"What will you give me for this?" I say, putting myself between man and television, where a quartet of Las Vegas pawn dealers negotiate over somebody's 30-year-old collection of I-couldn't-care-less.
How hard is it to recognize that any animal print pattern is a go?
Look, I say, when I go to bed wearing cheetah print underwear, I do not expect to wake up in them.
"Leopard," he corrects me. "Snow leopard, looks like."
You know you are really off your game when an attempt at seduction turns into a discussion of taxonomy. There is no such thing as too obvious, apparently.
Scarred by rejection during the early parenting years when so many of his wrong-headed, middle of the night, first thing in the morning advances were rebuffed, The Suburban Man, it seems, does not appreciate subtlety in women's underwear.
Mr. Kamikaze likes to say he likes them all - on the floor. Hah! Don't try to convince us that you can't tell the difference between a $140 pair of La Perlas and the 3 for $10 pile at J.C. Penney. You could bring down the economy that way.
My point is, no one ever tells you there will come a day when you will have to compete for your husband's attention against a History Channel reality show set in a pawn shop.
We expect to have to work a little harder when we're unlucky enough to suffer inclinations during extra innings or a toilet replacement cliffhanger on the DIY network.
I've got contingency underwear ready in the event the Cubs ever make it to the playoffs and I know how to turn a discussion of 30-year-old plumbing sediment or door framing technique into a series of suggestions that can trump all but the most riveting episodes of This Old House.
Who doesn't? That stuff is practically porn in the suburbs.
But a bunch of pawn shop guys dickering over how much to pay for somebody's old toy collection? That is the worst idea for neglecting your wife I have ever heard. The Suburban Man cannot get enough of it.
It's like the inside of the garage or a drywall stack at Home Depot; it calls to him in a frequency I cannot hear. What's worse, I can't just override it with a better offer. I am forced to haggle.
Mr. Kamikaze looks up from the television and coolly appraises my wares.
"What are you looking to get for it?" he says.
"It's all in working order," I say. "I don't see another one like it around here."
"Let me call a buddy of mine who knows about these things," he says.
"That will cost you extra," I say. "I'm looking to make a deal right now."
I've got his attention, but he knows better than to give me what I'm asking.
"Look, it's cool and all," he parries, "but I don't really have room for it in my shop."
"Maybe I'll shop it around a little," I say. "Or maybe I'll just go shopping. I could use some new underwear." Apparently.
We close the deal, eventually. But he drives a hard bargain.
from the Secret Life of the Suburban Man Archives: Do-It-Yourself Television