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When the Bra Comes Off, the Day Is Done

10 Apr

by Roger White                                                                              

 

So I saw something on Facebook the other day posted by a friend of a Facebook friend’s mother, who is the friend of a friend-in-law’s friend, and it made sense, so I “liked” it even though this friend of a friend-in-law’s friend isn’t really that friendly to me at all. In fact, he’s a bit of a jerk. Anyway, the post went something like this: “In my house, when the wife’s bra comes off, that means it’s the end of the day.”

Wow. That’s one of those statements that is so right on the money that you thought it was always out there but it took someone to verbalize it for you to realize the profundity. Kind of like how when you first heard the song “Yesterday” by The Beatles, it instantly sounded as if it had always been there, since time immemorial. Those occasions are singular and exceptional. When Paul McCartney reached up into the ether and pulled down the notes and lyrics to “Yesterday,” he was delving into that rarified eternal stream of thought that few have access to yet all mankind knows it’s been tapped into when they hear it. You can just picture cave men and cave women sitting around the tribal fire nibbling at the last remnants of roasted yak meat, and they’re softly singing:

“Yester-ugh…

All my ugh-ugh seemed so far away,

Now it looks as ugh they’re ugh to stay…

Oh, I bel-ugh in yester-ugh…”

 

Or something. You get the picture. Well, it’s the same in my mind with this guy’s epiphany regarding his wife’s intimate apparel. I’ve been cohabitating with female types since I was born—first with a mom and two older sisters, and now with a wife and two daughter units—and I’ve known almost instinctively since I was a toddler dodging discarded support garments that bra removal means, as far as a woman is concerned, the day is officially over and it’s time to kick back.

Now, I can’t claim to know just exactly what goes on inside the female cranium, but, like I said, I’ve been around this species my whole born days, so I have a bit of a notion. Ya know, like how a ranch hand who has been around horses his whole life knows pretty much what a horse is thinking. Hmm, maybe I should rephrase.

You see, I had to wear a tie at a couple of jobs in my sordid past, and I absolutely hated it. Even the clip-ons. It was so restraining, so binding, so…corporate. My thinking has always been that ties are a man’s bra. They’re just there for show and to keep your neck from sagging.

Well, like I mentioned earlier, I can’t claim to precisely comprehend the complex workings of the fairer brain, and, indeed, this was confirmed when I related recently my theorem about men’s neckwear being the equivalent of women’s chestwear. Upon hearing this hypothesis, my dear spouse choked on her mist green chai tea latte and gave me one of those looks like I have cat poo on my head.

So, recently, being the quasi-curious home scientist that I am, I put my theorem to the test. That’s right, I did something I haven’t done since I was eleven and was going through a very short, confusing phase that involved my mom’s sparkly lip gloss and listening to a lot of Wayne Newton. I put on a bra.

I must say, at first it felt reassuringly snug and comforting—like a hug from an old friend. An old, peculiar and sometimes inappropriate friend. Yet after walking around the house and stretching a bit, I began to get it. To be blunt: Bras suck. They pinch, they poke, and this one in particular did nothing for me. It revealed way too much side/chest flab, and I won’t even begin to go into the horrifying man-cleavage difficulty.

So. To wifey and all you female species types out there, I get it. And ties are not a man’s bra. Only a bra could be as uncomfortable and restraining as a bra. So I say to you ladies, “Danke schoen, darlings, danke schoen…”

 

Roger White is a, uh, a human living in Austin, with his recently bewildered spouse, two horror-struck daughters, an obese and gas-addled dachshund, and a cat recovering from Epstein-Barr Syndrome. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com. Or don’t.

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Daddies, It’s OK to Miss Your Little Girls

28 Aug

by Roger White

Watching my oldest daughter stride so smartly into her senior year of high school, and my youngest girl, a sophomore, confidently follow in her steps, I found myself struck recently with a peculiar mix of great pride and vague twinges of guilt. It took me some soul-searching and serious contemplation—and serious contemplation comes grindingly hard for me these days—to determine the root of my emotional mélange, but I think I figured it out: I miss my little girls. And I feel guilty for missing them because they’re not even gone!

But in a way, they are.

