My name is Alisa Starr. And for those of you who don’t know, I make Snarky Cards: Brutally Honest Greeting Cards. I haven’t been writing to you lately, because a lot of crap has happened all at once.
First, the circus came to town. And they were like “Are you coming to Bumbershoot with us?” And I was like “Yeah!” and then I realized that I couldn’t go. Because I had a show to do. And a Bachelorette party. The Bachelorette party was the biggest deal. Ever.
First of all, it was my first Bachelorette party since I was 16. When I went to a party for a girl I knew from church: Joy. Not my sister Joy, who is cool. But Gross Joy. Gross Joy was like the polar opposite of my sister, while still being eerily similar to her. They’re both blond and curvy, but Joy is tall, blessed with a model’s body (no shit, she really was a model in college. Which probably explains why standing next to her still makes me feel insecure), and Gross Joy was so short and yet curvy, rendering her doll-like. They both have a high sex drive. And liked male attention. Joy was really good at flirting, and usually had lots of different guys on call at all times. Whereas Gross Joy just tackled Wolf on our living room floor, in a flirtatious way, until they were both rolling around and panting. I think that was her main move.
Gross Joy was also a little cross eyed, and I always assumed she was a little retarded. Because I am a dick to cross-eyed people. They creep me out. If I can’t tell where your eyes are at all times, I am incredibly unnerved. So, maybe she wasn’t actually retarded. However, she was marrying my friend Wolf, which I considered another sign of mental defect. Or maybe I should say she was marrying Wolf, who had wanted to be friends with me when I was 12. He wanted to be my role-model. My safe grown-up friend. This isn’t quite as creepy as it sounds. I grew up in a Christian Church, you might have heard of them, they’re called the Baptists. My parents practiced a different kind of Christianity at home. I may have mentioned to you before, my parents are demon-hunters, and God speaks to my Mother on the phone. Which are both things that Baptists don’t get with. So Jon and Sherri (said parents) were in the closet about their freaky form of Christianity until 4-5 years ago. When they came out of their Crazy Christian Cult Closet, their church promptly kicked them out. I’m pretty sure that they’ve actually been kicked out of a few churches since they came out. But they’re worried I’ll make fun of them, so they don’t keep me that informed these days. They’re probably right.
But at that point, they were respected members of a church. i was 16 so I too was a member of the church. And adults in church feel like it’s their duty to mentor teens. I had at least 6 people try to mentor me. .When we got together, I was my most charming, trying to win them over with my personality, trying out new material on them. These years were the years that I was just figuring out that I wasn’t as ugly as Sherri had been telling me (I have included pics, so you can decide for yourself). Guys were crawling all over me. And I’d just gotten molested, so I had no sexual boundaries, and my taste in men included all of the ones I’d met who were willing to treat me like crap. And who doesn’t want to treat a hot 16 year old girl like crap? So, I was, as I am today, less swears, of course, but with the same deep desire to make-out with everyone I meet. Or tease info out of you, about your deepest, darkest make-outs.
Since I was a very little girl, strangers have been telling me their secrets. When I was 11, I was miserable. I had at least 5 grown-ups confiding in me, as well as several abused children. I thought I was going to die, because every time I looked someone in the face, they told me something horrible that had happened to them. By the time I was 13, I realized that the flood of secrets wasn’t going to stop. And, like any teen super-hero, I figured out that I could control my powers, but I had a hard time doing it consistently.
For instance: when I got nervous, I would yank secrets out of people in order to gain control of the situation. I think on some level, I knew that these “potential mentors” had chosen me so that they could mute some part of my personality (Could it be that they didn’t like my loud-mouthed bitchiness?). So, these well intentioned Christian Adults would take me out for food, and I would talk about my sex-drive, and make jokes, and when that didn’t impress, or they got too “Well, Jesus really wants you to blah blah blah” I’d get nervous and pull some deep seeded desire, or fear out of them to make them stop. Afterwards they regarded me with suspicion and betrayal. Nobody tried it twice. I was always pleased to find myself a failed project.
By the time Wolf proposed to Gross Joy, he had decided I was a lost cause. He still liked hanging out at our house, though. He liked playing with my little brother, and talking to my Mom, and making guy noises with my father. And it was our living room, in which he courted Gross Joy, and by courted, I mean, they would wrestle around on our living room floor. Which gave credence to my friend Steve Mix gleefully telling me later that he’d seen Gross Joy giving blow jobs in the parking lot of our local laser tag center.
My sister, Cool Joy, and I at that point regarded Wolf with some disgust. Three years earlier, his best friend, Greg Robbins had gone to jail for molesting us. And he had stuck by Greg, saying that he didn’t want to “pick sides”. Which enraged us. But it was generally agreed amongst our parents and Wolf, that Cool Joy and I were sluts, who were asking for it, and Greg got a raw deal, having to do those 9 months in jail. They all thought we were real bitches for not going to Wolf and Gross Joy’s wedding. Which is how my brother, Stephanie, found himself in a wedding party alongside the man who had assaulted his sisters.
