Heading out to the mall to shop for Maj’s 13th birthday.
I have my period, which means that I weigh about the same number of pounds I always weigh, but each pound is now viewed through the doubling lens of my hormone-induced self-loathing.
Plus there is bloat.
I stare at myself in the mirror; I am a bloated fucking weeble.
When I am feeling this way, I do not carry a purse. Weebles do not carry purses, what with not wanting to add bulkage to an already vast silhouette. Also, weebles do not actually have shoulders from which to dangle a purse; the purse would just continually fall off the smoothness and draw attention as one wobbles on tiny weeble-legs through the mall.
So in an attempt to appear more gamine and lithe and unleaky, I rummage through my purse for the items I will actually need during this mall outing. I stare at the small pile . . . iPhone, car keys, credit card, driver’s license, hand sanitizer, roll of mints, and a $20 bill. I pull on my jeans and try to feel cute.
My period underwear is of the weeble-ass-covering sort, and my period jeans have decided they are in a low-slung sort of mood. This leaves a completely unacceptable swath of unsexy loin-girdling cloth on display above the not-so-waistband of my jeans. I lean crampily against the bathroom counter and gaze into the mirror and contemplate the frothing birthday-girl rage if I were to simply hand Maj a craftily stenciled coupon-book good for various “quality-time” opportunities with her mother.
The mall it is.
Alright, so I’ll just stuff this extra underwear down into my pants.
Alright, no . . . I will not do that.
Alright, so I’ll just leave my pants unbuttoned and then stuff this extra underwear . . .
Alright, no . . . I will not do that.
Alright, so I’ll just pull these pants up really hard until they cover . . .
No, damn it. I will force this pair into submission.
Trust me . . . no.
Alright, so I will just leave the underwear all high and weird.
No, because now I am obsessed. Has this underwear always risen this high? I run my hand over my weirdly undergarmented tummy. It’s like my stomach is expanding to meet the silky fabric, chubby hand extended in greeting, “Oh, we’re going to hang out in front today? What a fabulous idea!” I suck in my tummy, but seriously . . . How are my pants so low?
I refuse to be weeble-banded by my underwear!
Alright, so here’s what I’m going to do. I will just pull the excess underwear out and over the top of my jeans and fold it down so it looks all stylish and as though I am wearing some sort of fashion-forward girdle truss.
Maybe if I wear a very large and long shirt.
Yeah, I am all kinds of presentable now.
Alright, so now to put things in my pockets.
Credit card and driver’s license and $20 bill slide nicely in this back pocket once I scoot the underwear out of the way.
The rest of these items are rather bulky.
OK, well . . . I was going to wear a jacket anyway. Jackets have pockets that are not all squeezed flat and made inaccessible by menstrual weeble-flesh. So there, stupid pants. So there.
Alright, so I need a jacket that falls below the bottom hem of my giant shirt that is covering my folded-over underwear.
The only jackets in my closet long enough to accomplish this task are raincoats. I choose a black raincoat that, of my options, looks the least like a raincoat. Into the roomy pockets, I shove my roll of mints and my hand sanitizer and my car keys and my iPhone. Oh wait . . . I need some pads. Two in each pocket.
And then I need a scarf – a long black warm one to match my jacket.
I have mentioned before that I am allergic to cold. It is about 70 degrees outside, but the mall will be air-conditioned and chilly, and yes, my allergy really is that bad, and so I will need a scarf.
Exit the house.
DO NOT LOOK IN THE MIRROR.
Alright! Let’s do this shopping thing!
As I step out of the car at the mall, I am struck by two thoughts:
One . . . moving from sitting to standing has resulted in an ominous sliding squishing feeling . . . WHY ARE THERE NO RESTROOMS IN THE PARKING LOT?
And two . . . OH MY GOD PLEASE DO NOT LET TODAY BE THE DAY THAT TIM GUNN OF PROJECT RUNWAY FAME IS VISITING THIS MALL OH PLEASE OH PLEASE OH PLEASE HOLY MOTHERFUCKING BLOODLETTING I NEED A BATHROOM RIGHT FUCKING NOW.
(Peri-menopause is no fucking joke, people. I need to get Mark to rig me up some sort of colostomy-bag inspired awesomeness that I could just hang from my girdle-trussed waist. Oh my god . . . THAT WOULD BE SO AWESOME! I could tell curious people I was in the midst of donating blood!)
Alright, so prancy steps to the bathroom.
And then out again.
Mall shopping. I hate mall shopping. The display windows are filled with bikinis and summer dresses. My fellow shoppers are dressed in shorts and tank tops. I catch sight of my reflection again and again, and every time I look like a homeless person carrying all of her worldly possessions in her raincoat pockets. What exactly was my thinking on the no-purse thing, again? I keep up a running line of reassuring under-my breath chatter about my awesomeness until I catch sight of homelessly reflected me talking to herself.
Shopping, shopping, shopping . . . credit card payments for all of my purchases . . . sliding my folded overlapped underwear out of the way each time.
Thank god it turns out not to be Tim Gunn day at the mall, although his face is plastered everywhere.
I giggle to myself at the thought of what Tim Gunn would have to say if I were to be fashion-critiqued.
Make it work, indeed.
I giggle again.
I AM COMPLETELY SANE!
One more stop at the bathroom.
And I am out of here!
Upon arriving home, I empty all of my pockets onto my bed . . .
Receipts and credit card and driver’s license and hand sanitizer and half a roll of mints and car keys and two pads and . . .
Wait, where’s the $20 bill?
I check all of the pockets again, and then I go out to the car and check there as well. Check in the bags, check in my pockets again. Check on the floor beside the bed, check in my pockets again. Check in my pockets again. It’s gone.
I must have dropped it when I pulled my credit card out of my pocket one of those times.
Or maybe I dropped it in the bathroom.
Speaking of bathrooms . . .
CLEAR THE WAY, PEOPLE!
I sit down on the toilet and a $20 bill falls out and onto the ground.
It was in my underwear! I must have tucked it into my underwear instead of into my pocket at some point during my mall visit. An easy enough mistake, as I had my underwear folded down over the top of my pants and my pants were riding low and . . .
As I am leaving the bathroom, I take the folded bill and reach back to tuck it into my pocket . . . yep . . . easy mistake to have made. Let me just tuck it into my underwear again and then go tell this story to . . .
Kallan is staring at me as I triumphantly finish my tale and reach back and pull the $20 bill from my underwear, “Turns out it was here all the time!”
Kallan stares at me and then she shakes her head.
“What? Isn’t that funny?”
She sighs, “Mom, let’s do the story again. I’ll be you and you be me. I’ll tell the story how you should have told it.”
“Fine, I’m you.”
Kallan takes the $20 bill and sticks it into her underwear and then turns back to her after-school snack. I wait for a few minutes, but she does not say anything. I wait another minute or two, and then I say, “Mom?”
Kallan turns to me, “Yes, daughter?”
I reach for the back of her waistband, “You want to tell me why you have money tucked into your underpants?”
Kallan gets all flustered and spins to look and then reaches to pull the bill out sheepishly, “I guess you were going to find out sooner or later.”
“Find out what, exactly?”
“That your mother is a stripper. Sometimes, I find forgotten flattery money stuck in my underwear. It’s part of the job.”
So much giggling.
Kallan hands me the money, her eyebrows raised, “Here. Promise to never tell YOUR version to anyone. Ever. Better you are a stripper.”
OK, maybe Mark can rig up some sort of urine-capture bag as well.
I NEED A BATHROOM!