12/26/2009

Weird Moment

In 1977-78 I was dating MC, an handsome older student at the local suburban high school I attended. The crush I had on him was severe and everything he liked, did, or touched seemed just magical to me. It is safe to say he was truly my "first love". At the time, I was 17 years old and taking a heavy academic load at school and did not have a part-time job. I remember wanting to buy him a Christmas or birthday gift (can't remember which) but had no money to do so; I asked my mother for some allowance or pocket money to shop for him. His favorite cologne at the time was Aramis, which seemed truly sophisticated to me in 1978 as it was only sold at Neiman-Marcus. Without remembering why or where I came up with the idea, I do remember I wanted to buy him something made by Aramis, and settled on the idea of a soap-on-a-rope, which was the least expensive item in the product line. My mother and I had a hideous, colossal yelling screaming fight about the issue, that went on for days, and she refused to give me the money to buy it - she said it was too expensive. A recent google search for this item turned up a pretty consistent price of $14.00 currently, and I extrapolate back to think it cost about the equivalent of that much, 30 years ago.
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Instead of giving me the money, my mother went to some discount drugstore and bought a cheap soap-on-a-rope for me to give him, instead. I think the one she bought was made by Pierre Cardin and looked strangely phallic in shape. It was truly embarrassing to look at (and odd that my mother, so Puritanical in her view of the world, didn't "see" it.).
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I vacillated for days, agonizing over the issue, b/c it boiled down to essentially no money = no gift or else the ugly creepy totally-not-the-right-one my mother had bought. Eventually I caved and gave MC the cheap hideous thing, figuring it was better than nothing. He was charming and polite and accepted it with grace. I felt agonizingly embarrassed.
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Skip ahead 30+ years....I had completely forgotten about the incident. (Maybe this was why I got a job shortly thereafter, and have worked continually ever since, so I have almost never put myself in a cashless, powerless position like that, again. ) Imagine my surprise this Christmas when my two sons opened their gifts from my mother this year....and they each got Aramis soap-on-a-ropes. My mother had no idea why this was the thing to buy them - in her aging forgetfulness, she had also forgotten the original incident. I know, b/c I queried her at length. She just knew they were special, but couldn't remember why.

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