Sherri roped me into going to the wedding shower (Christian women we knew didn’t have Bachelorette parties) So, I had tea, and watched numbly, as the slightly retarded (and secretly slutty) woman who’d been heavy petting on my living room floor for months with the least attractive man I knew, opened demure night-gowns, and dishes and other lame presents. All the while, trying not to attract the attention of either of her eyes, and not dwell on the fact that this meant that the two grossest people I knew were going to have sex. As the church women cooed, and made sweet comments about how to make a home with a man, with demure references to their “wedding night”. It was hypocritical, and a lie, and worse than all of that, it was really fucking boring.
That was the last Wedding Thing I’ve done. In the last 10 years, I’ve had two friends get married. My friends, it seems don’t believe in marriage. I don’t think Stacy had a bachelorette party. And I couldn’t come down for KT’s. So, while a wedding is rare in my circle, a pre-wedding party is even more rare. And besides that, I really wanted to get the taste out of my mouth from Gross Joy’s wedding shower. Even 16 years later, it still makes me feel uncomfortable.
Probably more importantly than that, Alicia and I have been friends since high school. I only talk to one other person from high school; The Bexter. And the last two years or so, I’ve realized that there’s something so precious about someone who knew me before I knew how to hide, moderate, control, frame, or spotlight myself. My friendship with Alicia and Bex have became really important to me. And the fact that she invited me at all delights me.
So, I put off Bumbershoot and the circus. But, I reasoned, I can go out with Alicia and the other hot bitches, and go home at around 12, paint, sleep and then take the train the next morning to Seattle. So, I bid them farewell, promising to meet them in Seattle in a few days.
On my way to the bachelorette party, Something Horrible Happened. I’m not going into it right now, but let me just say I lost Something Important. And I freaked out. I realized I had to find what I’d lost before I could leave the city. I was deeply angry with myself. I was deeply disappointed in myself. I was trying stop from having a small mental breakdown, and then I walked up to the bar.
This is the kind of bar I would have never, ever, in a trillion years gone into. No matter where I lived, I would have avoided The Barrel Room. There was a line waiting to get in, and a cover (two strikes). And big, huge bouncers. When I got into the outdoor dance area, I saw a bunch of bitches with spray-on tans and white-blond hair, wearing miniskirts and looking unimpressed and/or unintelligent. There were muscley guys in tight shirts scanning the crowds for prey. As I walked into the bar, I passed two more burly security guys holding a handcuffed drunk between them, throwing him out of the bar like he was a piece of trash. The thunderous noise of a dueling piano bar greeted me. I stood in the entry-way, stunned by noise, trying to figure out if they had cuffed him using wire or actual handcuffs. I wondered what a person had to to do get arrested in a bar. I was so pissed, I couldn’t breathe. “Great, this place is full of airheads, assholes, it’s noisy, and they expect we’ll see a lot of fights.” I surveyed the crowd angrily. I quickly found Alicia, who promptly yelled “Alisa! I Loooove you!”. Which kinda calmed me down. I put my bag at our Bachelorette table and went to the bathrooms.
The girls room was 5 bitches deep. And nobody was coming out of the stalls. “Um, you guys? Can I ask you something? Are my legs too musclely?” The bitch at the front of the line trilled. I looked at her, and started muttering to myself. This girl was wearing a gold lame minidress, and 4 inch heels. Bitch knew she looked good. She just wanted to make sure we were talking about how good she looked. “Oh, you better Shut the fuck up, bitch.” My teeth were clenched while I repeated my mantra. Christina, one of the girls from the bachelorette party was waiting nervously next to me. She tried to explain to me loudly that everyone’s insecure about something! I didn’t believe for a minute that she thought that girl was insecure, I think it was just code for “Please don’t start a fight in here!” It reminded me not to start a fight in there.
I suggested brightly that we use the men’s bathroom, trying to just accept that this was the bar that my friends wanted to go to, and I love Alicia, and I need to calm down. As I tried to soothe myself, I made small talk. “Um, I think I’m just gonna smoke some weed tonight.” I told her, through the stall. Meaning, other people seem to think that liquor can make you agro. I’m already agro, maybe I need to relax, and not drink, which might make me more agro. “Not on my premises, you’re not!” said the woman with the scary tits at the sink. I looked at her surprised and said “Um, no I was going to take a walk around the block.” She continued to stare at me angrily, and as I stuttered through trying to make nice with her “Oh! Is this your bar? It’s so packed! I can’t believe you’ve been open less than a year! Good job!” She pretended to accept my apology, and when I made it out of the bathroom, I went straight for Johnny Walker. I tipped well, and went outside for a cigarette; trying to forgive myself for losing the Something Important, and trying to accept that I was here to have a good time. And so what if every asshole in Portland was hanging out at this bar? Yes, if any of those fuckers had tried to drink at Kelly’s Olympian, or The Aalto, the real drinkers in this town would have talked shit on them until they left. But I wasn’t there to drink and make friends, I was there to celebrate Alicia. I reminded myself through 2 whiskeys and 3 cigarettes. I finally calmed down enough to come back to the Bachelorette table, which was right next to one of the dueling pianos. Alicia and I yelled at each other that we loved each other, and I anally fucked the inflated sheep we had at our table with one of the chocolate penis’s, which amused not only our table, but also the guys behind us.
