Thursday, March 22, 2007

Shopping for ties

Mrs. Lewis was my high school boyfriend's mother and my biology teacher's wife. That's right, I dated my biology teacher's son. It doesn't seem like a big deal now, but it was news in high school. Mrs. Lewis was also a high school teacher. She taught deaf students in a neighboring district.

"Oh, did I forget to mention that she's deaf?"

That's exactly how Boyfriend told me that his mom couldn't hear. She read lips and talked (lots), so most people didn't know until they were told. In fact, Mr. Lewis didn't realize it until they had been dating for quite a while. He just thought that unless he made good eye contact when he spoke to her, she chose to ignore him. (His son was equally observant, noticing that my eyes are two different colors a short twelve weeks after we started dating.)

Anyhow, Mrs. Lewis's hearing loss didn't much get in the way of hours of chatting. It was a little harrowing in the car, barreling down the middle of the road at 80 miles an hour with the dome light on so she could see my lips while she drove. Drivers we passes laid on their horns. The honking did little to phase her.

Our first trip out together was to the mall. It was her idea. We had to replace all of Mr. Lewis's ties.

"Why?" you ask.

Because the first time I had dinner at the Lewis' house, Mrs. Lewis took me up to her room afterwards, opened the closet and said, "Throw out every tie you don't like." She was concerned that Mr. Lewis was looking dated and dorky. She was right.

So there I was, standing in my high school teacher's closet with a garbage bag thinking, I'm going to fail biology. I was a bit mortified. Mr. Lewis was extremely mortified. Boyfriend was laughing his ass off.

I am really good at throwing away things, though. (I get that from my mother. Along with small boobs and almost freakishly large big toes.) So, I followed my baser instincts and started chucking ties. When I was done, there were two left. Mrs. Lewis tied up the bag and said, "Now, we have to shop. What are you doing tomorrow afternoon?"

I should have known from the closet incident that this woman didn't have real firm boundaries, but I was totally unprepared for the conversation we were about to have at the mall. We were walking between stores when she turned to me and asked, "What do students say about Mr. Lewis?"

I said, "Well... you know... they say he has bad ties."

Apparently, lying can be read on the lips. She laughed and shook her head. "No...what do they really say?"

I panicked. "They say he's gay," I blurted out. And then, without taking a breath, I explained, "They don't actually think he's into guys, they just think he's too dorky to be with women." A small town high school--where dorky somehow meant homosexual. Now I know better. A gay man wouldn't be caught dead in those ties.

Mrs. Lewis looked at me, laughed, and said, "He's not gay. You can tell them he's not gay."

I said, "Yeah, I kind of figured that once I met you." I wasn't thinking that my biology teacher was gay. I was thinking that he traded up. He was a little dorky, while she was smoking hot--not classically gorgeous, but undeniably sexy in that way you can't quite explain.

"We have sex every Saturday night and Sunday morning and then sometimes during the week when the boy isn't around," she said.

I wasn't shocked that these people had sex. I grew up in a tiny house with thin walls and amorous parents. I knew that there was sex after children. I was shocked that she was telling me about it.

This wasn't the last I heard of their sex life. And frankly, in the end, it was probably a good thing I had to sit through those initially awkward conversations. They served as fair warning for the time that Boyfriend and I came home early one Friday night and found the definitely not gay biology teacher and his hot wife going at it on the couch.

Mrs. Lewis's fluid boundaries ended up being one of my very favorite things about her. At a time in my life when I really needed someone who wasn't my mom or my peer to talk to, I could tell her anything. I count my conversations with her among the best I've ever had.

I liked Boyfriend.
I loved his mom.


ryan said...

oh i love it
great story

parent relations are so interesting
when you are not related
it's a disconnect
that is very profound
and releases the truth
or some form of it

it also gives parents a chance to be more candid
very few people actually could ever be that blunt
and it's super powerful

your story was beautiful
made my morning


side note
i grew up with my mother keeping everything
i mean pack rat!
serious pack rat!
now, for some reason i am the cleanest and neatest person i know
i am a little psycho about cleanliness i would say
not sure how that worked out
maybe it's the gay gene
i wonder if there is a gay gene
that would be classic and funny

thanks for your post
perfect morning starter
almost better than coffee!

Cheryl said...

This was a great story. Kudos. Mrs. L must have felt a kinship with you from the start. It must have meant a lot to you to have someone your parent's age treat you as an adult.

Susanlee said...

hehehe I never had boyfriends until I was pretty late into high school and then in college (where I became a giant slut) but when I was..oh about Jr. High I guess I always just became really good friends with the moms of the guys I was into, hoping that they'd put in a good word for me. I hadn't realized yet that perhaps being one of their moms friends lost me points instead of winning them...My current mother in law really dislikes me, but she has the decency to pretend that she doesn't. I don't think we'll get to go shopping anytime soon though...

Anonymous said...

While a little odd, as long as you're comfortable with Mrs. L and have fun together that's whats most important. :)

You can give the boyfriend extra brownie points for having a cool mom.

Teronni said...

Ryan- My best friend is a lesbian and we were just telling another friend of ours one of our favorite stories:
We walked into a coffee shop on a Saturday morning and the place was full of freshly showered and shaved men. I took a deep breath and said, "Ahh, men." At the exact same moment, she scrunched up her face and said, "What is that smell?" We looked at each other and laughed hysterically.
We think that if it's a gene, it's linked to smell.

Cheryl- Yep, that was great. She seemed to know when to treat me like an adult and when to treat me like the kid I was.

Susanlee- A giant slut? With that sweet face? It's always the ones you least expect :)

P- Yeah, it was a little odd--very freeing, but a little odd. I seem to bring that out in people, though. (Susanlee just confessed to being a brazen hussy!) :) People tell me things they don't tell anyone else.
This serves me very well with patients.

Maria said...

I loved Mrs. L from the moment that she showed you her husband's ties.

The Mrs. L's in the world make it more interesting and often prove to be the best friends.

I would never settle for less. I LIKE my friends just a little off center.

One queestion: Were you equally forthcoming with her about your sex life with her son? :)

"Well, hey...THAT must be why your son insists on the Saturday night sex in the back seat...."

ryan said...

it must totally be linked to a smell.
that would be the only way it would make sense