For nearly 33 years now, I’ve successfully avoided adulthood. For example, at present, it’s Wednesday afternoon and I’m at home with my dog wearing a concert t-shirt and eating gummy worms. Granted, there were some close calls along the way, like when I got married or when I began complaining about property taxes, but for the most part I’ve managed to align my day-to-day behavior with that of a 17-year-old with a fake ID.
Yesterday, however, I fear that I may have crossed the point of no return and officially become an adult. I was in Chelsea carrying my wife’s purse and her work shoes while she shopped for maternity clothes. For someone like me, that’s about as adult as gets. As my wife looked through racks of stretchy pants, my brain, which I’d conveniently set to rerun old episodes of Seinfeld, caught site of my reflection in the mirror and sent a distress signal to my mouth and demanded that it immediately say something childish and inappropriate.
“Why is it that these places never seem to have guy clothes? My body is changing, too, you know.”
My wife, who has learned to block out the sound of my voice when I say things like this, completely ignored me. But the saleswoman frowned in a very serious, Britishy way. “Well, no, sir. Our store is exclusively for women. I believe there’s a Banana Republic down the street though. They have clothing for men.”
If I were in charge of the universe, I’d have said “very well then, good day” and walked out, but, that’s not how things work. And so I just stood there, grinning like an idiot, holding a pair of strappy sandals, wondering how in a million years she could have possibly thought for one second that I was being serious. I mean, of all the hundreds and hundreds of husbands—British or otherwise—who’ve stood there holding women’s apparel over the years, has not one of them made this joke? Not ever? Clearly, they are all better men than me.
So this is it, huh? Adulthood. Hmmm. Perhaps I should do something adulty, like tell the neighbor kids across the street to turn down their damn music or complain about all the swearing on prime time television. Then again, that might be too much of a shock to my system. For starters, I guess I could just put on some pants.