Friday, June 22, 2018

Here's how I turned my outdoorsman boyfriend into a proud "buy-sexual"

July 2009

“Does this look okay?”

He is standing in the doorway wearing an oversized, faded red and blue Hawaiian shirt with baggy, oatmeal-colored bathing suit bottoms. There are worn, brown leather sandals on his feet. 

Scottie and I met a year earlier in treatment.  It had been easy to ignore his wardrobe-choices at The Meadows in Wickenburg, Arizona.  July of 2008 had been nothing short of oppressively hot (in the triple digits every day) and we were told to bring comfortable clothes for a thirty-day stay (clothes, which we wouldn’t mind getting dirty).   Plus, if his packing experience had been anything like mine (racing around for 45 minutes, hiding empty bottles, blinded by tears), any wardrobe faux pas could be easily forgiven.

But here we are in Los Angeles, nearly a year post-treatment, trying on this new (and highly unlikely) romance.  And he now shows up for our sushi date in  -- well, this. 

“Umm,” I start.  I falter when I see the innocent look on his face.

I feel a match lighting in my stomach.

“What?” His blue eyes are wide with uncertainty. 

I want to just hug him and tell him that its okay.  I want to tell him that what he’s wearing is perfectly fine.  That I'm sure Hawaiian shirts are still “in” some where in the world (but honestly - do they even still wear them in Hawaii?!?).  I want to tell him that I don’t mind his worn, brown leather sandals, but the words stick in my throat.

“No, Honey.” 

It is barely a whisper.  I can’t look up at him. I hear his huge shirt rustling around his rib cage as he takes a few steps toward me.

Oh my God.

“No?!" His tone is incredulous. "Is that what you said?”

I look up at him suddenly.  A surge of heat from that lit match rises from my chest into my throat.

“No, it’s not okay.  In fact it’s terrible.  You can’t wear that old, huge Hawaiian shirt to get go sushi with me.  You can’t wear those swim trunks out in public.  And I hate, I mean I really HATE those sandals.  You can’t wear those either.  Not to lunch.  Not EVER!!"

I’m panting slightly now, taking in big gulps of air while I stare at him.  A year’s worth of "opinion-stuffing" is now out on the floor between us.  He eyes me back evenly and then steps over to a mirror by my front door. Immediately, I feel my body start to cool.

“You mean you don’t like this?  It’s not like I was trying to dress up or anything.  We’re just going down the street to get something to...”

I walk over to him and gently place my hands on his broad shoulders.

“I can help,” I say pleadingly, staring at his eyes in the mirror.  “We can go shopping, okay?  You just need a few key pieces.”

“Seriously, Laura?” he holds his arms out to the side as if I should inspect him further, like maybe I missed something.

“This shirt is REALLY not ok?!”

“It’s offensive,” I say kissing him on his tanned cheek.  “And the bathing suit…”

“It’s not a bathing suit,” he says defensively.  “They’re surf shorts, Patagonia surf shorts.”

I place my finger over his soft lips and face him.  Our noses are less than an inch apart.

“Shhhh. ”  I’m shaking my head as I take a step back. 

“All of this,” I say making a big circle with my hand as if I’m erasing the outfit from his body.  “All of this has to go, Honey -- I’m sorry.  You’re simply drowning in this baggy North-Face-sale-rack-looking stuff.  You have this athletic build and those amazing shoulders.  I know you’ve been in the mountains of Utah for 20 years but you live in LA now.  We need to get you clothes that fit. Clothes that people wear in CITIES when they go to lunch.  Clothes, preferably from this decade.”

I smile widely at him and move in for a kiss. 

“Trust me?”

April 2018

“Honey, you’ve got another package from James Perse?”

I’ve kicked the box as I opened the front door.  As it appears to divide in half, I realize that it’s not actually one box but two.

Scottie comes striding toward me from the kitchen with a grin on his face.

“Hi Honey.  That’s my jacket I hope — and maybe that button down I've been waiting for...”

I drink him in for a moment.  He is wearing jeans that are the perfect wash of dark blue.  The fit makes his legs look even longer.  He wears a thin, white button down shirt under a black cashmere sweater with a slight V-neck. 

“That jacket you said you wanted the other night?” I say with a pout.  “I was going to buy you that jacket for your birthday.”

“There’s a Rag & Bone blazer that I’ve been eyeing too.”  He scoops up the packages without missing a beat.  “Wanna see?”

*  *  *

As we’re lying in bed that night I grow impatient waiting for him to put his laptop down so that we can snuggle and watch the season finale of Homeland.  It’s all we’ve both been talking about for a week and now he seems preoccupied.

“Whatcha looking at, Hon?” I say reaching for my reading glasses so that I can see his screen.  His eyebrows are knit in concentration.  He gives me an absentminded, sideways kiss on the cheek as if to say goodnight.

“I had these pants in my shopping basket.  The soft, black track-pants I told you about? Now I can’t find them anywhere.”

“Honey?” I say with some bass in my voice.  “Homeland, remember?  Any second now someone’s going to post a spoiler!”

“Got 'em!” He startles me as he raises his arms suddenly in triumph.  He turns to me with a wide grin.  He looks giddy with relief. 

“Let me just buy them, Honey --  so I don’t lose them again. And then we can watch, okay?”

He gives me another kiss, only slightly better than the one before.  His eyes are glued back to the screen.

Lord - what have I done? 

"Honey," I say, willing him to look over at me.

I sit there digesting the fact that I've actually created a clothes monster when I remember an article that I'd read in the Sunday New York Times. The article had coined a term for "hetero" men who really like clothes.  A term for men like Scott.

