Last Tuesday was a long one. I was up at 5:00 a.m. putting the finishing touches on my Metro column, I co-hosted the show, which means 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. is a bit of a blur, then I was lucky enough to conduct a 45-minute-long Q&A with Michael Bonacini in front of some 800 people at the Carlu, and from there, I went straight to the Canadian Screen Awards.
I wore the same dress all day. I don’t know if it was the material or my nerves–or perhaps a combination of both–but my pits wouldn’t stop perspiring. I was shoving tissue under them all day, like I used to do in Grade 8 when this problem first presented itself. There was a moment, when I was seated between my two bosses at the CSA dinner, that I could smell myself. It made me so anxious that I started to sweat even more.
When I got home I found the Beast on the couch and an empty Pizza Hut box on the coffee table. He gave me a hug and then said, “Wow!”
“You smell a bit ripe!”
“Can you smell me from here?” I asked, pulling away.
“No,” he said, “only up close.”
“Oh thank god.”
“You smell like a bag of Taco Bell,” he said. “Taco Bell that’s been left out all night but you still eat it for breakfast.”
The next night, after I got home from work, I started preparing cheesy toasts to go with some black bean soup.
The Beast hugged me from behind. Then I turned around for a front hug. He took one look at me and said: “Wow.”
“You look like you’re about to go out to an Aileen-Portrait-of-a-Serial-Killer-themed dinner party.”
“I haven’t washed my hair in a bit,” I said. “What’s in the bag?”
“It’s the strangest thing, really. It’s a pair of shoes.”
“A regular customer was cleaning out his closet and he said they reminded him of my style, which was really odd.”
“Uh, isn’t it obvious? Because I dress so conservatively.”
“I dress in a classic way and these shoes are nice–they’re brand-new Cole Haans–and I’ve been wanting a pair of two-toned wing tips, actually, I’ve been wanting spectators–but these are a bit flashy for my style.”
“Are you kidding me?”
“Well for starters, you’re wearing pink pants and it’s the same colour pink as those shoes.”
“And the other day you when you wore those duck pants.”
“When you came home and I saw your outfit I couldn’t believe you actually wore it to work. That outfit was absurd!”
“Everybody loves those pants on Bayview Ave.!,” he said. “They’re fabulous! And classic Americana! That’s not the point: my point is that my footwear is always conservative. Always.”
“Was the elastic around your shoe conservative?”
“The sole came off during work! And I think it is. They’re Allen Edmonds, you idiot! And Ivy League shit is always about thrift, and fixing a broken sole with an elastic band is a little bit thrifty, a little bit Ivy, and a little bit rock’n’roll. Plus, the blue makes the pants pop.”
“You’re like a hyperactive kid right now.”
“Do you know many hyperactive kids who are obsessed with Ralph Lauren, both man and label?”
“Oh boy what’s in that other bag?” I asked, after spotting a parcel he was trying to hide. “Please tell me you didn’t go to a thrift store.”
“Listen, I have been wanting a lavender chamois forever! If you ever checked your emails you’d see that I sent you a fashinspirational photo like six months ago.”
He pulled the shirt out of the plastic bag.
“That’s not lavender! It’s purple!”
“Actually it’s claret,” he said. “And it’s beautiful.”
“It’s got to stop. You have more clothes than me.”
“It’s a problem because you have so much shit that you actually can’t even fit everything into your closet.”
“Don’t you see that as problematic? Why would you bring home more stuff when you don’t even have room for the stuff you have?”
“Give me a break! I’m transitioning!”
“I’m transitioning my closet! Because of the seasons!”
“Listen,” I said, in a tone that indicated I wanted to de-escalate the situation, “I want to be supportive of you. I love you. I honour you and your fashion. But I just feel like it’s on the edge of becoming obsessive. And I worry that you’re trying to fill some sort of void in your life when you buy so much stuff.”
“I am,” he said. “I’m probably going through a mid-life crisis.”
“But you’re 32.”
“That’s not the point. The way my mind works, it’s just input, output, you know? Stuff just always has to be coming in,” he explained. “It’s like this. I always think there’s going to be one book that suddenly lets me understand what John Coltrane was doing. One book that explains Einstein. One outfit that is so perfect I’ll never need another outfit again. I know it’s not out there, but if I stopped looking for it I’d be bored. And boring. I’m sorry that I’m so creative…creative through my writing, my music, my fashion, my cooking and my mixology,” he said, holding up a finger each time he listed how he was creative.
“I feel like we keep having this exact same fight,” I said, “for years now.”
“You’re not really mad, are you?”
“No, not really,” I said. “But please just stop buying so many fucking clothes, okay?”
“Fine,” he said. Then he whispered into my ear “right after I find an Edwardian-era road duster.”
“Oh god I don’t even know what that is.”
The Beast kissed me, there in the kitchen.
“Wow,” he said.
“You taste like summer sausage.”