top of page
hair & makeup copy.png

A little romance, a few laughs. It's all good.


“Would you like another cup?” Celeste asked, raising a carafe.

“Please,” Norman replied.

He lifted his mug and she smiled and poured. Norman took a sip then closed his eyes in appreciation as the rich, roasted notes danced on his tongue. Celeste sure knew how to brew coffee, he thought. And those brownies she’d baked were delicious. He took another piece as he surreptitiously studied the woman seated across from him. She was almost thirty, plain but not unattractive, and quiet, but that was okay. After all, he was quiet too as well as sporting a receding hairline and a slight paunch.

He felt like maybe he’d hit the jackpot.

As Norman chewed, he asked, “Tell me, how come no one’s snatched you up yet?”

In a coy whisper, she replied, “I guess I haven’t found the right guy. Yet.”

Norman felt his blood stir. He could be that guy.

A gavel was struck; over the loudspeaker, a disembodied voice announced, “One year in.”

Norman dipped a hand into his inside jacket pocket and carefully extracted a single red rose. Handing it to Celeste, he looked deeply into her eyes and said, “For you.”

“Oh.” Celeste took the flower, not even sniffing the bloom, and replied in a lackluster voice, “Thanks.”

“What’s wrong?” Norman asked.


“No, come on,” he urged. “Tell me.”

“Well,” she said, “it’s not very original, is it? One red rose. I’d have preferred some daisies or tulips. Something to show you’d taken mytaste into consideration, not just any woman’s.”

“But I barely know you,” he argued.

“This is why I didn’t want to say anything. I knew you’d be defensive.” Celeste muttered.

Before Norman could respond, the gavel was banged again, making him jump. The stentorian voice intoned, “Five years in.”

Celeste said, “We should talk about where we’re headed in this relationship.”

Norman felt warm and he loosened his collar. “Can’t we keep things as is?”

“I’m not getting any younger. My most fertile years are racing by. I thought you wanted to settle down, have a family.”

“One day, but I have a lot of living to do. We both do.” He took Celeste’s hands in his. “I want us to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, explore the jungles of the Amazon, tango in Argentina.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Do you even know how to tango?”

Norman ignored her comment. “I want us to have adventures, make memories. You only want to vegetate at home.”

“You knew I led a quiet life when we first met.”

“But it wasn’t that long ago,” he said, looking at the wall clock. “I hadn’t even considered what it all meant.”

“So, I’ll lose the best years of my life because now you want ‘adventures.’”

“No. I’m saying let’s wait a little longer,” he attempted to explain as the gavel was banged once again. Perspiring, he looked around the room, trying to locate the irritating voice that now declared, “Ten years in.”

“What are you doing?” Celeste shrieked.


“I saw you looking at her,” she said, pointing to the table located to his left.

Confused, Norman turned and observed an attractive red-head sitting at the next table.

“You’re doing it again!” she spat.

“I didn’t notice her before, Celeste. Not until you mentioned her.”

“But you’re noticing her now, aren’t you? I know she’s more beautiful than me and younger, but I thought we had something and you were committed to us.”

“You’re jumping to conclusions—”

“About her or our relationship?” Celeste stood. “I’ve had enough. We’re through. You’re not who I thought you were,” she announced before she snatched the brownie out of his hand and stormed out the exit under which a large banner read “Speed Relationship Night.”

Dejected, confused, and relieved all at the same time, Norman pressed his index finger down on the table to pick up a few brownie crumbs as the disembodied voice decreed, “This marks the end of tonight’s session. We hope you’ve been enlightened,” and the gavel was brought down once more.


“What’s a MILF?” my mother asked.

I did a double-take. “A what?”

“A MILF.” She pointed to the television program we were watching. “They just joked about starting a club for people whose mothers are MILF’s. So, what is it?”

There were a lot of things I was prepared to do when my parents got older. Driving them to their doctors’ appointments and making sure they took their medications. Installing grab bars to the toilet and bathtub. Purchasing adult diapers. However, I was not prepared for having to translate certain vocabulary.

When I was a teenager, I went to see the movie Body Heatwith my mom and dad. I recall it being a good film but can’t remember much of it, except for having to sit between my parents during some sexy, yet discomfiting, scenes. In the scene where William Hurt crashes a chair through a French door to take a heavy breathing, turned-on Kathleen Turner, I felt my pulse race from both excitement and embarrassment. I was grateful for being in a darkened theater rather than watching it on video in our brightly lit family room six months later. As I got older (and films got racier), I became more immune to watching love scenes in film and television. I thought I’d become more mature.

