Recently, I asked my friend Jaime what the secret of his success was with women. He said the secret was having an immaculate apartment. After laughing hysterically for a few moments and noticing he was still dead serious, I asked him to explain.
He told me that my apartment not only had to be clean and well kept, but it had to be decorated properly; no tapestries of dogs playing cards, no duct tape repairs, and definitely no sports equipment. He said the key was silk flowers that matched the décor, valance panels over the windows, and doilies.
At this point, I start laughing hysterically again. When I regain my composure, he tells me if I follow his instructions, women will walk into my apartment and immediately begin taking their clothes off. The whole time he is telling me this, he has this expression on his face and a tone in his voice that I could only associate with great worldly secrets guarded throughout history. Suddenly I felt I was conversing with a Zen master or perhaps the Dali Lama himself.
Okay, so I begin to make changes. I start cleaning things I’ve never cleaned before; things I didn’t even know could be cleaned. I replaced all my furniture with new stuff. I bought a wicker basket and some plastic fruit, more candles, matching picture frames, and silk arrangements, I even hung some paintings in the bathroom — go figure, no more echo in there! The new lamps I bought had a kind of rough base and I was worried they might scratch the end tables. While I’m thinking about a possible solution, the word doily pops into my head. Oh yeah, this is where the doilies come in.
The word doily congers up childhood memories of running around my Grandmother’s house. She had doilies everywhere. My cousin and I used to put them on our heads to make each other laugh. At that age, I believed literally everything was functional and I honestly believed that doilies were placed on tables for the sole purpose of absorbing spills. Now, the problem is I have no idea where to buy doilies. Shouldn’t they have come with the lamps? I’m confident though, that I can find them in the doily department at Walmart so off I go doily hunting.
After walking down nearly every aisle it becomes clear there are no doilies at Walmart let alone a doily department. I have passed several store clerks whom I could have asked, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Two of the clerks were men. Come on, how does a man ask another man where to find doilies? It’s just not going to happen, no way.
I could have asked the female employees, but I kept thinking about what would happen if they didn’t know. Would they ask someone else? What if they asked one of the male employees? Uh uh, not going to take that chance. Even worse, what if they didn’t know what a doily was? Did you ever think of that? A man explaining to a woman what a doily was? What if another man overheard me explaining to a woman what a doily was? I’d rather walk through the store naked and ask for tampon applicators! Besides, there is no point in asking anyone anyway; I’ve already walked down every aisle. They don’t carry doilies.
I searched the linen store, and the dollar store, and was in my second grid search of the arts and crafts store when I decided to suck it up and ask someone. I continued the grid search a third time, only now I was in search of just the right clerk to say the word doily to. I found a gray-haired lady who appeared too intent on what she was doing to take the time to pass judgment on me, so I walked right up and said “Excuse me, ma’am, where can I find Doilies?”
There, that wasn’t so bad, nothing to it actually. The heads of two younger women suddenly appeared from behind the boxes the older lady was unpacking. They were both attractive and both my age and both analyzed me up and down. I could actually feel the blood leaving my feet in high-speed transit to my face. One of them started glancing around the store, obviously trying to pinpoint the location of my “boyfriend.” The gray-haired lady points towards my now bloodless legs and says, “There you go, right down there”.
I look down to my right and see a big bin full of doilies, of all sizes and shapes. Fear and humiliation are now being overtaken by self-loathing. I cannot believe I was this close to not having to even say the word doily! Had I continued on my original grid search I would have stumbled on them all on my own. I could have rolled up the ones I needed and dropped them on the checkout counter with a case of motor oil and some balsa wood and no one would have been the wiser.
Now here I am, flipping through the bin with at least two sets of eyes burning a hole in my back. I decided right then that if my apartment does not contain at least one naked woman when I get home, I am going to strangle my friend Jaime with a set of satin curtain ties.