This week’s offering is inspired by Kim at I Tripped Over A Stone. Every week, she posts 3 Quick Questions for people to answer, and last week Question 3 was: “Have you ever been to a Tupperware party?” I responded that yes, I’d been to a Tupperware party, but that I’d also hosted a lingerie party. She wanted to know more, and I said that was a story for another time. Now is that time. It’s time to tell you about one of the most bizarre and embarrassing things that ever happened to me.
Years ago, Ken and I lived in a different small town in a neighbourhood full of young couples like ourselves (we were both 26 at the time). I’ve never been one to embrace the social scene, but the women in the neighbourhood were constantly hosting different sales-type parties: Tupperware, jewellery, candles, you name it, where I would be invited and then would feel obligated to buy a giant plastic tub, or a cheap bracelet. I didn’t mind the candles though—if you know anything about me, you know that I have a large collection of jar candles in case of the apocalypse. I should also mention that this small town was also heavily Modern Mennonite. Now, if you don’t know anything about Mennonites, let me explain. The hardcore Mennonites are like the Amish. They dress all in black from their heads to their toes, the men wear wide-brimmed hats and the women wear big bonnets. They refuse to use any modern technology or electricity and they drive buggies pulled by horses. They live in their own isolated communities and they are all farmers. Then there are the “conservative” Mennonites, who are almost hardcore, but can drive cars and use cellphones. Apparently, the car has to be black and any metal trim/adornments have to be pulled off, and the cellphone has to be with Rogers (sorry—that’s an in-joke because Bell is so much better). There’s also a group called the David Martin Mennonites, who are just like the regular ones except that the guys wear straw hats and suspenders and the girls wear handkerchiefs instead of bonnets. Mexican Mennonites are the most interesting group—they aren’t actually Mexican—they’re a splinter group that went down to Mexico years ago to do mission work, and came back to Canada at some point. They are VERY different from your run-of-the-mill gang of Mennos in that the men wear plaid shirts and ball caps and the women love dresses with flowers all over them, and they drive and use electricity and whatnot. The biggest difference is that they’re all blond and walk around town looking like Abercrombie and Fitch models. The other Mennonites look down on them, but I think they’re just jealous that the Mexican Mennonites had a larger gene pool so none of them have to wear glasses, which most other Mennonites have to do because they have terrible eyesight. Finally, there are the Modern Mennonites, who made up the majority of my neighbours. There was nothing remarkable about them except that they went to big, modern Mennonite churches on Sunday. And they were very proper and modest.
Anyway, so after a few months of enjoying the party circuit, eating other people’s appetizers, drinking other people’s wine, buying the bare minimum in party sh*t, and pretending that I was not extremely uncomfortable in situations like this, it became patently obvious that it was MY turn to host something. The pressure was on. What kind of crap could I get my neighbours to buy that would be exciting and new? Then, call it kismet, or universal forces at work, I saw an ad for a woman who did LINGERIE PARTIES! What an amazing idea! I would be the talk of the neighbourhood for months to come. I could picture my neighbours ooh-ing and ah-ing over delicate lace and finery, buying flannel nightgowns, or perhaps the more daring among them purchasing satin negligees as they giggled in delight. There would be fancy h’ors d’oeuvres and wine, and once I had hosted the party to end all parties, I would NEVER have to go to another one again, which was really my ultimate goal! So I called the woman, whose name was Donna:
Me: Hi there! I’m interested in hosting a lingerie party!
Donna: Super. They’re so much fun! I assume your guests will be open to just about anything?
Me: Oh sure—lace, flannel, satin…
Donna: Did I mention the hostess gets a 10% discount?
Me: Oh cool! Can I book for next Saturday?
I invited all the neighbour ladies and everyone was super-excited at the thought of my Lingerie Party; one of the women even invited her mother, who was little less Modern and wore a white net cap over the bun in her hair and a dress with an apron, but still, I thought it would be fun for her to hang out with us. I envisioned Donna arriving with racks of nighties in all the colours of the rainbow, and maybe some cheeky bra and panty sets that would make my Mennonite friends blush a wee bit, and there would be a shopping frenzy the likes of which no one had ever seen, allowing me to receive the ‘surprise bonus gift’ that Donna had mentioned.
The evening came and Donna arrived. But instead of racks of nighties, she had stacks of boxes. I was confused but the guests started to appear and I got distracted by pouring out the wine and passing around trays of cheese and crackers, and pumpernickel bread with spinach dip (these types of appetizers were de rigeur at sales parties). After about 20 minutes, Donna announced that she was all set up, and we gathered in the living room in anticipation. Then my jaw dropped as I realized what she had unpacked from all her boxes. Dildos. It was a sea of DILDOS. There was no lingerie to be seen, and I don’t think I could ever emphasize enough exactly HOW MANY DILDOS there were on display. Then Donna, oblivious to the looks of shock on our faces, introduced herself and began to showcase each of the sex toys, describing its material, shape, function, colour and size. “Here!” she said cheerfully. “Pass this one around. Feel the quality, ladies!” My guests’ eyes were wide with terror as they passed the fake phalluses to each other gingerly, holding them between their thumbs and index fingers and refusing to make eye contact with anyone. At one point, the little Mennonite mother who had been innocently brought along whispered to her daughter, “What..what is this?” and her daughter whispered back, “It’s a dingaling!” Finally, after the fifth dildo had made its rounds (“This one is called ‘Double Trouble’, ladies!!”), I cleared my throat and spoke:
Me: Is there any lingerie? I think my guests might like to see some of that now.
Donna: Lingerie? Oh sure! I have some crotchless—
Me: NEVER MIND!
Needless to say, none of my Mennonite guests bought anything. One of the other women picked up some edible undies as a joke but it wasn’t enough to get me that special bonus gift. And although it was difficult to show my face around the neighbourhood for a while, my phallic fiasco turned out to be the party to end all parties after all. Or at least I stopped getting invited to them, so I considered that a win anyway.
As a side note, the company that Donna worked for is still in business. Back when I was 26, there was no internet, but if it was the same situation today, I could have gone to their website and found out ahead of time that my guests and I were in for “an exciting night of fun and debauchery”. Only one of those things turned out to be true.