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Published November 18, 2010

I was at the food co-op recently, rocking an indie-heart major-mind vibe in my vintage-style Ramones t-shirt, orange skeejees (skinny jeans), and limited edish leather Chucks. I was there snagging some sugar beets for a mocklate ganache I’m making for my man Tito’s Thanksgiving dinner. S’like, I’m there checking the freshness of the beety-beets by looking for the ones with slender tap roots when – Bang! — I notice a cool mom in a floppy fedora, pushing her kid in a shopping cart. I’m fascinated by cool moms. And this one’s hat was hanging over her head like a g-ddang question mark: “I’m still sexy, right?”

I decided to find out.

Me: “Don’t this squash look like a weiner?”
[I wiggle a large phallic gourd in front of my crotch.]

Cool mom: “Jesus Christ! What is your problem?!”

Me: [putting squash in her shopping cart]: “You’re right. That was rude. I just thought you looked interesting and I didn’t know how else to start a conversation. Since my wife passed– I’m sorry. I thought it was funny. It clearly wasn’t. I’m sorry. I’m embarrassed.”

Cool mom: “It’s fine. But, I mean, my son is right here.”

Me: “No worries. Can I ask you something?”

Cool mom: “What?”

Me: “Did you wear Annie Hall hats before you had a kid? Real talk.”

Cool mom: [in a tone indicative of woman’s fathomless mystery]: “Yes I wore hats. To your larger point, though, there’s an implicit argument made by society that once a woman has had a child she can never be as sexy as she once was. I may not agree with that – I don’t agree with that – but I still feel it. So sure, maybe I wear this hat to try and capture some ineffable sense of cool that I don’t, in my heart, feel I’ve actually lost. Which is weird. But sorry if that’s lame to you. Just because you read a poem on the wall of your grandmother’s bedroom about a woman who will wear a purple hat doesn’t make you an expert on the emotional lives of women.”

Me: “No worries. But on some level wouldn’t it be freeing to embrace the reduced expectation of sexiness? The problem with your hat is that it underscores your effort to retain sexiness. You might be sincere in wearing it, but it makes your, as Heidegger might say, dasein seem inauthentic. If you’re sexy, you’re sexy. I imagine, in the same way that an Amish woman might argue that dressing plainly frees them from the myopic tyranny of the male gaze, accepting a reduction in one’s conventional sex appeal would have a liberating aspect. Am I wrong about that, mun?”

Cool mom: “Okay, then I’d dress less sexy – whatever that means — and you’d look at me and think, ‘I’d hit that, but can’t she try a little harder? Just because she had a kid doesn’t mean she should give up.’ I can’t win with people like you. And frankly, mind your own business.”

Me: “Baby, you’re so fine my mind is your business.”
[Her child starts to fidget]

Me: “He looks tired. Take him home. Rub vaseline on his little baby butt and tell him it’s different and more special than all the other baby butts. Then put him to bed – so you can get comfortable, relax.
[I place my hand on the cool mom’s hand]

Me: “You live around here?”

Then she knees me in the nards.

For more, go to http://theballast.wordpress.com/

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