Bustle \ n. \ bus·tle \ˈbə-səl\ : A bustle gathers up extra fabric or a train with buttons or ties to keep the hem of your [wedding dress] from dragging on the floor. “Usually, the skirt of a gown is bustled after the ceremony so the bride may easily walk and dance.” (Via TheKnot.com )
I’m willing to bet that a majority of you, with the obvious exception of Will deFries, did not know what a bustle was before clicking on this article. I’m also willing to bet that even fewer of you have ever been responsible for fastening one. Until recently, I was in the same boat, happily floating along in a sea of blissful bustle ignorance. That all changed when my friends Eric and Ariel got engaged. Ariel asked me to accompany her to her final wedding dress fitting, where the seamstress taught me (and only me) how to fasten her extremely complicated bustle.
Why is any of this relevant to my story? Well, friends, gather round and let me tell you the tale of how I almost ruined the wedding of two very close friends, had the best oral sex I’ve ever had in my life, and broke a personal record- all because of a damn bustle.
Friday Night, Wedding Welcome Dinner
I had separately been friends with Eric and Ariel for a few years and eventually introduced them, combining our friend groups into one gigantic group of garbage people. In return, Ariel is the one who introduced me to this website and encouraged me to submit my first column. Obviously, we are very supportive friends. As a result, Eric and Ariel’s wedding in D.C. was 70% our friend group and 30% their families/childhood friends. It was a much anticipated and celebrated event, so most of us had been dieting/cleansing for a few weeks prior to look our best in what would eventually become our new Bumble profile photos. In other words, most of us hadn’t eaten carbs or drunk alcohol for a while.
In true form (fueled by slight alcohol withdrawals), we hit the open bar at the welcome dinner HARD. We were excited, we were joyful, and we were comfortable on our home turf. I honestly couldn’t tell you how many glasses of wine I had, but it was between a lot and too much. After charming Eric and Ariel’s older relatives, laughing and crying appropriately at the tribute video Eric’s dad had produced, and generally behaving for a few hours, we were ready to let loose and REALLY celebrate.
We ditched the old people and headed to a nearby Chinatown rooftop bar. We trampled up the stairways, filling the enclosed staircase with the noise of already pinching high heels, laughter, and promises to go home early that we all knew would be broken. I was in a particularly good mood. It was a beautiful night with perfect weather and romantic twinkle lights lining the perimeter of the roof. I was feeling extra cute in my Barbie pink sundress and neon yellow heels and my hair was actually staying in perfect loose curls for once. I could just feel that the night would go my way.
After several (very gratuitous) rounds of shots, I started to look around for some cute Brads to talk to. Chinatown doesn’t usually have much selection in the way of Brads, but I’m an eternal optimist (and hadn’t gotten laid in a few weeks), so I checked out the crowd anyway. I scanned the usual mixed crowd of D.C. hipsters, tourists from Ohio, and newly arrived interns until I suddenly stopped on an extremely tall extremely attractive man in his late twenties with great hair and well-groomed stubble. He appeared to be out having guys’ night with a group of three other men, and I didn’t see any women in their vicinity. Reasoning that I would have plenty of time to recover from a late night before the 5:00 p.m. ceremony the next day and buoyed by enough pinot and tequila to take down Joe Rogan, I made my approach.
“Hey there,” I slid into a spot across the high top table from my target. “Have you met Quinn?”
Thinking he knew what I was up to, he smiled.
“No, I haven’t,” he leaned forward.
“I know, I’m Quinn. Just wanted to make sure you met me,” I held out my hand for him to shake and winked at him.
His friends erupted in laughter and applause as he shook my hand, also laughing. As it turns out, he was on holiday from Australia, very nice, and very single. I was immediately endeared to his Aussie accent and he was drawn in by my American sense of humor. Okay, yes, my boobs probably also played a factor- what about it? Both of our groups of friends started trickling out as we were still talking and drinking.
This included my bestie Betty, who you may remember is a very small person who is not very good at drinking. Her husband tapped me on the shoulder to point to her trying to take a nap on the floor in the middle of the bar and let me know he was taking her home. I nodded and said I would see them the following day at the wedding. I turned back to Aussie Brad to continue our flirting. The bar hit last call and we looked around to find that all of our friends had left us.
In looking around, I also discovered that my purse (containing my phone and wallet) had left me at some point. Aussie Brad kindly and very altruistically offered to split an Uber home with me. Once there, he of course had to come inside to meet my dogs. We ended up just talking on the couch for about an hour before the making out and hooking up finally commenced. Ladies, you know when every once in awhile you get a guy who is both extremely generous AND extremely talented in the (cunni)linguistic arts? Aussie Brad was one of those and I was not about to end the evening early. We stayed awake until 5 a.m. engaging in various acts of… cultural exchange… before I sent him on his way home and fell asleep.
Saturday Morning, Day of the Wedding, 9 a.m.
I woke up, hungover as fuck, head pounding, and reached for my phone. It wasn’t there. The night before came rushing back to me on a growing wave of panic and nausea. I sprinted to my laptop and navigated to “Find My iPhone” with shaking fingers, praying to any deity that would take pity on me. The seconds that it took the locator map to load felt like hours. It loaded slowly, square by square, torturing me with every pixel. A blue dot appeared. It was still powered on! I squinted while rubbing the sleep out of my eyes and zoomed in, trying to recognize the location, which was nowhere near the bar we had been to the previous night.
I zoomed in further. With a huge wave of relief, I realized that my phone (and presumably the rest of my purse) was at Betty’s new house. I frantically called her husband, knowing that she would not 1) be awake, or 2) remember taking my purse. Luckily, he was able to confirm that they did indeed have my phone and my purse and would bring it to the wedding, where I was supposed to be at 4 p.m.
Relieved and exhausted, I knew I would never make it through an entire night of partying without a nap. It was only 11 a.m. at that point, leaving me plenty of time to sleep, recover, and get ready to help Eric and Ariel celebrate their big day (including my bustle responsibilities between the ceremony and reception). Since I didn’t have my phone, I set an alarm on my old and never used iPad and fell into a peaceful slumber.
Saturday, Wedding Day, Later
*BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG*
I woke up with a start to a deafening pounding on my bedroom window, which is directly behind my headboard. My first reaction was panic. I thought someone was trying to break in and the dogs were barking their little heads off.
“Oh god. This is it. This is how I die,” I thought. Wait, that makes no sense. It’s still daylight out…”
I gathered my courage and used just my index finger to slightly crack a space in the blinds so that I could peer out. I saw my friend Dave at my back door.
“What the fuck? Why is he here? We didn’t have plans… he knows the wedding is…”
All of my breath left my body, my blood turned to ice, and time stood completely still. I crossed my bedroom in a single bound to look at my analog wristwatch, which I keep on my dresser when it’s not on my wrist.
It was 5:45 pm. The wedding had started 45 minutes ago..
To be continued…