gold and crimson backed by a sea of turquoise. I hesitated, then snatched up the paper napkin. Why can’t I make a tropical bride? I mused, smiling.

After a champagne toast and gift-giving festivities, Langdon tried to lure us into playing charades. Her attempt fizzled worse than flat soda.

“All right,” said Clydie. “No one can leave without playing this last game.”

Like a group of obedient schoolchildren, we followed her into the back hallway. Plastered to a door was a glossy photo of a hunky nude male, his private area covered with a bull’s-eye.

“It’s ‘Pin the Manliness on the Man,’” someone wisecracked.

Sure enough, a pile of colorful “parts” lay nearby. Hoots and hollers followed.

“Settle down, ladies,” said Langdon, laughing. “Who wants to go first?”

“Oooh, me!” Shelley, a usually reserved watercolorist, muscled her way to the front. Langdon blindfolded her, spun her around, and sent her teetering toward the target.

Meanwhile, a battle raged inside of me. Pre-party Deborah longed to melt into the back of the crowd, but Daring Deborah wanted to spring forward and make my mark on the man. When someone shouted my name and shoved me forward, I was relieved. My face flushed and my head tingled as Langdon sent me groping forward in a world of darkness.

“The quiet ones are always the wildest!” yelled a voice from the back.

Just you wait! Next time, I’ll be leading the line. And I won’t be wearing flannel!

Deborah Ritz

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