Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Purging yourself of those post-Christmas doldrums.
How would you describe what's been going on in your world for the past week? I've been rattling my oxidizing grey matter to describe the sequence of events which follows Christmas, and the best description is what I'll call the "Alfredo Analogy."
Have you ever dined on a nice seafood fettuccine smothered in a succulent cream sauce? As is common with most American restaurants, we're served enough to fill Kenny Chesney's hat, so naturally we box it up and take it home in anticipation of later microwavable awesomeness.
So, yeah, that's how I'd describe the lead-up to Christmas—piping hot Fettuccine Alfredo.
We crack the lid on our December 26 pasta to discover a petrified, softball-sized rubber band noodle ball. And regardless of what method we employ to heat it back to its original form, it's forever assumed the identity of its own weaker, less attractive twin.
Sure, all the ingredients are present; it's just that all molecular activity has halted and your fabulous dish from the previous evening has now permanently morphed into Fettuccine Afraido.
Christmas has ended.
The day after Christmas dawns like those countless mornings when we've awoken in a strange place without a toothbrush. Our head pounds as we stagger to button the now wrinkled shirt we wore to the club last night. At length, everything is finally accounted for except our dignity...and a sock. We flee into the chill of another shameful morning.
Actually, that's never happened to me. I've just dated women who've had lots of those experiences.
I'm obviously being too dramatic here, but let's face it—the first few days following Christmas are a bit of a letdown. The tree still stands, the cookies and candy and fudge still line our counters, but it all looks just a little warmed over.
Today, rather than wallowing in my sluggishness, I asked my eleven-year-old daughter if she'd like to go to the mall—just the two of us—to exchange and return some gifts she'd received.
"Dad, do you even have to ask?" Apparently I hadn't needed to ask.
"Why do you love the mall so much?" I felt pangs of regret as the words spewed out. "All it is is a whole bunch of overpriced crap."
"It is not crap. The mall is amazing. Are you saying my stuff is crap, Dad?"
"No. I just think there are a lot of punks who cruise around looking for trouble because they're bored." I knew this to be gospel as I was one of those punks thirty-five years ago. Take away those saggy pants and peel on some wedgie-inducing moose knuckle flair legs and we're one in the same teen tool.
Here's where things got sort of weird.
I've worked in the fashion industry for the past twenty years, and even though I haven't kept aggressively in touch with the latest clothing trends for young women, it's kind of soaked into my DNA, anyway.
Thirty minutes following our mall discussion, I found myself seated on a bench in a store called Delia's, consulting with my daughter about how best to assemble a sassy outfit with her seventy-five-dollar gift card. Parents lined the long seating area, assessing their daughters as they poked their heads out the dressing cubicle doors.
Actually, using the term "parents" implies that dads were in attendence. They were not. It was a bunch of moms and...me.
And I could tell they didn't know quite what to make of me, especially when my daughter opened the door, I looked at her in some jeans and a top, and proclaimed, "Oh, that is so cute."
Heads turned, but I'm not sure if they were looking at my daughter or the dude who had just channeled Tyra Banks.
I felt the hot pinkness of embarrassment seep into my cheeks and armpits. Oh, my God. Did I just say that? I've always tried to stick to androgynous words like "cool" and "nice." "Cute" had yet to breach the levee.
But it was too late.
I made sure every mom in that dressing area got a glimpse of my masculine three-day beard growth as I knocked over three camisoles on my way out.
Boom. Post Christmas doldrums—gone.