Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Professionally Single

Even though my brother, Jess, is now married and has an almost-two-month-old baby, it wasn't that long ago that we all thought he would go through life as a professional single person. He was content to work weird hours, ride his motorcycle, buy toys, get together with friends for spontaneous games of volleyball on the weekends (or weeknights), celebrate holidays with only one family, take impromptu trips to London and, if he wanted to, spend entire Sundays watching football and napping.

It was during this phase of his life that Charlie declared that when he grew up, he wanted nothing more than to be exactly like his uncle. And considering how freely he hands out the anti-compliments to me, I don't think this is going to be a tough goal for him to achieve.

When Jess and Ali got married, they planned a small, casual ceremony that took place in their backyard, which is on a lake. Since I would rather shop for my own casket than shop for a dress that is comfortable, stylish and cheap, I started looking for one a couple months before the big day. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled on a great dress hanging on the sale rack at J.Crew. It wasn't slutty, too short, uncomfortable, over-priced or in need of alterations, and it was a summery shade of cantaloupe. Or maybe it was more tangerine. Or mango. Or, as Charlie informed me, it was prison-garb orange.

The day of the wedding arrived and as I was trying to figure out what shoes to wear with my sherbert-colored dress, Charlie looked at me and said something like "Hey mom, aren't you supposed to be picking up garbage in the ditches today? What crime did you commit to end up in prison anyway?" Wonderful. I looked like I was out of jail to do a stint of community service. Now, I don't know about you, but that's exactly the kind of confidence booster this non-dress-wearing girl needed before walking into a room filled with random friends and family members.

A couple days ago, I took advantage of some perfect weather to accumulate three very distinct layers of sweat: I did an early morning run, an afternoon way-too-fast-of-a-pace run while I chased Zoe on her bike and then played tennis with Charlie for an hour and a half. On our way home from the courts, I said "I'm tired, but at least I earned the right to put a slice of bacon on my burger tonight" and Charlie pulled out the keys to my heart by saying "Oh, that's a great idea. Workout all day burning calories and then just put them all right back on." After managing to not pummel him with my clenched fists before kicking him out of the car, I realized that not only had I earned my right to a couple slices of bacon, but had earned several beers too.

It's a magical moment like this and his wonderful way with words and flattery that assures me that Charlie may, in fact, never be in a long-term relationship. But there is a bright side to him remaining single forever: I won't ever have to worry about finding a mother-of-the-bride dress for his wedding. And if by some miracle he does end up finding that certain someone -- that very patient, independent, confident and funny someone -- I guess I wouldn't necessarily have to shop, because I can always just wear my prison garb.

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