|Dangerspouse Rides Again|
Garage - Track
Dec. 08, 2013 - 6:45 a.m.
If It Bleeds, It Leads.
(Sorry for the delay. Dad came up for a week-long visit, and our computer room is also our guest bedroom. More about that later....)
Every year, without fail, I do all my Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve on my drive home from work. All of it. Whatever store is open gets my business, no matter what they sell. As you might imagine, this has resulted in NewWifey(tm) unwrapping some rather "unorthodox" presents the next day, as the only establishments that tend to be open along my route are gas stations and Chinese restaurants. So NewWifey(tm) is used to gaily wrapped 5-gallon jugs of anti-freeze, and beautifully ribboned take-out containers of wonton soup. Both of which fortunately she likes.
But this year I'm bucking tradition and ordering a present online well before my December 24 start date. Because I've found this and I don't want to risk it being sold out once word gets out it's available. Pretty classy, huh? And it's made in America! (Granted, only because it's illegal to print in every other shirt making country on the planet.)
When I saw this shirt it immediately brought back memories of an incident that happened about 10 years ago, back when NewWifey(tm) still had all her girl plumbing.
I grew up in a vast ocean of estrogen, the lone boy in a family otherwise occupied by 4 sisters and a mom. Yeah, I had a dad. But he worked an average of 20 hours a day to support us all, so for most of my youth I was the only dues paying member of Club Testosterone at our house.
Hellish as that was, there were a few upsides. For one thing, by the time I hit high school I had my pick of all their hot friends. That was a biggie. For another, from an early age I became intimately acquainted with the wonders of feminine biology.
Are you familiar with the little factoid that women who live together in groups sync their cycles; Alpha Bitch first, subordinates next? I knew that looooong before I read about it. I had an average of 3 peaceful days every month before my mom started getting bloated and cranky again, then the oldest sister, then the next, then the next, then the youngest. I think a full third of our family budget was spent on feminine products and chocolate. We had 20-gallon wastepaper baskets in every bathroom of the house. Any guest who looked in probably thought we were a family of hemophiliacs.
And guess who had to buy all the feminine products for about 5 years?
Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!
Yes, the only one without a womb was the one charged with stopping off at the A&P once a month and clearing their shelves of anything and everything labeled "Super Absorbent". I knew which of my sisters liked wings, which needed adhesive strips, and which one couldn't use OB's because she was short and would trip over the string. I knew what all the colors meant.
WHY was the only boy in a family of 5 women doing all the feminine products shopping? Probably because when they screamed at me to do it I was too scared to refuse. But also because I was the oldest kid, which meant I got my car license before my sisters did. My mom figured that since my drive home from school took me past a grocery store she could hand off all food shopping duties to me. And "food shopping", I discovered the very first week, meant "food and feminine products shopping". My mom sat me down, handed me a list that started with '2 quarts skim milk' and ended with "Always MAXI".
"Do you know what those are?" she said.
"It means you're always fat?"
After she hit me she explained what they were, why the different colors were important, and where in the store I could find them. That last part was unnecessary. She'd been dragging me along on grocery runs since before I was weaned, and that aisle was always the first one she made a beeline to. I didn't have a problem finding them.
I did have a problem buying them. It was one thing to be a 10 year old kid standing next to his mom who was toting a basket overflowing with pads, liners, insertables, lubricants, and wildflower douches. It was quite another to be 16 and toting that bag yourself. Especially - and I can't emphasize this enough - especially when all the girls in my senior class seemed to have after-school jobs as cashiers at that store. I used to sit in the parking lot watching through a pair of binoculars to see when one of them would go on break. If I saw an older employee cover for her while she was gone I'd sprint into the store, sweep the entire aisle of products into my basket in one motion, them get to that fill-in's line and pray I'd be able to pay and run back to my car before the girl got back.
Eventually I got, if not actually used to it, resigned to it. I stopped paying bums 5 dollars to go in for me, stopped wearing Insane Clown Posse makeup, stopped wearing dark glasses and a cane hoping people would think I was blind and didn't know what I was buying, and just grabbed a basket and bought the damn things. My prediction came true: I didn't get many dates after that...but honestly, I wasn't getting many before that either.
So this went on for a couple of years. Then I went away to college and it just seemed natural to keep up that routine with subsequent girlfriends. All of them thought it was really, really creepy at first, and some were even frightened when I gave recommendations based on how their bathroom smelled. But most of them eventually grew to appreciate having a boyfriend who they could ask to bring over two 6-packs and a Kotex. ASAP.
Finally, of course, I got married. And as I've mentioned many, many times before, my wife and I have a non-negotiable division of labor. She: cuts the lawn, shovels the drive, repairs the roof, fixes the cars, puts out, does the bills, does the laundry, de-worms the corgi, trouble shoots the computer, pats my head, vacuums the place once a year, and bails me out when needed. I: cook.
She says she got the better end of the deal. I have to cook 3 times a day. She's only had to repair the roof twice in 15 years.
Now part of cooking, of course, is shopping. And since I pass a Shop-Right, an A&P, a Stop-n-Shop, a WalMart, a Target and two liquor stores on my way home from work everyday, I still buy everything NewWifey(tm) needs for around the house. Including, up until her hysterectomy, feminine products.
Which is all just a long intro to a very brief encounter that I was reminded of when I saw that anatomically correct t-shirt up there. One day I was standing in line at the Stop-n-Shop with my little hand basket of veggies and a 10-pack box of Always Ultra "Normal Plus". There was woman in front of me wearing a nicely taylored business suit, holding a plastic clam shell of salad she was no doubt bringing back to the cubicle. She must have spotted the turquoise pillow-pack on top of my kale and curiosity was driving her crazy because she turned her body sideways in line and surreptitiously glanced down at my basket every few seconds. Finally she couldn't stand it any longer.
"You know" she said, looking straight at me and in a real tone of indignation, "my husband would NEVER lower himself to buying those for me" and she nodded at the Always pack.
"That's because his wife doesn't give good head" I said.
She stared at me without saying anything for 4 or 5 seconds, her cheeks turning visibly scarlet. Then she jammed her uneaten salad into a display case of Snickers and Tic-Tacs and stomped out of the store. But just before she reached the exit she turned and screamed across 11 checkout aisle, "SHE DOES TO!". Probably 30 startled customers looked up to see what was going on, but all they saw was the back of an ill-fitting Ann Taylor Loft off-the-rack pants suit sprinting to an Audi A4 and peeling out of the parking lot in a spray of gravel.
Musta been her time of the month.
Ciao, kids. Have a bloody good day.
ps. Click this just because it's in keeping with today's theme. I like that it's 2-tone. Call it "crotche". I do.