2020 was a strange Christmas. It was all set to be a bummer— separated from family, unable to make my annual pilgrimage to my sister’s home in Oregon, you get it. We’re all in the same boat. Then, in a whirlwind, my dearest friend decided to get married at her mother’s home in Wisconsin on Christmas Eve. I was all set to officiate. (It was perfect. I’d love to tell you all about it, but that is not this story.) Not wanting my husband to feel like this Christmas was all about my BFF and not at all about our own family, I packed stockings, the matching pajamas my mother had sent us to wear on Christmas morning, and a waffle iron to make Belgian liege waffles in our hotel room’s kitchenette. The hotel suite had a small kitchen, and damnit, I was going to make some Christmas magic.
The yeast didn’t activate; the dough didn’t rise. I made us waffles so dense and hard that Tony knocked his on the plate like a drum and asked, “Do you think this was how cereal was invented?”
As I made the disastrous waffles, I attempted to use an off-brand Mr. Coffee and flooded the countertop, driving Tony to the hotel lobby to procure caffeine. He was gone ten minutes. He came back in a huff, unable to unlock the door with his key card, because his hands were too full.
“These pajamas are stupid. They don’t have pockets! What kind of pants don’t have pockets?” The problems enumerated. He needed one hand for each cup of coffee, but then there was nowhere to put the key. And they’d given him a receipt on a full sheet of printer paper, and he had to hold on to all of that and then somehow he was expected to open a door.
“You know,” I ventured, “most women’s pajamas don’t have pockets. I don’t think any of mine do, actually.”
I stood to show him mine, only to discover that mine did. I was elated, and Tony was visibly irritated at having to witness my happiness at having something he was sorely missing. Which is fair. It’s not polite to gloat.
We compared. They had the same fabric. They were about the same size. Identical, except for the lack of pockets, and a different drawstring. The women’s pajamas had a red ribbon, the men’s, a twist of the same plaid flannel that made up the pants.
I was wearing his pants; he was wearing mine.
We all know the saying, “before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes.” Pants, apparently work the same way. Tony has heard me lament some seriously patriarchal bullshit when it comes to men and women’s grooming and fashion standards. How are we supposed to fit a burrito in our bellies with all this compression fabric? Want to know why we’re always cold? Compare the amount of fabric that makes a dress versus a 3-piece suit. How many more books would women would read/companies women would start/cures women would discover, if they weren’t wasting all that time removing body hair? Don’t even get me started on high heels. He listens, usually a little passively, and I always wonder if, deep down, he thinks I’m being a little dramatic. Or that it’s not such a big deal. Or that I should just get over it.
One morning in my pocketless pants, and he was irate at the impracticality of women’s clothing. One short trip to a hotel lobby.
I should have put him in my pants ages ago.