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Sarah Jane Woodall: The joy of yes

<p>Sarah Jane Woodall</p>

Sarah Jane Woodall

A fortune cookie once told me, “Those who say yes have more fun.” Since then, I’ve made it my policy never to turn down an invitation, to anything, because you never know when you’ll have a life-alteringly fabulous experience.

Recently, my policy was tested — when I was invited to a wealthy polygamist’s holiday party.

The invitation came from a friend who grew up in an FLDS (fundamentalist Mormon) compound with 12 moms and a year’s supply of powdered bread stashed in a doomsday bunker. Apparently he has a sense of humor about it, because he invited me, a godless heathen Jezebel, to his uncle’s Christmas bash. But this was not your typical juice-and-Jell-O Mormon party — I was promised a dressy affair in a beautiful mansion, with a gaggle of sister-wives in attendance and plenty of free-flowing wine.

Wine? At a Mormon party? Was this just a ruse to lure in a potential new sister-wife? Would I end up roofied, waking up the next morning in the bed of a bearded patriarch on a ranch in Arizona? But, like all Mormons, the friend who invited me is so gosh-darned nice that my only real worry was what to wear. All my party dresses are on the slutty side, and I didn’t want to offend anyone — I’ve seen FLDS women at the Walmart outside Zion, and they dress very modestly. I went with a full-length gown, and met my friend at a hotel in Henderson, where a shuttle service ferried us up to Seven Hills.

There, I found myself in a fabulous mansion, with breathtaking, panoramic views of the Strip and a hundred or more golly-gee-wholesome men, women and children milling around, munching hors d’oeuvres … and swilling wine! Everyone was drinking — even the demurely clad sister-wives. Apparently, the gregarious host of the party not only has mountains of cash and 15 wives — he also owns a vineyard. And as promised, his party was off the hook.

After an introductory glass of champagne on the patio, we were escorted to the wine cellar, located just off the rec room, which was tastefully decorated with nude artwork ranging from old-timey naked-cowgirl-in-a-rusty-bucket tintypes to classic naked-blonde-on-a-Corvette pinups. Hardly what you’d expect at a religious fundamentalist’s house.

Five or 10 glasses of wine later, I had kicked off my shoes and was dancing merrily on the arm of a polygamist to the strains of a live mariachi band. If that’s not good times, I don’t know what is. When the band finished, the jolly host played DJ on his iPad — and as sick as I am of the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling,” I’m here to tell you that there is no better soundtrack for dancing with polygamists.

When the dancing wound down, the host passed out sheet music and everyone gathered at the grand piano, where a matronly PTA-type banged out favorites like “Edelweiss” while we all sang along with boozy gusto. I don’t know when I’ve had that much fun!

Looking around me at all the ruddy-cheeked, singing faces, it struck me that everyone was so happy. Sure, the wine had something to do with it, but it seemed that in this case, at least, the polygamist lifestyle is nothing like the dour calico-and-cornbread existence I’d imagined. These people really put the “fun” in fundamentalism, and I must admit, if the host had asked me to be Wife No. 16, I probably would have stuck by my policy and said YES!

Alas, he already had his eye on a strapping young brunette. So the rest of us had to be content with raising our glasses in a toast: To the host! To the party! To saying yes!

SARAH JANE WOODALL blogs like a wildcat at