Dear Hydrangeas

by Meghan O’Keefe

Dear Hydrangeas,

I hope you’re doing OK. From what I’ve gathered, it’s been kind of a rough couple of months for you. Madonna revealed to the Venice Film Festival that she absolutely loathes you. And as someone who grew up worshiping Madonna, I can only imagine how that must have stung. Then today in my office, I overheard the receptionist sneer, “I told the florists not to bring them anymore. They’re pretty, but hydrangeas die so quickly!” My heart plummeted. Not only does the Queen of Pop disdain you, but you have a short lifespan in vases. In addition to all of this, I still harbor guilt about ascribing a cheap “I’m gay” punchline to you back in May.

The thing is, you are very beautiful. You have exquisite petals that come in a rainbow of pastels. However, you are not a delicate, wilting weed. You bloom from shrubbery. Your roots reach down deep into the ground like the strongest of plant life. I’ve also read that some of you have trouble blooming. A lot of this has to do with how you are or are not properly pruned. There are a lot of rules about pruning hydrangeas. For instance, now it is too late to prune you. You should have been pruned in July. If not, you probably won’t bloom at all next year. Evidently, you’re really high-maintenance. I don’t consider this a bad thing. Consider other high-maintenance people: Mariah Carey, Sally Albright, and me. That is some good company to keep, hydrangeas.

I read a story recently on a hydrangea website and almost started to cry. In the story, a woman had finally met the love of her life. His home had a hydrangea bush that was always green but never bloomed. The potential for beauty was always there, but had never been fulfilled. The woman told the man that he had been pruning his shrub wrong. He disagreed. She convinced him to let her prune his bush that year. The next spring, it still didn’t bloom, so he complained to her. She was insistent that he trust her. Then, in May, the hydrangea bush finally bloomed. I like to think of the hydrangea in this story as a metaphor for how relationships need trust to blossom. However, that could be because my boyfriend just broke up with me and he never even gave me flowers. I’m in a fragile place, hydrangeas. You should understand.

Look, hydrangeas, you’re beautiful and under-appreciated. You know how when you watch Mona Lisa Smile or Win a Date With Tad Hamilton or He’s Just Not That Into You on cable and you just want to stop the movie and hug Ginnifer Goodwin because her characters are these sweet, lovely things who would be so much less annoying if they knew they were loved more? Hydrangeas, you are the Ginnifer Goodwin of flowers. I want to hug you and give you self-esteem. Unfortunately, if I hugged you, I’d crush you, so I’ll just send you this letter instead.

So, now that I’ve gotten to know you better, I really like you, hydrangeas. I wouldn’t worry about what Madonna thinks about you. She’s directing a movie that’s basically The King’s Speech without any of the likable protagonists, esteemed actors, or witty dialogue that made The King’s Speech special. I mean, I’m still going to see W.E. when it comes out, but I’m not going to take it very seriously. Also, I hope you keep on appearing in my office bouquets because that snooty receptionist needs to learn how to appreciate you. Finally, I promise I won’t joke about you anymore. You’re hydrangeas. You deserve more than to be a throwaway punchline. (But I will say that receiving lavender means “You seem really stressed out and I want you to chill out, get some sleep and stop worrying about whether or not you can have it all BECAUSE YOU CAN’T.”)

A random girl on the Internet

Previously: The Modern Meanings of Flowers.

Meghan O’Keefe is a comedian and writer living in New York City.