That’s not lipstick on my collar…

…but that IS pine sap on my new pants!

A regular, reflex part of my wedding planner routine is the quick once-over to check that the bride, groom, and bridal party still look like they’re fresh out of the packet – keeping an eye out for extra lipstick and rouge in the wrong places on the bride, [and anywhere on the groom!], zippers zipped, ties tied, hems free of cling-ons, and so on.

It’s amazing how much muss can happen between the top and bottom of the aisle, and it’s part of my job to quietly make it go away. A “thumb-flannel” is sometimes enough. A babywipe is a godsend. Spit on a hanky, even among family members, a definite no-no!

I love the idea of  ‘Trash the Dress’, but your wedding day is not the time, or that place to do it, and never accidentally! So, I know how to deal with automobile grease on a white gown, baby vomit on a dark suit, and a horde of other minor disasters. This boy-scout attitude has not, unfortunately,  saved me from my own day-to-day battle with spaghetti sauce down the front of  my white T-shirt, dog slobber on my shoes, beetroot juice on my socks [don’t ask!], and today’s addition to the stain family –  pine sap on my brand new black pants.

My daughter had a fight with her best friend, ran out to the wood pile and  sat on a log to cry, I hauled her onto my lap [because she’s still not too big to hug] and got pine sapped. The resulting mess could pass for a “Monica Lewinsky blue dress”, and if I’m ever going to wear them in public, it’s going to take a lot more than a babywipe to get them clean.

Polling my friends gave me a variety of options to try ranging from rubbing alcohol to professional stain removal. But there was one solution I hadn’t ever tried, and it’s so good, I plan to add it to my stock of babywipes and clean hankies. Riv’s suggestion was:

“But that’s how we tell the good parents from the bad parents. The ones without pine tar stains, or any other stain, or rips, or the hems of shirts pulled out of shape by the waist-high crowd– those are the ones who might as well start the kids’ therapy funds now. Wear that pine tar stain with pride.”

Which, IMO, beats babywipes and spit-on-a-tissue, hands down. She’s right – pine sap on my new pants is nothing if it’s the only thing stopping me comforting my baby girl.

Smeared happy-tears-mascara on the collar of the groom,  or baby drool on the bride’s gown might not be something you’d set out to collect, but if the badge fits, you might as well wear it as hide it.

Which is a long way of saying,  if you ever see me at a wedding,  not rushing to clean up a fuchsia lipstick stain, you should look around and find which lips it matches. I guarantee, it will be one of the best beloved old nanas or aunties. It will, no doubt, look as garish in the flesh as it does on the bride’s forehead, but you’d do well to find yourself a seat at her table. Best beloved old biddies are something pretty special.  Riv was right. Some stains you should wear with pride!

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