Wise men would have kept their mouth shut

We’re having a bit of a fuss over the use of eyeliner at our house.

By our 14-year-old son.

Last week, a kid in his class painted his fingernails black, and put a smallish amount of eyeliner on the boy’s lower lids for a monologue he was doing in drama class. The boy was so taken by the look, he asked if he could continue to wear it.

“This is not the issue I’d think I’d be having _ with my 14-year-old son,” my wife protested.

He was making his point one night last week when I popped out of the bathroom and said, “Hell, I’ll buy it for him.”

(Note to the newly married _ or for the old-timers as well _ never open your mouth, without speaking to your partner, on issues large and small. Her icy gaze was scary).

“Thanks for your input,” she said later. “Great timing.”

I don’t see what the big deal is. One of his favorite bands is the Oakland punk band Green Day (yeah, I got him hooked, so what?) Billy Joe and Tre Cool both use eyeliner.

Emulating bands is a time-honored tradition. I, myself, got my hair cut like Benjamin Orr of the band The Cars when I was 16; I moved onto trying to emulate The Clash the next year. All through my freshman year in college, I wore bandanas around my neck and wrist – and had a shaggy mullet _ courtesy of listening to Mike Peters of The Alarm.

A little bit of eyeliner on the boy? Where’s the harm?

“I just don’t know, I just don’t want it leading to him dressing up in a long black trench coat, or Goth,” my wife said.

I still don’t see the harm. He actually looks good with a bit of eyeliner on his lower lid.

He and his mother had a long talk into the night, him trying to convince her that it was harmless; she trying to convince him that she was not quite ready for her little boy to start wearing makeup.

“Thom said he’d buy it for me,” he argued.

Ouch. He used the Thom card. My wife’s icy stare was back.

“You really need to talk with me, before you just open your mouth.”

Point taken. Again and again and again.

“You have to help me convince mom on the eyeliner thing,” he said this morning.

“Tell you what,” I said. “I agree with your mother, that if you’re going to do this, you should walk into the store and buy your own. It’s only fair that if you want to wear it, make a statement or whatever, that you pay for it.”

Hey, it got me out of my wife’s crosshairs (chickenshit that I am).

Anyway, she’s warming – slowly _ to the idea. As long as he goes with a brown instead of black _ and so long as he keeps it respectable (yeah, for boy’s eyeliner use).

Our little boy is growing up. Twisted, but hey _ don’t we all?

Call the president

I rarely “lose it,” especially in front of the children, but I let loose with a tirade Tuesday night that would make a sailor blush.

There’s a lot of stress at our house. I’m leaving for three weeks, and will leave my wife a single mother. She’ll leave in three weeks to join me for our first vacation alone since our honeymoon. My mother-in-law is coming up to stay with the kids (and the prospect scares the shit out of me).

My wife decided that I didn’t need to cook.

“Let me take you out to dinner,” she said. “We all need it.”

So we check out a new steak place owned by a friend. It was delicious. It was pricy. I ended up having a bone-in ribeye, salad, bread, beans and garlic mashed new potatoes – and two Jim Bean on the rocks.

I was well OK to drive. The bourbon was sitting on 20 ounces of steak and assorted other goodies during a mean hat lasted two hours.

It was raining and dark when we left the restaurant. I decided to drive through town, rather than get on the Interstate and get buffeted by the dirty wash from semi trucks.

We were coming up on an intersection near a grocery store when I saw them and hit the brakes.

Three homeless people, all dressed in black, jaywalking from the grocery to their campsite within a darkened city park.

I was going 40 miles an hour, five over the sped limit. I slammed on the brakes just in time not to mow over two of the three.

“You dumb motherfucking cocksuckers, do you know how fucking close you came to getting run over, you fucking fucks?” I screamed as the window rolled down. “What the fuck are you fucking fucks thinking? You’re all a bunch of dumb sonsabitches.”

It scared the shit out of me. Then it dawned on me; had I ran the assholes over, I would have probably gone to prison for manslaughter, accounting for the two drinks in my system.

I was now stopped in the roadway, continuing to cuss; the third homeless guy walked behind me, and joined the two others now standing on the median _ a large woman and a black man (yes, dressed in black, crossing at a point where there were absolutely no lights).

The woman was giving me the finger.

“Honestly, I don’t know how you saw them,” my wife said. “I would have hit them, I never saw them.”

The next day in the car, my daughter brought up the episode and said, “You should write the president and tell him there should be a law that lets you run over people who hawk-walk illegally.”

Seems perfectly logical to me.

Fashion is where you find it

My wife sent me out this past weekend to buy new dress shoes for Italy.
I tried to tell her that hiking boots look great while traveling, especially with a sports coat and nice shirt. In a nice trattoria, say a little place somewhere in Tuscany, where the locals will marvel at your sense of maverick style.
She wasn’t buying any of it.
“I’d rather you get nice shoes for going out,” she said. “You never get anything for yourself anyway. It’s fun to see you get new clothes.”
Yes, I did get a few new shirts, as well as two new pair or those wrinkle-free, stain-free khakis (and let me say right here that these pants rock. Spill anything on them, and it beads up; pull ‘em out of the dryer, pull ‘em on and go).
While I will take my hiking boots _ comfort does trump fashion sense with me _ there I was in the mall on Sunday looking at dress shoes. Bleck.
It has been nearly four years since my last dress shoe purchase (for my wedding and the boy killed them the one time he wore them). In that time, I’ve run through three pair of hiking boots and four pair of running shoes. I’m a hiking boot kinda guy.
And looking for shoes other than the coolest new style of boot does nothing for me. So I took my 10-year-old daughter.
Who walked 10 feet behind me at all times and ignored me if I looked in her direction.
She was no help.
“These are all really ugly,” she said.
They were. We stopped at store after store, dedicated shoe places and department stores. What wasn’t ugly was uncomfortable. I wanted something in a black monk-strap style. All anyone had were these butt-ugly block-toed black slip-ons, with cheap rubber soles.
We ducked into Macy’s for one last look. Macy’s has decent style, right?
Wall-to-wall butt-ugly shoes.
Then I had an epiphany.
“You didn’t get any shoes?” my wife asked.
“Hon, we’re going to the fashion shoe capital of the world,” I said. “I’ll pick up a pair when I get there.”