Spring 2008, Volume 32, Number 1
If you want to get to know a woman, put on her fat clothes and kneel down to scrub her floor tiles or crane your neck to dust up inside the light fixture in her dining room. That’s what we decided in our Sunday group. There were four of us: Margot of the high ceilings, crumbled crayons, and spackled butter cream thighs; Natural look Sally, who hailed from a childless A-frame deep in a tick-infested forest; Catherine the Cold, frosty blonde wife to an overheated furniture mogul in a modern ranch house full to bursting with stock and teenagers on the prosperous side of Boonslick; and me, Della Sue, salt-and-pepper duchess of all the taxidermy and wood paneling I survey. For years, our husbands had been carousing together Fridays, claiming that they’d be happy to stay home with the kids, dogs, laundry, telemarketers, PC, if there were really anything we wanted to go out for. “I can’t even remember what I used to do for fun,” I told Gerry, one night after he came in and made a sandwich out of the leftover casserole that had hardened into cheese crust at the sides of the baking dish.
“Chase beef cake, I believe. Now you got enough to stock a freezer, what else do you need?” His jaw worked over the tail end of the sandwich as he stripped off the ShowMe State Games T-shirt I’d washed special for the evening’s festivities and put his familiar muscles on parade. There’s one with a stretch mark, one with a birthmark, one with a tasteful tiger tattoo. I’d had the benefit of them all, it was true, and with two school- age boys to boot, male attention was hardly a pressing need.
Besides, what are our options, four women attached like bubbling mushrooms to the wrong side of forty? No one wants to see a middle-aged woman enjoying herself—dancing, drinking, laughing so hard she pees.