In my mother’s day it was tupperware. She would come home – tipsy and smelling vaguely of cigarettes – her arms full of stackable plastic kitchen ware. I watched transfixed as she unloaded the tiny green containers into which she planned to pack snacks for my lunch, the day-glo orange Jell-O mold, the translucent ice tray that she said would be perfect for making little apple juice popsicles. Each time one of her friends threw a party, I waited for her in the kitchen – anxious to see what new shapes and colors she would pull from the box. A few years ago, my mother told me she never actually gave a shit about Tupperware. She just wanted to drink some wine, smoke a cigarette and be away from her family for a while. In those days, she said with a trace of bitterness, it was inconceivable that a woman might want a little time for herself.
Someone had given me the invitation at work. ‘This ain’t yo’ momma’s Tupperware Party!,’ it read above a stylized drawing of a woman wearing a red bandana, arms crossed and lips pursed with attitude. "You’ve heard about these taser parties, right?" said my co-worker, peering over the top of my cubicle. "They’re all the rage. You’re coming, right? Everybody’s going to be there."
I thought about my mother as I sat on the couch – wondering if my fellow party-goers were merely feigning bloodlust so as to have an excuse to get out of the house for a while. "Take that, fucker," said the middle age brunette as she pulled the trigger, stomping a high heel for emphasis. The others made high pitched hooting sounds as two electric probes sank into the target at the end of the hall. "Whoooo!" yelled the brunette before turning to mug for the crowd, wittily striking a Charlie’s Angels pose. No, they weren’t feigning anything. This was for real. "My turn! I want to go!" The blonde woman next to me sprang from her seat and bounded over to the table where the tasers were displayed. As she deliberated over the variety of available colors and patterns (Hot Pink, Fierce Leopard…), I tentatively raised my hand. The company spokesperson, an impossibly tanned woman with the word ‘Tasergirl’ emblazoned across her chest in sequins, pointed at me and smiled. "Why all the different colors?" I asked. "I mean, if the point is to protect yourself, who cares what the thing looks like?" I could feel the eyes of the party’s hostess boring into the side of my skull from across the room. "No, its alright – it’s a fair question," said Tasergirl convivially before placing her hands on her hips and turning to address the entire room. "At Tasergirl International," she began, "your personal safety is our number one concern. Making sure you look fabulous? Well, that’s a close second!" The women cackled their appreciation.
As I walked out alone into the night, unprotected and unfabulous, I thought about my mother again. I thought about how I would’ve seen the world if, instead of storage containers, she’d come home from parties with the newest in allegedly non-lethal personal security technology. And as the sounds of the women’s hoots and laughter grew fainter in the distance, I wondered who was at home waiting for them.