Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Candle Addicts Anonymous

A few years ago I heard a comedian quip, "Candles are to old ladies what cats once were." This weekend I saw the dark truth behind the joke. I ventured into housewife territory like never before and attended a candle party.
I knew I was in for it when the perky, over-accessorized-for-a-Sunday-afternoon woman asked "Is there anyone who has never been to a candle party before?" I raised my hand expecting to be one among many, but no, I was the sole hand-raiser. I was terrified and rightfully so.
When, purely out of guilt, I agreed to attend this candle party I expected mimosas, bloody marys and snacks while we sat around and talked about how funny it was that we were at a candle party. Instead we had non-alcoholic fruit punch, diet coke and chick
en salad with grapes in it (my hatred for fruit in my chicken salad will be discussed at another time).
The candle lady stood in front of her shrine like she was the Patron Saint of Flowery Smelling Shit. Her candles filled the air with artificial scents like Chocolate Coconut Cascade and Lilac Spa Fantasy. She began by giving us raffle tickets and asking us to please, say your name, how you know the hostess and why you think I have been doing this for 17 years.
Why I think you've been doing this for 17 years? OH MY GOD! I almost crapped my pants.
This woman has been selling candles for 17 years and she wants me to tell her why! It's like she stood up in front of the room and said, "Allrighty, let's start this party off by ragging on me. " My head swirled with reasons. Here are just a few:

1. You are very lonely and use these "parties" as a way to make friends.
2. You are an Andy Kaufman-like comedian who is living your life in this ridiculous fashion to see how people react to you.
3. You are an escaped mental patient and we are all going to be killed and enrobed in french vanilla wax.

I'm glad I didn't say any of these because, believe it or not, this wasn't performance art. She just loves her some fucking candles. And she explained how she is able to bring in $5000 a month with the gig. She also told us how we could enjoy such a lifestyle, if only we decided to join her little club. The other women in the room seemed oblivious to the pyramid scheme pitch. Do they seriously believe that this woman makes $5000 a month selling wax to housewives? Was I missing something here?

I started to notice that the candle lady talked about her wares as if they were artwork. "This is a real conversation piece," she would say, or, "People see this in a house and think, 'Wow, there must be an interesting story behind that."

Candles just don't do this for me. I will never stand around and discuss the merit of a candle. What's interesting about telling someone you bought a candle in someone else's living room? "Hey, where did you get that candle?"
"Oh, I got that at a candle party."
That's the conversation.

The candle lady then went on to tell everyone about her addiction to candles. That morning at church, she told us, her priest asked them to pray for people with addictions. She, of course, thought he was talking about her and her candle addiction. As if her obsession was on par with alcoholism or drug addiction. She admitted to having panic attacks if there were not enough candles in the room. I was waiting for Tyler Durden to burst through the wall and throw lye on her face. I completely lost it. This was the most ridiculous thing I had been a part of in quite some time. The other women were eating it up and agreeing with her desire to own all the candles. All the candles in the whole world.

I had just regained my composure when she pulled out a bag full of pennies. Everyone stepped up and took one and each time the candle lady said "Penny for your thoughts" in pretty much the same manner a priest says "Body of Christ." We were supposed to tell her which candle we liked best and why. I had to manufacture an emotion about a candle. Thank god I spent those years doing improv!

Once we all had our pennies we then used them to purchase a votive for a penny. What a great deal! The only catch is, on the bottom of the votive is a piece of paper. On the paper it says to pick a prize or Fast $50. If you choose Fast $50 you "get to" book a show with her on the spot. I prayed that the four people who landedFast $50s before me had eliminated them all. I watched as my friend Tina, the only other person disturbed by the absurdity, sat sweating, hoping she would get the prize and not the booking. But Tina did pick the Fast $50 and suddenly it was my turn. I approached the votives like a soldier who's entire platoon has been shot down but still storms the beach. Thanks to some divine intervention I was the only person to pick a prize.
I took my shitty candle and didn't have to talk to the ringleader of this circus of insanity. Tina, on the other hand, was forced into picking a date and promising this sad woman that she would, indeed, invite ten of her friends over to purchase candles.

In the end I placed my order, trying desperately to get away with a cheap holder out of the magazine. I had done my part, spent $28 dollars and could get the hell out. I handed in my order and breathed a sigh of relief. It was all over. Or so I thought. The Candle lady called me over and told me that one of the other guests did not use the 50% off they qualified for so I could use it. It's just that, and her hands were really tied on this one, I had to spend at least 40 dollars. I thought, okay, I'll get to $40. Half off will be $20 so in the end I get more stuff for less. Apparently I do not speak the candle language. I added the products she recommended which brought me to $45 then she took off the discount but I still owed $40. WTF? It turns out the half off applies to one candle which was $10. I couldn't take it anymore. I said 'fine' and walked away. Tina grabbed me and we made our escape.

Though I am embracing this housewife lifestyle, I am not embracing these parties anymore. Please do not invite me because I will not come. Do not guilt me because I will feel no guilt.
The afternoon of February 22nd was a dark day and, in the words of Rudy Guillani, I will never forget.


Black Nose said...

This is one time you hope irony strikes and this woman freezes to death surrounded by candles.

Lucia Page said...

This is truly one of the funniest posts that I have read on a blog. Well done. See you at our monthly purse party next week.

Monsieur Fun said...

I'm a candleaholic ... but for coke.

BNAC said...

This rules