Like a Merchant & Ivory film, a vacation with Thomas Friedman begs one question: When will it end?
For the love of God, when will it end?
For over a week, we've searched every store in upper Manhattan looking for the perfect shorty robe after the problems on The Scream Machine at Coney Island.
I don't know if it's his ever increasing number of blonde highlights (Mrs. K is correct, they really do look like gray hairs) or what, but lately he's all Goldilocks on me.
This shorty robe was too shiny, that shorty robe wasn't shiny enough. This one was too rough on his hiney, that one was machine wash only. This shorty robe looked like a blood stain, that one didn't bring out the . . . crumbs in his mustache? I have no idea after day after after day, hour after hour of looking for a shorty robe.
I do know that we didn't go to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. I long ago started to doubt that they were the "upscale" stores catering to an "exclusive" crowd, as Thomas Friedman had repeatedly told me. Somehow, the fact that we went everywhere but, the point was driven home. Constantly.
I've also grasped that a nice outfit shouldn't cost less than a lunch at a diner. Another point Thomas Friedman had previously convinced me of.
I would call the whole thing an eye opening experience were it not for the fact that all the junk in Thomas Friedman's trunk made most of the shorty robes he tried on ride up in the back so I was left to cover my eyes more often than not.
Under the harsh store lights, the butt looked even larger and even hairer. To think of all the times I've played Bill Keller to his Thomas Friedman and kissed that ass.
It just makes me want to gargle for a month with Scope.
At one store that made Thomas Friedman's International Male catalogues look like Guns & Ammo, we bumped into little Davey Brooks who was trying on a sock. Not on his feet, I might add -- a memory I'd prefer to blank on but one that scarred into my brain and emotional well being.
The moment wasn't made easier by the fact that little Davey insisted upon twirling around to show us the full . . . package?
"Brooks, I see your Bo-Bos!" Thomas Friedman cackled.
Little David, who's no David by Michael Angelo, sad to say stood there, lips twitching in that nervous smile he gets while he attempts to figure out what something means. I'm sure you've seen the look countless times on PBS' NewsHour.
The long moment provided me with enough time to note that if your belly sticks out further than your sock packaged goods, it's probably a smart idea to consider another wardrobe choice.
Finally deciding that Thomas Friedman must be insulting him, David, no quick wit there, replied, "Oh yeah? Well Friedman, you got a fat ass!"
"Fluffy!" Thomas Friedman huffed. "I have a fluffy bottom."
If fluffy is a term for a fat and and flabby ass combo, Thomas Friedman is correct.
He was incorrect when he decided that he too must try on a sock. Much to little Davey's amusement, Thomas Friedman couldn't manage to keep the sock on.
As little Davey flounced off in search of something a little less "conservative," Thomas Friedman began cursing the merchandise to the point that we were asked to leave because we were scaring, as the salesman informed us, "The other johns and their tricks."
Today, much to my relief, we finally found the perfect shorty robe.
Standing before the mirror, gazing at his own reflection -- a practice that approaches a hobby with Thomas Friedman -- he asked me if I thought the bright pink, silk, shorty robe would be good for entertaining company in.
"Oh, I think company will find the robe very entertaining," I replied trying not to laugh too loudly.
As we left the store, shorty robe in sack, I asked myself if this was the normal American vacation? A wife spending eight days to help her husband pick out an item that looks hideous on him but you just want to get out and get home?
Mrs. K tells a tale of four hours spent with Nicky at Champs as he attempted to decide between two ball caps (one flattened his hair) so perhaps it is.
If that's the case, I demand a national Wife's Day -- a day when all wives are allowed to go twenty-four hours without having to reassure their husbands that they're not short, that last night was mind blowing, and that a little gut on a man is appealing.
Until that day comes, every day is Husband's Day.