Every July, my extended family gets together for a big reunion of sorts, only it’s more casual than that. How casual, you ask? Casual enough that untitledsister-in-law has no qualms about wearing tube socks with her sandals (because her feet are ugly, she says). If they’re uglier than that, sister girl, then you just go on with your bad self and keep those dogs under wraps, I say.
During this event, I also get to see my favorite uncle, which is great. Smelling his unsettling old man b.o. when he hugs me, that’s not so great. It’s not the kind of b.o. you get from being unclean. It’s the kind you get from sitting outside all day in the sweltering heat, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. It’s dirty old man stank. But I still love him. I feel like a shit for even mentioning it. But if you stink, I’m going to call you out. Introduce yourself to some Irish Spring, for fuck’s sake, for I really don’t appreciate your earthy mustiness all up in my nostrils.
This yearly event is held at untitldedmother’s house, but make no mistake — she is NOT the hostess. You will learn as much after you spend the entire weekend cleaning her kitchen and ferreting out breakfast foods for the others as she sleeps in. If it were up to her, she’d set out a half-eaten pan of peanut butter and chocolate Rice Krispie bars and call it good.
Every other month of the year, untitledmother sports her normal sickly pallor and a mask of foundation three shades too dark for her skin. I call it the reverse Geisha. But in July, this all changes. In an effort to be as beautifully bronzed as my aunt (who is 25 years her junior), she turns to the self-tanner. Since untitledmother doesn’t have the discipline to visit a tanning bed or the fortitude to sit in the hot sun, she squirts on the tanning lotions. On most people, these work just fine. I’ve used them myself, and enjoy the disturbing high I get from the odd fleshy smell that it deposits on my skin. But on untitledmother, the self-tanners give her skin the appearance of a cancer-riddled lung. It’s as if the self-tanner molecules are fighting their destiny, and as a result, pool in the crevices and dry patches to spite her. The marbling is quite dramatic and might be somewhat pleasing in, say, a granite countertop or a slice of raisin bread.
When we’re home next weekend. I’m going to do my best to get a picture of it for y’all. I only show them to you so that you yourself can approach self-tanners with a modicum of respect and fear. Maybe when untitledmother is napping, I can have untitledhusband fold her ear forward so we can get a shot of the 666 back there. For all we know, it could simply be an undistributed deposit of Banana Boat.