My favorite character from the bachelorette party was Mima (grandma). When Sweet D introduced me, I extended my hand. Mima coiled up and shook her head no, running her fingers over her headscarf as to signal that she doesn’t touch men. I lowered my hand and said, “Enchanté.”
Sweet D let out a puff of annoyed air, but again, I understood. Seeing a man at one of these parties, especially a blonde-haired blue-eyed Yankee, wasn’t typical. I was invading sacred territory. There were two other boys there, though. One was 5 and too young to leave his mother’s side, the other a closeted teen. Well, I don’t know for sure if he was gay, but judging from his soft demeanor and shapely hips, I assumed he was. You know how teens inherit the body type of the people they hang out with, which in the case of closeted boys it’s often the wives and mothers we sit in the kitchen with.
Mima intrigued me. I wanted her to like me, but knew that I had to win her affection on the sly. Too aggressive and I’d scare her away. I kept my distance, acting uninterested, but always had her in my peripheral. She didn’t move, nor talk, just sat there slouched over observing. Finally, ever so stilly, she raised her hand to her mouth and without moving a single facial muscle, let out the biggest wail you’d ever heard. Her tongue bounced off the roof of her mouth so loudly that the neighbor’s dog started to howl.
That’s it! That’s how I’d get her, with a wail of my own. I knew that ululating was reserved for women, but I didn’t care. I felt safe. Besides, before the trip I had been practicing and by the time I landed in Tunis, I felt as though my skills were above subpar and now was my moment to prove it.
I slowly danced to the center of the circle and stood smack-dab in front of Mima. Gently and rhythmically, I moved my hips to pique her interest. I didn’t look, but I could feel her eyebrow lift. I calmly bent over and touched my ankle, then began to work my hand up my leg, building momentum as I went over my thigh and tickled my rib cage. The energy was building. I could feel it. I could also feel that glass of strawberry puree I drank earlier start to enter my small intestines, but I kept focused. Finally, my hand reached my mouth and like a pissed off diamond back, let my tongue rattle. It was loud and long. I kept it going for three minutes. The women went crazy. Eventually, I ran out of breath and over-acted as I collapsed against the wall to hold me up. I looked over at Mima and she was laughing so hard that tears were coming down her cheek.
I had done it. I got her. She still didn’t touch me, or kiss me, but as she was leaving she waved at me, and I’ll take a wave over a scowl any day.