“I’d stop and talk, but I’m already in love” – E. Vedder
The shoes are shined. The suit is cleaned. The shirt is pressed. The rings are on my desk.
But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Last Thursday, the boys took me out to dinner at Two Toms for my final bachelor extravaganza. Great time. Great food. Just a great night. No silliness. No strippers. No drunken assholes. Just me, and my brother, and my closest friends, (some of whom I hadn’t seen in quite a while), and some of my cousins, and Val’s sons. And of course, two empty chairs at the end of the table. It wasn’t planned that way, but somehow, symbolically, that’s how it ended up.
Of course, the only sadness of this entire year is that none of them were here to witness it. Neither Val or I will have in-laws. It sucks, to be sure, but that’s the way the universe wanted it. I know that J.T. would have loved her. Theresa too. She would have been wary at first; she didn’t really like too many of the women I dated, and was less then tolerant of more than a few, but she would have come around. They are too much alike.
I only met Eleanor once, for a brief moment, but I know that she would have taken my side in any disagreements that Val and I had. Valarie would hate that I was right, but Jerry would be in the background, laughing at her plight.
I can see J.T. delighting her with stories of my childhood, embarrassing me in the process. Him peering over at me, a smile pasted across his face, his blue eyes twinkling.
I can see the two of them in an old kitchen somewhere, trading secrets while making a pot of sauce, both of them scolding me and I try to abscond with a piece of beef.
There is no perfect in this life; you just learn to take the good with the bad. At the moment. It’s all good.
On Wednesday, I picked up the rings from my guy Haberman. I wish you could have seen this conversation. We babbled for 60 minutes about everything under the sun before we got around to the rings. Then he pulled the box out. I don’t usually get excited by these things, but I was impressed. Mostly because I knew that she would be happy. That in turn makes me happy. He gave me the rings and I wrote the check. Then we babbled for 30 minutes more. I love this guy; he’s Richard Lewis on Benzedrine.
This morning, I woke up at 5am and headed out to Long Beach. It’s funny, I take my mother everywhere I go, but when I need him, I head out to Long Beach, or Yankee Stadium. I’ve never been to the cemetery, but I’ve been out to Long Beach a hundred times. I ran into a bunch of his friends and they were all genuinely happy for me. That, in turn, made me happy. I met a woman I had never met before. She said, “I loved your father. He always managed to say the right thing whenever someone was feeling bad.” That made me swell with pride.
After breakfast, I went to purchase a shirt. If you read my facebook posts, you’d know that this has been a problem for two weeks. Some of it was due to procrastination on my part; some of it was pure frustration. I hate ties, so I wanted one of those dress shirts that don’t have a collar. You know, like a nehru jacket? On Wednesday, I found three that I liked in H&M on 34th street. I thought that buying three would be the best idea, and then I’d narrow it down from there. Evidently, I don’t belong in H&M because their idea of XL is not my idea of XL. I almost hulked the first shirt and the second one barely got around my neck. I didn’t even bother with the 3rd shirt. And evidently, they don’t believe in XXL. Needless to say, I won’t be going back to H&M any time soon.
I went over to Macy’s but it was even worse. There were just too many choices. I started sweating. I found a different style of shirt that I really liked. I tried it on.
By now, panic had set it. I left in a huff. I still had 48 hours. No biggie.
Today, I headed over to Century to try my luck. I got there early. Maybe too early, because there wasn’t anyone in the Men’s dept to assist me. How the hell do I know what shirt goes with what jacket? How the heck am I supposed to know what size will fit me? Evidently, Europe has a different measuring criteria because they only had two labels, slim and trend. As you can probably guess, I ain’t slim, so what the hell is trend? I picked out four shirts and headed for the dressing room. The only problem is, I don’t know where the dressing room is and there is no one there to help me find it. Right as I’m about to give up, Val calls.
“How’s it goin?” She asks.
“Fine, if you don’t mind me wearing a black tee-shirt tomorrow.” She laughs and hangs up.
I’m not laughing.
I give up and change right in the back of the store. Finally, the one shirt I like, actually fits. Evidently, trend means
fat-necked in French. I buy the shirt, and head home. This is definitely the shirt I’m getting married in.
Until tomorrow, when I change my mind again.
After a workout and a shower, I head into the city. I have to take a class at work. It’s a quick hour lecture, so I don’t really mind, and the train and the walk will calm me down. As I’m walking down Prince street, I notice something really odd. I catch more than one woman looking at me. I mean like, looking hard. One woman smiles at me for no reason. An older broad looks me over like I’m a ham sandwich on a deserted island.
“What the hell? How come I didn’t get this much attention when I was looking for it?”
Then it dawns on me.
A few years ago, when I was down on my luck and on the shelf, I was lamenting my plight to a female friend.
“What’s the problem? I’m still pretty young. I’m still good-looking. I have a good job. Why can’t I meet anyone?”
Her reply was brutal.
“You reek of desperation.”
It was true.
Today was the exact opposite. I reeked of the confidence of a man who was no longer hunting.
“I’d stop and talk, but I’m already in love.”
Tonight, I’ll sleep alone. It won’t be the last time, but it will be the last time as a single man.
I’ve got a Bill Murray movie and a pint of ice cream to keep me company.
And two cats.
Tomorrow, I’ll have a wife and two cats.
Whoda thunk it?
The shoes are shined.
The bag is packed.
The suit is pressed.
I think I have the shirt.