to my flexible work schedule, I often run errands that are traditionally
associated with the matriarch of the family-in other words, the mother/wife/supervisor/figure
of maturity and common sense. Whether I'm shopping for bras or perusing
the feminine hygiene aisles at Walmart wearing sunglasses, a full-coverage
mask, and a hoodie, I'm frequently complimented by female shoppers
and cashiers on what a "good dad" I am, and how lucky my wife and
daughters are to have a sucker . . . I mean a man like me around.
My most recent foray into the world of domestic retail took place
at our local and recently re-opened Bed Bath & Beyond store, where
I was deployed to purchase new bath linens for our three daughters.
Although I thought their previous towels and washcloths were just
getting "broke in good," my wife assured me that the girls could no
longer bathe and dry themselves without risk of strangulation from
the holes, snags, and dangling hems-besides the fact that you could
see through the material. Who knew girls could be so picky about something
used to wipe down their armpits?
I actually enjoy shopping in Bed Bath & Beyond because the store smells
so clean and makes me feel like I'm in a giant bathroom-the one place
in my house where I can get some privacy from everyone except my daughters'
two doglets, who think that I require their assistance with any activity
involving the commode.
Speaking of the commode, after a brief detour through an elaborate
display of Poo-Pourri toilet sprays, the fun ended when I finally
reached the towel section. The variety of colors, thread counts and
bun coverage was staggering, and I didn't see anything that resembled
the once light-bluish towel-like thingies the girls had been using
and that presumably matched their bathroom décor.
I first had to choose from among ambiguously blue colors like Glacier,
Cornflower, Fog, Seafoam, and Cloud. It was like looking at some newfangled
box of crayons invented by a sadistic environmentalist.
Then I had to decide on an appropriate size of towel that would allow
my daughters to envelop themselves like giant burritos (while shrieking)
on the off-chance that I need to enter my own guest bathroom to fetch
my nail clippers that someone had probably been using recently on
a dog. The towels ranged in size from large enough to clean industrial
mining equipment to roughly the dimensions of a Cheez-It.
I finally settled on acceptably soft, medium-sized towels in an almost-recognizable
color called Denim Blue, which I was confident would be exactly the
One consolation of this shopping trip was that I came armed with an
arsenal of coupons. My daughters always roll their eyes and say, "Ok,
Boomer!" when I reach into the glove compartment and pull out my trusty
gallon-sized Ziploc baggie bulging with mostly expired coupons. What
they fail to realize is that these coupons allow me to imagine that
I'm getting a great deal on boring, ancillary stuff like food and
toiletries so that I can justify purchasing their life essentials
like EarPods and UGG slippers. And Bed Bath & Beyond happily accepts
multiple coupons for each transaction, expired or not, per company
policy-or maybe they just feel sorry for me.
When I arrived home, I was surprised that my wife and daughters approved
of my purchases. The only problem was that I was short about a dozen
towels and washcloths-since apparently three teenage girls use enough
bath linens on a daily basis to run their own limo-detailing service.
This meant I had to make another trip to Bed Bath & Beyond, which
was actually fine with me.
I still had enough expired coupons for the additional towels and washcloths,
and while I was at it, I could grab the dogs and me a six-pack of