Now, I know better. Now, I endure a new humiliation. Explaining new, often sexual terms, to my octogenarian mother. When she first asked about MILF, I tried to prevaricate. But she’s known me way too long and wouldn’t cave. So, eventually, I did.

I said, “It’s an acronym standing for Mother I’d like to f—.”


I waited, expecting her to reply like Marie on Everyone loves Raymond would. “I don’t like that, Thea.” But there was nothing.

So, it began with MILF. And it continued with MILF. At least ten times. Because my mother would forget the definition and ask me again. And again.

Soon other words needed explanation.

“What’s a queef?”

“It’s like a vart,” I replied, hoping she would figure out the definition from its sound.

She didn’t.

“What’s a vart?”

“A vagina fart.”

‘I’ve never had that.”

“Really? You mean to tell me in all your eighty-four years, you never had the feeling of air down there getting pushed out?”


Lucky her, I thought.

Since then, I have had to explain such words and phrases as rub and tug, butt plugs, and taint. Her latest question: what’s a merkin?

I sigh. “It’s a vaginal hairpiece, Mom.”

“A hairpiece?”

“Yeah, like a vagina toupee.”

“Why in the heck would anyone need a vagina toupee?” she asks.

“Well, nowadays, most women leave very little hair down there or they even go completely bare. So, when someone needs a little hair, they fasten these on.”

Mom considers my explanation. “Okay,” she says, “I get why an actress might need one, like doing a nude scene in a historical film. But why would the rest of us shave off everything and then purchase fake hair to glue back on?”

I look at Mom and start to reply. I stop. I try again. Stop again.

I got nothing.


“Go ahead,” my sister said.

I cautiously, reluctantly, leaned into the raised armpit of my puberty-stricken nephew and sniffed.


I leaned in some more, shoving my nose against the shirt covered underarm and sniffed again. And then I breathed in deeply.


“Incredible, huh?” my sister asked.

I nodded. “And you say, you just rub this organic toothpaste onto your pits?”

“Yeah. And not only does it take away the stink, it can even last a couple of days.”

“Where did you hear about this?” I asked.

“I’ve been looking online a while for something that will keep me fresh without putting who-knows-what on my skin.”

I nodded. As children and grandchildren of Alzheimer’s victims, the chemicals in most antiperspirants and deodorants were of concern to us, especially those with aluminum compounds.

Unfortunately, the natural products that we had tried had all pretty much failed. I used a rock crystal deodorant, but I still supplemented every few days with the questionable stuff.

“Anyway,” she continued, “I found a site that posted about using this toothpaste as a deodorant. They were so many positive responses that I decided to give it a try.”

I lifted my sister’s arm and pushed my nose in. She was no teenage boy, but it worked well with her too. I was convinced.

My sister handed me a travel-sized tube of the toothpaste. “I got you a small tube to try.”

The next morning, after showering, I opened the toothpaste and squeezed out a pea-sized drop onto my fingers. I read that it contained both peppermint and cinnamon bark oil and I could make out those scents. I spread the drop on my underarm and robbed. My other underarm followed.

It was wet and sticky. I moved my arms around trying to get the armpits to rub against themselves. It didn’t help much. Eventually, I lifted up each arm and fanned then blew on the pits to dry.

For the rest of the day, I surreptitiously sniffed my pits, like the old Arrid commercials, and had no B.O. The next day went well too. Could this be the miracle I had been hoping for?

Unfortunately, no. Oh, the smell was definitely controlled, but the same couldn’t be said for how my armpits began to react. It started out one afternoon with some slight itchiness. I gave a little scratch, which brought relief, but the itchiness soon returned. Over and over, the itchiness reappeared, becoming worse and worse and returning sooner and sooner. Eventually, not being able to stand it any longer, I ran to my bathroom to take a shower. As I stripped off my clothes, I saw that my underarms were a bright pink from my skin’s reaction and the scratching. It took a few days for the reaction to fade.

A week later, I tried the toothpaste one more time. Using a smaller amount, I hoped I’d be able to use the miracle product again. Alas, it was not to be. While the reaction was not as bad as the previous time, it was still uncomfortable.

I have returned to the inadequate rock crystal with regular supplementation from toxic antiperspirants. And the organic toothpaste mocks me whenever I open the drawer it rests in.

bottom of page