"Ladies," it read, "If your guy has great taste in jackets and his shoe closet rivals yours, you might be lucky enough to have stumbled upon a fashion-world 'urban legend'- the 'Buy-Sexual' man..."

"Almost done, Hon," he calls out (as if I'm not inches away from his head).  "This is all your fault, you know," he smiles.   "You can't really be mad at me."

At least they're all really great pieces.  And he hasn't even needed input from me in years...

“Okay Hon," I smile.  "Take your time." I kiss him on the forehead and settle back against my pillows.  “And by the way, Hon?  Those pants?  They are really, really good.”

Photocred: JW

Friday, June 1, 2018

Sending out a group text or a mass Graphics Interchange Format (aka GIF)? Well here’s a tip for you: You can miss me with that s#it (for real)

“Let’s see how many hearts of love you are willing to give.  I’ll be waiting on mine…”


I turn off my already parked car and angrily open my Facebook Messenger settings.

Audrey, Audrey, Audrey…

How the fu@# can I block this woman? 

Just as I think I may have succeeded in blocking Audrey I get another message notification.

“It’s a blessing to have a friend like you…”  This GIF has flashing diamonds and gold hearts.

Michael?  Who the hell is Michael? I don’t even know this person. 

I look up his profile and see that he is “friends” with about 100 of my distant relatives (none of whom I have ever actually met or spoken with).  I turn back to Messenger and scroll back up to settings.

“It’s NOT a 'blessing' Michael! You know why?  Because I’m not your friend!!!”

My yelling startles a woman walking by my car. She quickly looks the other way and picks up the pace.

"Happy Mother's Day!" This GIF is from someone named Amy.  "I hope I get one back!"

Answer me this, Amy - is it really a Happy Mother's Day message when you're asking for (demanding) one in return?  Have I even ever met you in real life, Amy? Where is this sense of entitlement coming from?

“Hallelujah!"—  Hails a gold, sparkly "Jesus GIF" from someone named Terry.  “Just a lil something to brighten your day.”

I don’t know what I resent more — the assumption that I am a Christian and will appreciate this religious image, the implication that my day needs brightening or the use of that lazy contraction, "lil" (which also happens to be a favorite prefix for many rapper's names).

I want to message each of them back in all caps: DON’T YOU DARE ever, never, ever - SEND ME NOT ONE MORE MASS GIF! EVER!!!

I picture Terry, Amy, Audrey and Michael sitting eagerly in front of their desktop computers in their living rooms waiting for responses to their respective GIFs.  (Living rooms, which I’m sure are filled with plastic-covered sofas, needlepoint pillows and porcelain knick-knacks)

They’re probably smiling and thinking, “This is definitely going to brighten someone’s day” or “Maybe this person could really use some random, bouncing multi-colored hearts in their lives,” or “This person will know that they have a TRUE friend now!  As evidenced by this glittery, flashing, neon friendship sign!

So yes - I’m kind of a Scrooge when it comes to ANY KIND of mass message.   For instance, an ill-timed group text can send me over the edge just as easily as a mass GIF.  This past Saturday, as some of you know, was prom for many LA-area schools.

The first group text came in Sunday morning at 5:45.

“Just wanted to share some prom pictures!”

Even without my glasses I can see that she’s used at least 20 “cheerful” Emoji’s.

Emoji over-use. Right up there with people who call me while chewing...

I place (slam) my phone back down on my nightstand, cursing her COMPLETE lack of consideration. 

Before six on a Sunday morning??? Who does that?!

Just as I am drifting back to sleep, the responses start coming in -- making my phone vibrate like an angry swarm of bees.


“So handsome!”

“Time really flies!”

“Good looking couple”

“Good job, Mama.”

What the….!!!!  Don’t any of these people know how to reply OFF OF the text thread?  How can they not?  And what are all these people even doing up?!?

It makes me wonder -- who actually likes these things?  I mean do you care for group texts and their inevitable chain-responses?  Do you enjoy mass GIFs? Do you read and appreciate all of those bulk holiday messages (Happy Cinco De Mayo!).  And if you do like them, do you ever respond to them?  And if no one is responding, why do people keep sending them?!?

But let’s just assume for discussion's sake, that I am ALL ALONE on this.  Let’s say that I am the only one who has ever growled out loud at a mass GIF — that I am the only person whose daily serenity has been ruined by the unbridled hemorrhaging of obligatory responses to some random group text (or email).  Am I not allowed to be frustrated?  Pissed off?  Fed up?

And my rant would not be complete if I didn’t include one more major pet peeve of mine: New acquaintances who send you one or two word texts first thing in the morning.

“Hey” or "Hi" (These seem to be the most popular)

 Or another favorite:

“Good morning" 

Huh? Good morning?  

Well, not anymore!  In fact, you may have just ruined a potentially good morning by sending me this incredibly irritating text at 7:00am.

And just how am I supposed to respond to Hey, Hi or Good morning?  Should I send a meaningless one or two-word text in return?  I mean are they asking me to begin an entire daylong, monosyllabic text-exchange? 

I’m sorry but this is not “cute." This is not a conversation starter, people, this is a passive/aggressive friendship-ender.  You’re texting me but you're not really saying anything.  Why?

I'd rather you just call and tell me what's on your mind (or just don't send a text if you don't know what to say).

Either way, I'll have more respect for you.

So, shall we review?

No more mass GIF's to “brighten my day” (and just so you know, I will NEVER pass anything you send to me along to 10 "friends" - EVER).

No more group texts where I receive multiple responses, please.  Seeing all those replies pour in one after another makes me want to smash my phone (over your head).

And lastly, no single word salutations from anyone (but especially from new friends).   They make me instantly hate you (plus I refuse to take the bait). 

And no, I’m not ever responding to any of the above — ever.