Friday, May 15, 2009


EFU returned home for the summer from Vermont earlier this week, and lo! There was much rejoicing. I am, of course, always thrilled to see her, but after the last couple of weeks (I have only mentioned the most acute item of bad news that surfaced during that period, but believe me when I tell you that I had annus horribilis crammed into a fortnight.), her appearance was especially restorative.

Let me rephrase that: the fact that she appeared was especially restorative. I was too overjoyed to have her home to let it show, but how she looked left me momentarily nonplussed. EFU normally has gorgeous, dark hair that extends well below her shoulders, but when she opened her bedroom door on Wednesday, she had approximately half an inch of hair. About a year ago, she had cut her hair drastically (but significantly less drastically) in order to donate it to Locks of Love, but she had never received an acknowledgment of the receipt of the hair from the organization, and she really missed her long hair, so she'd said she wouldn't do it again. So after giving her a long hug and rubbing her fuzzy head (Irresistible! And, apparently, I am only one of many, many people who are powerless to resist the fuzzy head.), we had a brief, hair-related conversation:
TED: Um, I thought you said you didn't want to cut your hair all off again.
EFU: I said I didn't want to donate it again. This time I sold it.
TED: Really? For how much?
EFU: A thousand dollars.
TED: Wow!
EFU: I have really nice hair.
TED: I know, but wow. Come on.
EFU: Where are we going?
TED: Downstairs. I want b&c to see this.
EFU: Whatever.
[We walk downstairs.]
EFU: Dad wants you to see my hair.
B&c: You look like a lesbian.
TED: You kinda do.

At this point, EFU sighed and informed me that a) she knew she looked like a lesbian, b) although-she-has-many-lesbian-friends-who-are-fine-people, she didn't like looking like a lesbian, and c) I needed to take her to have her ears pierced. She had decided that dangling ear rings (after the piercings heal) and a change of wardrobe was the best way to look less like a lesbian.

It was a Wednesday evening, but no time like the present, right? So I googled and found a Piercing Pagoda in a nearby mall, called them, and determined that we had time to a) have dinner, b) get EFU's ears pierced, c) shop for a hat1, and d) get to a movie theater across town so that we could catch the 9:30 showing of Star Trek2.

EFU has never before gone in for body modification or even makeup of any sort (though she sometimes likes wearing dresses, and she has a weakness for dangerously high heels), and she spent much of the evening saying, "I'm getting holes in my ears" and "I have holes in my ears" in a pinch-me-I'm-having-a-bad-dream tone of voice.

I appreciate body modification on other people, but when we were standing around at the Piercing Pagoda, waiting for the person ahead of us to get what appeared to be her fourth piercings in each ear, I thought of what it would be like if I had an earring, and I shuddered. Partly because of the whole needle thing, but mostly because I would look ridiculous.

Similarly, I very much appreciate tattoos on other people, especially when I discover them in unexpected places, but I have a two-fold fear of ink on me. First, I really am a coward around needles, but mostly, I just can't imagine that level of commitment. Especially when you identified as straight at 35 and gay at 38, it's difficult to be sure that you'll feel the same way about anything (except your children, of course, but a tattoo of your kids' names just isn't very sexy) for the rest of your life. By way of example, for nearly forty years, I have been sufficiently in love with this woman

to consider bearing her image on my bicep, but tomorrow may see the release of some cold war-era KGB or Stasi files that document, for example, a hitherto unknown addiction to white chocolate. Better not to take the chance, no? At least if EFU decides that, after the hair has grown back, she can't stand the piercings, she can let them grow closed. With the tattoo, you need surgery, and even then, there's no guarantee that you can be entirely free of that white-chocolate-loving, Bolshevik hussy's image. (Sorry, Natasha. It's just an example. I still love you.)

Still, I'm glad that I live in a time where body modification is routinely accepted at all levels of society, (Midwestern preacher's wives probably excepted, but give it a few years, and there may be a big run on "Slut 4 Jesus" tattoos.) even if I'll never choose to indulge. Future generations, naturally, will be even less conflicted. In particular, after the technological singularity, I reckon that our exteriors will be something like one large, full-color version of a Kindle, so that if we wake up (or whatever we do after the singularity) one morning and we feel differently, it'll be no effort at all to say goodbye Natasha, hello Sarah Palin3. I'm not entirely sure I'd take advantage of that particular opportunity, but I am excited to think that in the future, everyone will have abs of steel.

1EFU related that she had initially been cold after having sold all her hair without having procured an appropriate hat, but that she now mostly wanted camouflage and sun protection, her hair being just slightly too long to make the application of sunscreen practical. I reminded her that she still had at least one of her grandfather's old fedoras. This elicited an "Oh my God. Do you WANT women to hit on me?" response that may have been appropriate. We ended up in Macy's where she tried on any number of large hats with large, floppy brims, all of which I loved on her. She decided on a simple white number, which I bought for her. By the end of the evening, the child had been home less than six hours, and I'd already dropped nearly a thousand dollars on her. To be fair, though, three-quarters of that was tuition for a summer course which will help her to graduate a year early, so it could really be seen as an investment with a very high rate of return.

2Especially after having seen so many glowing reviews, I found Star Trek disappointing. I am not a fan of the original series (I much prefer TNG and Voyager, but I didn't watch any of them religiously.), but I liked all of the younger versions of the original Enterprise crew. But the movie strained credulity too much, and I thought it bogged down when Leonard Nimoy showed up. Two-and-a-half stars, I think.

3I am getting a mental picture of that, and it is NOT pretty. On the other hand, I think that, on several levels, Governor Palin would make an excellent replacement for Bullwinkle.

1 comment:

  1. You really identified as straight? I mean you really had no clue? I find that hard to swallow. Perhaps you have already written about it, in which case you could point me to that.