And who could blame her, really? She had so much to do and so little time, Aunt Dowager de Hump was on the verge of conjugal catastrophe. If she couldn’t prepare Bridezilla for the expectations of womanly duties, then nobody could. She’d never had to work with such a hard nut before (and she hadn’t even started on Groomenstein) and her dowager’s hump was getting her down. It was becoming heavier. Soon she’d have to talk to Bridezilla about her dowry and wedding night ritual at the exact height of genitalia (given the gravitational pull), but at least that part of the body might show some understanding as to what Aunt Dowager was trying to instruct! Bridezilla’s brain certainly wasn’t comprehending in a hurry!
Goodness grief, thought Aunt Dowager. Who in this day and age is unable to embrace Stamen Day and understand the concept of sexuality as it is applied to the botanical world? Surely the analogy was clear? Unfortunately, when Aunt Humpster mentioned the importance of the analogy, Bridezilla misunderstood (again) and said she ‘wasn’t worried about an allergy.’ That her ‘asthma had been fine!’
For land sakes alive!
Given the shortening of the timeline, the work to do, and the content to be covered in Space Exploration — the latest analogy, Aunt Dowager had invited Groomenstein Shorn and Bridezilla Sheila to the table for some afternoon sherry and shenanigan chat. When she answered the door and noticed Bridezilla was on her own, Aunt Dowager hrrumped (she had a hump, remember!) and asked when they could expect him.
Bridezilla’s face fell (almost to the level of Aunt Dowager’s forward head). ’He’s not coming this afternoon, Auntie. He has to work. Besides,’ she gulped, not meeting her aunt’s eyes, ‘he says he doesn’t need to learn about space probes. He did that in Year 9 science!’
Aunt Dowager tutted and turned away, making for the comfortable couch with its specially plumped cushion to accommodate her humplet. She supposed Groomenstein thought himself a bit above all this? she muttered to her niece. ’Just because he works with pipes, plugs, basins, drains and plungers all day!? Doesn’t make him an expert though!’
Bridezilla was remorseful. She had already started to make excuses for an in absentia male and she wasn’t married yet! ’I'm sorry, Humpy,’ she said, using the Dowager’s favourite childhood name.
‘What am I to do?’ wailed Aunt Dowager, theatrically. ’How will he learn the subtleties? The things not related to the plumbing of fixtures?’
Looking confused again at the hint of another non-asthmatic allergy, Bridezilla sat on the chair opposite her aunt. ’I would so appreciate if you wrote him one of your letters, Auntie! Something instructive and sensible. He would love that so much! And I would make sure he reads it, even if he says he knows everything about pipeage.’
The Dowager was momentarily satisfied. Before anyone could relax, however, she decided to drill Bridezilla’s breezy attitude as to what she’d learnt from the required reading.
‘Firstly, dear, I do NOT want any inappropriate jokes about Uranus, ploise! It’s been done to death! It’s old and crude and I don’t want that type of ridicule shadowing my instruction of you. Are we clear on that?’
Bridezilla smothered a near laugh. A near laugh out loud! ‘Of course, Auntie. Uranus has nothing to do with the wedding night instruction anyway, does it? Does it? And it’s so not funny.’
‘It’s certainly not. And it’s not great for an analogy because Uranus is so far away, a space probe could never get near it. It has no penetrable crater, it’s on the outskirts of the rim of space, and its centre of gravity pulls it so tightly, it’s impossible to lever a space craft into its atmosphere! It’s definitely NOT for us!’
Bridezilla shifted in her seat, attempting to get comfortable. She felt that she was in for a long haul, dragged into a dark galaxy far, far away, where Uranus was not to be mentioned and Pluto was still considered a planet. She wasn’t sure where to start, which was fine, because Aunt Humpty-loo took the reigns.
‘Do you have any questions from your required reading, my dear?’
‘Um. No. Oh, I’m just glad that Pluto hasn’t been excluded. I love Pluto the planet. And the pup!’
Aunt Dowager held up a finger to caution her niece on frippery. ’It’s important to think of Pluto as the male featurette in this discussion, and Venus as the female receptor. Now, basically, Pluto is on the outer cusp, the lonely rim. He is entranced, attracted by Venus, so close to the sun is she. To use a modern vernacular, Pluto wants a piece of that space.’
‘So is Pluto on the rim? Near Uranus?’ asked Bridezilla, genuinely sure she’d heard rim and Uranus (which was not to be mentioned) in the same sentence earlier.
‘Bridezilla!’ cautioned Aunt Dowager, allowing the Uranus reference to slip away. ’Now, imagine Pluto trying to get closer, penetrating the outer area, pushing towards Venus and pressing against the other planets to allow entry into the Venusian atmosphere.’
‘Does Pluto press against Uranus?’ asked Bridezilla, wonderingly. ’Does it also press against the rings of that other planet, that one with rings …’
‘Saturn!!’ snapped Aunt Dowager. ’Bridezilla! Concentrate! Do NOT worry about the other planets at the moment. AT all! Just focus on the P from Pluto trying to press forward to reach the V from Venus. Like a probe. An interplanetary probe module. There’s fluid. There’s space, but closer, ever closer comes Pluto towards Venus.’
‘It sounds dangerous!’ said Bridezilla.
‘It’s not!’ cooed her Aunt. ’It’s natural. And then, when Venus feels the weight of Pluto almost invade her immediate surrounds, the Venusian volcano craters start to fill with moisture and heat. Pluto paws and pants at the sight of this. His outer crust hardens and suddenly his shape becomes less of a sphere, less of a circle. It becomes an ellipse!’
Bridezilla felt that something important had just happened, but she couldn’t understand how Pluto becoming an elliptic stretched-out circle had anything to do with the intimacies of the marital bed! If her aunt would just grow up and use words like penis, vagina, erection, et al, they could drink their sherry in peace. Bridezilla had endured enough, but she played along for the entertainment value alone! ’I thought the moon and sun only had an eclipse. I didn’t know Pluto had one too!’
‘Oh Bridezilla! Please! It’s ellipse. ELLIPSE, not eclipse! And once Pluto is elliptic in shape, he can penetrate the craters of — ‘
‘Oh Humpy!’ interrupted Bridezilla, emptying her sherry glass like it was a shot of tequila. ‘Please. I know all about the interplay of the planets on the wedding night. Heck! I don’t want to fly you to the moon with shock, but I’ve even explored space with other rocket probes before now. I’m no heavenly body where aliens fear to tread, ffs!’
Aunt Dowager grabbed at her heart. She liked the feeling. ’Dear. Dear me. S-s-so this won’t be your maiden space shuttle journey? You understand all about Pluto and Venus? What they do? You’ve done a Pluto-Venus interface?’
‘I have! And I really do understand, but I find the analogies too obscure. Why couldn’t we speak in plain terms…um, like using human anatomy terms?’
Aunt Dowager smiled, looking mightily relieved. ’Well what fun would there be in that. Why be upfront when one can dally with stamen and pluto probes?’
The women shared a grin and paused to consider their own thoughts for a moment. Briezilla broke the silence. ’You know Auntie? We need to use this time to write a letter to Groomenstein! He really needs help about the subtleties of a space walk, if you know what I mean?’
Aunt Dowager felt her head press forward. The weight of her hump reminded her of responsibility again. Her nephew-to-be? He needed education in the fine arts, and she was just the woman for the job. She would start her missive today, and send it to him next week. ’twouldn’t do for him to be behind the ball, while his Bridezilla was experienced as coach, back pocket player, goalie and scrum manager.
She’d use a sporting analogy. Men understood sports!