(originally published March 12, 2008)
If my husband had his way, I’d never be allowed to read the newspaper.
I love the smell of feminism in the morning.
“Oh, please,” I groaned over the top of the newspaper, a spoonful of Special K hovered in midair somewhere between the bowl and my mouth.
OK. It wasn’t so much the high-fiber, heart-healthy cereal that I was eating as it was two Eggo waffles dripping with syrup and butter.
OK. I lied again.
It was four waffles. But come on! They are really, really small! The recommended serving size is – like – two. Yeah, right. Maybe. If you’re the size of a garden gnome. Or French.
But that’s not the point of this story, so I shall move on.
“I CANNOT believe it,” I snarled and rattled the newspaper in my husband’s direction. “Yet another sign of the rampant, blatant sexism in our society today.”
He grunted something that sounded like “Yahsexisbad” but buried his head deep into the sports section, hoping against hope to end the conversation right then and there.
You’d think he’d know better.
“Seriously,” I continued, “this is clearly indicative of the patriarchal and two-faced attitude toward women that has completely bankrupted the moral fiber of our society.”
He rolled his eyes. Sure, he was still hiding behind the sports, but that didn’t stop me from hearing his eyes turn in the sockets.
I stuffed the last forkful of waffle in my mouth and continued. “Thid you ‘ear ‘bout this?” I asked and pointed at the headline. I swallowed and continued, “About that contestant on ‘American Idol’ who used to be a stripper?”
It was the word “stripper” that penetrated through the thick fog of my husband’s brain. He immediately tossed the sports section over his shoulder, leaned close to me and asked,
“Stripper? Really? Allll right. Now we’re talking,” in a Hugh Hefner-esque kinda way.
I paused. Smiled.
Then said, “It’s a guy.”
He backed away, his chair screeching across the wood floor, and making a noise that sounded a bit like a strangled rodeo clown. I think he may have actually thrown up a little bit.
He coughed, tapped a fist against his chest a couple of times to clear out the vomit and managed to eke out, “Oh, well. Big deal.” Then off he went for the abandoned sports page that had landed on top of the refrigerator.
“See?!” I yelled, “that’s EXACTLY what I’m saying!”
He turned around and looked at me like he was trying to divide the number 5,142 by 37 in his head. Confusion reigned.
“Uh, OK,” he said and reached up to grab the paper. “What ‘exactly’ are you saying?”
However did they get in charge of things around here? Were women absent the day menfolk staged a power coup? Were we out shopping for mastodon rugs? Busy inventing the wheel? And what did the menfolk end up contributing to society?
Nuclear war and whoopee cushions.
God help us all.
“I guarantee if the contestant had been a girl – a FEMALE stripper – she’d been tossed out on her pasties quicker than Paula Abdul could pop a Valium,” I announced. “But because it was a guy, nobody cares. There’s no backlash. No moral compass followed by a society calling for his head because he once took his clothes off for money. No demand that he leave the show. None. Nada. Zippo. Zilch.”
He contemplated that little scenario, the wheels turning in his head, and uttered the very next sentence right outta the blue.
“I could be a stripper.”
And that’s when I realized that, yes, little waffles made for tiny men can indeed shoot out of my nose when the correct amount of pressure explodes through my skull.
But that didn’t stop me from laughing. Hysterically. Touching a bit on the maniacal.
“What?” he asked with a touch of hurt in his voice, “you don’t think I could be a Chippendale.”
“Oh, sure,” I quickly answered.
“Thanks,” he replied.
“Oh, wait,” I added. “Did you mean a Chippendale dancer or Chip and Dale, you know, like from the cartoon?”
“A Chippendale dancer,” he stressed.
“Oh,” I said. “Then, no.”
His face fell with disappointment, so I quickly added, “Hey, I know how to cheer you up.” I smiled. “How ‘bout a waffle?” I paused. “Or four?”