Free to Be: St Ann of the Bridal Shop Window

One more than pleasant by-product of retiring early (albeit with a meager monthly SSI cheque) is no longer needing to adhere to someone else’s rules, aesthetics, and codes of behavior and appearance.

I really need not shave unless I have a fancy country funeral or somber city wedding to attend. Seven weeks is my current record for not even trimming my goatee. Similarly, my hair seems to get longer and longer in between cuts, although I do have Mullet Prevention Services through AARP.

Yes, I now believe that exercise pants (of the flannel drawstring variety) are appropriate almost everywhere. Beware of a challenge. I’ll proudly wear stripes with plaids, and sole-ful chamois slippers.

I still have limits but they are all mine these days, with perhaps a dash of Jon’s. Thirty years of employee manuals and always obsolete handbooks have been recycled. (The give-away is always the chapter devoted to gloves.)

As Bohemian as I have always been, with the bravado of a Catholic, Southern gay liberal Democrat with a Yankee German heritage, there have always been situations that I’ve spared any taint of post dinner chat. I simply enjoyed a Rusty Nail and politely nodded in accordance.

So when at my desk, I wear my favorite robe, a very tailored Anichini number. Once perfection, and now tattered with grey wool, it sports an intriguing and subtle paisley pattern. It is elegantly finished with long cuffed sleeves, four buttons at the top, and a hem that barely grazes my slippers or my bright chartreuse O-T-Cs … betrayed by a cigarette burn from a melodramatic night in the summer of ’99.

Where is that Marlo Thomas these days? I miss “That Girl” and even refer to Pfluffer as Pfluffer Marie, as in Lew Marie, Ann’s father. Give me a day or two. A have two friends in New York that will help me present the existential values of the ’60’s comedy, and the underlying motivation for the relationship conflicts between Ann and Donald.

Of course, in a new millennium remake, I could wrap myself in a silk kimono-esque robe as this boy has, but I’d have jewel-toned Tommy Hilfiger “snuggies” dotted with anchors on as well. I’d save the tribal but chiefly ornamental head-dress for my beloved. Jon would certainly blurt: “It’s a cranial fit!”

Marie, we’ll toast you with what may be red wine but resembles an Albany attempt at an amber moonshine. (State of the art stills are just across state lines in Vermont.) The bottle leans inward, however, toward that Dapper Benjamin, a mishap-in-waiting. À votre santé!

“Free to be You and Me.” Marlo, my dear, you are an icon.

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