I have recovered from the visual atrocities of La Quinceañera and am mentally stable enough to report the final Hot(el) File. I apologize in advance for any emotional tangents that may find their way into this entry. Although I may be mentally stable, there is no telling how the physical Tourette’s -the nervous tic I’ve been plagued with since La Q- may manifest itself while I type. You have been forewarned.
Of the five catering gigs my restaurant provided for this hotel, three of them were weddings. As a prospective bride myself, I can’t help but to compare, contrast and critique each wedding I attend or work. I’ve made a list of things I have loved from Thai paper lanterns to Hindi copper bells ringing in the kiss. Centerpieces as simple as wheat grass flowerbeds have wowed me, where those involving live fish, have horrified me. Color schemes ranging from navy and fuchsia to sage and chocolate have tickled my artistic palette while officiates conducting the ceremony, have punctured it.
I’ve made my notes, collected addresses and dropped my names. I am in full-blown wedding planning mode. After three weddings at this particular hotel, one thing has been decided: I will die before I have a wedding there.
Why, you ask? It’s quite simple: I love food. This hotel, does not. We’ll leave it there so as to not bash the coup, I mean, sous chef and their wonton handling of the pork loins, or their bastardizing of the sauce Béarnaise- WHERE IS YOUR BAIN-MARIE?! MURDERER!
Pardon me. Let us stop there so as to not berate the staff members, whose uniforms displayed a traces of a buffet more appetizing than the one being set up, nor the linen company whose definition of “dry cleaning” clearly entails a Swiss Army knife and a gentle scraping motion. DAFT SWINES! Please, let us get straight to the plump underbelly of this event; the guests.
Although each wedding technically had different guests, the demographic was the same. All dressed in costumes stolen from the set of Friends circa 1991; subdued shoulder pads, platform felted-high heels with silver buckles and jersey-polyester blends as far as the eye could stand. The hair? Flock of Seagulls attack Farrah Fawcett and win, immortalizing the victory with Scotchgard.
Three separate couples were married, all mysteriously with the same color scheme: puddy on puddy. There were three different brides who all looked like they could have been sisters, sharing the same breast size (53-A), and three grooms who were all definitely the asshole jock from your high school voted “Best Smile” and “Most Likely to Knock-up a Cheerleader”. Teenage evidence of the latter award was present at each wedding.
In other words, these weddings were made for people watching so epic that Joan Rivers would have reversed every plastic surgery to have worked this catering event. But I had someone far better than Joan Rivers; we’ll call her, Rosa.
Rosa is the hotel’s bartender whom I was teamed up with for each wedding. Both she and Rivers were born somewhere around the Cretaceous period and when Rivers went Hollywood, Rosa went Guadalajara. She is a pint-sized advocate of Catholicism, with jet-black hair, painted eye brows, mauve acrylic nails and the only member of the hotel staff whose uniform was freshly pressed.
It was the last of the three weddings, and the two of us set up the bar as she recounted moments from her wedding day.
“Aye, mija, it was so beautiful. We had everything in white,” she said, relishing in her day of glamour.
“What did you have to eat?” asked the gourmand inside me.
“A whole roasted pig, you know the kind you cook underground? Si, mija, con arroz and beans and salsas-”
Rosa’s description of the meal quickly turned into the description of the ceremony. It was a traditional catholic wedding that sounded like a three-hour game of Simon Says. Once married, the marriage was consummated bringing up Rosa’s view on children before marriage.
“Aye, it’s like, why bother, right? I mean, they don’t deserve the wedding, right, mija?” she asked, ready to stab me with a pairing knife if I thought otherwise.
“Right, Rosa. Why bother?” I said, terrified to disagree with what was turning out to be a million-year-old nun. She smiled at me with great pleasure, happy that I had concurred.
We finished setting up the bar and had a perfect view of the ceremony. The guests began to arrive, each eclipsing the other with their hair. The wedding party, all dressed in puddy, started to walk down the aisle immediately prompting a remark from Rosa.
“Uy! What were they thinking letting them where white!?”
From the sounds of it, one would have assumed that she had just witnessed a grisly murder. From the grip of her mauve nails around my arm, I thought she was in labor. Rest assured, there was no baby, but to Rosa, there had just been a murder.
“Mija, do you see that?! What did I just tell you, mija?”
