She’s a brick house, she’s mighty mighty just letting it all hang out!
“Please don’t let it all hang out,” Baby thought throwing her hips to the right, feeling the dress she was wearing groan. Her last big hurrah a bachelorette party, Baby not feeling very sexy just a piece of sausage in white casing. Her girlfriends picked out the white satin faux wedding dress, telling her how great she looked in the dress not letting her change. Now she was praying the seams would hold as they gyrated on the dance floor in a circle in front of the band. She wasn’t stick thin like the friends in her group, but she didn’t belong to The Biggest Loser either. The start of the evening her focus solely on fitting in the dress, each shot as the night wore on making her forget.
Baby McFairan was a “nice” girl, her father saying “personality is more important than looks.” She had her mother’s body, short and healthy her fashion usually focused on practical rather than what she was wearing. She grew her hair down to her shoulders, her father explaining anything longer wasn’t healthy scheduling regular trims every six weeks. The stylist mentioned she could put layers giving her hair some more bounce, but Baby kept it the way it was, usually pulling it back in a barrette. Tonight, her friends did her hair, the long locks swaying on her shoulders as she danced, her blue eyes covered with dark eyeliner she’d never wear, the red lips stick already smeared off because it felt funny. She always felt average, nothing to write home about, but she could hold a conversation, much different from her friend Bettina dancing as men at the bar watched appreciatively. “I’m the friend, a normal girl with a great personality,” she thought dancing. Nothing felt normal about the dress. She pulled her long blonde hair up, fanning the sweat on her neck, her blue eyes looking around the bar, everyone watching her friends dance. It doesn’t matter all the men are watching them, she told herself, I’m getting married soon. “I found a guy that wants to take me home to Mom, not home to bed.”
At “the ripe old age of 36,” Baby finally found someone calling her Sweetie, her wedding looming just over a few months away. Tom was a nice stable guy compared to the losers she’d suffered through. Mark made her pay for everything until she realized she either had to break up with him or declare bankruptcy, then there was Andy, so in love with himself he actually asked Baby her name after they’d been dating a month, finally Jeff, more interested in his guitar than her body (she dumped him when he asked her to ride in the backseat because his guitar fit better in the front). When Tom came along, working in her father’s accounting firm with her, she saw a decent guy with a steady job, her luck changed. Sure he wasn’t making her heart go pitter patter but this was better than the heart attack she had realizing her last boyfriend was trying to steal her identity! Tom was stable, sane, organized, just as normal she, her father told her, perfect for keeping the business in the family. Baby sighed, it was nice knowing someone had her back, looked past the little back fat, knowing he’d hate the dress as much as she did as she felt the seams dig into her skin as she shimmied.
The band went from Brick House to Super Freak, making all the girls, including Baby gyrate more. In an alcohol induced haze, Baby moved her waist the seams on the white dress pulling taunt, forgetting to suck her gut in. She wondered if the dress would hold if she tried swiveling her hips down to the floor thinking, why take chances? She straightened up, sucked in her belly dancing over to the bar.
“Where ya going Baby?” Jen, her best friend and coordinator of the trip, asked dancing over with her.
“I’m just taking a break.” Baby said, ordering a light beer.
“But it is Super Freak, we look funny out there dancing without the BTB!” Glenda said, pulling her back onto the dance floor, making Baby feel even more self conscious as everyone started chanting her name dancing in a circle around her.
When the song ended, half the entourage moved to the bar, the other half looking Baby’s way before making their way to the band. Baby’s mind immediately went on red alert. Shirley ordered a round of shots saying, “Drink up girls, we have things to do!” As Baby brought the shot up to her lips, the band announced, “We’d like to do a shout out to Baby Buttons on her bachelorette party. Baby, your peeps say you can sing ‘I Will Survive’ better than Donna Summers. Come on up, sing one for all the single girls!”
Baby picked up the shot downing it. “I can’t guys. I can’t sing with the band!”
Her friends cheered, pushing her over to the bandstand, “Go on Baby. If you can sing at Girl’s Nite Out, you can sing now!”
Baby didn’t want to get up and sing, the tight dress reminding her everything could go wrong when she stepped on the stage. This was her last fling before settling into life as Mrs.Tom Shantz, moving into tax returns, 2.5 children and the little house with the white fence. Go out with a bang, her mind said, she walked to the stage, her knees shaking, the entire bar watching. Hell….
Baby took a step up onto the stage, feeling every fat cell in her body pushing against the tight dress, willing it to grow a size bigger, actually fitting her. Sucking in her gut, holding her breath, she told the dress to calm down and stay put. As she straightened up on the stage the dress sighed with relief. Feeling a surge of courage, Baby knew could sing this, she had luck on her side, the dress didn’t rip through the agony of stepping up on stage. That was a sign, right? Looking out on the audience she promised herself, after this, she’d either throw the dress in the ocean or burn it when she got back to the hotel room AND she’d never listen to her girlfriends recommendations (“You look GOOD, sure WEAR THAT one!”) again.
