“Acme Grommets and Napkin Dispensers, Pearl speaking.”
“Yes, I’d like to order four grommets and a napkin dispenser, please.”
“Who gave you this number?”
Mary laughs. “You did.”
I mock-threaten her under my breath. “You made me use a perfectly good greeting.”
“It was very nice,” she says.
There is a brief silence.
“So what’s up?”
“Oh,” she says. “You know. Thinking about slacks and all things pants-ly.”
We’ve discussed this before. Me, I could be described, rather unflatteringly, I think, as being from the “pear” family: small in the middle, thighs that say “hey, how ‘bout we slather some gravy on it?” Mary, on the other hand, is more of an “apple”. Larger waisted, slender-legged, Mary’s body type says “I won’t wear a half-top, but check out this crazy mini-skirt.”
Apple. Pear. Both body shapes are lovely if one is making a fruit salad, but notoriously difficult to buy pants for.
I nod. “I’m down to four pairs of pants: one has a stain I think might be some weird toothpaste mutation, one has a zipper that won’t stay up – causing me to look as if I’m scratching myself inappropriately – and two of them have a gap in the back meant, I believe, for grapefruit smuggling.
“I’m telling you,” I say. “Shopping for new trousers is one of my least favorite things to do.
“A gal could get chafed,” she concedes. “We need to fight the power. We need to join forces.”
The line goes dead as I stare out the window and consider joining a movement headed up by Mary. I swallow, square my shoulders.
“I’ll do it,” I say.
“Excellent,” she says. “Remember the 60s and the bra-burning movement?”
I frown. “Not personally, no.”
She laughs. “Are you sure?”
I puff up, false dignity firmly in place. “I just acquired breasts last year.”
“Hmm,” she murmurs. “So you did. So you did.”
“Shaddap,” I say, pleasantly.
I can hear a smile creep over Mary’s face. “I want to burn our pants.”
“In a big pile, maybe in front of Macy’s.”
“We’re gonna need a slogan or something, something we can shout at passers-by.”
There is silence.
“I know,” I say. “How about one leg two leg zipper fly! Shopping for pants can make me cry!”
“Nice,” she says. “I was thinking, too. How about: What do we want? Pants! When do we want them? Now! How much will we be willing to spend? Not too much but we’re willing to pay for quality!”
Our grins slide along the telephone lines. “I like it,” I say. “There’s a certain arrhythmia going on that makes me happy.”
The line goes silent.
“OK,” Mary says. “So we’re in agreement?”
I nod. “Right. Macy’s at noon. Bring yer pants.”
The line goes silent again.
“We’re not really going to burn our pants, are we?” she says.
“No,” I say.
“Still,” she says. “I feel better, don’t you?”
I smile. “I do.”
“Have a good day,” she says.
“You, too,” I say.