Oct 13, 2013

Petra and Mrs. Bellejambes

Google Analytics tells me that as many as 5 or 6 visitors pitch up daily here. Surely the vast majority are relentless bots, preying and prying on lonely hearts with blandishments of links and love. For those of you with a heart, fondness for this dusty old book, and hopes for seeing it tidied up a bit, welcome back.

Petra shoulders her bag and does her thing from time to time, just not so much here in the Digital Commons. When Petra does do her groove thang, it’s all still gorgeously electric. Then, after a change, a wash up and maybe a good night’s sleep, poised at keyboard, I am able to summon up only the chronicles of a chronically dull teenage girl.

Dear Diary. Did eyes a little smokier 2day. Went shopping. Had cocktail. Not sure I like the smokier eyes. Still hate my arms. Aaaarghhhhh!!! Laters!!!! xoxo

There is no lack of banality around us, and I am loath to add to it. So there. This is not to say I do not love smoky eye looks, shopping and cocktails. I most avowedly do. I simply cannot find the great and illuminating themes within those happy moments that convince me I have something of value to share.With you.

But what would we be if we did not try?


Mrs. Bellejambes and myself were readying to attend a milestone birthday party a couple of months ago. A surprise party. We knew the guest of honor was too smart altogether to be surprised, but her husband put so much work into it, we felt obliged to play along. Theme of the party was all mod / hippie 60’s, the carefree short hemlined era in which they had met.

I had not put much thought to what I might wear, but Mrs. B. was entirely swept up in the spirit and was planning and modeling her ensemble weeks out in advance. Never shy of a shoe shop, she found a perfect pair of white go-go boots with a danceable stacked heel. Up top a very contemporary abstract print in wild hues of chartreuse and violet, hitting a couple of inches north of her knees, very clingy and gorgeous on. I helped her get the head scarf right and offered up a perfectly good pair of my own vintage, 100% nylon sheers in pink. She rather hates tights, but condescended for the occasion, and had to admit that quality makes a difference. I counseled on make up too, doing a Sephora run for some outlandish lashes. Big lavish falsies, another first for the dear thing.

She was giddy and girlish with all the prep in a way she typically is not about dressing. In fact, she reminded me of me. I was so happy for her, envious of her, and oddly proud of myself for being able to help out a little. Then, mere hours before the event she asked:

“What are you going to wear?”

“O god, I haven’t a clue. Thinking of running over to Pyscho Sisters and renting something. I am sure they have a good Carnaby Street look or two …”

“Why not go as Petra? You could totally do 60’s …)

Well, darlings, I was not expecting that. I pretty quickly put the idea on ice. Most people are awkward enough in these settings without adjusting to the presence of exotic wildlife like Petra. Just too much to explain to too many in too little time. The party would have been too much about me, and god knows what the after-party chatter would have gone to.

“Maybe next time honey. Thanks for asking though”

I did mentally run through a dozen outfits I could have pulled together in a heartbeat that would have celebrated the era of peace, love and legs as I drove across town to get a more conventional 60’s guy look together. And we did look terrific, danced like idiots and had a blast. 

She meant it when she asked. And that means much to me.


Some weeks later I was halfway across the country missing out on Southern Comfort Conference. Long damn week in nicely appointed cabins in the woods with other leaders of my business unit. Think-a-thon by day, drink-a-thon by night. Me grinding my teeth in idle moments knowing I was missing out on National Prom Week in my hometown. Late home Friday night, tired and happy to be again with wife and peerless dog, I woke up Saturday with a burning need.

“Darling, tonight Southern Comfort wraps up. Would you mind if I dressed and took in a night out?”

“There will be drinking. No way you are driving”

“I can park overnight and cab it home. Or you can come too. How about it?”

“OK. Will Cindy be there? How about Gabrielle?”

“I honestly don’t know, but hey, you are sure to see some people you know”

Snacks and drinks with some old friends met at the lounge. Tall Bobbie, stately Barbara, and the whole floating, fragrant parade of girls all strapless and cinched, big-haired, small purse party night looks, such fun. Loads of chit chat about friends not seen this week, and where the hell have you been air kisses and hugs. Mrs. Bellejambes is to be admired really. It can’t be easy on her, she did not seek out this wild company. Bless her she shared a table with us all and give my knee a nice tap time to time.

She seems to be more willing to indulge Petra, or at least has gotten past all the reflexive and entirely understandable Waco Tango Foxtrot impulses that must possess a woman married to man with some of the differences that I, and perhaps you, have.

In point of fact, perhaps Petra has some catching up to do in this regard. Petra needs a little more work on indulging Mrs. B. You see, I have always been more concerned with how my wife copes with, reacts to and lives with Petra, “the other woman”. There is another level I have been oddly blind to:

How does Petra cope with, react to and live with Mrs. Bellejambes?

I must self-assess a failing grade. I tend to dress for times when the house is empty. I adopted this behavior out of a desire to spare my gentle wife moments of confusion and despair. Perhaps I even found a little nobility in it all …. “see, I am willing to sacrifice, and keep Petra more or less out of site, that’s how much you mean to me …”.

Seen from the other end of the telescope of course there is a whole ‘nother picture. Selfishness, lack of openness, furtiveness. Perhaps from that perspective, even dishonesty.

Mrs. B has shown the resiliency and adaptability that woman, in my experience, typically bring in better measure to life than the lads do.

If I claim to be a better person as a result of having tapped into my famous feminine side, where, precisely, did I mislay my own resiliency and adaptability?

I still fumble trying to find things in my purse pockets you know. Keys to the car, and maybe keys to the future, Going to find a flat surface, empty the bag and have a little sort through things.

Might need to bide some time with a cheezie diary entry here in meantime….
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