Like a Redneck, Baby adjusted the veil on her head taking the microphone from the singer. Relieved Tom wasn’t there, knowing he wouldn’t approve of the dress, the shoes, the booze or the song! Baby cleared her throat as the band started.
“Once I was afraid, I was petrified….”
The bar faded away, Baby letting the song take over. She closed her mind as she started singing, everything stopping until she finished the song. She came back to reality, smiling at the people clapping for her. Baby loved the song, feeling free when singing it. She went from awkward girl to Singing Diva moving back to Awkward Girl as the song ended. Taking a step from the stage, she felt some of the seams give, hoping she wasn’t showing her ass to the bar, walking back to her group of friends accepting cheers and adulation.
“That was great!” Jen said, clapping with glee.
“I didn’t know you could sing like that!” Laura added.
“Wouldn’t Tom be surprised.” Baby said smiling.
“Tom, wouldn’t like this at all. We all know how boring Tom is!” Glenda said handing her a shot.
Baby smiled with her, Tom was boring, but Tom was stable. Moving from her friends, putting the empty shot glass on the bar Baby noticed a very handsome blonde haired man holding out his hand to her.
“That took a lot of guts, great song though.”
Baby looked behind her, realizing he was actually talking to her. She moved over by him praying nothing was showing, making sure the part where the dress ripped was on the other side. She never had a good looking guy strike a conversation with her. “Uh, thanks. The girls and I sing that one pretty regularly at Girl’s Nite Out.” All of her friends looked her way, started whispering to each other catching the bartender’s attention for another round.
“Really? What bar?”
Baby laughed. “Oh I’m not from here. I’m talking about Girls Nite out in Baltimore, Maryland.”
“Hmmm, I’m from Philadelphia. The name’s Chad.” He shook her hand, standing a good foot over Baby’s 5 foot 4 inches. He had thick strawberry blonde hair, bright blue eyes, a spray of freckles across his nose. He wore pressed khaki shorts, a powder blue button down shirt, leather flip flops on his feet.
Baby shook Chad’s hand watching her girlfriends whisper to each other as they watched them. “My name’s Suze, but everyone calls me Baby.”
“Baby, hmmm, wasn’t there a movie about that?” Chad asked smiling, his hand was warm.
“Yeah, but I’m not that kind of baby. I’m my parents’ Baby, that’s all.” Baby said, laughing thinking it was funny everyone called her Baby except Tom, making it a point to call her Suze and not Baby. “What brings you to Key West?”
Chad handed Baby a purple flyer, looking down she read. “Key West Fantasy 5K?”
Baby tried handing the flyer back to him, Chad waved it away. “You keep it. Get your friends to run. It’s a race tomorrow morning, my friends and I are running this race then driving from Key West to NYC for the NYC Marathon.”
“Wow! That sounds like a great trip.” Baby said, not imagining running a mile.
Chad laughed nursing his beer. “This one is the easier ones. We’ve got other runs planned along the way. We’re building up to the 26.2, kind of like a religion or something according to one of my friends.”
Baby started to say something to Chad but her group appeared, pulling her off the stool. Back up on stage, they sang We are Family, the girls circling Baby, singing. Baby, caught up in the moment, shoved the flyer into her purse dancing with her friends.
“Why does midnight pizza always taste so good?” Glenda asked, reaching for another slice of famous Key West pizza soaking up the booze in her stomach.
Wanting to fit in her wedding dress in a few months, Baby limited herself to one slice, watching her skinny friends grab another. As she sat back on her chair her purse fell, the flyer slid out on to the floor.
Baby leaned over picking up the flyer, feeling the dress finally give up the ghost with a soft rip on the side. “Boy that pisses me off,” she muttered looking to see if she could make it back to the hotel room without flashing all of Key West. She looked down at the flyer, looking at the smiling faces of all the runners. They all looked healthy, happy. Moving on the chair, she felt the rip get a little bigger, making a major decision. The damn dress would fit by her wedding day, everything would fit. All she needed was shorts, sneakers and a T-shirt right?
“Listen, I’m going to go get some sleep. I’m going to run a race in the morning.” Baby said, almost laughing at the absurdity of her statement.
All her friends laughed at once, quieting when they realized she was serious. “What do you mean?” Glenda asked. “You don’t run to the grocery store when we run out of milk.”
Baby sighed, feeling the dress groan again. “Maybe it is time I run for something.”