Sunday, February 18, 2007

Yin and yang

Last night's date was a study in gender differences.

With our favorite babysitter tending to the kids but without a plan or any sense of direction, we popped over to the mall. No points for originality did we curry.

I kicked things off with a visit to Sephora, under the guise of shopping for a new perfume. Within ten minutes, I was suffering from olfactory overload, so I wandered over to the skincare section. I was idly examining eye creams when I was suddenly accosted by the effervescent Dustin, who took my split ends and crow's feet as a personal challenge. Or offense. It was hard to tell.

Clucking his tongue, he whipped out a tube of tropical-scented hair stuff and smushed my errant frizzed and broken hairs into place. Trey materialized by my side and nodded his approval; emboldened, Dustin moved on to the land mine that is my face.

An unfortunate explanation might be needed here: some combination of hormones and stress and, I suppose, bad karma have conspired against my complexion for the better part of a year now; where I used to have an occasional blemish or two, I now boast clusters of spots that pepper my cheeks and jawline. It's quite easily twice as bad as when I was in junior high (and if Debelah's reading this, she just audibly gasped: she remembers those days when our personal soundtrack was Duran Duran, and I reeked of Noxzema and Oxy-10).

Now I have the extra advantage of (ahem) aging skin, so when I attack my skin with products that promise to banish blemishes, they a) don't, and b) suck the moisture right outta my epidermis. In other words, they leave wrinkles in their wake.

The worst part of the above is that when I meet someone new these days, I have to fight the urge to explain to them that this isn't really my face. Nor, while we're at it, are these really my hips. But this lacks plausibility, so I say nothing.

Anyway. I don't have to say a word to Dustin; he sizes me up in about a nanosecond with one perfectly plucked eyebrow raised in a critical arch. Then he begins grabbing bottles off of shelves and piling them into a basket at a startling rate of speed. This cleanser, that toner, let's try this moisturizer; and oh, honey, your HAIR... I am powerless to argue with any of it.

Before long, we're chatting and chirping like girlfriends, dishing about dermatologists and drag queens and fine dining. It's only when I hear Trey clear his throat that I remember: I am on a date. So I bid Dustin good-bye and promise to return in three weeks with my fabulously healthy brand-new skin and the name of that book we talked about.

How to balance so much estrogen? Two words: spy movie. It's Trey's turn to choose a flick, and his selection is Breach, with Chris Cooper and Ryan Phillippe. Now I know how he felt listening to me discussing pore size: this is so not my cup of tea. There's no outright bloodshed, thank goodness, just some implied violence and a fair amount of psychological tension. But in my highly biased opinion, it's not especially smart and less suspenseful than any weeknight rerun of "Law and Order."

But that's just me. Trey seems pleased with the choice and relieved to have dodged the bullet of Music and Lyrics which, truth be told, would probably be a better rental than a big-screen selection anyway. Hughie, darling, where did it all go so wrong?

So: Sephora and spies. In between the two, I'm relieved to report that we managed to meet in the middle for dinner. Food really is the great equalizer, isn't it? We supped at the restaurant in Nordstrom where, we agreed, you get a pretty decent meal considering that you're in the mall. A glass of wine for him and a mojito for me, and we were a million miles away from a diaper genie. And for a few hours at least, that was a good thing.

You know, when we were newly wedded, even though we weren't newly coupled, compromise sometimes seemed an impossibility. I want what I want. He wants what he wants. How can we ever find a happy medium? With time, with maturity, with experience, I think, we've learned how to build bridges and when to stand our ground.

Some debates are easy: what movie should we see? Some are more complex: which car should we buy? We don't see eye to eye on every issue, and that's probably for the best. We balance each other. We complement each other. And when we finally convince Spencer and Katie that it really is more fun to ride the tricycle together rather than trying to tear it apart, spoke by spoke, we look at each other and laugh.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you and I need to co-author a mommy book. :) Your writing is brilliant Franklin.

7:01 AM  
Blogger Franklin5 said...

Wow. Just... wow. And thank you.

If you look beyond the glow of my newly clarified skin (bless you, Dustin), you'll see that I'm blushing. Coming from you, Tracey, that is high praise indeed.

Hey, when we have our first strategy session for the new book next month, I need you to know something: these aren't really my hips. Just FYI.

8:20 AM  
Blogger Big Mama said...

I loved every minute of this post. And I now want to run to the nearest Sephora and find my own Dustin to help a girl out.

You're a great writer.

10:33 AM  
Blogger henry and greta's mommy said...

hey franklin five, ease up on music and lyrics. some of us just need some mindless entertainment for a change. (i.e. i won in the movie debate. high fiving myself.)

2:31 PM  
Anonymous weintraub said...

see-you are genius, my friend. pure genius.

and I had to laugh out loud at the skin/hips comment, because that is *exactly* what you said the first time we met.

and second.

and there was a reminder comment the third time as well.

and entire *body* is not what it should be.

so I feel your pain!

but back to you, and your brilliant writing.

*standing, clapping, cheering*

(where is your "posts I start but never finish" post? dying for that one)

2:44 PM  
Blogger Franklin5 said...

Shucks, y'all. Thanks for making my day. And thanks, Jen, for keeping me honest. ;)

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

less of a gasp; more of a giggle with a little 8th-grade snort at the end. Tragically, I'm beyond the ministrations of Oxy OR Sephora and am considering veiling myself to the toes (which of course are the only parts that I still love). Would that help hips, do you think, or just tent out in an unflattering fashion? Can't wait until I have a few days in a row to catch up on the Fab Franklins. Smooches!~deb

9:13 AM  

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