“About the puddy?” I asked, trying to avoid the subject.
“No, mija! About the babies!” she hissed. I turned to see the bride walking down the aisle, with her toddler. Rosa shunned the couple’s lack of integrity for the institution of marriage with a flagrant strand of Spanish profanities.
As I watched the bride make her way down the aisle, two songs that popped in my head…the “Wedding March” was not one of them. It was a tie between “Ballad of Bodacious” and “Mrs. Fat Booty”. A visual spectacle. To avoid horrid wedding dress karma, I am going to bite my tongue about the details. I will tell you that getting into this dress, required both a trampoline and assistance from the local fire department.
The ceremony was soon over and the first dance began. Rosa rolled her eyes as my heart melted as the toddler ran up to its parents midway through the song, to join them. Unorthodox, but come on, it was sweet. I was snapped out of my Hallmark moment by the following sentence.
“I need two red-headed sluts and a blow job,” blurted a bridesmaid, obnoxiously chewing what I know was watermelon flavored Bubblicious.
I was catatonic. I had an idea, yet no idea as to what this puddy-dressed sailor was asking me for.
“Excuse me, miss?” I responded. As I leaned into the cloud of watermelon Bubblicious, Rosa elbowed her way in front of me.
“What is it that you need, mija?”
The puddy-dressed sailor repeated her order and Rosa got down to business.
“OK, mija, but there are three kinds of blow jobs- which one do you want? The one with the cream or the peach?”
I was now speechless on two counts. First, by the original request and second, by Rosa’s wikipedia-like knowledge of what sounded like the Kama Sutra. Her Guadalupe glow started to dim as more drink orders came in. The groomsmen were now ordering and she needed some help.
“OK, jito, you got it-” she said to the groomsmen while turning to me, “Bueno, mija, I need your help. I need you to make two sex on the beaches and three blue balls- OK, mija?”
“I only know how to make two blue balls, Rosa-” I said.
“Que? Just make one more, mija.”
Clearly, my joke had no audience behind the bar. I opened a reference book and started to mix ever cordial behind the bar to make the drinks I was delegated. Syrups were flying everywhere and my shoes began to stick to the ground. The wedding guests started to crowd the bar, screaming their drink orders.
“Sex on the Beach!” “Bald Beaver!” “Blow Job, please!”
I didn’t know if I should laugh or gargle peroxide, but ear plugs would have been a great investment. Frantically referencing the book of diabetes-inducing cocktails, I turned to Rosa to ask how to make a Bald Beaver.
“Hey, Rosa!” I yelled, whipping her around. She turned and smiled at me, waiting for my question, but I couldn’t find the words. I was about to ask an old, conservative, hispanic, catholic woman, how to make a Bald Beaver. This couldn’t be happening.
“I need that Bald Beaver, ma’am! Ma’am!” shouted the orderer.
“Rosa, how do you make a B…a Bal, bald b-b-b-b-beaver!”
“Que, mija?” she responded, walking over to me. Our back facing the madness of open-bar gluttons, I was about to ask her how to make the Bald Beaver in question, when she started gossiping about the bride, again.
“Did you see her, mija? She had the tattoo on her shoulder and her baby on her hip- did you see?!”
“I did. Awful, truly. Hey, how do you make a Bald Beaver, Rosa?”
“Oh! Easy, mija, watch-” and just like that, we had gone from morals and ethics, to Bald Beavers.
WHERE AM I?!
The DJ- who I swear to you played “Cupid Shuffle” at least six times throughout the course of the evening- announced the groom and mother’s first dance. Finally, a moment of peace.
The crowd parted making way for the two to dance. I immediately ran through songs from previous weddings, placing my bets on what the song would be. I decided that based on the crowd, it would be a country song. Rosa and I leaned up against the bar for a better view, hushing the sexually charged drink orders.
“Shhh! They’re going to dance- show some respect,” snapped Rosa. The crowd calmed a bit as the DJ cued up the song.
“I bet you it’s a country song, Rosa,” I whispered. She smiled, scrunching her nose in excitement.
The music began, and I had lost the bet. It was not country, but a Disney song. And, why would a mother and her son two-step, when they could bump and grind to “I Can Show You The World”?
I was horrified, as was Rosa. Suddenly, whipping up three Blue Balls for a bar patron sounded not only classy, but normal. This was truly a whole new world.