Here are some things I learned on My Winter Vacation to Oklahoma:

– Oklahoma is in The South. I had thought that maybe it was in the midwest, or even on the edge of just plain west. Then I tasted my green beans at dinner. Ham in green beans = The South.

– Tulsa is McMansion central. I’m sure there must be a downtown Tulsa somewhere, but damned if I saw one. All I saw were miles and miles of suburban sprawl, with 70’s ranch houses near the “city center” (which I knew was the city center because the main street is labelled “First Street,”) and then bigger, newer, faux-brick caverns out towards the edges of town (near 71st street.) This answers what had been a puzzle to me: my totally-not-city-slicker relatives have addresses in Tulsa, as opposed to a suburb thereof. Now I realize that this is totally consistent with their non-city-slickerness, as Tulsa is just one big suburb.

– Oklahoma, while warmer than Chicago, is not actually warm. I did that stupid thing where I looked at, saw that it was warmer than Chicago, and decided not to bring a single warm item of clothing because “it’s mild there.” Yes, technically 46 degrees is warmer than 33 degrees, but either way you’re going to want a jacket. Tulsa ladies know this, so for February weddings every single one of them arrives wearing floor length fur coats. I hadn’t seen a fur coat in a while, (except on Adrianna furs commercials,) but apparantly 1988 is still alive and kicking in Tulsa. Let’s not even talk about the woman wearing the bright teal strapless dress with the shoes died to match. Suffice it to say she is from Dallas.

– People in Tulsa are very tan. Unnaturally tan. Sort of a scary, orange, goodness it’s impossible to look at anything besides your tan kind of tan. This applies especially to the bride and groom at this wedding, who looked as though they had taken a Carribbean honeymoon immediately before the ceremony. I blame this tanorexia on the proliferation of tanning salons on every Tulsa corner, in every Tulsa strip mall. (Strip mall, you say? In a city? See “Tulsa is a suburb,” above.) I have never felt so pale.

And that is what I learned from The Tulsa Wedding. Also, some other stuff about my family being officially, once and for all, batshit crazy. But that’s normal for a wedding. The tanning? NOT NORMAL.