Somewhere along the line, at some moment in time among those precious years, my little girls grew up. Somewhere between those nights reading them Goodnight Moon while they settled to sleep in their Winnie-the-Pooh footsies and then suddenly watching them, dressed so beautifully, walk out the door with their boyfriends, my babies became young women. How did that happen?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll the old jokes about sitting on the front porch with a shotgun aside, watching one’s little girls mature into womanhood is such a tough and tender time for fathers. It’s not so much that I’m not the No. 1 man in their lives anymore. Heck, most of my daughters’ boyfriends so far have been pretty good guys—most of them, mind you. And if you don’t know which list you’re on, boyfriends out there, that’s intentional. Watch your step. No, it’s the small things I miss—those little girl moments like the times I would take them for a ride up the stairs, either piggyback or on my feet, as bedtime came; those long summer days at the neighborhood pool when they would yell for me to throw them higher into the air for that great splash; the giggles and smiles I’d receive when I’d bring them little toys and trinkets; and the unashamed kisses and hugs I somehow took for granted. One of my sweetest memories of those days is the time I was tucking my youngest in for the night, and she asked me: “Daddy, can I marry you when I grow up?” Gets me every time when I think about that.

Now that they’re teenagers, most shows of affection—and bits of parental advice—are usually met with a long roll of the eyes and a sarcastic “Oh, Dad!” But I know that’s only normal. The species humanus teenageus can be a snarling, confounding breed. My wife and I often sit and ponder when that time will come when they first realize we’re not complete lamebrains and they utter those cherished words: “Mom and Dad, you were right!”

And now that I’ve had time to work through my thoughts, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s OK to miss my little girls. They’re big girls now, and I love them with all of my heart for who they are and for the bright, talented adults they’ll become. One of the things I’m most thankful for is that even though I’ll always miss those days of Barbies and cartoons and forts made of bedsheets—and letting them do makeovers on me in their Two Sisters Salon—I didn’t miss the days as they happened. It wasn’t all roses; all parents know and ruh rohappreciate the great challenge, the tremendous patience, and the utter lack of sleep involved in raising little ones—but I wouldn’t trade those days for anything in the world. Well, on second thought, if I had it all to do over again, I’d skip the fingernail polish. How on earth do you get that out?

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat dachshund, and a self-absorbed cat. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com.

A Penny Earned Is a Penny Spent

9 Oct

by Roger White 

Powerful thing, motivation. Think about it. With proper motivation, master sculptor Gutzon Borglum led a small army of workers from 1927 to 1941 to transform a stark South Dakota mountaintop into the 60-foot high carvings of presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln we now know as Mount Rushmore. With an amazing store of motivation, Latvian immigrant Edward Leedskalnin took 28 years to single-handedly construct the astounding Coral Castle in southern Florida, a bizarre collection of more than 1,000 tons of limestone monoliths—all fashioned together so intricately and mysteriously that the estate is a major tourist attraction today.

Yet more unbelievable than that, given the appropriate amount of motivation, a 14-year-old daughter who normally wouldn’t deign to put her dirty dishes in the sink is now dynamo girl—washing the family cars, plucking weeds from the yard, sweeping sidewalks, and (gasp) even cleaning her room. To fully appreciate the (gasp), one must experience this room for one’s self. But if I shared an actual photo of this, this…place with all of you ones then this one would surely be shunned by our young one for a long, long time. And we might risk a visit from a certain one wearing a CPS jacket. But I digress.

Borglum’s motivation was fame, spiced with a hefty dose of national pride. Leedskalnin was inspired by mad genius. Our kiddo? Cold, hard cash. And the fact that she’s been coveting some $100 pair of shorts that she simply must have because “all the girls are wearing them.” Personally, I think shelling out a nice, crisp Ben Franklin for some scant fabric that will likely be passé within three months time is ridiculous, but who am I to argue fashion? I still have a leisure suit in the closet. A green leisure suit. And saddle shoes. Besides, if I can spring for a fiver here and there to avoid yardwork, I say give the kid some real-world responsibilities. Heck, she’s even learning the fine art of negotiation. You should have heard her working her grandmother; she would have made a used-car dealer proud.

Bubbie: “Jamie, I hear you’re needing some money. I’ll pay you five dollars to wash my car.”

Jamie: “Five dollars? Your car’s filthy. Look at it. Twenty.”

Bubbie: “You’d charge your dear, old Bubbie twenty dollars? I’m on a fixed income! Seven.”

Jamie: “It’s a mess! How do you drive that thing? Fifteen.”

Bubbie: “Eight.”

Jamie: “Ten, take it or leave it.”

Bubbie: “Do the windows and hubcaps?”

Jamie: “You’re a hard one, Bub. Deal. Cash up front.”

I must say, watching our entrepreneurial offspring make sky-high stacks (as they say on “Breaking Bad”) has now motivated Mom and Dad. Thanks to our beneficent Bubbie, who has grown weary of her massive collection of mint-in-box Barbies, we’ve recently found ourselves in possession of several hundred anatomically exaggerated blondes in everything from Bob Mackie gowns and Queen Elizabeth garb to Harley leather. Our first instinct was a giant garage sale, but Bubbie scolded us into submission. These are collector’s items, she insisted. Look them up!

