Why I’m Never Showing My Face (or Hips) at Church Again

I very pointedly avoided divulging anything about the luau I threw for our ward (congregation) and with good reason: I’m still recovering from the whole thing. It wasn’t plagued with the drama of the Christmas party but still boasted its share of trauma. Of the humiliating variety.

In the end, I survived but it was a bad sign when Hunky Hubby, my greatest advocate, added to his long What-Not-to Say List:

“Jamie, I’m nervous about tonight.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Everything will be great as it always is.”
“Yeah, but I’ve had tons of people telling me about a luau this ward had a few years back where they roasted a pig and went the whole 9 yards.”
“Honey, your luau is going to suck.”

With a cheering section like that…

For my”sub-par” luau, we had Hawaiian haystacks, a sundry of authentic Polynesian games, real palm trees flown in (as you can see) and I hired some Polynesian dancers. It actually had all the makings for a fun night and things went pretty smoothly.

Until the performance. I had specified that in addition to their dances, I wanted them to pull some audience members, teach them how to do the hula and embarrass the crap out of them. Because I am just the kind of person you don’t want to have in your life.

Everything was going according plan. They dragged our bishop, stake president and a few other folks I requested. Until the M.C. (who I am sure made a deal with the devil) announced, “And I have a request for Amber and Jamie to join us on stage.”

Now, there are times when unfortunate events occur and my immediate reaction is “Oh well. At least this will make for some good blog fodder.”

This was not one of those times.

Eventually, I was dragged kicking and screaming amidst hooping and hollering folks who were assuredly thinking “PAYBACK!”

As I’ve already disclosed, I hate dancing. I’ve been to two dances in my entire life so such public humiliation was beyond traumatic. In the other corner, black man Jamie was in his element, throwing in a few rock star moves along the way.

“Now, when I call out coconut, you throw your hip out to the right,” evil MC announced. “When I say pineapple, it’s to the right. And fruit salad is back and forth.” Or all over the place in my situation.

“In the islands, we don’t speak with our mouths, we speak with our hips,” she cooed. I think mine would’ve caused a few fatalities.

But it got worse. After we practiced in a line, she then announced each of us were going to step forward and perform to a vignette of music. By ourselves.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to go first so I could analyze everyone’s performance. No doubt we all sucked except for Jamie who, if the Internet goes bust, could have a career on The Big Island.

I decided my only option was to just ham it up because I knew I already looked stupid. When it was my turn, I poignantly performed the coconut, the pineapple and then threw in some bananas, mangos, papaya, and every other tropical fruit I could think of. The result was a montage worth choking over.

My face was cherry-red the rest of the night. I made the resolve that next time around the only Roast will be of a pig….

Photo caption: my hula debut. I’m the one in the orange skirt….

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