If any of y’all missed our About page, you need to know that J and I met on a dude ranch. We were hired on as seasonal workers for the summer (J wound up leaving a bit early and it maaaaaay have had to do with a boy, but we’ll see if she’ll tell that story later). This story is about me going above and beyond in the name of being the best effing wing-woman there is, taking one for the fricken’ team to try and get my friend laid. There are a few things you need to know before we get going:
- There were maybe 40 employees on this ranch, and the male to female ratio was 1:4. Pickings were slim.
- Theme parties happened often. None of them were appropriate. I apologize for any politically incorrectness ahead of time.
- The ladies in my bunkhouse had a safe word for when we needed help getting away from a situation we didn’t want to be in, and it was “banana.”
Alright, now you know enough to begin.
On the night of the Hillbilly Party, I was particularly excited because a new boy had arrived to begin work that day. He was a fishing guide, and while most of the fish boys were weird, I remained hopeful. If nothing else, I had found the perfect Hillbilly Party t-shirt in town that day: an XL t-shirt featuring a squirrel smoking a joint, demanding someone pay attention to his nuts. Once I had cut off the sleeves to make it into a muscle shirt and combined it with cutoff jean shorts, an American flag bandana, and a few blacked out teeth, I was perfectly dressed.
After dozens of rounds of beer pong, dancing, and a lot of yelling in Southern accents, someone shouted that there needed to be a shotgun wedding. The new boy, we’ll call him Josh, was quickly offered up as the groom, and one of my bunkmates shoved me up onto the porch as the bride, knowing that I thought Josh was cute (albeit very quiet and way too into hacky sack to be taken seriously). Our “priest” was played by my friend who had a pillow stuffed in her shirt, as her Hillbilly Party persona was a woman pregnant with her sixth child by her sixth husband. Many laughs and a few “AW LAWD MY WATAH JUST BROKE”s later, Josh and I were proclaimed married, and were forced to kiss. I certainly didn’t mind, but was disappointed to find that he wasn’t a great smoocher.
Later in the night, it became clear that my friend J was very intoxicated. When I say it became clear, I mean she tried climbing out a window that was a good ten feet off the ground and her boyfriend and I had to rush outside and help her down before she killed herself. I believe her comment once back on solid ground was, “See, I did it myself.” J then pulled me away from Josh (he’d become my shadow ever since the marriage kiss) and asked me how I thought she could get him to sleep someplace other than his room that night. He was supposed to be rooming with J’s boyfriend, and she wanted privacy so that they could fool around.
I, being the quick-thinking gal that I am, decided that the best course of action was for me to invite Josh back to our bunkhouse for the night, because with J having a sleepover, we’d have two unoccupied beds. I went and asked him as the party was winding down, and didn’t have to do any convincing, which pleasantly surprised me. (Have I mentioned I was naive? I was naive. Adorably so.)
My female bunkmates, Josh, and I walk back to our bunkhouse, I point to J’s bed and the vacant bed and say “you can sleep wherever you want,” and climb up onto my bunk. As I rearrange my body and my blankets into my preferred sleeping position, I hear the creak creak creak of someone coming up my bunk ladder. Josh flops himself down between my body and the wall, and I lie there, eyes wide in an effort to signal for help. It doesn’t work. Everyone in the bunk is involved in their standard going-to-bed routines. And so no help arrives when Josh says “Hmm…I can’t sleep with a shirt on” and takes his shirt off. And nobody rescues me when Josh says “Hmm…I can’t sleep with pants on” and takes his pants off. And by the time the lights get flicked off, and Josh squeezes my back tightly against his chest and whispers, “I’m so glad you’re my wife,” I’ve literally lost all hope that anything good will happen to me ever again.
Once everyone else is asleep, and I’ve realized that Josh’s grip on me will not loosen despite my many attempts to sloooowwwwllllyyyyy slide myself out of his arms and off the side of my twin bed, I softly whisper, “banana,” several times. Nothing. Safe words mean nothing.
The one remaining blessing in my life was that I had to work the breakfast shift at 6am. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not an early bird, but I was the early-as-fuck bird that morning, slinking out of bed, quiiiietly opening the noisy bunk door, gennnntly closing the noisy bunk door, tiptoeing on the squeaky wooden porch, and then running to the dining hall as fast as my I’ve-had-no-sleep-at-all legs could carry me. Who was there, drinking coffee, as chipper and happy as could be?? J. J was.
As I recount my nightmare step-by-step at an increasing volume, J laughs harder and harder, and my urge to go drown her in the toilet grows and grows. She tells me she didn’t even get laid, I say, “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!” and then the ranch owner comes in and asks for his morning drink — vodka on the rocks (yea, I know, that man was a complete alcoholic).
By some stroke of magic, before Josh comes down for breakfast, someone needs a co-pilot for a drive to Denver to drop someone off at the airport. I offer myself up immediately. When I finally arrive back that afternoon, I slip into the lunch line for roast beef sammies and think that the day is looking decidedly up! Then someone hugs me from behind and once again I might as well be in Mordor. It’s Josh. He asks, “where has my wife been hiding all day?” and moves further down the buffet. I turn around to locate a suitable corner to go die in and immediately lock eyes with J — she’s seen the entire interaction. We both wait two beats, mouth “banana” at the same time, and then erupt into hysterical laughter.
She then helped me avoid Josh for the rest of her time on the ranch.
With love, B!
P.S. Several days after the shotgun wedding, I was told that in Colorado, you don’t have to be a registered officiant or an ordained member of the clergy to marry people. Apparently any person can oversee their own marriage or the marriage of two other people. So…I may or may not have been legally married eight years ago?