So we did. Sweet ghost of G.I. Joe’s grandma, she was right! Apparently, the first edition Harley Davidson Barbie goes for about seven hundred dollars. Another one in that same series lists for almost as much. Whole bunches of these tiny babes sell for pretty pennies, based on how many they made and how hard they are to find. And then there are the variations and errors. On some models, they may have run out of brown paint for Barbie’s eyes, so they made five or six of that line with blue eyes. Or a certain doll may be mistakenly looking left instead of right. Or a certain Ken doll may accidentally have three testicles. To true collectors, these rare gems are the golden fleeces of Barbie hunting. And these crazed toy hunters are willing to pay beaucoup bucks to get them.

OK, I was joking about the Ken doll. Stop searching. But hey, if you need your weeds plucked, I know a kid…

 

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat dachshund, and a self-absorbed cat. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com.

Amityville Ain’t Got Nothing on Me

14 Nov

by Roger White

Those of you who follow along with the home version of This Old Spouse are surely aware of my fondness for all things Rod Serling, Alfred Hitchcock, and even a trifle Stephen King. However, just because these guys are my personal heroes does not mean for one minute that what I’m about to lay on you is fictional, counterfeit, or even a tad exaggerated.

What I’m about to tell you is as true as Abe Lincoln’s golf score, I promise. The tale that shall henceforth unfold is, as Johnny Carson used to say, some weird, wild stuff, so I suggest we all gather ’round the campfire and turn off our flashlights. Feel free to hold hands with the person next to you, if you wish. Wait, did you hear that? Probably a coyote.

Okay, here goes: My house is haunted. The end.

 

No, just kidding. Just kidding about the end, not about my house being haunted. I’m serious. My wife and girls will vouch for me. It started some years back when little things began to move around in my daughter Lindsey’s room. It all began with the Barbie car. When Linz was little, she had a pink remote control Barbie car, which went with the pink Barbie house and all the pink Barbie accessories and pink Barbie dog and pink Barbie dog poo and pink Barbie clothes and all that other cute pink stuff. And I guess there was a pink Barbie in there somewhere, too. Anyway, one day we noticed the cute little pink Barbie car running around in slow circles in Lindsey’s room—and Barbie was not behind the wheel! (She was passed out from her little pink Barbie happy hour she had with Ken, Midge, Kanga, Tigger, and Polly Pocket the night before.) We figured the remote got stuck face down somewhere, so we hunted for it. When we found it, none of the cute, little pink buttons were pushed – the car was supposed to be off. And there it was, running around and crashing into furniture, making me wonder if somebody sold little pink Barbie liability insurance. It happened a couple more times, too. (Although one time, I must confess, while I observed the ghostly little pink Barbie car traveling by itself all over the room, I discovered Lindsey hiding, snickering, and working the remote. Very funny, Lindsey.)

Seriously, Lindsey’s room — and the garage beneath — host some sort of poltergeisty presence. It may be a little pink poltergeisty presence, but I’m not sure. I could just be hung up on the Barbie thing. Lindsey her own self has noticed things in different places from where she left them in her room, and at times when she was certain no one else had entered her room. Well, except for the cat. But I don’t think Max the cat would be able to move Lindsey’s nail polish from her bed to her closed dresser drawer, unless someone’s been training Max to open drawers—and appreciate the finer aspects of nail care. I have noticed, however, how shiny and polished Max’s claws are of late. Naaaah. I’m more willing to believe we have a ghost than believe that our male cat has gone metrosexual. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

And the garage beneath Lindsey’s room? Let’s just say Amityville has nothing on our little domicile. My wife’s cousin, Karen, came to visit one time, and she can bear witness to the following: We were all getting ready to go out to dinner one night when Karen, my wife Sue, and I noticed Sue’s car in the garage locking and unlocking itself. It was as if someone was saying, “Don’t go out to eat tonight. Ooooh.” We went anyway, but our poltergeist was right. The dinner was lousy and way overpriced. But that’s not the end of the story. When we got back from going out to eat, as we came to a stop in the garage, Karen spied something unusual sitting on top of her purse. It was a Phillips-head drill bit, from my power drill I keep on the shelf in the garage. No one admitted to putting it there, and I’m certain it was my drill bit because when I checked, sure enough, it was missing.

The thing of it is, this is the power drill I inherited from my father-in-law, who passed away years ago, when Sue and I were dating. As cousin Karen held the drill bit up, we all eyed each other with that Rod Serling feeling climbing all over us. Doo doo, doo doo, doo doo, doo doo.

“So what’s the message?” I asked.

“It’s obvious,” Sue replied. “It’s my dad. He’s saying, ‘Don’t screw around on my daughter.’”

Aha. I hear ya, Ed. And I’m walking the straight and narrow.

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat dachshund, and a self-absorbed cat. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com.