We lived in Alabama in the late 1980s. My sister-in-law came down from Maine to visit us. She had never been anywhere exciting, so we hopped in the car and drove to New Orleans for a weekend. We stayed in a room with two double beds.
I discovered she has no filter — she says whatever she thinks.
It had been a long day, and we were chilling, getting ready to go out for dinner. My husband was in the bathtub. He often used to hang out in the tub and read. We called him Marat, after Jean-Paul, a notable of the French Revolution who had a skin disease and frequently soaked in medicinal baths. He was ultimately murdered in his bathtub. This fact will become relevant as the story unfolds.
The door to the bathroom was propped slightly open to let out some of the steam. My sister-in-law and I were trying to get dressed before Marat got out of the tub to avoid the awkward scene with his sister and his wife partially clothed.
I was naked, looking for underwear, when my sister-in-law popped her head up and said, “You know, Donna. I am amazed with all the walking and exercise you do, you still have so much cellulite on your butt.”
Marat’s ears perked up, and he realized no good could come of this. The tub was conveniently right next to the bathroom door, and he was facing the door, faucet down by his feet. He put the book down on the bathmat outside the tub. He s-l-o-w-l-y slunk down as low into the water as he could, and then s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d his left leg until he touched doorknob. Marat successfully barricaded himself from whatever was about to take place in the bedroom. This could get ugly.
Here’s the thing. I was pissed, and even though I remember the scene vividly many years later, sometimes my reactions in real time are almost stunted. I tell this story occasionally and everyone wants to know … what did you say? What did you say when she said you were packing a lot of cottage cheese for a so-called athlete?
I said, “I know. Go figure.”
And The Cellulite Wars were over. Marat was not murdered in the tub, but interestingly, he doesn’t take baths anymore. My sister-in-law and I went on to become good friends. She is a delightful person but still has no filter. I still walk and exercise, and I still have cellulite.
Donna Pekar is an aging badass (for real) who lives in California and writes Retirement Confidential.