Every Wednesday at ten o’clock they meet at Tot Land, a busy kiddy park packed with tricycles, play tables, and a huge mess of discarded plastic toys.
Prudy (a red-headed Brit who hasn’t slept for more than four hours straight for almost a year, who has a tic in her left eye and keeps a secret stash of candy in her purse).
Wendy (the well-groomed breadwinning psychologist with a placid smile and a clean house and we have no idea how she does it).
Fanny (an ayurvedic vegan with the braid so long she can sit on it, who can do the plummeting crow pose in yoga and has learned to control her breath so she can slip into a alert-looking catatonic state at will).
Dolores (mother of four who once looked like Dolores del Rio the famous actress but who now drinks from a schooner so she can claim one glass of wine with dinner with a straight face).
(Prudy is usually the first to arrive. She pushes her antique pram over to a spot of shade and unfurls an afghan she crocheted herself. Wendy and Fanny arrive shortly and take up spots around the edge of the blanket. They lay their precious cargo in the middle so they can shoot the breeze.)
Wendy: (Leaning over Fanny’s baby.) “Oh, your little Maxie is getting so… so… solid, isn’t he?”
Fanny: “He’s my little cuddle nugget! And why is Lu Lu crying? Is she okay?”
Wendy: “Oh, she’s just working through some issues, if you know what I mean.”
Prudy: (Checking her watch.) “Where’s Dolores? Did anyone hear from her?”
Wendy: “I talked to her this morning. She sounded like she was playing whack-a-mole, if you know what I mean. But she said she’d be here.”
Prudy: “Well, I have news that can’t wait. Sloane sat on the throne in the smallest room in the house the other day. Can you believe it?”
Fanny: “Oh, Prudy! Number one or number two?”
Prudy: “She produced a fine specimen.”
Wendy: “You must be so proud.”
Dolores: (Who has just joined them.) “Did you bring it with you? Can we see?”
Prudy: Of course not. Don’t be gross! We’re talking about bowel movements, not baking brownies, Dolores, dear. What happened to you, anyway? You look like you’ve been taking a nap in the dirt, as they say.”
Dolores: “Sorry I’m late. I had a rough night last night.”
Fanny: “Sit down and spill the lentils.”
Dolores: “Mac and I had a big fight.”
Fanny: “Uh-oh. Was it just a tussle or did you pull out the weapons of mass destruction?”
Dolores: “It was ugly. I was up all night.”
Prudy: “I bet he’s denying the holocaust. Is he trying to paint the letter ‘A’ on your chest?”
Fanny: “Or a big ‘L’ on your forehead?”
Wendy: “What a MF.”
Dolores: “Yeah. I thought he was s-c-r-e-w-i-n-g someone else.” (She spells it out.)
Prudy: (Covering her baby’s ears.) “You can’t say that! They might hear! Your kids didn’t hear you last night, did they?”
Dolores: “I don’t know how they could miss it. Anyway, we finally made up. Everything’s okay now.”
Wendy: “Did you do it? Did you… make up?”
Fanny: “Yeah. And if so, was is mud wrestling or just a couple of push-ups? I am so sick of fast food.”
Prudy: “God. It’s been months since anybody offered me a buttered scone. I don’t think I’ve seen a unicorn since last Halloween.”
Wendy: “I recommend playing with the play-dough at least once a week. It’s like DIY physical therapy.”
Fanny: “I don’t want to punch the clown and I’m tired of jerking gherkins. Sometimes I want the whole hog: marinated, skewered, splayed, and roasted with an apple in its mouth.”
Prudy: “In my house, the doo-dad and the doohicky don’t do.”
Wendy: “Oh, come on. Just do the old how-do-you-do: Whatsit, meet whatnot. Whatever. Easy as pie.”
Dolores: “What? I’m confused.”
Prudy: “You know. The you-know-what.”
(Dolores shakes her head.)
Wendy: “We’re just trying to be anatomically correct here.”
Franny: (Looking around at the kids in the park.) “And environmentally correct.”
Prudy: “And politically correct. Don’t forget to be polite.”
Dolores: “Are we talking about sex?”
Prudy: (Her nervous tic rippling across her face.) “Don’t be disgusting!”
Dolores: “I’m sorry. Ever since I started taking antidepressants, I’ve been sort of out of it.”
Fanny: (Patting Dolores’s arm.) “There, there. Don’t worry. In a couple of years, this will all be water under the bridge.”
Prudy: (Holding out a wet wipe.)“It’s okay. Really. We all need to let off a little steam now and then.”
Wendy: “It’s not a nervous breakdown, darling: it’s a breakthrough.“
Dolores: (In tears.) “You’re right, I know. Thank you for being here for me.” (Sobbing and smiling.) “You guys always know just what to say!”
This post was inspired by the book Euphemania: Our Love Affair with Euphemisms by Ralph Keyes. Check it out!
Do you have a favorite euphemism or a story to tell? Please leave a comment below!