Jello has an interesting way of lodging itself all the way up and into your butt crack. Getting it all the way out is not only difficult, it also allows you to reacquaint yourself with your own body. That's not something I ever thought I'd experience, until I was standing topless in a janitor's sink in the back kitchen of Rich's nightclub, hosing red Jello bits out of my underboob and taint. There's a visual for you.
I suppose I was asking for this when I enthusiastically signed up for Throw Down 4 a Cause, an annual Jello wrestling event that raises funds for organizations that help at-risk and homeless youth in San Diego. While 39 percent of the homeless population is under 18, 20 to 40 percent of those homeless kids identify as LGBTQ. Many report being abused or end up dying on the streets. It's heartbreaking stuff. Last year I attended the event and immediately knew I had to get involved. A year later, I stepped into the pool as “Latina TurnHer,” rocking a homemade Aunty Entity from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome costume. Along with the intrepid manner in which Jello gets all up in your crevices, I learned a few other things while Jello wrestling.
Wrestling Jello is a thing.
The Jello you eat while visiting your grandparents and the Jello you have to snotrocket out of your nose after a scrappy badass dressed like a sexy lady Jesus (“Shesus”) knocks you face down in a pool full of gooeyness are totally different. You have to special order Wrestling Jello. It's not sticky and has no flavor. It feels like slippery jelly balls. This is why it ends up in all sorts of places on your body.
Training for Jello wrestling is futile. Leading up to the gelatinous massacre, I built muscles I've never had. I can now do minute-and-a-half planks, which is a pretty big deal for someone with T-Rex arms and acid reflux so bad I can't drink water before exertion or I'll vomit. I practiced with my fellow wrestlers in a pool of water with plastic bags tied over my feet to simulate the slipperiness of Jello.
My friend, Ramon, who is a brown belt in judo, taught me how to drop my competitor to the ground and pin them using safe but thoroughly ass-kicking techniques. All of that was pointless, though. You can barely stay on your feet when you're standing in an inflatable kiddie pool full of Wrestling Jello, let alone when you're forming a human pretzel with another woman. You're going to be face-down-ass-up in seconds and likely stay that way. Even a wrestler with a background in mixed martial arts will struggle. There's nothing you can do. I delivered a brutal leg sweep Ramon taught me and then immediately fell on my face. You're going to get your ass kicked, and hopefully kick a bit of ass yourself. And that's fine because, like Wu-Tang Clan, Throw Down is for the children.
You will not look cute. Remember how I said everything is slippery and you end up face-down-ass-up in the Jello pool? Of course you do. I told you literally sentences ago. The costume that you spent two hours making out of a JC Penney-purchased pair of high-waisted, control-top girdle shorts, a sports bra and $2 shiny material you bought from a Tijuana fabric store will get ruined in 10 seconds. Even though you had your gentleman friend wear it so you could properly assemble it (a very important step when you don't have a dress form and also want to emasculate the man in your life) and you tested the strength of its elasticity, it will betray you and you will look (and feel) like a baby that took a dump while sitting in the ocean and is now trying to waddle back to its family with a soggy diaper.
Your contour face makeup will melt off your face and end up floating like a layer of spotty, peach-colored mold. You're in a headlock, spitting out Jello balls and trying to figure out how to survive another second. And your hair! Well, actually Jello makes your hair look amazing. I didn't wash it for two days afterward because it looked perfectly tousled in a way that I haven't been able to replicate since.
Anyway, no one looks cute while Jello wrestling. That's fine though. You stop caring about that the second you're in the pool trying not to have an anxiety attack.
Smart, awesome women on a mission get shit done. For months leading up to the gelatinous massacre that was the Throw Down 4 a Cause, a large group of mostly females met regularly, planning and collaborating on every aspect of the event.
Everyone involved brought expertise in everything from event planning, fundraising and marketing, to Jello-shot making and lifting stuff, to the table. It was all hands on deck, and everyone came through. These women started six years ago in a backyard, raising money for causes they feel passionate about. Their dedication helped Throw Down become a fun, completely bonkers night that has raised nearly $40,000 since its inception. These women are my new friends and heroes, using their resources and smarts to change the world around them. I'm excited to keep learning from them.