Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Less Time, More Skin

From 15 to 18, I worked as a housekeeper at PV Home for the Aged. My hands were in and out of water hundreds of times a day.

I hated the feeling of rubber gloves. Not the flocking against my skin, but the feeling of the water pressing up against the rubber and pressing the glove unevenly into my hand. That feeling creeped me out so badly, I decided that having chapped, cracked and bleeding hands was a better alternative.

Like we do about too many things, I held onto that teenage decision well into adulthood. Until this past winter, when my hands moved towards chapped again. Rembering the cracks and blood, the lanolin and gloves to bed, I decided that I would treat rubber gloves like turnip.

Unlike my recent forays into turnip consumption, I completely reversed my opinion on wearing rubber gloves. They are great and I wear them every time I do the dishes.


Eric and I have had the luxury of time these past few weeks. He's been in between school and job, spending his days looking for work and relaxing. So I've just been able to call him up and say "Hey, wanna come over and take your pants off?" and like as not, he'd say yes.

That of course, had to end. I knew that, I'm sure, somewhere. But then tonight over dinner, after his first day at his new job, Eric said "This is really nice."

I smiled at him. Touched his arm with the back of my fingers. "Yeah. It is. Wait. Which part?"

"Just this moment. I just realized on the bus home from work that my days are going to be full. When will I do laundry? Grocery shop? How do people do this? When do they watch movies?"*

My stomach dropped a little. Since he found out he got the job (food services at a hospital), Eric's been saying that his summer's going to be over. I've been laughing, teasing him a little. Oops.

The silver lining? Every minute counts. The half-hour dinner between work and class becomes not just another half hour, but our half hour.


When my ex and I broke up, I made a few lists: Things I Want in a Partner; How I Want My Partner to Treat Me; Dealbreakers.

Beards and smoking were on that last list. Eric is a bearded smoker.

I knew both these things up front about him, and I have to admit they did give me pause. Considering that I've spent the past two years ducking sidewalk secondhand smoke and cursing the sidewalk smokers under my breath, I wasn't sure I would be able to date someone who I had seen smoking on the sidewalk. Even if that someone were a Very Very Cute Someone.

More importantly, would I be able to kiss someone bearded without thinking about kissing my father? Even if they were a Much Much Cuter Someone than my father.

Thankfully, Eric is a very very polite and respectful person (biggies on the first two lists), and has thus never smoked around me. I often forget that he actually is a smoker.

And the beard? I've come to love it. And I never think about kissing my father when I'm kissing Eric. Rest assured.

When I was first having a crush on Eric, I looked at the pictures on his myspace more than once, though I will not embarass myself by divulging how many times more. Most of the pictures on there were of him beardless. Because of the dealbreaker list, those are the ones I focussed on, even though his lips looked the nicest in the full-beard picture.

So when we met for coffee that first time and there was his beard, fully grown in and unignorable, for a few moments he looked strange to me: not bad, but a disconcerting combination of him-nothim. Not disappointing different, like someone's told you they're 6 foot and are actually 5'6". But yes, strange.

The strangeness wore off as we talked. I got to know him and and fell in love with him and the beard has been there all the way through.

When I revisted his myspace not so long ago, I had the same him-nothim feeling, this time when I looked at the beardless photos. They're lovely photos, and that person is very cute, but I didn't have the same cunt-clenching feeling of looking at the photos of My Boyfriend, Bearded Eric.


Before we ate dinner tonight, Eric sat at the table and told me about his day as I scaled the dish mountain that's been building over the last few days. It sounded like a good day. It's a job job, probably not going to be very satisfying, but not too rough either.

And then he said, "I have to shave my beard."
"Really? You're not allowed to have a beard?" I laughed. It seemed weird, even if he was dealing with food.
"Beardnet," was his only response.
"Jesus, that's not okay. So that's for tomorrow?"
"Yeah, I'm going to go home and shave it off after dinner."

The beard? Gone? But. But but but! My beard!

I took my hands out of the sink and turned around. "But! Gone!" Without thinking, I held my hands out and walked towards him.

The scary bright yellow gloves arrested my advance, but just for a moment. I laid my hands very gently on his beard.

*Of course, these were actually rhetorical questions.

1 comment:

e.s.pig said...

I believe the PC term is "A Person Who Smokes".