The reason I loved Alicia in high school was that she was one of those girls who just wasn’t going to take any shit. She always seemed angry. And I liked standing next to her, because she would talk shit out of the side of her mouth about everyone around us, like we were in prison. She hated everyone and everything, and I found it so restful.
Since the last time I saw her, she’s gained weight, and it looked fantastic on her. She, like me, just gets juicier when she gains weight. She was wearing this brilliant red dress, and she looked regal. Her tits and her ass were everywhere, and covered in red. Every time she moved, she was surrounded by at least three of us, and she glowed. We formed a rolling court of laughter, like an island of awesome amidst a sea of skanky-beefcake.
I relaxed into the party, and the girl-time worked it’s magic on me. I was so fucking happy to be there. By the end of the night we’d hooked one of our girls up with our waiter (who was the only normal dude in the place), gotten two retarded beefcakes to drink beer out of our inflated sheep’s ass, and our party of hot bitches had been spotlighted. One of the piano guys sang her a song, and we all danced our asses off. As a group, we had some kick-ass moves.
Anna, who went to high school with Alicia and I has literally grown two more inches, and now looks like a model. “FUCK!” I shrieked when I saw her, “You HAVE to come to our 20 year! You’re the hottest girl in our class now! April Lujan will eat your shit!” Anna just shook her head embarrassed. “Hey! What about me?” Alicia asked. “You and I are hot, but Anna’s hotter.” I informed her.
Anna rolled her eyes. Which, she did a lot to me in high school. I love seeing Anna. She used to shoot me these looks like I was fucking up her life by talking whenever we hung out. “I think I was just scared.” She said when I teased her about hating me in high school. “I didn’t hit puberty until I was in college, so I didn’t get kissing and boys.” Which, of course, was all I talked about. I never got upset by her apparent dislike of me. I thought it was funny. In my old age, I feel sorry for people who don’t like me. But in high school, I thought it was hilarious. And Anna was so cute and weird, I liked being close to her in the alphabet, regardless of how little she liked me. Every once in a while, she’ll bust out her prim, disapproving voice -like when we got our 2nd phone noise complaint from the hotel manager- and I get nostalgic for the good old days when I used to scare the shit out of her. We hung out until 3am, and I realized that I wanted to follow this party to it’s inevitable conclusion. So, I crashed in Christina’s room, and in the morning, we kept bonding and talking, and I was designated to find a breakfast place close-ish to the airport.
We found ourselves eating some kick-ass food at The Slingshot. When we walked in, some of the girls looked confused. “Um, are we eating at a bar?” Cindy asked. I just nodded at them, confused. “Um, you guys wanted to go to the Cheerful Tortoise. What did you think that was?” I asked. “Well, we didn’t know. None of us live here.” Cindy pointed out. I smirked a little. The Slingshot lived up to it’s reputation, and after Jen finished she pushed her plate away “That was the best breakfast I’ve ever had.” she sighed. I made everyone try some of my aebleskivers, and we floated through the morning trading stories, making plans, laughter propelling us through until it was time for them to catch their planes back to all the little towns everyone had come from. We agreed that we were awesome at Bachelorette parties, and took another dozen pictures, and made plans for the wedding weekend to be even better than this.
Sometime later that day, I realized that if I hadn’t lost Something Important, I would have missed it. I mean, I would have gone to the party, but I wouldn’t have drunk and danced my ass off, and gotten to know all the people who love Alicia as much as I do. I would have been nice, and polite, and had a drink, and then gone home and painted and packed and taken the train to Seattle to spend the next few days with the circus. And I haven’t been surrounded by bad-ass bitches in so long, it was so good for my soul, to get some girl-to-girl time. And to remember what we were like as little girls. And to marvel at how far we’ve come. And to tell Alicia I’m proud of her for being brave enough to marry someone. Losing Something Important left me no choice but to stay in town and dance and laugh and remember how much I’ve loved my life and my friends so far. So, I think the Universe reached into my back pocket, and pulled out Claire’s money-order for rent, sprinkling it on the streets of Portland, to make me stay.
But that’s another story.