My sister shared a Christmas-shopping moment the other day: Standing in a crowded store in a crowded mall, trying to find a decent outfit for her teenage granddaughter. The girl and her brother generally get one nice outfit every year, the sorts of splurge-y name brands they wouldn’t normally get. Every kid needs to feel cool at least sometimes.
So she found something, then looked at the price tag: A pair of Baby Phat jeans, juniors size 5. Price: $80.
“Kimora Lee Simmons should be ashamed of herself!” she exploded. I heartily agree (although it has nothing to do with her jeans).
I had my own moment today, in Bath & Body Works. I was buying a few stocking stuffers for a Girl Scout Christmas project — personal-care products for the girls at a local children’s home. I figure one of the thousand petty humiliations of being poor and institutionalized at Christmas is having to settle for everyone’s hand-me-downs, so I was determined to buy something that didn’t say “dollar store.” I went into the ubiquitous mall soap store for some cute crap-in-a-bottle. Picked up a tiny tin of American Girl-branded lip balm. Four-fifty.
“Leslie Wexner should be ashamed of himself!” I said. It didn’t quite have the same ring to it. Not here, anyway — it would play in Columbus. But the day I spend nearly five bucks for two cents’ worth of flavored wax hasn’t yet arrived. I went next door to Rite Aid and loaded up with a bunch of perfectly acceptable stuff and spent around $30.
I shouldn’t even set foot in that store, anyway. It always smells like a chemistry set. Everything under The Limited’s umbrella made its rep selling goods of barely acceptable quality to the greatest number of people. I haven’t trusted the place since I tucked a Victoria’s Secret bra away for six months, and took it out again to find half the elastic had rotted.
Ah, well. We have greater things to discuss today than lip balm. The death of Ike Turner, say.
The way of all flesh, etc. I saw Ike and Tina once, at the Ohio State Fair. Mid-’70s, sometime in there. Tina and the Ikettes wore their trademark minidresses with fringe, and shook that shit into knots. A highly memorable performance. Ike did what Ike always did: He hung back and led the band. From what we know now, Tina already hated his guts by then and was plotting her escape. Their marriage seemed a tragic case of “A Star is Born,” if James Mason had bounced Judy Garland off the walls when he had a snoot full of coke. Rock ‘n’ roll historians are making the case that it’s unfair for the man who gave the world “Rocket 88” to be remembered solely as a wife-beater. Miles Davis was not very nice to his women, either, but it didn’t lead his obituaries. (Note: Davis was also lucky none of them became stars like Tina, or the story might be different.) Two things need to be said about Ike. One, that he was very lucky in the casting of the man who would play him in Tina’s version of her life story. Laurence Fishburne brought something extra to that role and made it memorable. And second, that he found Tina. There wouldn’t have been a Tina without Ike. So there’s that.
I once heard Tina interviewed on “60 Minutes,” and Ed Bradley asked if she’d had any plastic surgery done. She freely admitted to a breast lift and a nose job, the latter because Ike had connected with it so many times it needed the repair, and the former to “put them back where they belong.” Gotta chuckle.
Best line in “What’s Love Got to Do With It?”: “Get back in there and do it again, and this time put some stink on it.” They were recording “Nutbush City Limits.” I’d say she did so.
I read the New York Times Styles section these days for a look into a world I don’t and (I hope) never will occupy — one where, when a person is invited to dinner, they feel free to present the hostess with a long list of objectionable foods; where people fret over the carbon footprint of their holiday gifts; where there are no more entrees in restaurants, because 17 bites is 14 too many for boredom not to set in.
Today, another nose-against-the-glass moment: People who don’t know when to leave the dog at home.
It was a dark and stormy night — actually four stormy nights — when Jayme Otto, 31, and her husband, Ryan Otto, 33, drove 1,200 miles from their home in Boulder, Colo., to her parents’ house in Cleveland for Christmas.
“We traveled all this way to bring our yellow Labrador, Cody Bear, home to spend time with his grandparents,” Ms. Otto said, “grandparents” being dog-person-speak for her parents.
Besides wanting Cody Bear “to participate in his favorite yearly activity of unwrapping gifts and destroying all the boxes,” as Ms. Otto put it, they wanted the dog to meet her brother’s fiancée.
But on Christmas morning, a commotion ensued: the fiancée was allergic to dogs and broke out in hives.
“The dog was banished to the guest bedroom and we were unable to share our Christmas morning with Cody Bear,” Ms. Otto said bitterly. “The family blowup between my brother and I over the dog resulted in my mother not speaking to me for two months and my brother for four.” This Christmas will mark the first time that the Ottos will not be returning home.
I’m trying to think of the people I know who remained virginal until marriage. (think, think, think.) OK, I know a few. Now I’m trying to think of the people who did the opposite — who pretty much fell into bed on date one, and got married at some later date. (think, think, think.) I know a lot of those. Now I’m thinking of the states of all those marriages. (think, think, think.) And I see pretty much identical success/failure rates in both camps. Which is hardly a scientific poll, I realize, but seems to underline what every adult with a lick of common sense knows about marital sex — that it’s a very important part of the relationship, but only one part. So why does the Weekly Standard, which would never stand for facile analyses of Middle Eastern affairs (to take them at their word, anyway), run nonsense like this?
Instant sex and romantic love can’t coexist any more than hurricanes and forest fires. One drives out the other.
It’s a standard cheap shot of lefties to say that right-wing social policy comes from its proponents not being able to get laid, but if only they didn’t make it so easy to say so.
Finally, the Christians said, “Merry Christmas” and the Jew replied, “Happy Hanukkah,” so of course a fistfight was the only reasonable response. Fortunately, a Muslim stepped in to break things up.
Well, it is the season of miracles.