Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Mommy Kind of Way

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Anyone who has ever seen me after 6 p.m. knows that my typical evening attire includes an extra-large t-shirt, baggy pajama bottoms, white socks and leather sandals. But Manfriend was coming over for dinner last night, and I wanted to look nice for once. Usually that means a slightly less voluminous t-shirt, wearing a bra, rolling up my pajama legs, and not wearing the white socks. However, this time I took my makeover to a new level: I wore a matching set of pajamas and the same color sandals. This actually looked like an outfit.

Breaking out this set of pajamas wasn’t easy for me: I had received them as a gift two birthdays ago, and the tags were still attached. One of my best-ever friends had given them to me over lunch, responding quickly to the somewhat disgusted look on my face when I had them unwrapped: “Kate! You’re gonna love these! You don’t have to wear old sweatpants and t-shirts around the house anymore! They’ll make you feel better about yourself…they’ll make you feel sexy! Guys like it when you put a little effort into presenting yourself too. My husband loves me in these.”

I shook out the black and white polka-dotted top with short poofy sleeves, then the sleek rayon capri bottoms. “Thank you so much,” I said, hating the outfit already. I couldn’t imagine myself in it. “I can’t wait to try it on,” I added.

The polka-dot pajama set hung in my closet for over a year, until last night when I decided to spiff up for Manfriend. Wearing a real outfit, like jeans and a cute shirt, was entirely out of the question—restrictive street clothing is not allowed in my house past 6 p.m., not on me anyway. Wanting to look nice but still relaxed in some kind of loungewear, I finally turned to the matching pajamas. If my girlfriend, a mother of three, could wear them and her husband appreciated it, then maybe I could wear them and Manfriend would appreciate it. I owed him something for always being so sweet to me, even though I can be a putz and we never have sex.

I slipped into the polka-dot top and black Spandex capris, then put on my black and silver leather sandals, somewhat expecting a wave of slinky cougarishness to wash over me. How sexy I would be, even at 44. I studied myself in the mirror to assess the situation: just as I had thought, this outfit made me look like a linebacker, Minnie Mouse trying out for a football team. I already have broad shoulders, and the poofy baby-doll sleeves accentuated my huskiness. The collar was up to my neck, the main shirt part loose and stretchy, and I wondered if this was in fact a maternity top.

I finally settled with the idea that if it looked good on my fashionable girlfriend, it would look good on me too. I went about preparing a monster salad for dinner, waiting for Manfriend to show up with the main course. We share like that.

When the doorbell rang, I fluttered over to the door like I thought a woman might in this kind of get-up. I got Manfriend and his steaming hotdish inside and settled. After eyeing me up and down for about thirty seconds, he said, “So uh, whatcha wearin’?”

I blurted out my whole story about the pajamas being a gift from a girlfriend who was always trying to improve my wardrobe, who said “You better not!” when I told her I was going to wear cargo shorts every day for the rest of my life, who gave me green silk pajamas way back in the 90’s, an outfit I found so flattering at the time that I repeatedly wore it out to dinner. It was the prettiest ensemble I owned at the time. The only ensemble, actually.

“Tell me what you really think,” I said to Manfriend. “Does this look okay on me? I don’t really like it—I’m not a polka dot kind of person. Be honest.”
“It’s very…blousy,” Manfriend said, “in a mommy kind of way."

“I knew it!” I said. “I can’t wear this! I’m going to change.” I retreated down the hallway to my bedroom with Manfriend calling after me, “But the pants are nice! The pants look good!"

I pulled the mommy blouse off as soon as I was out of sight, then looked through my t-shirt collection for something that was casual but not tent-like, something more form-fitting that didn’t have underarm holes. I settled on the clingy white and pink t-shirt that I’d purchased at a store for teens several years ago, back when I was first entering my cougar stage. It read “Too Hot 40” on front, what I felt was an appropriately risqué message at the time, though I never understood why it was sold in a store for young girls.

I returned to the kitchen, where Manfriend was putting his hotdish into the oven to keep it warm. I stood before him. “Is this better?” I asked. I already knew it was.

“Too hot for you?” he said. “Too hot for me?” Manfriend was hurt.

“No no,” I said. I pulled the front of my t-shirt out so it was flat and easier to read. “It says ‘Too Hot 40’.”

“No it doesn’t,” Manfriend said.

I looked down at my shirt and read it the correct way for the first time: Too Hot 4U. Manfriend was right.

“Oh,” I said, “I never got that. Sorry.” There I’d gone again, managing to insult a guest in my own home, managing to look like a whiny perfectionist, a self-obsessed middle-aged woman trying to reach the heights of mature sensuality while retaining the wink of youth.

Now that’s me.


  1. lol! the best laid plans...
    did he get over it once he realized you were missing what the shirt really said?

  2. Of course he did, Sherilin! Manfriend is the best. :-)

  3. Ah ha ha ha! Awesome! Stopping by from best posts of the week. Great story!


  4. Yes i liked your mommy way it is pretty unique

  5. If you can host a shabby apple giveaway, you owe it to yourself to purchase something you LOVE yourself in, for Manfriend.


    I speak the truth.