[I] may be crazy but I'm the closest thing I have to a voice of reason.

14 March 2010

Jane Mansfield

The fifth installment of The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys, and as promised, here you will find me in my underwear (more or less) and my husband in a size 48 DD, truly not to be missed. Scroll on down if you’d like a recap of my storytelling style or to catch up on earlier scenes, and do be careful when you do, as I am just on the other side of the screen sneezing my fool head off. I am, most assuredly, contagious.

The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys

"Do you have any Jockey briefs like these in medium?"
"We have this kind," said the sales clerk. She pulled out a three-roll pack of briefs with various colored stripes.
"No, I like solid colors," I said. "Those are the right colors, but I don't do stripes. You have the briefs I want in small and large, but I need a medium."
The clerk looked up from the roll of shorts in her hand. "My small days are over," I said.
"Are these for your boyfriend? husband?" she said, both doubtful and hopeful.
"They're for me."
"They're . . . for you." It was a question, but it didn't sound like one. The clerk continued holding the tube of striped Jockey briefs, the kind without the flap.
"I've always had skinny thighs," I said. "These fit better than women's underwear ever did." The clerk set the three-pack back on the table.
"Did you know they make Jockey for women now?" she said.
"Look, if I buy a pair of women's underwear, Jockey or otherwise, I might as well buy a thong because that's what they're going to turn into as soon as I move. Know what I mean?"
"Uh," she shifted from one foot to the other, looked at the cash register. No one was waiting.
"I found the colors I want in the bikini, but I prefer the regular briefs. Do you have them in back stock?"
"I've just never heard that before," she said.
My lunch hour was ticking away. "Would it make you feel better if I told you they were for my husband? Okay. They're for my husband. Now do you have them?"

It's a straight party, and when Cliff and I enter the room no one recognizes us. This seems odd because I am wearing no make-up, no mask, and no glasses -- I forgot the Groucho Marx glasses I’d meant to wear -- and in a suit, fedora, and eye-pencil mustache, I am so lightly disguised as to be, for Halloween anyway, naked. So there we stand in the archway as the whole room laughs, all their pink college-kid mouths stretched wide: me a down-at-the-heel but nonetheless dapper Italian man in a plaid suit and striped suspenders escorting a hot babe clad in a clingy blue knit that sweeps up into a turtleneck and down into a hip-hugging, knee-length dress. Sultry but demure. Below the hemline, my hot date sports great calves in sheer hose, two pair, because she shaved her face but not her legs and any drag queen will tell you it takes two pair of pantyhose to cover the hair. No one can figure out who we are. Not after a minute. Not after two. Finally a curly-headed man says, "I only know one woman that big."

Because of his size, Cliff is accustomed to being drafted to help with jobs requiring strength. Before the party, in fact, Cliff was at the home of friends who’d just purchased a big screen TV. I was to meet him there to do hair and make-up. When the delivery guy knocked, it was Cliff who answered the door, and in a big voice that matched his big body he said, I'll help you with that. Keep in mind, this was the ‘80s and Cliff wasn’t dressed in some hooker outfit -- the kind straight guys like to wear now to show their girlfriends that their masculinity isn’t threatened by a little make-up and heels -- no, Cliff’s frock was a thrift-store cast off, made by someone’s elderly aunt. So imagine a football player, say six-four, 250, in a skin-tight, hand-knitted, electric blue dress, his hair in hot rollers, wrapping his arms around the end of a box nearly as big as he is. On the other end of the box is the delivery guy. He looked up at Cliff, looked back down at the box, said nothing. Cliff, wearing no make up and walking backward with his size twelve feet stuffed into a pair of red jellies, said, Watch that corner, and, Over to your right a bit, and, Okay, let’s set it down here. The delivery guy said nothing. As they hefted the television out of the box, Cliff caught his reflection: a bit thick at the waist, he thought, but what a pair of knockers! To the delivery guy he said, I'll bet you get a real workout on a job like this. Delivery guy said nothing. But Cliff noticed a slight flick of the eyes -- across the size forty-eight, double D chest -- the kind of half-conscious, half-fearful glance preteen boys have for busty girls. Cliff looked down, paused a moment, and then realizing the problem -- and before the delivery guy could make his exit -- pulled up the dress and reached down into his bra, turning the balloons there knots-forward. “I need nips,” he said. The delivery guy didn’t even wait for a tip.

At the party later, I catch the curly-headed man, one of my classmates, eyeing Cliff's chest. A sneak here. A peek there.
Cliff sidles up to him and says "Go on. Touch 'em."
The curly-headed man shakes his head. "No," he says, but his mouth twitches into a shy smile.
"Come on, man, they're balloons, but they feel real."
The man shakes his head, "I can't."

Many years from now at a high drag affair -- gay, of course, and stuffed like a twelve-year-old girl in her mother’s push-up bra, complete with stilettos and a feathered hat -- Cliff will win the Best Camp award with an over-the-hill-Liz-Taylor muumuu, lime green leggings, fuzzy slippers, and a middle-aged gut. But at the college party tonight, Cliff is svelte in a knit dress, pouty red lips, bedroom eyes, and a hand-on-the-hip stance that would make Jane Mansfield look butch. He focuses his movie-star gaze on the curly-headed man.

"Sure you can," Cliff says and he -- er, she -- snatches the man's right hand and places it on her left boob, palm turned inward against that knotted nipple, fingers wide to embrace a tit so big that even a man’s hand can’t contain it. A circle gathers. Hand still on Cliff’s boob the curly-headed man looks side to side. He makes a tentative squeeze and then, as if propelled by a jolt from a hot wire, his body suddenly rockets backward as he screams -- ”Ahhhh!”

The crowd busts up. The curly-headed man lands on his feet a couple yards away, looking at the offending hand. Then he looks at the Jane-Mansfield chest on Cliff. Her face. Then at his hand again. "Oh, God!" he says. He looks at those pouty lips, the lashes shading Cliff’s eyes. "I'm sorry," he says. The crowd laughs harder. "I'm sorry. Oh, God, I'm sorry."

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