posted by Matt W on December 21st, 2011

So I have to go into Jo-Ann Fabric and pick up some Christmas supplies for my wife. I am not a big fan of Jo-Ann’s and avoid it like the plague, but because it is the “Season of Stress,” I don’t argue and run off to do this holiday errand. I am fairly confident in my masculinity but always feel out of place in the old fabric store and would feel more comfortable on any golf course in the world, naked, than in a Jo-Ann Fabrics (as I have only been naked on a few courses, this is just pure extrapolation.)

I wander the aisles searching for the objects on my wife’s list that sound like they came from a Dr. Seuss story, trying to block out the dreadful syrupy versions of Christmas carols wafting over the hordes of woman shoppers. As I stand in the endless holiday line at Jo-Ann’s checkout, I look around for other unfortunate male souls like myself to commiserate with. There were none, instead I saw this: There were two men in line in front of me and both of them had on a single earring and a scarf and they weren’t together. As I turn to look behind me, there is a third man walking the aisles with an earring and a scarf. (Now, I would just like to remind our readers, I live in the South and as there were probably only three men within a one hundred mile radius that were wearing an earring and a scarf indoors, it was interesting that they were all within 20 feet of me at one time.) Next, there was an 80-year-old man who was 100 pounds overweight with big red suspenders that matched his Marine Corps hat with multiple medallions pinned on it. As he faithfully followed his wife around the store, I can assure you after sixty years of marriage and time spent in the Mekong Delta, even Jo-Ann’s couldn’t faze him. The only other male in the entire store was a wide-eyed, newly married, I-didn’t-know-I-didn’t-have-to-come-in-willingly young man. He will learn. So there I was with 3 gay, one too old to care and one too young to know any better men shopping at Jo-Ann’s. As a blogger for middle-aged men, my god, I should have known better.

I finally get to the cash register to check out, and a whole new I-don’t-belong-here scenario plays out: the world of Jo-Ann’s coupons. I am very competent at math but as these coupons have absolutely nothing to do with math, I am totally out of my element. “Well, I GUESS you can use the 30% off notions coupon for these, although this isn’t TRULY a notion.” What the f*&k is a notion? (Sorry, I always have an urge to swear in JoAnn’s) “You will want to use your one time 50% coupon on that, even though it isn’t the most expensive item, because you can bundle those under your 40% off coupon.” “Sure, that’s what I figured as well,” I play along. She comes up with some random number as the “total.” All I know is the amount was less than I would have gladly paid just to leave the store empty handed. The fact that I completed my errand without “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” destroying my will to live was just a bonus. “Do you take Visa?”

I go home, drop off the crap, pop open a beer, flop myself down on the couch and turn on ESPN. I really wasn’t even thirsty; it just seemed like the right thing to do.



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