Friday, April 25, 2014

Say Yes to the Tux? Maybe not

Our son is a senior this year, which means the year has been swallowed by college visits, college applications, scholarship applications, FAFSA forms (also known as the ninth circle of hell), graduation party planning and, this weekend, prom.

And prom means one thing is certain: We will be forking over an unholy amount of money to rent a tux for one single night.

On a trip up to the college of his choice last weekend, we had the TV on in the hotel room and it happened to be tuned to the show “Say Yes to the Dress” on The Learning Channel.

For those of you who don’t know what this show is, let me give you my best synopsis. It’s about a bride, her mother, and her bridesmaids shopping for the perfect wedding dress (hence the title). And it doesn’t paint women in the most flattering light. Seeing that it’s a reality show, of course it capitalizes on hissy fits, power struggles and ridiculous one-liners such as “You don’t like my dress because you’ve never liked me!” or “Does this make my shoulders look fat?”


I sat in the hotel eating breakfast, mouth agape as I watched the horror show of catty women in search of a dress that helped reflect their genteel, kind and feminine side. Oh, the irony.

My son Natty sat next to me for a few minutes, watching the train wreck as it happened, and said, “You know, it would be funny if they had a show called ‘Say Yes to the Tux.’ My best guess is that it would last a whole three minutes.”

We discussed how the show might play out: A tuxedo store clerk would bring out the first tux.

Natty: “I’ll take it.”

Tuxedo clerk: “But it’s only the first one, and it’s black. We have many other shades of gray, charcoal, slate, brown, taupe…”

Natty: “Wrap it up. That’s the one.”

Tuxedo clerk: “Okay, just give me a second to get my measuring tape and we’ll take some measurements.”

Natty: “Not necessary. I’ll just take that one. It looks just about right.”

Tuxedo clerk: “That’s not how this works, sir. I show you a tux, you choose the one you like, and then we measure you for the perfect fit.”

Natty: “There’s where you’re wrong. I don’t care about a perfect fit; I just want the cheapest tux in the shortest time possible.”

You can see how TLC might not think this would make for riveting, juicy programming.

To stretch it out, they could follow the male customer into a floral shop to help him pick out the corsage, but our guess is that might take less than a minute.

Floral clerk: “Can I help you?”

Natty: “Do you have red roses?”

Floral clerk: “We have many roses in various colors, along with other lovely varieties of flowers.”

Natty: “Yeah, that’s not necessary.”

The End.

If this is what a career in reality programming looks like, I think I’ll keep my day job, thank you very much.

Eileen Burmeister is a Winchester-based freelance writer. She can be reached at or you can follow her on Twitter at EBurmeister.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Blended with love

I’m not sure if the makers of my blender ever imaged the concoctions I came up with a couple of weeks ago, but necessity is the mother of invention. And when your teenage son gets his wisdom teeth removed and can’t eat anything solid for three days you get really inventive – quickly.

I should have my own show on the Cooking Channel, although I don’t know that anyone would watch. I could barely watch what I was doing myself. Some foods were just never meant to be pureed.

Granted, food preparation can be a bit gross at times in normal circumstances (raw chicken, anyone?) but there are certain foods you just never want to see blended, let alone eat. Let’s just say I think I’ve ruined Ramen noodles for Natty forever. (Which is fine by me: Have you examined the sodium amounts in those deceptively tiny packets?)

When Nathaniel’s friends from school stopped by with ice cream, I made some milkshakes, but noticed my son eyeing the chocolate chip cookies coming out of the oven. Have you ever blended chocolate chip cookies before? Neither had I. But it is blended heaven, I tell you. A Dairy Queen blizzard has nothing on this concoction.

Of course not all experiments were winners. During one of the rounds of milkshakes, I accidentally left the spoon in the blender before pressing the “on” button. I don’t think my ears (or the spoon) will ever be the same. I let it go for some time, frozen trancelike by the screeching metal sound, until one of my son’s friends simply yelled out “spoon!” and jolted me out of my stupor.

Another time I left the lid off and sent the contents flying through the air onto my window, cupboards and toaster. I’m here to tell you that fruit smoothie is downright tricky to clean out of a toaster.

I’m just thankful I didn’t leave the spoon in at the same time I left the lid off, creating a projectile object hurtling through my kitchen. Perhaps that’s why Nathaniel and his friends stayed a safe distance from the blender at all times.

As you can see, I had some kinks to work out, but by the end of his recovery I had this blending thing down. Therefore, if the Cooking Channel is interested in a 30-minute show starring me and my blender I already have some name suggestions:

• For a simple, to-the-point title that encapsulates the disgusting dishes I can create I give you: “Iron Gut.”
• For a motherly-centered show I propose: “Blended with love.”
• For a more literary reference I offer: “But soft, what food from yonder blender make?”
• And to go head-to-head in competition against “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” I suggest “Blenddown with Eileen B.”

I’m flexible on the title, mind you, but I think the promo should read something like this:

Join Eileen as she helps you make one of the milestones in your child’s life the tastiest. When the time comes for your progeny to undergo the coming-of-age wisdom teeth removal, follow her steps so that you’re armed and ready to create some liquefied goodness, or turn them off their favorites forever.

Bon appeteeth.

Eileen Burmeister is a Winchester-based freelance writer. She can be reached at or you can follow her on Twitter at EBurmeister.

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