I have the best girlfriends on the planet. The Best. These gals are my rock, the women I text at any time of the day or night when I think I might go over the edge, the women who came to the hospital when I was pushing my babies out of my girl parts. They have seen me from all angles, literally, and they still love me.
When we hang out, it is a win-win for everyone. Our time together often results in a serious flab workout, because when we laugh so much that our abs ache. Like the time Laura and I had a sleep over at Diana’s house. She kicked out her husband and son for the night so we had the house to ourselves. We drank lots of champagne. We stood on the couches, dancing and singing into wooden spoons. I broke her stereo speakers blasting Billy Joel (me and my hair brush anthems). When I woke up fuzzy headed and hurting the next morning, I left a note for Diana. Unfortunately, Diana’s husband found it first, when he came home from his enforced exile. Diana told me that she pinned the note to her inspiration board. I guess so she can be inspired to laugh every day, thanks to me.
Years before this, I took my then 2 year old son to my friend Juanita’s house. We love Juanita and her husband. They are incredibly funny, incredibly bright people. And Juanita is a great storyteller, who, like me, loves to embellish. Let’s be honest here. Embellishing just makes the story better. It’s like Photoshop. The basic idea is still there, but all the good parts are highlighted a bit more than they were last time the story was told.
Anyway, while Juanita and I sat and chatted inside, my son had been sitting in Juanita’s convertible with Juanita’s husband. The boys spent 30 minutes opening and closing the top of the convertible and pretending to drive. You can imagine what a buzz kill I was when I came outside and told my son it was time to leave. Little britches got completely bent out of shape. “Stay with Day!” he screamed. (“Day” is how he pronounced Juanita’s husband’s name.) “I want to stay with Day! Stay with Day!” Then, crying hysterically, he ran inside the house. Either in an act of defiance or just a toddler antic (at times they are one in the same), Little Britches pulled down his pants and pooped in the middle of the hall. I would have been mortified, but Juanita comes from a family that values poop (and farting) as much as I do, so she thought it was great. We still talk about that story and it happened over 20 years ago.
The last really good laughing-induced flab workout I had happened right before I left Texas to move to Germany. I was hanging out with my gal Csonga. Her real name is Chris, but we’ve called her Csonga since forever, because one time she was playing Yahtzee with the boys and me and they couldn’t read her dyslexic-crap handwriting. The Littlest Britches asked, “Who’s Csonga?” We’ve called her that ever since.
About a month before I was set to move away, Csonga and I were went out on the town. I should mention it was the middle of the week. And not much past 6pm. We’re moms and I would have been asleep if we waited until 10pm to go out. Plus, we wouldn’t be able to get inside any club if it was a busy night, and we were competing with the 20 year olds. Yep. Tuesday, 6:12. We’re about to get crazy up in here, y’all!
We were walking down Congress Avenue, stopping to go down a side street if something looked interesting. We sat at some tropical themed rooftop bar for a drink then moved on. A doorman, trying to get customers inside of another club on an obviously slow evening, called out to us, “Ladies, bull riding is free until 8. Come on in and try the mechanical bull.”
Csonga and I looked at each other and had the exact same thought, “Oh hell yeah!”
Now, neither of us had ever been on a mechanical bull before. We’d never even seen one, and we certainly weren’t dressed for bull riding. Csonga was wearing jeans, but I was in a ridiculously too short (for my age) dress, and we both had on flip-flops. I’ve seen Don Gay’s Best Rides and Worst Wrecks. I’ve been to the rodeo. Cowboys don’t wear flip-flops. But we were inside that bar in seconds and had our game on. Bring on the bull!
Csonga went first, climbing a little step stool to get on the bull. She wrapped the rope around one hand and the other stayed free. The bull started to rock slowly, up and down while moving in a circle. As the bull picked up speed, Csonga managed to stay on until being violently thrown off into the padding around the bull.
“That was hard,” she said after she stopped laughing at herself. Naturally, I was laughing with her, not at her, because I am a good friend.
It was my turn. I climbed up the little ladder and daintily crawled atop the bull. I wrapped the rope around my right hand, and used my left hand to tuck my too short dress under my butt. I decided to treat this ride like driving a car on ice, just steer into the direction of movement, don’t fight it. I clamped my thighs against that bull like my life depended on it, and altogether, my strategy seemed to work, because I lasted just as long as Csonga. Actually I think I lasted 8 seconds and she did not, but she says that’s not true. And, since I’m older with 1 more kid than her, my memory is subject to creative recall.
We celebrated our success with 2 dollar beers and agreed, ‘Well, there’s one for the storybooks.
Of course, the real story was a few days later, when I showed up at the girl doctor for my annual private parts check up. I lay on the exam table, feet in the stirrups and legs spread open for God and all to see when my doctor says, “Muse, I don’t mean to imply anything, but I have to ask. Is everything alright between you and your husband?”
“Um, yeah,” I said, thinking this is a weird question for her to ask me since he’s been in Germany for most of the last year while we prepare to move. “Why?”
“It’s just that…the inside of your thighs, it looks like someone’s beaten you.”
Well, I had been a bit sore since my outing with Csonga, but naturally I attributed that to a serious muscular workout riding the bull. And, not normally in this position, splayed open with a lamp illuminating my hoo-hah like I’m about to be in a porno, I hadn’t exactly studied my body post-rodeo romp. Until now. And what I saw wasn’t pretty – huge green and purple welts covering the insides of my thighs.
My face turned red. “Ha ha, oh that,” I stammered. “Right. Would you believe I rode a mechanical bull the other night?”
Mechanical bull induced injuries lead to suspicion of domestic violence at the gynecologist’s office. Now that little tale is one for the storybooks. And it’s always good for a serious flab workout with my girlfriends.