SHE SAID: DJ or band?

April 29, 2010

Jeremy and I have already posted on our love of attending weddings and I can vouch for him being one of the more entertaining wedding guests OF ALL TIME.  Actually, I lie.  Jeremy and I have never attended a wedding together and so I cannot regale you with tales of his chicken dancing, his talent for toasting, or about that time when he tripped while coming off the dance floor and had to be rushed to the emergency room to get a splinter taken out of his palm.  But we both have some weddings under our belts and I know that he enjoys partaking in the merrymaking as much as I.

This past weekend I went to a family wedding and was a little disappointed, at first, to see a DJ’s table in the reception hall.  I don’t mean to offend any DJs or aspiring DJs out there, but I have to confess that when I get to a wedding, seeing a DJ setting up is almost as bad as seeing that the lead singer of the band is sporting a serious mullet and white platform patent leather boots.  You can’t help but start conjuring exit strategies and calculating how much time is appropriate to spend tolerating the music before you can ease out the side door without offending the new couple.  Things could be worse, I’ll admit; a cash bar or some Disney theme …

After the cocktail hour (during which my date and I dominated the bar and thusly were the most obvious candidates to welcome a DJ enthusiastically), we headed into the main room to welcome the bridal party fresh off their photo shoot, toast the couple, eat, and ultimately, dance dance dance.  Only, before the toasting commenced, the DJ had us twirling our napkins over our heads while he paraded around the room in a chef’s hat and managed to get one unlucky fellow (who happened to have said yes when I suggested attending a spring wedding in Connecticut) doing the twist as a demonstration for the whole table.  I was downing drinks faster than a pre-teen who had just discovered virgin piña coladas and anticipating high tailing it after the cake.

And then somewhere in there, the DJ became totally okay.  It was fun hearing songs I hadn’t heard in forever.  It was fun spending the entire night dancing.  I saw my date’s face light up with unbridled enthusiasm when a country favorite was played, my niece jumped at the chance to dance to some Train, and my mother almost cried when Lady in Red started to play.  There was some line dancing, some twisting, some Charleston-ing and some confusion explaining to my mom that it’s okay for two women to dance together – thankfully she got over it and I was able to throw her around on the dance floor a little.

And all of a sudden, my anti-DJ stance went out the window and I owned that dance floor, despite the pain my being out there caused any innocent bystanders.  And maybe the lesson here is that alcohol can make anything fun.  Maybe it’s that we shouldn’t let our stereotypes stop us from having fun or changing our hell bent stance on something.  Maybe it’s that with a little help (be it an informed friend, a strong drink, or an unexpected encounter), an experience we weren’t anticipating or even one that we were dreading, can be a hell of a lot of fun and even memorable.

Although, and this is the one draw back of a DJ, I come from a singing family.  An overwhelming, enthusiastic, and very loving family that happens to love to jump up on stage and start singing, especially at weddings.  My sister has one of the best voices I have ever heard and thankfully, it’s usually her that’s up there.  The one draw back of a DJ is that were one to sing, it ultimately sounds like karaoke.  No matter how stunning the vocals.  And that is where the band comes out the clear winner in this comparison.  Because while karaoke is fun at a dive bar with friends and a healthy sense of confidence, a wedding is neither the time nor the place.

And yes, I was most definitely trying to convince the DJ to let me up there for a few songs on Saturday.

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SHE SAID: The 1990s

April 22, 2010

The 90’s.  I entered them wearing scrunchies and pinch rolling my jeans and left them partying in a remote cabin in Northwestern Mass since we were all paranoid about celebrating New Years in a populated place and being decimated. The years 12 to 21 are pretty defining in a young lass’s life, and I had the fortune to spend mine cruising through the 90’s.

1990: My parents switched me to a new school, a private school, and dressed me for my first day in a floor length animal print jumper and a white turtle neck (my mother insisted on outfitting me in animal prints way past when it was socially acceptable to be wearing them) I attempted to salvage the outfit by pairing it with teal blue Converse high tops.  It took me months and months to rebound from that faux pas.

1991: I buy my first cd.  Unfortunately it’s Paula Abdul’s “Forever Your Girl”.  I go shopping in the summer and see that the GAP is no longer pinch rolling their manikin’s jeans and have an internal celebration.

1992: Behind the 8-ball on this one, I purchase Nirvana’s Nevermind and Pearl Jam’s Ten.  I now own three cd’s and consider throwing out Paula, but then my collection would be a third smaller.  I keep Paula.  Later that summer my friend Jill and I spend a month with my family in Nantucket.  Jill, being a gorgeous blond, has guys flocking around her and tolerating her awkward brunette friend (that’s me) and one of them scales the side of our house after curfew to try to get a few extra moments with Jill.  My father catches him and my curfew is set at 9:30pm.

