36: Taking His Measure

36: Taking His Measure

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Married Life!

Taking His Measure

A good time to laugh is any time you can.

~Linda Ellerbee

For nearly two decades I’d dallied on the dating block, so by the time I got around to saying “I do,” the adjectives “blushing” and “young” had expired. I was, at best, a “new” bride. As my friends would attest, I undertook my new wifely duties like any other job I’d ever had — I was going for employee-of-the-year. During my reign as dream wife I pledged to concoct culinary pleasures the likes of which would make Julia (if she were alive) weep; I vowed to out-Martha Martha as the diva of domestic decorating, and finally I swore I’d buy my guy some new drawers — underwear that is. His briefs were the ten-year-old leftovers from the days he’d lived at home and his mother had bought them.

I paused to think about my “for better or worse” vows. Clearly this couldn’t extend to underwear so I called my husband at work with that nauseating niceness of newlyweds.

“Hey sweetie, I’m going shopping today — thought I’d get us both a little something. I’m thinking thoooongs,” I said in my breathy voice.

“There’s two feet of snow on the ground; I don’t get it — why flip-flops?”

“Hoooney, panties — you know lacey, naughty, sexy, maybe even peek-a-boo panties.”

“Oh yeah, fine, good.”

“Is that your calculator clicking in the background? Are you working?”

“Uh yeah, that’s where you called me.”

“Never mind. Anyway, you need new underwear.”

“Yeah, get me some Calvin’s size 32 with the extra large pouch. Gotta run, hon, catchya later.”

I jumped on the subway and headed to Saks Fifth Avenue straight to the men’s underwear department.

“Where can I find Calvin Klein jockey shorts, please? I’m looking for size 32.”

“Right this way.”

“Calvin’s got some real estate here,” I said, trying to sound clever as I eyed the square footage of underwear racks rivaling the size of my New York City apartment. And then the packaging sucked me in with such magnetic force, that a tiny “Oh my” slipped out.

Headless male hunks in skin tones ranging from honey to espresso shamelessly showcased their chiseled six-packs and heaping doses of manliness. It was enough to make a new bride dizzy. But since I was in hot pursuit of the wife-of-the-year crown, I concentrated on the labels. There was the Classic, the Body Brief, the 365 Brief, the Pro Stretch, the Cotton Modal Rib Brief, and the Pro Rib Brief. Why were these starting to sound like entrees at a steak establishment? And the Micro Modal… (yuck, what could that mean?) Anything micro in a pouch couldn’t be good. Poor guy. I imagined his agent calling.

“Hey great news. You landed the underwear ad for Calvin — from here on out you’ll be known as Micro guy.”

While I felt for Micro guy, I was more troubled by not finding the package with the extra large pouch. The sales associate was nowhere to be found so I whipped out my cell phone and rang up the hubby.

“Hi there, listen I am at Saks and I can’t find… oh wait a second, here’s the guy….”

“Excuse me, I can’t find the ones with the extra large pouch.” “Rita,” he yells across the aisles.

“This lady is looking for the extra large pouch.”

With my ear still firmly against the phone’s receiver I heard a thud. It sounded like my husband and his phone had crashed to the floor.

“Honey, honey,” I said. “Oh my God, are you having a heart attack?”

He was snorting between frantic desperate dying gasps for air and I was picturing my sudden widowhood for which I would be able to use the adjective “young.” Finally, with one labored raspy gulp of air, his death rattle changed to the recognizable sound of hysterical laughter. My husband was laughing at me. He was laughing so hard that it finally dawned on me.

“Heh heh, gotta love those new bride jokes,” I said, with the heat rising in my cheeks. Then I smoothed my skirt, lifted my chin and stared the clerk straight in his eyes, “Sir, I’ll take a week’s supply of underwear… just, please, make sure they’re the Micros.”


~Tsgoyna Tanzman

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