Use Your Words
Having a boyfriend is a bit like having a baby. Well, not like having a baby, but like counting a baby among your daily responsibilities.
For one, there's the fierce protectiveness that had me forbid Simon to ever go into a grocery store again because Sunday night on CSI a supermarket robbery gone bad = body count of five, including two innocent bystanders who just needed a carton of coffee creamer. "Fine by me," he said. "But where will we get groceries?" "From the Internet," I replied, using my superior reasoning skills, "because the Internet is perfectly safe. No psychos there..."
Two: I'm constantly taking his picture because he's just so gosh-darn cute. Forget composition, lighting, focus, just snap away to capture the moment, any moment, even one as mundane as standing in the music room getting ready to go to the beach sans any kind of facial expression or sense of purpose whatsoever.
Three: People write about teaching their babies to talk, building their children's vocabularies--and hence their universes--one "ball," "cat," and "truck" at a time. Similarly, having a boyfriend also involves some lexicon development, although thankfully mine pretty much had the "ball" and "cat" thing down before I got to him.
The most common kind of boyfriend vocabulary lesson is probably learning the names of flowers ("What's that? A cala lily! Right!" "Now show me the chrysanthemum. Good boy! Have a cookie!"), but last weekend we tackled a more advanced lesson: ladies' fashions. While we wandered around Berkeley buying "sophisticated" T-shirts (babysteps into adulthood, okay?), I taught Simon new words like "goucho" and "city short" and "cowl neck." By the end of the day, he was pointing out the difference between capris and clamdiggers with all the accuracy and gusto of a Queer Eye.
And even better? Like a baby learns that "quack quack" goes with "duck" and "moo" goes with "cow," Simon learned that *eyeroll* goes with city shorts and *gag-me-with-a-spoon* goes with leggings. I'm so proud of my little scholar, disparaging the blind trendsters like a seasoned critic. Look out Mr. Blackwell! (Confession: Now, having actually tried on a pair of city shorts when he wasn't looking, I think I may regret having taught him to mock them so effectively; with my lumpy thighs, I should be all about embracing inseams that measure in inches rather than centimeters, even if they remind me of growing up in a society where people buy clothes specifically to cover up their magic underwear, making Daisy Dukes a brave act of spiritual rebellion rather than just a brazen flaunting of sex appeal. For now, the jury's still out on city shorts. I'll keep you posted.)
If one must be trendy, however, one should do it at cost. Damned if I'll pay $58 for a floofy white skirt too short for work when it's only worth $10 on a good day and will be out of style in three months. And thus it was with much callooing and callaying that I discovered just such a $58 floofy white skirt on sale for $10 at Urban Outfitters. And if there's one thing I like better than $10 clothes, it's $10 clothes that used to be $58 clothes, and I was so pleased with my purchase that I didn't even wait until we got home to give Simon a fashion show of all my new purchases, but instead shimmied out of an old skirt and into the new one as soon as we were back in the car. Yes, I was excited, but I also I figured I'd better start getting my ten dollars out of something that might be passť by next week. As we pulled away from the curb, I was already wriggling into my new teal cowl neck with cutesy cap sleeves, voguing in the passenger seat like a giddy moron. All of this with my seatbelt on, of course. Safety first!
There was something peculiar about the skirt, though, and I think it explains why it was both the only one like it on the rack as well as the lowest priced article of clothing in the store:
If I'm a size 1, slap my face and call me Beauregard because I there's no way I can wear anything on my bottom half smaller than my shoe size, which, you should know, is in the double digits. At five foot eight and a half inches, my ass would have to fit down a well snug alongside Jessica McClure to be a size 1. Not that I'm complaining. Hooray for misprints that make me feel like a tiny buttercup of a girl! Good way to win loyal, albeit deluded, customers.
Which brings me back to boyfriends and fashion and a little something known as the "Flattery Will Get You Everywhere" principle. Many moons ago, Simon came home with a small pink bag with seafoam green tissue paper enthusing from the top and through the white twine loop handles. Inside was a three-pack of panties--nothing dirty, just briefs with pink vintagey cartoon ladies in various acrobatic (but not dirty!) poses. "They didn't have any mediums," he said, "and I thought the larges would be too big, so I got the smalls. I hope that's okay."
First, hello, he bought me a present for no reason, which may be among the top five reasons I keep him around since he does it all the time. Second, he thinks I can wear a small! He thinks I can wear a small! He's not often wrong about things, but let me tell you, when he's wrong, he can be soooooo right. I squeezed my thighs through those leg holes like ground meat through a sausage press, but dammit if I wasn't going to make myself be a size S for the boy who is fully aware that I'm no size S, or size 1, as evidenced by his frequent serenades in the vein of "you can do side-bends or sit-ups, but please don't lose that butt..."
To this day, the underwear remains in my repertoire and is among my favorite gifts ever. When I wear them my legs turn purple and I have grooves in my cheeks for two days after, but what's that compared to knowing that I am in love with a man who will never answer honestly when I ask him, "Honey, does this make me look fat?"Previous Next