About a dozen years ago, before it was intolerably cliche, my husband bought a long-sleeved T-shirt with lettering that read “got beer?”
He’s normally a sharp-minded, sharp-dressed guy, a middle-aged but hip engineer who’s really, really into beer. So when he found this T-shirt and had to have it, it seemed harmless enough. He could putter around the house in it – where else would he wear such a thing? Let me tell you. He’s worn “got beer?” to restaurants, to dinner at family and friends’ homes, fine shops, art museums and galleries, and, most recently, to a rather fancy wine tasting.
It’s not that I’m oblivious when we leave the house; it’s that I am distracted with the dogs, the things we have to bring, and my own appearance. He’s also a sneak, hiding “got beer?” under nice sweaters and jackets, then shedding them later to reveal what lies beneath. How ridiculous. But it makes me furious every time.
To my dismay, “got beer?” has held up remarkably well. Never have I seen a T-shirt retain its color, fit, and lettering as well as this one. It’s unnatural is what it is, as if it’s protected by some freakish beer-lover voodoo.
Then fate stepped in when I found a pair of fuchsia-colored velour yoga pants on a Kohl’s clearance rack for $2. I was bedazzled by the color, and they were so soft and warm I didn’t even care that they were ill-fitting, as $2 pants will be, and exceptionally unflattering. Even though I am not tall, I am long-legged, so these pants are also about an inch and a half too short.
The first time my husband saw me puttering around the house in my new favorite pants, he said: “You aren’t going to wear those high-waters out of the house, are you? I’d prefer if you didn’t even wear them in the house.” That was the first time I’d ever heard the term “high-waters.” You see, I’m from New York, and we call them “floods.”
At any rate, the opportunity rose before my eyes like a flaming fuchsia-colored phoenix: Let’s make a deal. “I won’t wear my floods out of the house if you won’t wear ‘got beer?’ out of the house anymore” was all it took. The offending “got beer?” was swiftly retired from public view.
Because my husband travels a lot for his job, I technically didn’t hold up my end of the bargain, though. My floods are the warmest and comfiest pants for walking the dogs on cold mornings, and he was away. So what he didn’t see wouldn’t hurt him. I had mostly stopped wearing them in his presence. This seemed fair enough.
Until the brisk morning a couple of months ago when I thought he’d left for the airport, but he’d actually stopped to get a haircut at a nearby barbershop. I was out walking the dogs when he drove by us, real slow, mouth moving a mile a minute as he jabbed his finger, pointing, I thought at first, at the dogs’ jaunty new Martha Stewart winter wear. But as I looked down, I glimpsed a fanciful flash of fuchsia. Oh, my God, he’d caught me out in my floods on the busiest street in town during rush hour.
The pact had been broken.
After that, we began taunting each other with escalating public appearances of “got beer?” and floods. For example: “got beer?” at the nice winery. I even started doing little dances in my floods, kicking my legs and shaking my rump to draw attention to myself. Last week, however, while we were eating dinner at home, my husband announced: “Today when I was at the bank there was a lady in front of me wearing those pink velour sweat pants you have.”
“Is that so?” I replied. “I guess I started a trend.”
“Yeah, maybe,” he said. “But she didn’t look as bad in them as you.”
And the needle scratched off the record.
Floods have since been pronounced dead, while “got beer?” lives on. It’s maddening not knowing whether my husband actually outmaneuvered me or whether it was just a dumb luck comment that sealed his victory.Then again, could be that beer lovers’ voodoo is more powerful than I thought.