1993: My nieces are collecting Beanie Babies and refuse to take the tags off because it will diminish their value.  I have my first kiss.

1994: Buffalo Bills lose their forth Superbowl in a row.  My boyfriend is playing Doom non-stop and has a CompuServe email address that is a series of numbers strung together ie: 3582745654t23244513259773@compuserve.com.  We all think it is incredibly cool.  Sherryl Crow’s “All I Wanna Do” plays on the radio non-freaking stop and all I wanna do is make it stop.  My brother and his friend go as Tanya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan for Halloween.

1995: I attend my first Dead show in Highgate, VT only because my older brother convinces my mom and dad that the Dead are anti-drugs.  That August, Jerry Garcia dies and I shave my head, but those are unrelated events.

1996: I attend a Dave Matthews Band concert and am beyond mildly obsessed with Oasis and their front-man and resident bad boy, Liam Gallagher.  My younger brother and I go to see the Bevis and Butthead movie in a theater while visiting my father in London.  We giggle the entire movie and I don’t recall hearing a Brit laugh throughout the entirety.

1997: Over Liam Gallagher, I unintentionally insult Ben Folds while waiting in line at a deli and he graciously offers me backstage tickets to the show he’s playing that night.  I become a fan.  Underclassmen are still allowed to drink on campus where I attend school.

1998: The last Seinfeld episode is aired and I feel robbed.  Lou Merloni plays for the Red Sox and my mother, mishearing the fans calling his name, is confused as to why the fans are boo-ing him.  Saturday Night Live relishes in the Monica Lewinsky scandal and briefly stops sucking.

1999: Underclassmen are no longer allowed to drink at parties at my college and binge drinking skyrockets.  Prince’s song is finally applicable.  I get my first cell phone, a Nokia.  The Sopranos and Jon Stewart initiate the salvaging of television.  I finish the year, as I mentioned before, partying in a cabin in Northwestern Mass.  Right before the dropping of the ball, someone puked and accusations flew.


SHE SAID: Halloween

October 15, 2009

knight_halloween

When I was younger, Halloween seemed a whole lot cooler than it is now.

Back when my only worry was running into my older brother and his friends who were equipped with shaving cream cans and eggs, and we didn’t have to worry about that AND the neighbors putting razor blades in our popcorn balls or candy apples.

Back when my biggest disappointment was having to put on my down coat underneath my ghost costume that I had spent at least ten minutes on since the eye holes were apparently necessary, however much they compromised the costume and missing meeting up with friends.

Back when Unicef was still unquestionably good and all of us struggled blissfully under the growing weight of our candy and the little orange boxes as the night progressed.

Back when pumpkins were all hand carved and not created by following one of the five included patterns.  Although, I will admit the little tools are a lot easier to work with than the ten inch butcher’s knife.

Back when we kids owned the neighborhood, even if only for the evening.  And we roamed aimlessly, hitting up every lit house for candy and sometimes hopefully knocking even on the dark house’s doors, trying to amass the largest group of people we could as the twilight eased into darkness.

There was one rule.  Be home when it got dark … or a little past dark.

Now, my mom says she only needs one bag of candy since she only gets about three trick or treaters.  Parents drive their kids from house to house, packing their families into mini-vans until the kids are old enough to go out on their own.  And when that is the case, they stay on a few streets that are populated with tons of people.  You start trick or treating at 3pm and are done by 6.  You don’t trick or treat from people you don’t know and you don’t accept any candy that wasn’t pre-wrapped by Mars, inc.  Costumes are mostly store bought from places that specialize in mass marketed outfits that reference a popular TV show or widely recognized icon.  I can’t remember the last time I saw a punk rocker, now it’s Hannah Montana, the Backyardigans, Disney.

And because of this mass produced Halloween, how many kids are going to be able to recount the time they went as a mummy, completely wrapped in toilet paper, which seemed like the greatest costume ever until you started dancing, it deteriorated and you were mortified because you hadn’t anticipated that little problem and so didn’t have anything on other than underwear.  And yes, that means no bra either which was MORTIFYING in sixth grade.

I get the reasons behind some of the changes – safety being the obvious one due to the creep who hid razor blades in candy apples.  But it still makes me a little sad for what was lost.  And I plan on making my son wear home-made or pieced together costumes.  Because making them is so fun.